Episode 38: The Abominable Snowmen

 

Doctor_Who_and_the_Abominable_Snowmen

Episode 38: The Abominable Snowmen
Second Doctor
Companions: Jamie, Victoria
Written by Gerald Blake
Directed by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln
Wikipedia Entry

Description
High in the Tibetan Himalayas, the Doctor discovers creatures who threaten a monastery.

Evaluation
First of all, I’m mad that this episode has missing pieces. I want more images and gifs of these things:

Snowmen

I’m not even mad, bro.

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.

Jamie Vic TARDIS

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.

Jamie and Vic.jpg

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.

Yeti Set photos

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.

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Episode 37: The Tomb of the Cybermen

Tomb of the Cybermen

Episode 37: The Tomb of the Cybermen
Second Doctor
Companions: Jamie, Victoria
Written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis
Directed by Morris Barry
Wikipedia Entry

Description
Hidden beneath a mountain, Cybermen rest and await the time in which they awake.

Evaluation
When I finally went to watch this episode I made a horrifying discovery: my disc wouldn’t work. No matter what I did, nothing worked. And because I was dealing with an equally horrifyingly busy work schedule I didn’t have the opportunity to find another copy or try to fix the disc. Hence the three month lag. Luckily, I discovered BritBox which is a steaming services that is currently hosting the classic Doctor Who titles. It’s frustrating still because I do enjoy watching the special features and the streaming service does not offer this tidbits. Hopefully the rest of the discs that I own still work.

Before we begin, let me say this: I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this, and I’m completely certain that I will mention this again, but I love the Cybermen. I love them more that the Daleks. The Cybermen are tangible in that they can be formed just as easily in our own world than in the imagination of science fiction. We can remove our emotions and become mechanical if needed to simply survive. The Daleks are just as scary due to their desire to be all powerful beings, creating the master race. But we can fight the notion of the Daleks; separating our emotions is what creates monsters that are not easily defeated. I will always be excited for Cybermen stories and they generally have been my favorite episodes.

And with that let’s plunge into the story.

We begin with Victoria being introduced to the TARDIS, having tagged along after the destruction of her previous life in The Evil of the Daleks. I was initial concerned about Victoria. Would she be a damsel in distress? As she had a Victorian background would she up to the challenge of having adventures through time and space? As I only had the audio edition with her first adventure, I was unsure of what her physical presence would entail.  My fears were unfounded. Her character was fantastic and she was a lot of fun to watch. Victoria’s relationship with the Doctor was playful. She has enough confidence to question his actions but understood enough of his past behavior to trust his thinking. Their interactions were just the lighthearted moments needed between the episodes’ action scenes. She pairs well with Jamie, who continues to be a delight with this Doctor,  and I’m happy to have a functioning companion group once again.

deborah-watling-patrick-troughton-doctor-who-tomb-of-cybermen

As Victoria is finding her footing in this new adventure, the TARDIS lands on a planet called Telos. There’s a sequence before it lands in which we observe an archeological team exploring the planet, looking for an entrance in a mountain. They have just discovered this lost entry way, losing a team member in the process, when the Doctor and his companions arrive and begin to look around. As they enter the mountain, the Doctor is horrified to discover the truth of what the team seeks far down in the ground.

The archeological team is clearly in different sub-teams; one is focused on the archeological aspect of the adventure, the other is focused on personal reasons, quite possibly evil. As they enter the mountain, tensions are rising as each fraction’s focus begins to clash with each other. Of course, everything will be alright in the end and there will be no drama….

Jamie and Doctor

Small note: I have worked in some form of customer services for many years and the thing that will remain consistent in any form of customer service is that humans like to touch things. There’s always a part of me that wonders if our human curiosity can be controlled for a moment to assess a situation before we dive into adventure. But NOPE! Let’s push all the buttons on this Cyberman control panel! Nothing bad can happen if we PUSH ALL THE BUTTONS!

Cybermats

Okay, so great drama is created and I am treated to suspenseful cliffhangers. Each installment of this episode is wonderful. I felt engaged with the story and I was curious as to how the next installment would play out. The only issue that I had with the episode, and it’s a big one, was with the character Toberman. I was uncomfortable with the way that the only black character on screen was created to be a servant and was later sacrificed to save the team. Originally the character was to have been deaf, with his hearing aid being a means of connecting his character to the Cybermen. Hearing devices, or bluetooth ear pieces, and the Cybermen would come into play during the Tenth Doctor’s second series. It would have been interesting to see how that idea would have played out in this episode.

So far, except for my issues with Toberman’s character, this is my favorite Second Doctor episode. The suspense was fantastic and the characters were a lot of fun to watch. The threat of the Cybermen felt genuine and each episode ended with a great cliffhanger, even the last episode.

Historical Mentions
This was the first time a Cybermat and the Cyber Controller was featured in a story.

Episode 36: The Evil of the Daleks

doctor_who_the_evil_of_the_daleks

Episode 36: The Evil of the Daleks
Second Doctor
Companions: Jamie, Victoria
Written byDavid Whitaker
Directed by Derek Martinus
Wikipedia Entry

Description
The Doctor and Jamie are forced to play a game of life and death in the Victorian age.

Evaluation
This another audio that I listened to instead of reading the adaptation. At about 18 minutes into the audio presentation I became distracted as I heard this playing in the background:

I originally heard Hold Tight! in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. In the film, it is played right before a violent, dramatic sequence that still leaves me breathless every time I watch it. I had to re-listen to this part of the audio presentation because I found myself singing along to the song and not paying attention to the story.

After the Doctor and Jamie say goodbye to Ben and Polly, they watch as the TARDIS is loaded up and shipped to an unknown location. They are later kidnapped and sent back to the middle of the Victorian Era. The Daleks are behind this kidnapping and force Jamie to submit to an experiment in which “the human factor” will be discovered. This unknown quality is what the Daleks believe to be the reason why humans have been able to continually defeat the Daleks.

The episode is a typical Dalek story in which the silly tin pots underestimate the power of human kindness and ingenuity. It’s not to say that the story is boring but there were moments that I felt were predictable. Jamie is a character with a good heart and will always lead the cause for good. The Doctor is clever and has the charm to fool the Daleks once again. Humanity is great but there are still those who would sellout for fame and money, which leads to their own destruction. My biggest worry about this serial was the introduction of Victoria. I hope she doesn’t become just the damsel in distress for future episodes, though I have a feeling she will.

The Lost in Time DVD set does have the second part of the episode available for viewing.

Overall, it is a solid episode. The acting and writing were spot on. It is a bit slow but the end is fantastic and I wish that the last part had survived.