Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DDD2 - Inferno 2

The friction between The Doctor and Stahlman in this episode offers some of the best "rebellious Third Doctor" scenes ever seen in the series, as well as some fantastic quotes. My favourite:

Doctor: Yes, well I'll tell you something that should be of vital interest to you, Professor.
Stahlman: Well, what?
Doctor: That you, sir, are a nitwit!

After Stahlman leaves in a huff, The Doctor nods jokingly to the Brigadier. Bliss. Later on, The Doctor is imploring Stahlman to look at the data the project computer is spitting out, but Stahlman refuses. The Doctor shouts back, "Well, look at it, man! Are you blind?!"

The Jon Pertwee Doctor of Season Seven could very well be my favourite Doctor of all time. Any similarities between The Doctor and James Bond at this point, too (an oft-mentioned comparison), are inaccurate. The world of James Bond might exist around The Doctor, but Pertwee's Venusian martial arts are only briefly introduced in this story, nor is he engaging in much physical conflict with anyone at all. The Doctor here is such an iconoclast and a rebel, he walks around like he owns the place, but is constantly frustrated by the fact that other, less intelligent beings are in control of the situation. This is also a Doctor at his most independent, despite being forced to rely on his close circle of powerful friends to get his foot in the door.

The main reason for the Third Doctor's independence is the strength of his companion, Liz Shaw. Liz is such a strong and intelligent character that she doesn't even need to be in a scene for her to be taking part in the story. Liz makes her first appearance of the story fifteen minutes into Episode One, having already been hard at work in the hut that The Doctor has managed to secure for his experiments. Any other companion would have to be seen a great deal more, often at The Doctor's elbow, asking him what's going on and what is that strange device he's holding. With Liz, The Doctor is at his most free (ironic, given his imprisonment by the Time Lords), and, since we don't have the usual window into his mind that a typical companion usually provides, he is also at his most interesting.


Erik said...

You make a very valid point regarding Season 7 Pertwee being more independent and traditionally Doctor-ish than he becomes later on in his tenure, and I heartily concur that it's Liz Shaw that helps this. It's such a shame that they thought she was *too* smart, and so we get Jo Grant in the very next story--Jo's a decent companion for what she is, but she's no Liz Shaw.

Anonymous said...

Pertwee's era isn't my cup of tea, but I agree, the Third Doctor's excellent in season 7, far more like my idea of The Doctor from the Target books.

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