Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ZZZ2 - Planet of the Spiders 2

People often deride Episode Two of Planet of the Spiders because it basically consists of one (over)long chase sequence that amounts to nothing. Lupton seeks to steal the Metebelis crystal, which he does with the help of the new spider on his back. End of story. However, fifteen minutes later, after a chase that features Bessie, the Whomobile, a police car, an autogyro, a motorboat, and a hovercraft, Lupton merely escapes again. The crystal never changes hands during this entire sequence - it's Lupton's from pillar to post.

Yes, it's self indulgent. Yes, it's padding. Yes, it goes on far too long. But it's a loving tip of the hat to Jon Pertwee - a man who had, by that time, played The Doctor for almost half of the programme's 11-year run. The self indulgence follows on from a similar vibe to previous season-enders (The Daemons and The Time Monster especially), but since this is one of Pertwee's last triumphant moments in this story (the chase is a triumph, not the resolution), I just don't have the heart to hate this sequence as much as I should...

This episode is also the last time we see Sgt. Benton for the rest of the Pertwee era, and the last time we see The Brigadier until the final scene of Episode Six. (One of the Brigadier's last acts is to fire six shots at Lupton - and miss six times - during the latter's escape from UNIT HQ). The comfortable world of The Third Doctor is slowly dissolving, piece by piece...


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