Tuesday, November 10, 2009

4R2 - The Robots of Death 2

It's often the little things that I enjoy about Doctor Who. One of my favourite of such things in this episode is the final few seconds of the rip-roaring cliffhanger which sees the sandminer about to explode, and The Doctor is frantically trying to convince the crew to cut the power and prevent the imminent destruction. The "scream" of the theme tune hits, and the credits crash in.

Great cliffhanger, yes? But what I love about it most occurs during the "scream". I'm not necessarily a fan of the famous "scream" when it comes to dramatic, and time-sensitive, cliffhangers. The length of the "scream" usually meant an actor, usually whoever was playing The Doctor or the companion, to maintain the same terrified look for 3 or 4 seconds under the "scream" while waiting for the credits to roll. At the end of Episode Two of Robots, director Michael Briant skillfully cuts in three shots under the scream - Toos screaming "It's going!", Leela clutching her head in terror, and, finally, The Doctor and Dask wrestling near the control panel. Three seconds, three separate displays of what's going on in the sandminer control room at the peak of the crisis. It's a brilliantly shot sequence from one of Doctor Who's more underrated directors.

As for the episode itself, more fun is being had. It's nice to see Tom Baker gain a bit of the sardonic wit that he had during Season 13, taking Borg to task for his apparent intelligence in relation to his apparent loquaciousness. And has anyone on Storm Mine 4 noticed how little Dask has been around while everyone else gets murdered?


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