Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AAA2 - Spearhead From Space 2

Jon Pertwee had already been a comedic actor for much of his career prior to his role as The Doctor, and it was widely assumed that he would continue in that vein for his portrayal of the now exiled wandering traveler. In Episode Two, Pertwee plies his trade in a memorable sequence where he sneaks out of the hospital. In retrospect, this is really the first and last balls out (if you'll forgive the phrase...) comedy sequence in the Pertwee era. Well, the only funny one, at the very least.

I have always loved the Seeleys, who clearly don't love each other. I still howl at the scene where Meg Seeley is admonishing her husband Sam about his trunk and his shady past. Sam barks back, "Go get me some grub, woman! I'm hungry!" Meg retorts, "You watch your mouth!", but she still goes to prepare him food. This is one of the strengths of Robert Holmes's writing which really starts to manifest itself in this story. Little character touches like this scene are wonderful to watch, and go a long way into fleshing out the believability of the characters and, thus, the plausibility of the story being told. Meg's throwaway line to Sam ("You've not been thieving again, have you?") says much about Sam's past, and how untrustworthy a character he is in regards to his hoarding of one of the Nestene spheres ("Thunderballs, I calls 'em!").

This episode also contains one of the all time chilling cliffhangers, shot to perfection by director Derek Martinus. I still get goosebumps when I see that Auton slowly start to move, and then step away from the rest of his stationary mates to threaten Ransome. The sound effects for the Auton's handgun are also evocative, and I'm ever so pleased that they continued to use them in the new series' premiere episode in 2005.


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