13 January 2013

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

Day Thirteen - The Brink of Disaster (The Edge of Destruction, Episode Two)

Dear diary,

It has to be said that after the last episode, this one looses its tension really rather quickly. Yesterday was all about building suspense, forcing us to wonder why all these strange things were happening, and led down roads that indicated there could be some entity aboard the ship hiding in the crew.

We even end on the cliffhanger of someone's hands closing around the Doctor's throat. It's all rather dark, and just a little bit off the wall, but today's 25 minutes just feel a bit like, well, filler.

Technically, the whole story is filler. Hastily assembled using the regular cast and minimal sets to bulk out the initial commission of thirteen episodes while the production team waited to discover their fate. But even so, yesterday we were given something really rather fantastic (an episode I'd never expected to rate so highly).

There's still a lot to like here, but most notably is the changes we see in the Doctor. I commented that Barabra's rant toward him yesterday is a real turning point for the character, and we see that in effect here. He's still the Doctor we've known for the most part so far to begin with, declaring that he'll put Ian and Barbara off the ship no matter where they are, but by the end he's a very different man.

It can be seen as he helps Barbara into her coat, and laughs with Ian - this is the kind of relationship I most closely associate with the opening of The Chase, quite some time later. By the end of this story, he's not talking of taking them home, and they're not asking about it. Simply; they've landed somewhere new, and they're off to explore it.

It's more than a bit of a shame that the whole plot boils down to the idea that there's a spring stuck in the TARDIS console, especially after we're teased with such great ideas in the first instalment. Still, it does its job, and sets us up nicely for the next adventure. I think that's the best way to think of this tale; it's a bridge between the 'old' version of the show and the version we'll be running with for a long time yet.

Today's entry has very much summed up my thoughts on the story as a whole, anyway, so I'll not be writing a separate piece to cover the two episodes together. Suffice to say that the story averages;

(Higher than I would have expected a fortnight ago!)

From tomorrow it's going to be a test as I venture into the recons for The Roof of the World.

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