Saturday, June 13, 2009

CC4 - The Smugglers 4

It's been fun tracking the moral standing of The First Doctor during his tenure in the programme, from being aloof and selfish in the early days, to where he is in The Smugglers. When given the chance to flee the scene in the earlier stories, he would have done so at a moment's notice. Now, when time travel newbies Ben and Polly see a way for them to get out of their scrape relatively unscathed, The Doctor stands firm. It was because of his dealings with Captain Pike that has put the village in danger, and so he is staying out of "moral obligation" to try and prevent the village from suffering any recrimination.

I like that this has been a very gradual change in The Doctor's character. One can't pinpoint a specific moment or a telling close-up camera shot that displays, in black and white (literally and figuratively), that The Doctor has changed his attitude to those around him and how his actions affect them. The fact that this change spans over three seasons worth of Doctor Who makes it seem that much more real. So often in shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, for instance, characters would, during the course of a 43-minute episode, encounter a situation unfamiliar to them, deal with it, and then look longingly off into the distance, reflecting on the fact that they just learned something and probably gained 20 experience points along the way.

This is the most overt portrayal of The Doctor's philanthropic nature yet, though, in that he is willing to discover the lost treasure for Captain Pike, and hand the dastardly smuggler the entire prize in exchange for the safety of the entire village. In the end, of course, The Doctor never has to keep his promise, as several people, including Pike himself, die in sword fights, leaving things for the king's taxman, Blake, to clean up. Then and only then, when all the pieces of The Doctor's plan are about to fall into place, does he flee the situation, further enhancing his new fondness for leaving before any questions are asked.

Good little story, this, but do your best to try and track down a better quality copy of the Loose Cannon reconstruction than the one I stumbled upon!


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