Monday, May 25, 2009

U3 - Death of a Spy

The spy who gets killed in this episode is Cyclops, who is actually a fairly minor character, but gets and episode title to himself. Interesting, that.

Two big things happen in this episode, one of them quite literally. The Doctor cements his own place in established history by coming up with the idea of the Trojan Horse to help the Greeks overtake Troy. So, in effect, The Doctor is solely responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Trojans thanks to his actions. The Doctor's place in history and the sometimes negative effects of that were dealt with rather explicitly (and effectively) in the 2008 story The Fires of Pompeii, but such sentiments were a long way away from the series' mantra in 1965.

It is in this episode, as well, that Vicki and Troilus fall hard for each other, and rather suddenly at that. Steven, who watches with disgust a flirtatious jailhouse tryst from a neighbouring cell, thinks that it is a ruse by Vicki to aid and abet their potential escape from the dungeon and doesn't believe the romance to be true. I can't help but half agree with him. When companions leave the series under the guise of falling in love with someone they've only met during the course of the story, it is very difficult to portray these relationships over the course of the story without stalling the main plot in its tracks. Also, the writer is limited to not only the small number of episodes in each story, but also the comparatively short timeline over which the story takes place. Having a character fall in love and eventually leave at the end of a story as long, storyline wise, as Marco Polo would have been more believable.

Vicki (or perhaps I should call her Cressida) and Troilus's relationship is by no means weak (and it, as all such "companion finds love and leaves The Doctor" storylines through the ages, will always look better than what happened in The Invasion of Time), but it's also a tad sudden for Vicki, who has never shown any great romantic inclination to anyone in the past to immediately latch on to the first male she finds she has affection for. Someone should have told both Susan and Vicki to play the field a little more...


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