Thursday, April 9, 2009

D6 - Mighty Kublai Khan



It's obviously tragic that 108 episodes of Doctor Who are still missing from the BBC archives (and don't you think for a second that I'll be done lamenting that fact during the course of this blog), but there are two scenes in Mighty Kublai Khan that would be fantastic to see again.

The first occurs when Ian tries one last desperate attempt to try and convince Marco Polo to relinquish the TARDIS. He actually tries to convince Marco that he's from the future, and the TARDIS can travel through space and time. Marco is almost open minded enough to believe him, but can't. To see the look on Marco's face as Ian spun his wild (yet true) tale would have been fascinating. This is the first "true" historical in the annals of Doctor Who history, yet this instance is actually one of a small handful of instances where The Doctor and/or his companions divulges the secrets of the TARDIS to someone from Earth's past or present. Until the 1980's, when it became almost a weekly ritual, but we'll get into that some 500 entries from now...

The second glorious scene in this episode is an out-an-out comedy scene, the first real such scene in the show's young history. In it, an aged Kublai Khan, hobbled by his advancing years and a wicked case of gout, emerges from his private chambers to grant an audience to The Doctor, Barbara, and Susan. Khan is clearly having trouble, loudly groaning with each step. The Doctor, on the other hand, has a sore back, and, after vociferously objecting to kowtow to the Mongol ruler beforehand, reluctantly bows down to Khan, making similar grunts of anguish. Khan, at first, thinks that The Doctor is mocking him, but soon sees that they both share the same afflictions of old age and become fast friends. Hartnell is a great comic actor, and rarely gets the opportunity to show off his skills in the role of The Doctor, so it's nice to cherish this little bit of gold.

Poor Ping-Cho has a bad time of it in this episode, running away to escape punishment from Marco for revealing the TARDIS key to Susan, then displaying her horrible gullibility by giving all her money to a one-eyed man and his monkey. Ian thankfully swoops in to save her, but a confrontation with the villainous Tegana seems to be afoot...

3 comments:

sjcaustenite said...

I haven't actually watched a recon of "Marco Polo"--but did you say a one-eyed man and his monkey? Really?

Steven said...

I did. And that's euphemism-free, too.

James said...

Not sure what else to add to this only that I agree that this episode would be great to see returned. With the ammount of international sales there must be the best chance of any story turning up. The story continues to be interesting and engaging and I dont want it to end next episode, which 6 episodes in is quite an achievement. Oh and yes there really is a one eyed man with a monkey

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