Friday, July 10, 2009
One can tell that things sort of run out of steam in this story by about the midway point of Episode Five. Much time is spent in showing Robson taking Victoria to the control rig, The Doctor and Jamie rescue her, then the three of them returning to the base safely, with the only thing really changing, storywise, is Robson moving to the control rig (where he ceases to provide any function, while possessed, for the rest of the story). Things really hit a snag thanks to a long and needless sequence involving The Doctor trying to fly a helicopter in the first five minutes of Episode Six.
The weed creature is vanquished with about 12 minutes to spare in the episode, and here's the funny thing - everybody lives! Mrs. Harris, Robson, even (an unseen) Van Lutyens, who was sucked into the foam and down the pipeline to the control rig, is apparently all fine and dandy. The Ninth Doctor will have to change his line. "Just this one...or twice...."
The last third of the story is handed over to the burgeoning story of Victoria's departure. It's fantastically well played, particularly in the last scene between Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. The last line of the scene is particularly poignant, when Victoria asks Jamie, "You won't leave without saying goodbye, will you?", which is a legitimate question, given the usual quick escape preferred by The Doctor once the situation has wrapped up. However, like in The Chase if The Myth Makers, we never see that goodbye scene, as the next shot is of The Doctor and Jamie walking away from Victoria on the beach. The Doctor has actually been mostly absent from Victoria's deliberation about staying, wanting Victoria to make her own decisions. His last line of the episode, "I was fond of her, too, Jamie." speaks volumes, though.
Victoria's departure is unique in that it de-romanticizes the notion of adventuring with The Doctor. Previous companions have left The Doctor because they've had a chance to return home, fall in love, or pursue some other noble cause away from the TARDIS. But Victoria hasn't found any of those things - she just doesn't want to be associated with the TARDIS anymore and the dangers and tribulations that come with it. She'd rather be left behind than continue on. If I was The Doctor, I couldn't help but feel slightly offended...
Posted by Steven at 10:23 AM