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Aug 10

Time Reconsidered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Who Eps: #5 THE TWO DOCTORS

FT1 comment • 368 views

or “fruit-soft flesh peeling from white BONES

… being a show-by-show TARDIS-esque (ie in effect random) exploration of Doctor Who Soup to Nuts, begun at LJ’s diggerdydum community and from now on also crossposted at FT.

So to follow a beloved early-doors gamechanging story, loveFILM now send me a much-reviled maximum-decadence shark-jumping fattcolin story: viz 1985’s THE TWO DOCTORS, feat. DWs 2&5, plus Jamie and Peri. This was the longest story I rewatched in this exercise so far: 3 x 45 min eps. OOF.

i: ok for a start fvck the feckin sontarans they are ONE-NOTE CLONEBOREs x A BILLION.
ii: I am emphatically *not* a fattcolin-h8a; I think the idea of his reading is potentially pretty jabbily intriguing, the problem being that, um, no one writing the stories seems to have been much bothered by same. Viz here: compare-contrast the Cosmic H’s judgments of the workability of the Hooky non timelord Tardis vs FC’s. They respond completely differently; also, note how the CH is happily nay eagerly an MASSIVE TIMELORD SNITCH willing to DOB IN the rogue time chimera scientists (this distresses me given he is my fondest-recalled regen, but is it actually unjust? I have no prob with the idea that FC is committedly rogue, plus self-absorbed, vain, massively egocentric, sporadically charming ect ect)
iii: This story is full of fascinatingly strange stuff that’s just kind of freelunch THERE; plus whole reaches which are thuddingly tell w/o being show. Of the second, mainly note two — the failure of FC&P to convince us that the spacestation was ever a hive of science, or is now actually dangerous to them (P shouts&pouts a lot, that’s she’s cold or hot or whatever, but no sense of threat is achieved); and (more seriously) the failure to establish that the androgum are ANYTHING LIKE like the way people talk abt em (cf vii), Of the first: (a) why SEVILLE and its fabbish dry and empty outregions? (b) haha yes, the deliriously awesome scene with androgummed&redbrowed CH and Shockeye of the Quawncing Grig GO UP-TOWN FANCY DINING, like a cross between Waiting for Godot and Cannibal Holocaust…
iv: vs
viz Shockeye (1985) versus Baron Harkonen (1984)…
v: things that work — while the tension is lacking when FC&P are on chimera, the cross-cutting between them there and the others in rural spain (complete with flamenco guitar) brings on a fairly effectively wtf atmosphere; on the whole, given its flaws, this story actually uses its TIME and STRUCTURE quite well (note to nu-who: maybe 45 mins is a better timelength than 60 mins?); given that DW5 enjoys being creepy abt the gore and yuck of the corpse-strewn spacestation (“fruit-soft flesh”), when he’s later telepathically affected by DW2’s genetic makeover, and starts wanting to snack on kittens, the companions think “bah! typical!” instead of “uh oh” (this is not made enough of, really)
vi: mere random ugliness: the androgum are coded genetically cannibal, and required to behave as such — which means non-soldiers being introduced in order to be nastily slain (dona arana; 1 x random helpful spanish lorrydriver; fey resting actor oscar… ) (is there a semi-obscured anti-meat agenda in this story: scorcheye explicitly argues that the humang way with meat cuisine brings us “up” to the level of Androgums) (anag: gourmand)
vii: ultimately, i think the sour taste here isn’t eg the sideswipe slayage of the undeserving so much as the problem of hardwiring whole races as evil, barbaric, underdeveloped and (sourness ahoy) unredeemable: it isn’t just that Dastari’s project to upgrade Servalanesque hottie Chessene of the Franzine Grig fails; that could outplay as very effective tragedy; it’s that (non-asshole regen) CH gets to opine quasi-racist nonsense like “if you give a monkey total control of its environment it will fill the world with bananas!”, and to be lamely right — obv yes, the story is WRITTEN so that this is the case, but this removes nearly all moral tension… (Would it be better if one doctor was wrong abt this and one right?) (longer view: it makes um neocon vigilantes of the doctors, willing to exterminate villainous quasi-civilisations, waging bandit-style war, when the Timelords priggishly stay their hands…) (FC’s banditry feels less of a fall and a flaw and a fail to me than CH’s; but this is my small DDD sentimentality mainly…)

So er yes, and yuk. See there’s enough just in (vii) that could be really (ambitiously) strong that the laziness is just maddening and saddening. And the video-nastiness is clearly not to everyone’s taste and perhaps not ideal for 7-yr-old eyes? Not quite as, well, unredeemable, as prior discussion suggested; the Augmented Androgum are actually full of possibility. Have they ever been back?

Comments

  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Part six of my attempt to trace a literary antecedent for every Doctor Who story;

    http://drunkennessofthingsbeingvarious.blogspot.com/2011/03/doctor-who-reading-list-part-6.html

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