Episode 210 – “The Dominators” – Part 01

And so we skip past “Fury from the Deep” and “The Wheel in Space” to arrive here, at “The Dominators”.

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And the less said about those costumes, the better.

During our time away, the Doctor went to the future, and picked up a young scientist named Zoe Heriot. And with that, the TARDIS crew for the best of the Second Doctor’s era is complete. These are the last new companions we get until Liz Shaw.

I first saw this story back in the 1990s, and wasn’t impressed. The costumes on the titular Dominators are hilarious, but the “window curtains with belts wrapped around them” that the other people wear are even worse. Then there’re the Quarks. Don’t get me started on the Quarks.

That said, coming back to it, I kind of like it, and this first episode, which sets up a group of innocent, carefree people being slaughtered by a band of evil warriors, is quite excellent.

I do quite also like the conflict between the two Dominators. One is in charge, more conservative, and careful. The other is ambitious, with a sleek and hungry look, and willing to take chances. It’s quite a neat contrast.

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Episode 826 (?) – “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”

Careful readers may have noticed a slight jump in the episode numbering as well as an abrupt change of Doctor. It crosses my mind that I never said what I was going to do when new episodes air. Well, now you know.

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“I’m me, the Doctor, and even I think this is insane.”

Have you ever wondered what might happen if the Doctor were to land his TARDIS in the middle of one of CW’s superhero shows? I suspect I just saw it.

This was a far, far better episode than it should have been. The Doctor and a superhero? That annoying Matt Lucas character from last year’s special? A villain that’s like a Teutonic version of James Mason? It could have gone wrong at so many points, but…didn’t.

Now that’s not saying this was the best story ever. Hell, it wasn’t even the best Christmas special. But I found much here to like. There were plenty of amusing moments centering on comic books and the silliness of the secret identity, there was some awfully sharp writing with some wonderful quotes, and even Nardole, Matt Lucas’ character, was entertaining. I like the way he was written here much better than the way he was written last year.

So…take this story in the spirit (Ghost?), it is offered. It’s not great, but it’s pretty damn entertaining, and that’s good enough.

 

Character Profile – Victoria Waterfield

This one is kind of tough. I never saw Victoria’s into story (though I’ll be looping around for it later), and haven’t seen her departure story, either (though same thing). So despite having seen her in several stories, she remains somewhat of an enigma to me.

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To a great extent, Victoria is something of an amiable non-entity. She’s pleasant and intelligent and reasonably spunky, but she leaves no real lasting impression. Partly this is due to how few of her stories remain intact, but part of this is just that she’s kind of…there. She’s around, but leaves no real impression.

Which is something of a shame. There is some great potential with the character. If they’d played her a bit more like Charley Pollard, she might have been quite interesting, but mostly she’s kind of dull.

Victoria hasn’t even really been able to be interesting in the Big Finish audios she’s appeared in, which, alas, probably says a lot about Watling’s acting more than it does anything else.

On the plus side with Victoria gone, we now have the field cleared for Zoe, and at last, the Second Doctor’s era will feel like it should!

My Thoughts on Story 041 – “Web of Fear”

A worthy story to follow one of the best. “Web of Fear” has plenty of humor, intelligence (quite Great, in fact), and action galore, doing a great job of foreshadowing the Third Doctor’s era.

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Those Yeti costumes, though…

I never saw “The Abominable Snowmen”, so I can’t compare this to that. But I can say that on its own, it’s quite a good story. The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria work very well together, the sets are generally fantastic, and the supporting characters, from Travers, to Evans, to a certain colonel, are all wonderfully cast and extremely well written.

Speaking of that colonel, who will be a brigadier the next time we see him, how great was it to see Lethbridge-Stewart in his first appearance? From the very moment he arrives in the story, he’s a take-charge kind of man, showcasing the excellent acting talents of Courtney and laying the groundwork for one of the best characters of the entire series.

It’s only quite sad that the episode he appears in, three, remains missing. Apparently it was found with the rest, in a warehouse in Nigeria, but some asshole stole it and hasn’t resurfaced with it yet. I really hope whomever it is comes forward at some point and returns it.

That’s really it for my thoughts here. Excellent story, well done all around.

The next story, “Fury from the Deep”, is one I’m skipping for now, as is the one after that, “Wheel in Space”. The first sees off Victoria and the second introduces Zoe, so by the time we rejoin our crew, it’ll be quite different! As a result of all this, look for my character profile on Victoria tomorrow.

Next time: “The Dominators”

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Episode 197 – “Web of Fear” – Part 06

And so our story comes to an end.

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And the Doctor visit the Louvre.

As with the rest of the story, there’s much to enjoy here. There are some wonderful moments of tension, some great character building with the Brig, and some fun moments of the Doctor controlling a Yeti like it was a brainless Spock.  Also, there’s a shot of a movie poster for In the Heat of the Night, so that’s pretty great.

The story has a lot to tie up in a short amount of time, and it’s a great testament to the writers that they manage to clear up everything as well as they do, and have it all make at least some sort of sense.

In the end, the Doctor saves the day, as we knew he would, and then he and his friends fly off, and will never encounter the Great Intelligence or a certain Lethbridge-Stewart ever again.

Episode 196 – “Web of Fear” – Part 05

The penultimate episode! More Brig! More subways! More Yetis! More of people pretending they look scary!

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Yeah.

Despite the overall fantastic nature of the underground sets, I do have to say that this episode does have one of the rare instances of an actual wobbly set. Jamie yanks open a door and you can see a whole wall shake. It’s kind of amusing.

Evans is a somewhat interesting character. Yes, he’s cowardly and out to save himself above pretty much everything else, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong to be suspicious of the Jamie and the Brig. He’s wrong, of course, but he doesn’t have any way to know that.

I’m also enjoying the change of atmosphere in this episode. Everything is a bit more close, and tense, which I quite like. Overall, it’s a good episode that does a great job of setting up things to come!

Episode 195 – “Web of Fear” – Part 04

Ah, nothing like an action-packed episode full of excitement, thrilling music, explosions, and waddling Yetis!

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Though surprisingly little of these two.

I found myself feeling quite sorry for Evans, the driver, throughout this episode. Here’s a guy who probably joined the army for three hots and a cot, became a driver, and now he’s stuck fighting robotic alien monster things in what is, as near as it appears, the same scrapyard where the Counter-Measures squad encountered a Dalek.

I’m also kind of amused that the thrilling music mentioned above is a rehash of the Cybermen theme from “Tomb of the Cybermen”. It works well enough, but really is better suited to that story than this one.

I suppose I also have to point out that the bangs the Yetis are sporting amuses me to no end.