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

Day 189: The Ice Warriors, Episode Three

Dear diary,

There’s something quite nice about how ruthless these Ice Warriors seem to be. Creating a trap for the base personnel, we’re told that if they come looking for Victoria, the Ice Warriors can destroy them. If they don’t come looking for her, then they can deduce that there aren’t enough humans to pose a resistance to their plans.

Only… what is their plan? I think I’ve missed something here. Ice Warrior A (I love their voices, but it’s almost impossible to pick out individual names with the quality of the soundtrack on this recon) is found frozen in the glacier, having been trapped there since the last ice age. He resolves to find and thaw out the rest of his kind, as their ship crashed there. He kidnaps Victoria and forces her to show him how he was revived.

They then take the technology, locate his comrades, and wakes them up… so that they can build a trap for the humans. I think I must have missed a line of dialogue somewhere, where we find out what this lot have against us.

And yet, it doesn't really matter. Much as I'm not entirely sure what's actually going on, and as much as the two missing instalments have dented my early enthusiasm for the story, I'm still enjoying it. I think it's fair to say that this is the first time that I've really appreciated just how much animating the missing parts of the story will be of a benefit to the tale - hopefully they'll help bridge this period of the story better than the recon has.

Yes, I'm sorry to say that today still hasn't endeared me to the ides of the recon. To begin with, I tried to listen to it as though it were just a soundtrack (I placed the macbook nearby while I did the washing up, so I could sort of see the story playing out of the corner of my eye, but I was really just listening to it), the problem with this, though, is that without the linking narration, half the time I just didn't have a clue what was happening when the dialogue wasn't around to fill the void. In the end, I resorted to actually watching it again, but by then I'd already given up a bit.

It seems to be that - as ever - it's Patrick Troughton that's carrying me through this one. As usual, he's been given plenty of great dialogue to speak ('He's a scientist and a bit inclined to have his head in the cloud. You know the type…' he says of Penley. 'I certainly do!' comes the reply from our favourite time-travelling Scot). There's another moment when the Doctor makes a big deal out of the importance of being passed a pencil, which left me grinning like a loon.

It's not just confined to the Doctor, either. I don't know if it's just me, but it really does seem over the last few series, there's been a real increase in how much of the dialogue I'm jotting down in my notes. Highlights from today include a discussion of humanity and its reliance on machinery ('Robotised Human. Fully extinct.') and the description that Clent doesn't need personnel - he needs a mirror.

Still, I'm glad to be moving back into actual moving episodes again tomorrow. I think doing these two episodes as reckons may have hindered my enjoyment somewhat, so I'm hoping Episodes Four through Six can really revive the promise that the first did. If nothing else, I'm keen to re-watch this story at some point in the future with the animated episodes - so it must be doing something right…

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