Monday, December 10, 2012

7E2 - Paradise Towers 2

Well, that was a nice nap. Everyone doing well?

The scene where The Doctor tricks the two guards watching him has always been one of the more notable scenes in Sylvester McCoy's era in Doctor Who. Most fans think it's just silly, but in watching it again for the umpteenth time, I find that it's actually one of the first scenes that exemplifies McCoy's Doctor. The Seventh Doctor has always had an iconoclastic streak, but here he sits between his watchers and proceeds to go off on the rule book which all the Caretakers devote their lives to adhering to. The Doctor isn't just taking a frustrated swipe at a silly rule book, he's attacking a way of life.

When he sees that he can get away with pouring considerable scorn on the rule book, he realizes that he can use the book, along with his cunning, to get out of his current situation by making the guards release him as opposed to engineering an escape himself. (The guards must have remarkable faith in the book to accept the word of a prisoner about what's written in it, mind you...).

McCoy's Doctor could be summed up with two main characteristics: rebellious and manipulative. These sound like bad aspects of his personality, but The Doctor uses these qualities for good. Interestingly, and not to sully any potential things I might say about The Happiness Patrol, but compare this scene in Paradise Towers to the one in Happiness where The Doctor convinces two members of the hit squad to throw away their guns. While they are very different in tone, The Doctor uses similar techniques to his advantage. He doesn't stand up to authority in either case, he stands out from it. Standing up to authority would get him smacked down. Standing out gives him the advantage.

The dark, manipulative Doctor that more overtly took root in Season 25 and blossomed in Season 26 has his genesis much earlier on his tenure than commonly thought.


Robert Konigsberg said...


I went ahead and re-watched the first two episodes of Paradise Towers. So here's the thing I can't handle: the supporting cast is by and large caricatures more than characters. There's the weird lingo: "Rezzie" for resident, for instance. "Ice Hot!" It doesn't sound unworldly. It sounds contrived. Then there's this way that everyone speaks in unison. Mel represents the audience in that through her we see how bizarre everything is. I know Mel is disliked, but I don't mind her at all here.

Cockers said...

Good to see you posting again Steven!

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