Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...
Day 393: The Monster of Peladon, Episode Five
It’s a bit of a roller coaster this week, isn’t it? Some days, I have loads and loads to say about a story, and other days I’m left not really knowing what to talk about. Yesterday, for example, completely knocked me for six. I couldn’t believe how good the episode was, and I filled up a whole page with notes on things to talk about. Today, I’ve only written two things down.
They’re both in relation to the Doctor being ‘killed’ in the explosion at the end of yesterday’s episode. Sarah Jane is completely stunned by it, and refuses to believe that he’s dead. It’ her description of him that really got me, though, when she says that he was ‘the most alive man’ she’d ever met, so it was just impossible to think of him as being dead. She then goes on to tell us that the Doctor often told her that there was hope ‘where there’s life…’. Now, I don’t know if this is a conscious foreshadowing of his regeneration in the next story (after all, those are some of his final words), or if it’s just a lucky fluke, but it’s rather moving all the same. The only downside is that we’ve never heard him extolling this advice - I’m wondering if it would have given us even more of an impact?
I’m a bit concerned about the way in which Sarah notices the Doctor still alive and well, and it’s because the whole security set up on Peladon has been bothering me for a few episodes now. I know Eckersley is working as an undercover agent for the Ice Warriors, and as such it’s wise for him to keep an eye on events around the Citadel, but he seems to have a security camera everywhere that it’s needed. Sarah informs them all that the sonic lance is being held over in a remote cave across from the Citadel… so they’re able to check, because there happens to be a CCTV camera in that very cave*.
Later, when flicking through the various camera feeds, Sarah happens upon a couple of them from inside the Refinery! If there’s a direct feed to the place, why has it taken so long for anyone to check if it was empty before now? I’ll give you that Eckersley might simply have been skipping over that feed when he was looking through, to keep his secret safe, but surely my beloved Alpha may have looked? Or the Doctor? Or even Sarah, since she seems relatively proficient with the technology!
On the whole, this episode feels like a step back from yesterday. I’m under no illusion, again, that I’m watching an episode of the TV series Doctor Who, being filmed in a studio with a good cast. Yesterday, I was so caught up in the drama of it all. A shame, but fantastic episodes always make the next in line feel a little sub-par…
*Mind you, I am willing to award points for it cutting to a previously-unseen high-angle shot of the action in the cave. So often, with things like this, the security footage would cut directly to an angle that we’ve already been watching, which does somewhat take you out of events. Here, at least, it feels like they’re trying.