The Mind Robber part 2

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  TheDentistOfDavros 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #26831
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Oh, another chance to see the TARDIS… (well, that would be telling), and to see Zoe’s… erm… tight catsuit! No brainer decision to repeat that again ‘for the dads’.

    This is a very dreamlike episode. Everything, including Jamie, is wrong. But there’s a name, and an observer. The Master!

    #26842
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    It is a very dreamlike episode – sort of ‘what, exactly, were they smoking in BBC Drama?’ First we’ve got Jamie turning into a cardboard cutout, then Zoe walking through a creaking door. A door with the sort of creak that would need quite a bit of work to produce, that later turns into a painted door on a brick wall.

    There’s some bloke from the early 18th Century, followed by a group of creepy kids who seem Victorian. And riddles. Lots and lots of riddles. Then Jamie changes from his cardboard cutout into a totally different actor…

    I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m guessing that this isn’t ‘the’ Master. He seems to be running the joint – but is there any reason he’s switching voices all the time?

    The whole effect is distinctly unsettling. Yes, it’s dreamlike – but the sort of dream you suspect is going to turn into a nightmare any second. Nothing is quite right, everything is a bit ‘off’, friends don’t wear their own faces and you can never get to where you want to go. The sort of dream where, if you suddenly realise that you are dreaming, your sleeping mind goes ‘oh, thank goodness’.

    And then there’s a painted unicorn. It seems more than a little annoyed. Are we going to discover whether Jamie or Zoe are virgins? Since this is a family show, I suspect they’ll find another way to avoid getting stabbed through the heart. 🙂

     

    #26845
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Every TV show should start with a revolving bottom.

    The sound of the Toy Soldiers is deeply disturbing.

    The Doctor doesn’t seem surprised to hear about ‘The Master’.

    Hang on! The companion has regenerated!!!

    #26850
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @wolfweed

    very TV show should start with a revolving bottom.

    It would certainly make “The News” more interesting. A bit like the revolving globe they used to have on the BBC.

    @bluesqueakpip

    It is a very dreamlike episode – sort of ‘what, exactly, were they smoking in BBC Drama?’

    Exactly 😀 It’s worth trying to put yourself in the Directors (David Moloney) shoes at this point. Just qualified, first credit as Director, completely re-written script at last minute, no money. Oh – and one of your leads suddenly comes down with Chicken-Pox. I don’t know about smoking, but at this point you’d be willing to bet there were industrial strength pharmaceuticals available to calm him down!

    What’s amazing it this really works. I like the air of mystery and slightly off-kilter approach as they explore their new environment. The air of someone playing games with the team, as we meet the unseen “Master”. I put his eerie chuckle at a solid 8 on the Phaseshift loon-o-meter. It’s reminiscent of Anthony Ainley as the Master in Logopolois. Can they be related?

    There’s something larger than life and exaggerated even with the sound effects. Terry Pratchett fans will recognise the reference as I say that this “Master” must employ one hell of an Igor to carefully treat the hinges to get that creaking effect on the door that Zoe opens.

    Of course – THE Master wasn’t a thing at that point, and I can’t help but think that viewers who remembered the Hartnell years at this point must have looked at the sets, the games and riddles and thought the Master might be the Celestial Toymaker. The idea of turning the loss of an actor into a game the Doctor gets wrong (and ends up avoiding direct questions on how it happened) is a touch of genius.

    Also great to see Bernard Horsfall as our mysterious sailor. An educated man, setting sail on 4th March 1699? Sounds familiar… although it’s a great point that the information is there to guess who he is, but they have the confidence not to come out and say it. Horsfall seemed to turn up a lot in Who in stories that Moloney went onto direct (War Games and Deadly Assassin come to mind).

    A world of words, and a horse with a bloody great horn on its head! This is great!

    #26862
    ConfusedPolarity @confusedpolarity

    It’s the first time I’ve seen The Mind Robber this way – the way it was supposed to be viewed, one short blast per week – and I have to say, I love it.

    Never mind the bagpipe warning that accompanied episode one: there should be a “Padbury Scream” warning; blimey, Wendy had a good pair of lungs as a girl! Never mind the bottom shot – it’s that piercing screech of Zoe’s that really lingers with me.

    Watching the episode I can’t help but be thankful it’s in black and white.  The forest is all shadows, which makes it really spooky, and the giant toy soldiers are all the more effective for not being the garish monstrosities I imagine Technicolor might have made them.  And that noise; I have to agree with @wolfweed – it’s genuinely alarming.

    It must have felt like a brave call to re-cast Jamie for a single episode when Frazer Hines went down with chickenpox but in the context of the story it works well; Hamish Wilson as Jamie-but-not-Jamie deserves almost as much credit as the writer and production team. In any other show – and many another story I expect – the character would have been just written out.

    The Master – hard to write it without all the later associations coming into play – is still a shadow; we know his voice, but his motives are about as clear as his face, and I love the endless succession of puzzles and riddles the Doctor has to face.  It’s Troughton at his best – part frustrated child, part razor-sharp genius.  He’s hilarious with the group of children; charming with the traveller; and fascinating as he puzzles out the picture writing.  He also gets one of my absolute favourite moments as he kneels beside the well.  “I wish (small, wry chuckle) I wish I believed in wishing wells!” I just love that moment.

    I don’t even mind the unevenly-powdered horse with the horn stuck to its head at the end.  There’s a real sense of panic and danger as the end credits cut in.  It’s awfully difficult to switch off the DVD and wait for next week, to be honest.

    That does prove a point though, for me at least.  Episodic stories, short, sharp snatches every Saturday night, can’t half work well when they’re this good.

     

    #26896
    Arbutus @arbutus

    Funny. I had no recollection of this serial at all, I honestly thought I hadn’t seen it before, until the moment when the Doctor realized that he had put Jamie’s face together wrong. That hit me like a thunderbolt. I remembered his horrified tone when he realized what he had done, and what was about to happen. I remember being absolutely freaked out by that moment, and then by Jamie-who-is-not-Jamie. A simple concept and a different actor, but so, so effective.

    Interesting how the Second Doctor could show fear so much more readily than most of his successors, and yet, it doesn’t take away from the sense of his authority. And an interesting juxtaposition of giddiness and brilliance. It makes me start thinking about the different ways that each Doctor demonstrates his “gifted” personality. The Second Doctor is definitely the precocious child genius.

    Agreed, @confusedpolarity, that was some monumental scream. I’d venture to say that it leaves later contenders (Mel, I’m looking at you) in the dust!

    #26932
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @confusedpolarity (and anyone else who has a view on this)

    It’s the first time I’ve seen The Mind Robber this way – the way it was supposed to be viewed, one short blast per week – and I have to say, I love it.

    I find this interesting, because when we did these last year I found I really enjoyed the episodes we covered, but above all I seemed to notice a lot more than when I “binge” on a complete story. At first I was convinced that it was the simple fact we were watching these episodes to write a comment/review, and it forced me, perhaps, into paying more attention.

    After the anniversary, I watched a fair few other stories (but more along the lines of an episode a night) and I noticed a similar effect without writing anything. The stories, stand out lines, etc. Seemed to take root far more readily than when binging. As I’ve never watched anything before T Baker in that way, I’ve found the difference startling.

    Has anyone else?

    #27052
    ScaryB @scaryb

    @confusedpolarity @phaseshift

    It is interesting about different viewing habits, especially when these episodes were designed to be viewed that way. So in some ways, the direction, scripting is slower, but you can afford more time to let the big ideas perculate through (much as with Quatermass, which we were discussing a few weeks ago). You could also be fairly sure in those days, that no-one was going to jump on to prime time news to give away the key plot secrets. So you were free to let it seep in and speculate.

    Again, as a child watching Jamie morph into a different actor was really scary! How could he look different, and yet was still the same. How could the Doctor have got his face wrong?! The viewer could see he was doing it wrong.  Love how he keeps avoiding having to answer the direct question of how it happened, usually with that brilliantly sneaky, sideways look.

    Again and again with Dr Who, the creative team mange to come up with an imaginative answer to a pragmatic problem. As others commented above – another programme would simply have written him out for an episode, but Who goes an makes it a point that reveals character, changes the story, fires the imagination and ups the scare factor!

    @wolfweed

    Hang on! The companion has regenerated!!!

    Brilliant!

     

     

    #27076
    ScaryB @scaryb

    Further thoughts on different viewing experiences – the other thing to remember is that viewing on the small DailyMotion screen is probably closer to how it was intended than viewing HD full screen.

    #53018
    TheDentistOfDavros @thedentistofdavros

    Although episode 1 of this fantastic story (a possible contender for my favourite of all time?) is the more widely discussed and talked about I think this single episode is my favourite of all time! It’s in contention with part 3 of this story and any of the 6 episodes of Power of the Daleks.

    The thing I love about this episode and this story is the atmosphere, the mystery and the fantastic surrealism. To add to that I’ve got my favourite Doctor and favourite companion (Jamie) to watch, and both of them are on top form. The scene with the children is especially creepy and I find it just wonderful to watch all the different puzzles that the Doctor has to solve. The new Jamie should be disturbing but I find that he just sort of eases his way in to the role effortlessly and I don’t actually mind him, still rather Frazer of course!

    All in all I think this is a fantastic example of classic Doctor Who and a brilliant example of sixties TV, definitely give it a shot anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, it’ll be worth it!

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