Episode 33: The Moonbase
Companions: Polly, Ben, Jamie
Written by Kit Pedler
Directed by Morris Barry
The Doctor encounters a threat from his past; a threat that forced his first regeneration.
After a rough landing, the Doctor and his three companions discover that they have landed on the Moon in the year 2070. As they explore the planet, they come across a Moonbase where the Earth’s weather is now being controlled. Jamie is injured so the Doctor, Ben, and Polly seek entrance to the Moonbase to take of their injured companion. (Jamie’s injury was created to help with his unexpected role of series regular. Jamie would later take some of Ben’s lines in later installments)
The Moonbase crew is dealing with a strange disease which causes the base to be quarantined. Those affected with the disease display their symptoms with an inky-substance under their skin; the first affected speak of a silver hand. As more crew-members are affected with this strange disease, the Doctor and his companions come to the realization that this disease might hide a darker, evil threat that the Doctor hoped to never see again.
Oh this episode was stellar. Everything about it worked. The acting, the direction, the set design; all of it was fantastic. Unlike, the previous episode in which the missing footage was replaced with just audio and photo stills, the missing footage here was animated and was a great improvement to the photo still method. There was news last week that The Power of the Daleks would be released in the near-future as a fully animated production. I can’t wait and I’ll be editing my original review afterwards.
Admittedly, there are silly moments in the episode. The hole in the Moonbase is fixed by a food tray? But it works for the story and the tension was wonderful. I wasn’t distracted by my phone or laptop while watching this program, which means it was fun. The Cybermen, a villain I genuinely enjoy, were creepy and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have seen them for the first time, without any knowledge that they were the creatures behind the disease. That reveal at the end of the first installment was chilling as well as the cliffhanger at the end of the third installment.
And can we discuss the guest characters? They made sense in the context of the story. The Moonbase is managed by a man named Hobson, played by Patrick Barr. Normally, the manager of a doomed or failed mission is played as a bumbling fool, someone who doesn’t listen. While Hobson may have his faults, he’s a smart character. He’s there to protect the Earth but will look out for his crew in the fiercest way possible. Hobson plays off the Doctor incredibly well, which makes sense since the making-of documentary discusses Barr and Troughton’s friendship.
Overall impression? Great episode and a lot of fun. Worth the time and effort to seek out and watch.