Monday, November 2, 2009

4M3 - The Masque of Mandragora 3

For the only time in the history of the original series, the ability of the companions in The Doctor's care to hear and speak English whenever they encounter aliens or Italians is explained. And it is done poorly. "It's a Time Lord gift I allow you to share", says The Doctor to Sarah. And it's not even the normal Sarah that is asking The Doctor this. It's the hypnotized Sarah who, in asking The Doctor this question, is the reason why The Doctor is tipped off to her being hypnotized in the first place, because, apparently, no self respecting companion would even ask this question, despite the fact that viewers of the programme for the past fourteen years have probably been asking the same thing. How lazy.

I find it hard to think that no companion would have asked The Doctor about this before. If I was Ian or Barbara, after getting over the initial shock of being transported back in time several thousand years, I might have, in a quieter moment while killing time in the Cave of Skulls, posited to The Doctor about how, for a tribe that couldn't even start a fire to save their lives (literally), they still have a remarkable, if elementary, grasp of speaking and understanding a language some thousands of years before its actual creation.

This is one of the few times where contemporary non-canonical retroactive continuity (or CNCRC, for short) comes in handy and is made wholly believable. I can't remember where the idea of the TARDIS telepathic circuits playing Babel Fish and translating everything came from, but the fact that this concept was picked up fairly early on in the new series was a welcome relief.

Oh, and the Duke gets zapped and killed in this episode, which is good, because he was really getting on my nerves.


donn said...

I prefer to believe that the translation thing was discussed off camera with every new companion. Would have been nice to let the audience in on it every now and then, though.

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