The Caves of Androzani part 3

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  • #16842
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Peri is recaptured by Chellak while the Doctor is caught by Stotz who decides to take him back to Androzani Major to see Morgus directly. Morgus’ Machiavellian actions reach new heights, or should that be fall to new lows.

    #16855
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Good/Bad old Morgus. After offing the President, the order of business is:

    1. Could have been worse. Could have been me.
    2. Can we have the elevator maintenance man shot?

    The recapture of Peri seems really convenient as a short cut, but I’m willing to forgive it as Jek turns up the creepiness to 11. “I am mad…do you fear me?”

    The end of this with Five cheerfully addressing “Stotzie” and apparently willing to crash down back to Andrazani Minor was really exciting at the time, and still seems thrilling to my older eyes. It all seems getting desperate with the stakes being raised for episode 4.

    Shame about the extended shots of the magma beast at the start, but at least they are out of the way quickly.

    #16857
    stevethewhistle @steve-thorp

    The black, satyrical humour is more to the fore in this episode, with its pantomimic villains and monster, is more to the fore in this episode and, no doubt, the little kiddies will really enjoy the President falling to his death down the lift shaft.

    Glorious overacting is in abundance in this episode, and I find that it is reminiscent of mumming plays.  This may be where the design of the monster comes from (as in Snap The Dragon). This programme was written at a time when the interest in British traditional customs was strong.

    At this point of the plot, the stage design has become more stylised and, personally, I think that Doctor Who often works better when it is like this, not trying to be realistic, and with a  Pythonesque/Douglas Adams sense of humour.  I reckon that this and the story, “The Happiness Patrol” (with the Kandiman) are  excellent examples of this kind of story.

    The complicated interconnectedness between the protagonists and the antagonists are becoming apparent, and there may be more to come in the final episode, as the wheels of the mill keep on grinding and mixing the story strands even more intimately, and I am anticipating more delights in the final episode (unless they were forced to make too many edits!).

    BTW I have only recently realised that “Spectrox” is based on “spice” from Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. I have to admit that I have not read the novel, but I think that I may have seen the film on the telly a long time ago. (I had to check on Wiki.)

    My Final Questions:

    Will Spectrox prevent the President from meeting his death at the bottom of the lift shaft?

    Has Perry been cured of Spectrox Toxemia.

    Are there any other disguised androids around? (Morgus’s secretary seems a good candidate.)

    Anyway, all the best,

    Steve The Whistle

     

     

     

    #16859
    stevethewhistle @steve-thorp

    BTW

    Sorry for the duplication in the first paragraph in my last post.

    and

    “monster”  should be  “magma monster”

    #16873
    Anonymous @

    I’m loving the excellent cliffhangers of the parts of this story – facing a firing squad, magma monster advancing, and now a crashing space ship.  Knowing that these were aired two per week, I feel sorry for anyone who was watching the original broadcasts.  How much more satisfying to have to wait a whole week to see what happens, and have a whole week to wonder how people get out of their predicaments and posit what happens next.

    I’m truly starting to understand the genesis of bonkers theorising ™ in so many of our best commenters here.

    The look and feel of this adventure is so very different not only to the two prior BG episodes we’ve been screening, but also to AG Who.  Perhaps it’s the lighting, but the interiors don’t look as harsh as I remember 80s sci-fi in general looking.  It’s all a bit more soft-looking here which is much more pleasant to view.  There were also the wonderful camera angles in the 2nd part with one soldier standing over a prone Stotz, switching back and forth between Stotz’s viewpoint, through the standing one’s legs, and down at Stotz.  I kept thinking of how many takes those shots must have required, but again, the result was unlike so much else in Who.  (If it were a Doc 10 or 11 adventure, that whole sequence would have been so dizzyling fast [and probably done solely for comic relief] that the viewer wouldn’t have had time to hear the dialogue, nor appreciate the danger of the situation.)

    Biggest on the plus side, of course, is the thinly-veiled political agenda of the script.  It could have been so much more overt and clunky; instead, the characters are whole and complete inside their world, acting to clear personal motivations rather than acting as Signposts For What’s Happening In Britain Today.   There’s even the idiosyncratic salutations of Trau and Krau (sp?) for Mr and Mrs/Ms.  And I did love Stotz taking all the credit for ‘negotiating’ with Jek the higher payment for the next delivery.

    I agree with stevethewhistle that Morgus’s secretary could very well be an android.

    On the minus side, of course, is the character of Peri.  All that trembly-lipped fear and passivity and being drugged and being useful only for her beauty.  Bleeuurrgh.  I feel sorry for Nicola Bryant, having to endure all that.  What were the production team thinking?  After the high point of Leela (action-orientated, provides plenty of comedy moments in her reactions, uses her brain as well as her instincts), this was the only other type of female companion they could devise?  Peri’s had only one useful moment, that of likening spectox toxicity to snake venom due to her biologist background, in three whole parts so far.

    #16887
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Ah, the early Eighties. Throughout this episode it was becoming really, really obvious that there are only two women in the cast and one of them is there to play ‘victim’ and be rescued by the hero. Leela would probably have nutted Jex by now.

    What Peri should have done, of course, is to have grown and developed throughout her time with the Doctor, so that we could all say ‘ah, this is early Peri’. Unfortunately, she got the Sixth Doctor. 🙁

    I agree about the kids enjoying President meets liftshaft – by and large, part of Doctor Who’s enduring appeal is the various gruesome (but strangely bloodless) deaths. Which is why Moffat has his reputation as an ‘everybody lives!’ scriptwriter; his death rate is a lot lower. Unless you’re a Companion; Moffat Companions should make sure their funeral insurance is kept up to date and that they’ve made a will.

    If you’re Rory or Clara, this could be an especially expensive business.  🙂

    This third episode fairly zipped along – even the traditional ‘escape, get recaptured’ padding had a nice variation with Peri and the Doctor getting recaptured in a different order and getting different fates. I agree with @phaseshift – when I watched this at the time, it was all incredibly exciting – and still has a lot of tension now, when I know the ending.

    #16890
    Anonymous @

    Not much to add here except that I thought the cliffhanger was possibly the best of the old series at the time and still has a punch to it now. Definitely one of Davison’s finest moments. It’s always struck me that, after Hartnell, it’s the fifth Doctor who has the best moments of morally indignant speechifying.

    I’ve very much enjoyed rewatching this one but I still can’t see anything in it that merits its such high placing in the story rankings. Although I’d say this was definitely Old Who’s last great story. It was essentially downhill from here on in, with the glimmerings of a renaissance just at the tail end of Sylvester’s run…

    I thought Stott was great in this episode. Another Holmes trope — the second-string villain who you end up actually quite liking in spite of yourself…

    #16891
    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish – picking up from your previous comment, what do you suggest (after next week’s Part 4 of CoA) for the next BG Who viewing?  Something from ‘the tail end of Sylvester’s run’?  Or should we view and dissect another Doctor (depending upon availability of course)?  Another Holmes story?  Another Victorian-era set story?  Or something else to link to what we’ve featured so far?

    #16894
    chickenelly @chickenelly

    This was a good episode (with overtones of Phantom of the Opera), but agree with the lack of any role for Peri other than a sci-fi Penelope Pitstop.

    Penelope Pitstop

    However, maybe I’ve been too influenced by the AG episodes but Davison’s Doctor hasn’t actually done much ‘Doctor-ing’ yet. He too keeps getting captured and tied up in various places.

    @Shazzbot I’m up for a Pertwee or Troughton episode just to mix it up.

    #16895
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @Shazzbot I think we’re veering towards Terror of the Autons, which is a Third Doctor story (so we get to meet him) but more importantly features the Autons, who were in the very first AG story “Rose” (and Rory was also an Auton – “trust the plastic” – for a while) and even, even, even more importantly it is the first ever episode featuring The Master, played by Roger Delgado. We may have to strap @phaseshift down.

    Sound good?

    #16896
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

     I still can’t see anything in it that merits its such high placing in the story rankings.

    @jimthefish – I said over on the Faces of The Doctor thread that Caves, for me, was the story when Peter Davison finally ‘got’ who his Doctor was.

    So it would deserve its rating – for me – because this is the ‘nothing in his incarnation became him like the leaving of it’ story. It’s well acted, it’s well directed, it’s well written: and it shows Davison’s Doctor at his finest. What’s not to love?

    Okay, apart from the Magna Monster, which is really, really terrible, unbelievably slow and only seems to eat people because of some strange ability to freeze its victims with sheer terror.

    But even AG Who has that problem: the special effects for both the Dalekised humans and the spoonheads took so long that Amy, Clara and Miss Kizlet could have been out of their chairs/office and halfway down the stairs by the time something finally happened. 

    #16897
    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip — I do see what you mean and episode four next week is one of the finest episodes of BG Who in my opinion (marred only by Colin Baker showing up in the last few minutes). And the whole story is indeed well-acted, directed and written and, as I say, BG Who’s probable last great moment of greatness.

    Interesting too about it being the story where Davison finally ‘got’ his Doctor. Personally, I think Davison is doing himself a disservice here and that he got a handle on his Doctor pretty quickly. As a Doctor, he was served with more than his share of middling to awful stories and he always managed to make them watchable (something, sadly, his replacement failed to manage.)

    Personally, I think the fifth Doctor’s best story in terms of his character shining through might be Frontios (which is a cak story, with bad monsters and some dodgy cliffhangers). But having said that, he does get the best departure of any Doctor BG or AG…

    #16898
    Anonymous @

    @craig“Sound good?”

    What, ‘strap @phaseshift down’? **

    Or, feature on your site an adventure with Pertwee?

    ** ooh, err, Miss!

    😆

    #16899
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @craig @shazzbot

    Who told you being strapped in was one of my hobbies!?

    As for Terror of the Autons, as well as the Third Doctor, Autons and ROGER DELGADO, you also have the delights of seeing the Brig in his prime, and if you’ve seen the Sarah Jane Death of the Doctor episodes, you get to meet Jo Grant(well before she was “baked” as the Eleventh Doctor sensitively put it).

    That’s one neat, sweet package of Who history, right there.

    #16900
    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift

    Who told you being strapped in was one of my hobbies!?

    Erm, it’s scratched on the walls of all the ladies’ toilets in Yorkshire.  I’ve tried various methods of rubbing it out ** but to no avail. ***

    ** ooh, err, Miss again!

    *** By my own Topic Dalek rules, we’ve just moved to the Rose & Crown.

    🙂

    I do agree, this sounds like a cracker for our BG retrospective … but I do want to see the 4th part of this story before getting too far into **** another Doctor.

    **** ‘nice, sweet package‘?  [oh, yeah, well, {tired sigh}] (obligatory ‘Ooh, err, … oh, go hang it all.)  😀

    #16901
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @Shazzbot @phaseshift

    I’ve just remembered Terror of the Autons is another Robert Holmes story.

    Honestly everyone, he wasn’t the only writer of Doctor Who, but it just goes to show, by our choices, that he was one of the best.

    #16902
    Anonymous @

    … and Thanks to @craig for pulling us back from the brink of smuttiness!

    Yes, not only do we get another Doctor in our BG retrospective, we get another Robert Holmes story.  Well chosen, Maestro.

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