Friday, June 26, 2009
That "Meadows" actually seizes his chance to escape the clutches (and that term is used very loosely) of The Doctor in this episode is a bit of a disappointment. Meadows had basically paved the way to victory for The Doctor that his actions would only be plausible if he had 100% joined The Doctor in his cause.
Almost trying to one-up "Meadows" in the race for Greatest Chameleon Turncoat, both Captain Blade and Spencer later relent without so much as three seconds of deliberation when offered an ultimatum by The Doctor. What's even more troubling, though, is the way that the Chameleons are eventually subdued. It happens when the Commandant reactivates the original version of Jenkins, which kills the duplicate version on the Chameleon satellite. The Commandant, Nurse Pinto, everyone, even The Doctor, knew that this would happen, yet all permitted it to occur, and little remorse was shown by any of the "good guys" afterwards. It's more than a bit concerning to see the Jenkins double, or any life form, used so callously as a pawn in negotiations. I was quite surprised that The Doctor would allow such a thing to happen.
This story was the first writing effort from Malcolm Hulke (along with David Ellis), yet already, hallmarks of his stories to come are visible here. While the sudden 180-degree turn by Blade and the the rest of his race was a little too jarring, it did display that classic Hulke quality, that there were no real "good guys" or "bad guys", just different races with different viewpoints, and different and, at times, desperate ways of trying to survive. You can't necessarily fault the Chameleons for why they did what they did, just how they did it. In the end, The Doctor doesn't offer them much hope apart from, basically, going back to the drawing board to find a solution to their problem. You can't help but feel a little sorry for them.
In the last scene of the episode, Ben and Polly make their first appearance since Episode Two, but their last appearance on the show ever. They both had their moments during their time on the show, but they were few and far between. Their finale almost seems to be written in just to not repeat the non-farewell that Dodo had in The War Machines (which, ironically, took place on the same day - July 20, 1966). There's not a great deal of remorse in The Doctor's voice. He's quite happy to have Jamie tag along with him now, and Ben and Polly are old news. The first companions to witness and guide the viewer through the first ever regeneration crisis are now history, and with much less fanfare than when they arrived.
Posted by Steven at 3:18 PM