We continue to muddle our way through the “100,000 BC”, and we see some interesting things here. We see rampant sexism, the Doctor being callous and uncaring, and the first real instance of a companion calling him out when he’s wrong. Not bad when we’re only three episodes in!
I’m going to address the sexism here, because it, kind of sets the stage for the s we see in both the old and new series, both blatant and subtle. It’s fairly subtle in this case, where we see Barbara basically break down into a nervous wreck and for no obvious reason. Yes, she’s stressed out, but come on. So is everyone else. Susan breaks down, too, but not nearly at the same level.
The consolation here is that while Susan and Barbara are gibbering wrecks in part of this episode, a: they turn it around after only a few moments, and b: in latter stories the two are quite capable.
As for the Doctor, ah, tihe Doctor. Here he’s callous and unfeeling at a whole new level, and is clearly ready to kill someone just so that he and his friends can escape. We can debate the morality of this, but it certainly isn’t something the Doctor would do later on, not even while still in this bodty.
And, yes, the companions, especially Ian, call him out on his behavior. They make it very clear they they’re going to tend to someone who is wounded and might die without help, and that if the Doctor doesn’t like it, he can go hang. We get shades of this in later seasons, even right up to the most recent ones, but this is the first appearance of it, and it’s quite welcome.
All in al, this is a decent second act to this story, and ends on a pretty impressively-staged cliffhanger!
Next time: “The Firemakers”