Episode 38: The Abominable Snowmen
Companions: Jamie, Victoria
Written by Gerald Blake
Directed by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln
High in the Tibetan Himalayas, the Doctor discovers creatures who threaten a monastery.
First of all, I’m mad that this episode has missing pieces. I want more images and gifs of these things:
Can we have more fluffy monsters in Doctor Who? And if not, why not? I need answers showrunners!
The TARDIS lands in the Himalayas, specifically in Tibet. The Doctor is excited to return a bell back to a monastery. But as he leaves the TARDIS, the Doctor notices strange footprints and asks Jamie and Victoria to remain in the TARDIS. Naturally, his companions follow his instructions to the letter.
Before the Doctor’s arrival, Professor Edward Travers, who is looking for proof that yetis exist, discovers that his companion was killed by a strange creature. When the Doctor enters the monastery, he is shocked to find himself accused of killing Professor Travers companion. Meanwhile, Jamie and Victoria are searching for the Doctor when they come across an unstoppable “great, hairy beastie” with enormous strength.
When the companions and the Doctor are reunited, they are thrust upon the mystery of what exactly are these “great, hairy beasties”. What is the connection between their attacks and with the monastery’s spiritual leader? And what exactly are those magical balls?
Overall, it was an entertaining episode when I listened to the audio version. The characters were engaging. The action was exciting to the point to where I found myself shouting at the characters to be careful when they faced a yeti attack. Jamie continues to be one of my favorite companions and Victoria continues to be a great asset to the Doctor team. The cliffhangers after each part were suspenseful and the costumes are blast to behold once I had a chance to look at the surviving piece of the episode.
There was one issue I had with this episode. Again, the characters, specifically the supporting cast, were engaging when I listened to the audio edition. The problem was when I watched the only surviving piece of the episode. Many of the supporting actors were white actors playing Tibetan characters. I know that this was a norm for the times but this is one of those times in which the act of tanning an actor to look like a person of color doesn’t age well. The acting was still good but the representation wasn’t the best.
Again, I know that I’m writing this fifty years since its release and that this is a great example of time and age but these were things that popped out at me and lingered long after I finished the episode.
As I’m reading about this episode I was delighted to discover that this won’t be the last time we see the Yeti in Doctor Who. I’m excited for the opportunity to see more of them in the future.