24 July 2014

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 570: Warrior’s Gate, Episode Two

Dear diary,

When I said during yesterday’s episode that I hoped we’d get more of the slightly surreal stuff today, I didn’t mean quite like this. We’re now half way through this story, and I still don’t really know what’s going on. There’s a broken-down space ship, a gateway to an unusual abandoned medieval world, and a supposedly empty void between two universes. But after 50 minutes, not a lot has actually happened yet. There’s lots of roaming around and any bouts of action - like Romana being strapped in to the broken ship to see where they’re going - seem to be over with very quickly. Before you know it, Romana has been left behind, and the crew have gone for another wander through nothing.

As, presumably, Adric has, too. He goes off exploring with K9, and we’re told that the only way to navigate in this place is through the use of a mass detector (the crew of the spaceship have one that they’re using to get around, and K9 serves the purpose for Adric). That’s fine, but following the attack of time winds in the last episode, K9 isn’t functioning at full capacity. Ok, not a problem, because Adric is able to take one of the dog’s antenna, and move further away to help correct the problem. At this point, K9 heads off to find the Doctor... where he arrives with both ears in tact! We see Adric wandering in the void briefly, but I can’t tell if he’s still got an ear. Was a scene cut out at all? Is it just an error in production?

I’m not usually one for spotting production errors. I stumbled across a website recently that looks at them in detail throughout classic Doctor Who episodes, and I couldn’t help but think that it all seemed just a bit... petty. Errors were being pointed out that were so minor it’s unlikely that most people would spot them on their tenth viewing of an episode. I’m not the type who usually even notices a boom mic in shot, or the shadow of a crew member, but this episode seems to be making them more obvious to me.

Aside from the K9 ear problem, there’s a scene early in today’s episode where the Doctor tricks the two Gundan robots into taking their axes to each other, and solving his problem of trying to avoid them. It’s quite a fun moment in the story, and a very ‘Doctor’ solution to the troubles, but it’s somewhat let down by the fact that one of the robots drops their axe... with a sharp point of it landing square in the Doctor’s back! If he’s lucky, it wouldn’t do any major damage to him, but it’d leave a rather nasty scar if nothing else! I can only assume that they were too pressed for time to take another shot, because this seems like a fairly obvious flaw.

I’ve been very negative today about Warrior’s Gate, but there are some things in here that I’m enjoying. The duo of crew members aboard the space ship (the ones who remain behind when the others go out hunting for this gateway) are raising lots of smiles, be it from their dry reactions to everything else happening, or during their attempts to wake a hibernation Tharril here. I think they’re probably my favourite bit of the story so far. There’s also the scene where Romana first steps out of the TARDIS and takes great delight at really confusing everyone around her - that caused a few laughs, too. On the whole, though, I’m just not sure that I get this story...

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