Monday, September 28, 2009
There are some remarkable scenes in this episode that take Doctor Who well and truly out of its comfort zone and into some daring (for Doctor Who, anyway) territory for just about the first and only time in the whole of the classic series run.
First off, there is an alarming amount of cigarette smoking going on here. A scene featuring Hinks and Stevens lighting up is preceded by a scene with the Brigadier himself sucking back a stogie. Seldom has smoking been seen, period, in the series up to this point, and certainly not by one of its main characters (apart from, of course, The Doctor's own plot relevant puffing on a pipe in the very first story in 1963). The Brigadier may have needed a stiff jolt to get over all the hippies in the room practicing yoga and playing flute. A military man to the core, the Brigadier, and although he did his best to fit in with the scene, inside, you can tell he was in his own private hell.
Things take a serious turn, though, when The Doctor breaks the news to Jo that Bert has died. Later, by the fire, Cliff does his best to comfort the distraught Jo. The line that Cliff uses about Bert ("There'll never be another (Bert). Even if the world lasts for a hundred million centuries.") could have been uttered by The Doctor in the exact same situation, and it's notable that, at that moment, Cliff and Jo move in for a kiss. It's clear that, in Cliff, Jo saw a younger Doctor (even telling The Doctor this to his face), but, until that moment, her fascination with Cliff wasn't a romantic one.
And isn't it just adorable when The Doctor stops the romance dead in its tracks by hauling Cliff off to some random late-night science experiment? The Doctor can see the writing on the wall with Jo, but he wants to delay the inevitable as long as possible.
Posted by Steven at 1:28 PM