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21 April 2013

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

Day 111: Priest of Death (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, Episode Three)

Dear diary,

Well… I hope that the Abbot isn't the Doctor in disguise, because if he is then the history of Doctor Who must have flowed very differently to the way I've always understood it, with Hartnell's Doctor killed here and his corpse left out on the streets of Paris.

Yes, this subplot is still the thing that's interesting me the most about this story, and I'm a little sad to see the back of it here in Episode Three, meaning that I'll need to find something new to latch onto for the final part of the tale. Throughout this episode, the entire storyline is expertly woven into the tale - you only need to look at the moment the Abbot's death is announced to see that.

Steven has just assured us again that the Abbot really is the Doctor in disguise, and announces that he's 'certain' of that fact now that he's seen the man up close… at which point we're told that he's been murdered outside his home. Steven is horrified (and Peter Purves turns in a great performance - he really is very good when he's having to portray anger), and rushes out to see for himself.

It's another one of those times that I extol the virtue of experiencing these missing episodes in the form of the narrated soundtracks - because the sight of this man laying dead on the street with the face of the Doctor was far more striking in my mind that it would have been on screen. Just to compare, I did stick on the last few minutes of the Loose Cannon recon when I got home (I've been listening to today's episode on a walk around the supermarket. The death of the Abbot was announced just as I picked up some lamb for tea. Lovely.), and while it's perfectly good enough, it really did very little for me.

What's also interesting in this episode is Steven's faith in the Doctor. Early on, while trying to convince Anne to go back to the Abbot's home, he tells her that if the Abbot is the Doctor, then she has nothing to fear - the Doctor will make sure that no harm will come to her. It's interesting when you consider that his two most recent additions to the TARDIS (Katarina and Sara, and if you want to be really picky, then Brett, too) have both met their demise while under the Doctor's care. I've never been more convinced that Anne is destined for death.

Otherwise… I'm afraid I have to admit that I'm still just not into this story. I'm sorry. I'm trying, really I am, but I'm just not connecting with it. I've been so looking forward to Lucarotti's return to the TARDIS, but whereas his previous tales were painted on a broad canvas that was easy enough to follow, I just feel like I'm losing track of who's who and which side they're fighting on. And have France now gone to war with Spain or not? Yesterday I thought they had, but today they seem to not be…

Next Episode: Bell of Doom

Next Episode: Bell of Doom 
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