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2 July 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 183: The Abominable Snowmen, Episode Three

Dear diary,

Somewhere in my mass of notes for The Tomb of the Cybermen, I made a remark that it was a slight twist on the base-under-siege format, as the 'heroes' and the 'villains' were both inside the base, and it was more about trying to stop them from getting to a certain part of the base, or using a certain type of equipment. When the first episode of this tale told us that the Yeti had been getting more aggressive and heading closer and closer to the monastery, I thought we were in for a more run-of-the-mill adventure, with the bad guys attacking the base.

So the presence here of the Yeti being controlled from within the monastery is a welcome surprise. As I said yesterday, I know who is behind it all, but not how he operates, and I didn't realise he was going to be actively inside the building. It does make me wonder quite why the Great Intelligence would be brining the Yeti closer and closer to the place he (or, at least, his mouthpiece) is hiding in, though…

I'm also trying to piece together the Great Intelligence's timeline. In The Snowmen (How did I not figure out the surprise appearance until well into the episode - given that title?), the Doctor comments that the Intelligence will learn to operate without a physical form. This was in the late Victorian period - thirty or forty years before this tale is set. I thought, what with the disembodied voice and all, that we'd be seeing just that: the Great Intelligence working without a body. Don't get me wrong, I didn't actually expect it to match up perfectly with a story made forty-odd years later, but I did think that these event would have been taken into account when writing that Christmas special.

As it is… I'm not completely sure. It feels like a massive step backwards for the Intelligence. Yes, the robot Yeti are quite impressive and the control spheres are pretty cool, but they're nowhere near as advanced as the sentient snow he'd been using decades ago. Is it just because he's weak? Equally, were told here that the Intelligence will finally be able to gain physical form, and end its wanderings in space… I know it could have been floating around the stars ever since the Doctor destroyed it's previous host body, but the wording here imp lies a long period of not having any kind of physical form.

These things would probably bother me less if I hadn't seen the Christmas episode so recently (well, last Christmas), and they're only minor niggles for now. I'm also very aware that I'm only half way through The Abominable Snowmen at this point, and things may tie up neater towards the end. Hopefully.

I'm not all about complaining today, though, because Victoria's being given plenty to do again! Hooray! She's been a bit of a yo-yo so far, flitting between simply being there to scream ('Jamiiiiieeeeee!') and being a good companion - for much of today's episode she's firmly in the latter camp. 'Aren't you a little bit curious?' she asks when trying to find her way to the inner sanctum, and she's later warned off being too inquisitive. When she finds out that the Doctor and Jamie have gone off to hunt a Yeti, she's really not pleased to be left behind. We're a far cry from the feeble prisoner of the Daleks we had a couple of stories ago, and I'm very pleased to see that she does have potential…

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