Monday, March 30, 2009

B3 - The Escape which (with apologies to Toby Hadoke) there's an escape. Specifically, at the very end of the episode. The eponymous escape (and the scenes leading up to it) is actually quite good, and it shows the TARDIS crew really working together for the first time. Everyone chimes in with a good idea on how to defeat the Dalek guard and escape from their holding cell.

As the episodes of the first season move along, I'm quickly realizing that the first TARDIS crew is really one of the best in the show's history. Everyone has a role to play, and each actor fills the bill admirably. We'll come to see it even more in the episodes to come, but Ian almost has a bigger share of the action than The Doctor himself. I can see why William Russell's agent was lobbying, at the time, for his client to be paid on par to what William Hartnell was getting.

Also, we meet the Thals properly for the first time in this episode. They're all blonde and they all wear silly tunics and pants with holes down the legs. There also seems to be only a smattering of female Thals (what is this? The Smurfs?), and the only that speaks, Dyoni, proves that she should probably stay silent instead. The exposition scenes where the Thals discuss their own history at great length with each other are a tad boring, but a necessary evil that every TV script has to endure in order to get such vital information across. Pity we couldn't have got the slide show version from the Daleks, or something.

The very last shot of the episode is of a spooky Dalek claw (actually a greased up rubber monkey arm) crawling out from under a Thal cloak. Neat shot, but what really sells the fact that the Daleks are a strange, mutated alien race is the reaction of Ian when he first opens the Dalek casing. The look on his face instantly shows more than any effects laden shot of a mutated Kaled (sorry - mutated Dal) could ever do. Why does William Russell's Ian not get more plaudits in "Best Companion" polls? I think he's brilliant.


hypocaust said...

Couldn't agree more about Ian.
The chemistry between the two Williams is excellent. The way they work off each other is one of my favourite aspects in the entire series.
I also like the way the way the relationship between Ian/Barbara and the Doctor develops throught the serials from initial hostility and suspicion to friendship and genuine affection and particularly, the gentle mockery between Ian and the Doctor.

James said...

I agree that the initial line up is one of the best TARDIS teams and Ian one of my favourite companions however I couldn’t help but agree with the Dalek "stop that noise" comment to Susan's laugh, she might be trying to sound otherworldly but she does an awful lot of completely inappropriate laughing which is starting to irritate me somewhat. On the positive side of the episode we have the supposedly beautiful Thals who are finally introduced and provide an interesting contrast to the Daleks. I like the fact that they were the warriors and agressors where the Daleks were scientists, teachers and scholars, that the Daleks have become what they have as a result of Thal agression adds an interesting element to the story. Ians reaction to the Dalek inside the caseing is my personal highlight of the episode though and I agree his reaction is worth more than any effects shot could ever be at this stage in the shows history. On the negative side though we have the fact that once again there is very little movement. The TARDIS crew spend the entire episode in a prison cell with "the escape" only coming with the closing shots of the episode. Its really about time things got moving.

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