Doctor Who #162: The Faceless Ones Part 4

"To get above our radar umbrella like that it'd have to climb vertically until it was a hundred miles high. The darned thing would be in outer space."TECHNICAL SPECS: Missing from the archives. I've used a reconstruction. First aired Apr.29 1967.

IN THIS ONE... Evading RAF fighters, the Chameleon Tours plane turns into a spaceship and flies to orbit with Jamie aboard.

REVIEW: We can't see some of the bits that really need to be seen to be appreciated, and the airport setting, now that the location work is behind us, has become cramped and stale. So there's a certain tediousness to the episode, and not just in the Commandant's Doubting Thomas performance. However, it does make a good showcase for Frazer Hines as Jamie. The Scotsman not only gets to confound headstrong Samantha Briggs, lifting her plane ticket while he distracts her with a kiss, but he gets on a Chameleon Tours plane, even though he's terrified of flying. Cue a race to the bathroom... does that mean he escaped being turned into a doll?

Because yes, the Chameleons' plans involve turning young people into small, easy-to-store dolls (I guess the Master had to steal the technology from SOMEone), which may just be one step too ludicrous to be acceptable. A couple of disturbing patterns are forming in regards to these guys' plans. One is a tendency to draw way too much attention to themselves (shooting down an RAF fighter isn't going to get you LESS attention). The other is the silly habit of leaving the room after setting up a death trap. How about you just make sure they're dead next time? In this case, the trap involves a beam of deadly light that can be put out of commission by a small mirror. Surviving pictures don't tell us much about it. We get a better look at the airplane model folding its arms back and reaching outer space where a saucer-like orbital station awaits. A neat sequence.

The Doctor gets a couple of nice moments too. I like how he gets luscious Wanda Ventham's Jean to help get Nurse Pinto out of the infirmary so he can snoop around and ends up playing an authoritative doctor (been a while since he impersonated someone. On a completely personal note, Nurse Pinto makes me laugh because my sister taught us all to dance the "pinto", a strange back-to-front couples dance they always did on a local cable-access western show. They always called it out with relish: "Let's do the PINNNNNtooooo!!!" Also good is the Doctor being unimpressed with the range of the RAF's jets. Hey, at least the aviation people have started cooperating.

VERSIONS: I was disappointed with Jamie's distracting kiss because I still remember the BBC audio CD that made it sound like it was full on the lips. I thought it awfully racy for the 2nd Doctor era! But it was actually on the cheek! Oh well, hopefully Sam and Jamie's next kiss will be a little sexier.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Might have worked better as a 4-parter, so in the middle here, we get visual set pieces to pass the time. Except they lost the visuals. The Doctor and Jamie still give us good reason to keep watching.



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