4 February 2013

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

Day Thirty-Five: Kidnap (The Sensorites, Episode Five)

Dear diary,

It's strange, really. We're back to a situation where not much happens in this episode, and yet it's held my attention throughout. It looks like the third episode really was just a blip - The Sensorites isn't half bad.

There's quite a lot to love in this episode, too. I enjoyed the continuing schemes of the City Administrator, and the way he turns the death of the Second Elder to his advantage, trying to frame the Doctor was rather good work. As soon as the jacket defence came up, I thought it would be a case of drawing it out a bit to fill some time, so I was glad to see it dealt with immediately.

The whole situation with the jacket is something to praise, actually. In so many episodes (and this isn't something that Doctor Who is uniquely guilty of), our heroes go through all manner of things, and then return to the TARDIS looking as pristine as the moment they stepped out of it. It's quite odd to see the Doctor's jacket torn to shreds, but it's effective.

The only other story to use this to such a good effect is right back in An Unearthly Child - the regulars are all much worse for wear by the end.

It's nice, too, to see them making plans for the return of Jackie Hill in the next episode - I'd worried that she'd either just appear from nowhere, or that she wouldn't turn up until somewhere near the end, when the rest of the cast make it back up to the space ship. I wonder what she's been doing up there all this time?

Something I've been meaning to talk about for a few days (but keep forgetting!) is the TARDIS' role in the stories to this point. In every story (with the obvious exemption of The Edge of Destruction), the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan all have to be forcefully separated from the ship in some way - the story is usually about them trying to get back to the TARDIS.

In An Unearthly Child, they're banged up in the Cave of Skulls. In The Daleks, they can't leave until they get the fluid link back from the Dalek City. Marco Polo has the TARDIS physically taken away from them, and the same is true of The Keys of Marinus, when Arbitan puts it inside a force field until they do his bidding. The Aztecs sees the ship shut away inside the locked tomb, and here the Sensorites steal the lock.

I've mentioned (lots!) how the Doctor has changed over the last month or so, but it's interesting to note how the others have, too. Ian and Barbara are a part of the adventure, now, not just looking to get home (though they do still have that ambition). Susan gives the impression that she's always quite enjoyed the adventures.

The point is; following the Doctor's announcement yesterday that he wasn't content just curing a problem if he could stop it at the source, the idea of having to take the TARDIS away from him is growing less important. We're at a stage, now, where the crew will get involved in the adventures because they want to, not because they're forced to. That's going to be interesting to keep an eye on as we move forward…

Next Episode: A Desperate Venture

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