Friday, November 6, 2009

4Q1 - The Face of Evil 1

The Deadly Assassin already had a lot going for it, but another one of its strengths was leaving The Doctor companion-less for an adventure before introducing the next traveler we meet on The Doctor's travels. After seeing the departure of such a phenomenally popular companion like Sarah Jane Smith, it would almost seem insulting to her to have another companion step into her shoes in the very next story.

It would also be a disservice to the new companion, Leela, to have to fill those shoes so quickly. Leela's debut is a strong one. She's not given any clunky introductory dialogue, and she seems firmly in character from her very first scene. Speaking of that first scene, this is one of the rare occasions that the viewer is introduced to the new companion well before The Doctor is.

Speaking of The Doctor, a new companion to talk with and dispense the plot to comes along at just the right time. Really, when you look at it, The Doctor had another companion for about four minutes that never gets mentioned in any episode guide I've ever seen, and that companion is you, the viewer, as Baker declares his intentions directly to camera, only repairing the fourth wall slightly by adding "Doctor" in a couple times so it sounds like he's talking to himself. Seldom before has a Doctor looked so out of place than Tom Baker early in Episode One.

The cliffhanger of Episode One is absolutely superb because it asks more questions than it can possibly answer before Episode Two comes along. Chiefly, why in the world is there a giant stone bust of The Doctor chiseled into the side of a mountain?


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