The Awakening part 2

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    Craig @craig

    It all gets even more Wicker Man in this one! The Doctor opens the crack in the wall to reveal a huge face. Is it the face of the Devil?

    Turlough is captured and is imprisoned with Tegan’s Grandfather who has discovered the evil of The Malus.

    It is Sir George who has caused it to awaken. Can the Doctor stop him and save Tegan?

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Well, another cracker of a story!

    What began last week with an air of “Sapphire and Steel”, progressed through a nod to “The Wicker Man”, and ended with more than a hint of “Quatermass and the Pit”.

    Of course, that is one of the pleasures of these stories. They are not mere rip-offs of earlier shows or authors, but are consciously drawing on traditions of English story-telling in a celebratory way. That was as true of “Black Orchid” as it was of “The Awakening”. That is one of the reasons that made this pairing of stories such a good combination.

    I must say I thought the manifestation of the Malice that was growing at the top of the wall in the Tardis was particularly creepy! And, of course, running in tunnels. Where would Doctor Who be without it?

    However, something that was increasingly true of the JNT years, was the unfortunate way that the Tardis was demystified to such an extent that half the village could be inside it at the end, and no-one even pauses to comment on where they are.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Well, another cracker of a story!

    I think I’ll echo that. The two parters in this season seemed a deliberate attempt to look at the format and play with it. Black Orchid isn’t perfect – it has a slow first part and a second part which escalated rapidly to its detriment, perhaps. The Awakening is full on. It’s pretty easy to see this remounted in the modern age and working as a season episode.

    Putting aside my comments last week about blocky video effects, this is just brilliant production wise. The Malus is a fantastic construct feeding upon our hates and desires. In our references last week, add Quatermass and the Pit to Sapphire and Steel. I like the fact (and I think Satan Pit in the AG show echoed this) that the “big bad” is mute. The look and feel of this just conveys pure malevolence, a triumph of design. I look at the translucent Mini-Malus in the Tardis, and it’s spooky enough. Why the hell put that crass block video effect on top of it?

    Davison is great in this. It’s a minor crime the writing of this time, because he never seemed to have a really good support cast. Tegan is about the best of them, but it’s still a revelation to see a story when he gets one companion (his last, Caves of Androzani). When watching this, was it just me who thought that Polly James Jane was more preferable as a companion? Apparently some consideration was made by JNT to making Will a companion, so let’s be thankful for small mercies.

    And – surely the epoch for a Davison episode “BRAVE HEART, TEGAN!”.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    was it just me who thought that Polly James Jane was more preferable as a companion?

    I was actually reminded a lot of the interaction between Matt Smith’s Doctor and Meera Sayal’s Nasreen in the Silurian two-parter. Yes, Polly James was excellent in this, and it does raise a point about who is, and who is not, allowed to be a female companion on the show. Both Polly James and Meera Sayal displayed great chemistry with the Doctor, and both could have been great companions. But unfortunately, the bias against middle-aged women and the bias in favour of young, pretty, female companions who need rescuing, is still as in evidence today as it was in JNT’s day. And this is ironic, since the very first female companion Barbara (I’m not counting the Doctor’s grand-daughter) was (to the target audience of 11 year olds) the personification of a strong, mature, woman. There were all sorts of ways in which Verity Lambert was pushing the envelope.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I’d agree that The Awakening could easily fit into AG Who. The Tennant Doctor and Donna, perhaps, visiting her Great Uncle in the countryside. Or something nasty in Leadworth.

    @blenkinsopthebrave – yes, the MiniMalus inside the TARDIS was particularly creepy. And, like @phaseshift, I don’t think they needed that video effect. Moving stone gargoyles are quite creepy enough.

    It’d probably be interesting to check how many times the young pretty AG companion has needed rescuing versus how often she’s done the rescuing. But while it’s true that the young and pretty have most often been the regular companion in AG Who, both RTD and Moffat have managed older women companions – Donna Noble for RTD, the semi-regular River Song for Moffat. Plus both have had older women as the Christmas Special companion (RTD also managed an older male companion).

    I think both of you have made pretty much the comments I’d make, so I’ll just add a word for That Horse (the one pulling the May Queen cart). That Horse plays a starring role in many a Doctor Who out-take compilation, together with his Special Appearances in BBC Safety Videos.

    Alas, I couldn’t find a clip on YouTube (he’s on the DVD), but he’s a proper star. First take he veers to one side for a quick snack off the verge, second take he decides to follow the entire cast through the lychgate, complete with cart.

    Fortunately the lychgate was a piece of BBC scenery, not something four hundred years old and listed. 😀

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    As others have mentioned ‘The Awakening’ seems to be Dr Who referencing itself with what seems a fairly ‘The Daemons’-like story.

    And (as has also been said) the mysterious psychic projections are very Sapphire & Steel-y.

    On DVD the film stuff looks lovely. Nice to see a bit of flaming torch waving action.

    So the TARDIS doors were left open, that’s something that happened all the time during the Davison era! (How the TARDIS never got stolen I’ll never know…)

    Later, Turlough isn’t afraid to join in whacking the villains with a large rock.

    The crossed-swords-beheading is totally Wicker Man… Chop!

    What be tea?

    Perhaps the Dr had this lot as his companions for a while. Why assume he got them home (and ‘in time’)?

    5 companions! Just imagine!

    Has the Malus every reappeared in the Whoniverse? The mystery of why the invasion was called off is very intriguing.

    Bring back the Malus!


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Just re-watched both episodes with Mrs Blenkinsop, and it struck me that Will Chandler was something of a lost soul, and I would not be surprised if he came to a sticky end. Then it stuck me that it would seem strangely appropriate if the Doctor took him back to 1643 and plopped him right into A Field in England. Somehow, that seems to have a certain narrative logic (if unfortunate) as an end for Will.

    And, of course, A Field in England was directed by Ben Wheatley, who is directing “Deep Breath” on August 23. So it all ties back to Doctor Who!

    @Wolfeed. Agreed. Would love to see the Malus again in a future story. And SM has said that he has probably finished with the Weeping Angels and is looking for a new monster. Seems tailor-made.

    Whisht @whisht

    I loved this serial. Great 2-parter!
    Definitely think the Malus could be explored in the future – that almost-gargoyle in the Tardis as it turned its head was very creepy!

    This is the first time I’ve seen Turlough – I have no memory of seeing him as a kid.
    As a companion he’s interesting in that he’s similar to the Doctor. When he’s with Tegan’s grandfather he’s resourceful and smart – I could easily hear the Doctor saying the same lines.

    Also was great to see the Doctor tearing through the plaster on the wall. If he wasn’t careful a lot more of the scenery might have come down! 🙂

    Arbutus @arbutus

    I’d forgotten how good this story is. Davison is at his quirky best here, as he continues to combine youthful enthusiasm for new things (no matter how dangerous) with a tolerance that few of his previous incarnations would have exhibited (“Doctor, you must stop it!” “Yes. I know.”). His reaction when Will kills Sir George while the Doctor is trying to save him, is calm to say the least. Ten was less patient with his own clone.  🙂

    I didn’t mind Tegan in this, and Turlough was less cowering and irritating than I remember him often being. I did like his method for figuring out whether there were guards: “Guards!!” I agree with @phaseshift that the Malus is all the better for being wordless, very dangerous and scary indeed.

    Anonymous @

    Bit late to this party but I’d say that this is my favourite of all Davison’s stories. The quintessential English setting really suits him and we benefit from the absence of Adric, although Stig of the Dump pushed it a bit. Polly James is great too — she would have been a great companion, a great replacement for Tegan. I think Davison would have worked best with a slightly older companion and part of me wishes that Liz Sladen had accepted JNT’s offer for her to return at this time – -although it maybe would have meant we wouldn’t have seen her glorious return in the new series.

    I find it very hard to believe that Eric Pringle had never seen The Daemons as the similarities are just a bit too striking to be merely coincidence. But that’s not a bad thing I don’t think. Also nice to see Glyn Houston back after his memorable turn in The Hand of Fear too. Oh, and the Malus is a great ‘monster’. I echo the desire to see it make a return in the show.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @jimthefish your post reminded me that I have yet to comment on this one too.

    I really enjoyed it much to my surprise. I had never seen the story before and it somewhat changed my estimation Davison’s tenure as the Doctor. Davison himself I still find to be likeable but bland. He lacks one quintessential Doctorish quality, eccentricity.

    The Malus is a good monster and definitely worthy of a return to Who however I don’t see it as having the narrative potential of an ongoing “baddie”. It would be a good replacement for the Angels, though, being so gargoyle like it almost is a mini angel.



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