Friday, June 26, 2009
The Faceless Ones evolves so gradually, yet it never seems slow. At the end of Episode One, we see the aliens. Only at the end of episode three, halfway through the story, are we finally let in on the secret that something sinister is happening on Chameleon Tours flights when all the passengers disappear while a shocked Inspector Crossland is watching.
The end of Episode Four finally shows that not only are the passengers disappearing from the planes, but the planes themselves are leaving the Earth to board a massive satellite orbiting the Earth. Because of the slow buildup, this revelation comes as a stunning turn of events. It's also a shame that this episode doesn't exist in the BBC archives anymore, as well, as it would have been neat to see how the visual effects team pulled off the model work for these sequences, as model work was still a rare treat on those days in Doctor Who.
The Doctor, Jamie, and Samantha also form a strong, if short lived, trio during this episode. It is a bit of a shame that Samantha didn't stay on as companion, but actress Pauline Collins had other ideas. Her actions and behaviour during this story, though, are just close enough to those of an "official" companion, too. Her large involvement in the proceedings reminds me of another character from a Doctor Who story set in and around an airport - Captain Stapley in the Peter Davison story Time-Flight. I'll touch on that comparison when the time comes to review Time-Flight, but I will say this. Enjoy the shots of a busy air traffic control that we see in The Faceless Ones, because you'll never see better air traffic control scenes in Doctor Who again...
Posted by Steven at 3:17 PM