Friday, June 26, 2009

JJ1 - The Macra Terror 1

I mentioned when reviewing The Savages about how writer Ian Stuart Black was a contemporary of Patrick McGoohan, creator of The Prisoner, and how there were slight similarities between the two series. Well, Black's The Macra Terror appears to be an even closer offspring of any discussions that McGoohan and Black may have had circa 1966. The most alarming similarity is probably the jaunty music that plays throughout the colony, accompanied by the friendly public address announcer.

There's even a Big Brother-esque figure whose stern (yet, according to Polly, dishy) visage looks down upon the colony and barks orders to his subordinates. The uniforms worn by the various authority figures are all very militaristic. It's creepy atmosphere, to be sure, and it's brilliant that The Doctor almost immediately suspects something is afoot once he runs into, and inadvertently captures, Medok. Why did The Doctor instantly take the side of one man fleeing from the law? To quote Romana, from a few years in the future, "Because he was running".

I love how The Doctor almost blindly trusts Medok to the point that he repeatedly thwarts security measures and warnings to get to Medok and hear his story. At one point, The Doctor breaks into Medok's cell and, without a word, frees Medok from his bonds to indicate to the imprisoned Medok that he cares about what he has to say. This is The Doctor at his most subversive, and it's a sign of Patrick Troughton really finding his feet in the role.

The main plus for this episode? We've barely seen a glimpse of the Macra. More about that later.


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