Friday, May 1, 2009
First off, I've seen this episode a few times, and I have yet to decipher who the eponymous "waking ally" is. The Doctor wakes up from his rest. Is it him? When I was a kid, I had hoped that the Slyther would switch sides and join the rebellion, but instead Ian clubs it and pushes it down the mine shaft to its death.
The Doctor's back and taking charge, leading Tyler, David, and Susan to the Daleks' operation in Bedford. He's also coming to the realization that Susan is growing up and growing apart from him. He'll deal with it differently in the next episode, but here, he's almost keen to encourage it, for Susan's sake. When he and Tyler walk in on an intimate moment between Susan and David (a rare such scene for Doctor Who), The Doctor almost takes it in stride, joking that "something's cooking". His line to David "Susan's a very good cook" is akin to a marriage blessing (in that backwards 1960's way that labeled women's primary skill as that of a homemaker). The Doctor's absence in the previous episode was serendipitous in that it allowed David to dissolve the bomb that was about to blow up London - a task no doubt assigned to The Doctor in the original version of the script. There are several moments over the course of these six episodes that really develop Susan and David's relationship. It's a wonderfully realized subplot.
The other two storylines converge in the mines as Barbara, Jenny, Ian, and Craddock all find themselves either as prisoners of the Daleks or those trying to evade them. There's a surprisingly moving scene where Craddock finds his brother Phil, which was the reason he had come to Bedford in the first place. The tragedy is that Phil is now a Roboman, and the struggle between a distraught Craddock and his brother is almost tough to watch. They both die during the struggle, but not before Phil, whose mind was thought to be completely taken over by the Daleks, utters his brother's name, Larry, before they both expire. It's subtly directed by Richard Martin (who does a bang up job in all the episodes), although the fact that the scene was only recorded on one camera probably lends itself to the lack of technical equipment rather than directorial instinct...
Posted by Steven at 12:54 AM