Thursday, August 20, 2009
And thus begins the four episodes for which Inferno is famous, as The Doctor is transplanted into a world that seems so familiar, yet so different. In order to immediately set this parallel world apart from the familiar place that The Doctor just left, director Douglas Camfield doesn't flinch in showing the parallel world as a vicious, brutal world, populated by army thugs with guns.
Kudos really must be given to John Levene as Benton. After fleeting appearances in The Invasion and The Ambassadors of Death, this is really Benton's coming out party as a UNIT regular. We meet the friendly, lovable Sergeant Benton in the first episode of this story, smiling at The Doctor's quip about the Brigadier's mustache, then being gently reprimanded by The Brigadier himself. Platoon Under Leader Benton is a different beast all together - barking harsh orders at soldiers and brutally shoving The Doctor around. It's a wonderful performance from Levene, and, given the amount of praise that Levene has heaped upon Camfield since then, it's a wonderful example of a director getting the most out of his actors.
Jon Pertwee is, again, fantastic in this episode. It's always the little things that I enjoy about Pertwee's performances. I love the way he shouts at a soldier, "What the blazes are you doing?" after the soldier starts firing at him, more appalled at the notion that he's being shot at as opposed to why he's being shot at. I love the fact that Pertwee does all his own stunt driving sequences, some of which include some fairly dangerous stunts on behalf of the team from HAVOC. I love the way that Pertwee kicks himself off the wall when talking to Liz when he says "A joke's a joke." after he first meets her in the parallel world.
I'm also glad that it doesn't take The Doctor long to decipher that he has somehow materialized in a parallel world. This allows for the drama to move along at a healthy clip. The Doctor's independence in the normal world was noteworthy in that, apart from Stahlman's protests, he basically was allowed free reign of the place and use of the project's resources. Never before has The Doctor been as isolated and alone with any friends to help him, to the extent that those who appear to be his friends are the ones who are most interesting in killing him.
Posted by Steven at 8:52 AM