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06 May 2015 @ 08:51 pm
The Randomise: The Rescue  
The Rescue is, sadly, a little underwhelming as a story. It is the very first time a new companion is introduced in Doctor Who, or, at least, a new one who is replacing a previous companion. I think it has vague pretensions to be a psychological examination of loneliness and humanity under pressure but, at only two episodes long, and constrained by the convention of the format it mostly amounts to not very much.

The premise is that a spaceship has crashed on the planet Dido. Its crew have all been massacred by the locals apart from the crippled Bennett and the teenage Vicki. They appear to have been saved by the native Koquillian for obliquely nefarious purposes that they fear but are never spelled out. Into this situation stumble the TARDIS crew.

So far, so good. There is a lot of promise in the basic set up and, at this distance, a certain nostalgia value in, for instance the very sixties aesthetic of the crashed space ship:

Now that's a proper crashed spaceship!!

But ultimately the story consists of a lot of wandering/blundering around and is more or less resolved by a confession and brief scuffle. There are some nice moments, particularly in the relationship between the Doctor, grieving over the departure of his granddaughter and Vicki. It is easy, these days, to think of the Doctor as socially awkward and brusque and many modern doctors have suggested that parts of this characterisation hark back to Hartnell. But although Hartnell's Doctor could, indeed, be brusque on occasion, here he is much better equipped to make a connection to Vicki, to win her trust and calm her anxieties, than either Ian or Barbara.

At two episodes long, it is difficult to dislike this story since it comes and goes relatively swiftly and there is some fun stuff there. But it does feel a little as though it can't quite make up its mind between whether it wants to delve into the psyche of survivors or just wants to present a fairly straightforward runaround involving tunnels and lost temples. At the end of the day the most interesting thing about it is the relationship between the Doctor and his companions.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/154959.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on May 7th, 2015 07:42 pm (UTC)
Aw, I like The Rescue, but then I like almost all Hartnell (I can't stand The Celestial Toymaker and I sort of tolerate The Chase). You are right that it isn't particularly substantial, but I like the cute sixties-ness of it all, summed up by That Rocket. I like the atmosphere too - black and white Who seemed to have an eerie atmosphere that was lost in colour. It probably helps I like the early TARDIS crews, because the focus, as you say, is very much on them here.

I don't think the first Doctor is socially awkward either. At times, he seems very adept at schmoozing authority figures and getting his own way.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 9th, 2015 10:14 am (UTC)
I think lighting is very critical to atmosphere. Its something 1980s Doctor Who never really managed to get the hang of for some reason. A lot of black and white TV looks very atmospheric and I suspect its a side effect of the way they had to light sets - contrasted to some modern attempts to do Black and White work I've seen where they don't seem to get the lighting quite right for the atmosphere they are aiming for.

I think the "difficult curmudgeonly 1st Doctor" is something a fan myth, generated by Hartnell's off-screen reputation and certain prejudices about old age. He can be pretty out-spoken but he always knows what he's about when he's doing that.