Friday, February 5, 2010
There's a very rare insight into The Doctor's mind during the scene where The Doctor and Dojjen perform the Snakedance, during which we actually hear The Doctor's thoughts. Before he settles his thoughts down and has a calm conversation with Dojjen via telepathy, his mind is addled and wracked with concern and guilt. It's stunning to hear how vulnerable The Doctor really is inside, despite rarely, if ever, showing it on the outside.
The Doctor's role in Snakedance is interesting. He spends most of the story playing catch-up to everyone else, learning facts that others have known for centuries, but he's the only person who has the ability to tie all these facts together to decipher what's about to happen. However, in playing catch-up, events are already in motion long before he has the chance to stop them. The entire story is building up to one event - the ceremony to (symbolically) abolish the Mara at the end of Episode Four. Nothing The Doctor does even threatens to derail the ceremony. He is that one ranting, rambling, dissenting voice against a world stuck in its ways, looking like a hermit waving his "The End is Nigh" sign in front of the White House.
Because of this unusual position The Doctor is in, Peter Davison is easily the most watchable person in this story. Davison's performance in Snakedance is remarkable. He has often stated that the stories of Season 20 were among his least favourite, and that they were factors for him leaving Doctor Who after three years. I would hope that Snakedance wasn't one of those stories that grated on Davison, as it is an intelligent story populated by rich characters and a thoroughly developed history and culture for the planet of Manussa, and it is a story in which Davison gives one of his best performances as The Doctor.
Posted by Steven at 1:29 PM