Friday, June 26, 2009

KK1 - The Faceless Ones 1

This episode marks a change in direction for the Troughton era, a change that will be seen over the course of the next three episodes. The one big change is noticeable in the very first scene. Once the TARDIS lands on the runway at Gatwick Airport, look who emerges from the TARDIS first: The Doctor, followed by Jamie. It's interesting to note how little screen time Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines have shared alone since Jamie came aboard the TARDIS back in The Highlanders. This shot, though brief, is one of the rare examples.

But the Doctor/Jamie connection is so familiar, in retrospect, that, when both of them dash away from the TARDIS to flee a landing plane, it almost catches you off guard when you see, in long shot, Polly, followed by Ben, bolt out of the time machine, as well. It's almost as if director Gerry Mill is setting the viewer up for the inevitable farewell of Ben and Polly. The production team is tired of them, too tired to even devote much attention to them, and they want to ensure that you don't want them around anymore, either.

This is a very creepy episode, helped in no small part by the minimalist electronic music score. Only two music tracks are heard throughout the entire story - a sombre, Brian Eno-esque piece that punctuates much of the proceedings, and a percussion piece which is used to emphasize the few action sequences in the story. Both are terribly effective (and must be either stock music or provided by the Radiophonic Workshop, as no music credit is listed - l'il help?). The creepy music does much to enhance the impact of the super spooky end to the episode, where we see a heavy breathing alien from behind....and he has no face! This is real behind-the-sofa stuff.


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