Friday, May 1, 2009

K6 - Flashpoint

I noticed something about both this story and the first Dalek serial from Season 1. At the end of this story, the Daleks are defeated quickly by having the Robomen suddenly turn on the Daleks. In the first serial, the Daleks are defeated just as quickly by the Daleks' power unit being destroyed, killing all of them almost instantly. And we thought that quick and easy ways to defeat Daleks were purely the realm of Russell T Davies...

Anyway, this is an action packed episode in which our heroes win and the Daleks are soundly defeated, but it's the denouement that has made this serial as memorable as it is. Devoting the last third of the episode to it, the story of Susan staying with David, or more importantly, Susan leaving The Doctor, is so remarkably well played by the three primary actors. Where he previously looked at the burgeoning relationship between Susan and David with pride and a bit of whimsy, now he has come to realization that he must say goodbye to his grand-daughter. When he hugs Susan over something as trivial as a wrecked shoe, he looks away, painfully, and you want to look away with him. When he finally closes the TARDIS doors, the inevitable finally occurs, shutting Susan off from the comfortable wandering she has enjoyed all her life and forcing her to realize her new destiny on Earth with David.

And then there's the speech. Clearly William Hartnell's best moment in Doctor Who, and one of the best moments for any Doctor, full stop. There's a reason why Hartnell's soliloquy is quoted and replayed as often as it is, because it is delivered with just the right amount of heartfelt emotion that it is one of my favourite Doctor Who moments ever. I even get goosebumps looking at the still taken from the scene at the top of the page! Susan was an okay companion who probably wasn't as developed as she could have been over the course of her time on the programme, but when a character gets an exit like this, it sticks with you for years to come.

A brilliant six episodes, these were. I expected them to look creaky and a bit dated, but, upon reviewing, they're a full on contender for best Hartnell story for me.


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