Monday, August 17, 2009

BBB7 - Doctor Who and the Silurians 7

The closing scene of this episode is a stunning look into the early relationship between The Doctor and The Brigadier and how adversarial it was. Far removed from the chummy friendship of the later Pertwee years, coupled with the increasing ineptitude of the Brigadier and UNIT, the early days of UNIT are clearly their most influential days, as evidenced by the fact that the Brigadier directly contradicts The Doctor's wishes.

There are many conflicts within Doctor Who and the Silurians - humans vs Silurians, humans vs humans, The Doctor vs humans, Silurian vs Silurian - but the main victor at the very end is the Brigadier. His main goal is not to eliminate the Silurians directly, but to maintain the security of the Wenley Moor complex and, by extension, humanity itself. By blowing up the Silurian base, he succeeds in his mission. The Silurians obviously fail, as their goals of either co-existence with, or dominance of, the humans (depending on which Silurian is in command at the time) are also thwarted by not only the Brigadier's actions, but in their inability to settle on a common goal. The biggest loser out of all of this, though (you know, of those who are actually alive by the end of the story), is The Doctor. Not only did he fail to achieve a peace between the humans and the Silurians today, he failed to convince anyone that a peace could be achieved several years in the future once the Silurians were revived again. It's the first time we really see The Doctor fail, and it's not something we see very often again.

The relative success of this story is mostly down to Malcolm Hulke's writing, but also due to Jon Pertwee's performance as the main peacemaker. Pertwee settled into the role of The Doctor remarkably quick, perhaps quicker than any other actor portraying The Doctor. However, thanks to a couple production mishaps outlined earlier (music, costumes), and a general stiffness about the production as a whole, Doctor Who and the Silurians probably isn't as good as it can be, and is easily my least favourite story of Season 7. Which means, probably, that it could very well be my fourth favourite Jon Pertwee era story...


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