The Mind Robber part 3
19 April 2014 at 16:19 #26967Craig @craigEmperor
As ‘The Master’ watches, The Doctor can tell they are being set tests by a ‘fantastic mind’. The original Jamie is back thanks to Zoe’s disapproving looks at The Doctor’s ineptitude . There’s more creaky doors – and then we’re in a labyrinth. Oh dear!
You can discuss part 1 here: http://www.thedoctorwhoforum.com/forums/topic/the-mind-robber-part-1/19 April 2014 at 18:51 #26989ConfusedPolarity @confusedpolarity
Another terrifically atmospheric episode, what with all those creaking doors and cobwebs – even the smoke from the candles in the labyrinth shows up brilliantly. Limited budgets and basic technology be damned – this is a perfect example of what imagination, ingenuity and some committed acting performances can do.
There’s only one shot that doesn’t completely work – that one quick glimpse of the Minotaur proves why shadows and imagination can be scarier than what the eye actually sees! Medusa on the other hand works surprisingly well – or perhaps that’s just me. Snakes give me the heebie-jeebies, so those last moments of the episode…. yuk!
It’s good to have the proper Jamie back so early, and he gets a gem of a moment when the string runs out; the Doctor and Zoe both all wrapped up in their clever arithmetical discussions while he tries to make the fairly important point that their guarantee of finding their way back has just run out. I enjoyed his meeting with Rapunzel as well – very sweet!
I love the sound effects – from creaky doors to the ominous thump of an approaching toy soldier- and the fact that the Master, although we’re starting to understand more of his actions, still has no clear motive. Keeping the suspense up over several weeks is tricky – it doesn’t always work, whether in 1960s Doctor Who or modern murder mysteries, but I’m finding it effective here.
The Doctor’s mind is working at a million miles an hour throughout the episode; identifying the traveller, working out the nature of the tests they’re facing and trying to convince his companion when the evidence of her eyes overcomes Zoe’s logic. There’s that mix of calculation and confusion in Troughton’s Doctor – flapping his hands and almost tripping up over the face puzzle one moment one step ahead in anticipation o another test” the next.
I make no bones about it; he’s my favourite Doctor to date, even though he’d left the role before I was born. The Mind Robber is a pretty good demonstration of why!19 April 2014 at 22:10 #27006wolfweed @wolfweed
An early example of a David Maloney freeze-frame with the unicorn.
The princess’s castle is full of e-books!
Medusa is scary, like an inverse weeping angel…20 April 2014 at 17:39 #27044Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
@confusedpolarity – I agree, this is terrifically atmospheric. I’ve never seen this story before and I’m really enjoying it.
Yes, Troughton switches from hand flapping confusion to utter confidence in a moment – you can tell he’s thinking things through, and it’s spotting Lemuel Gulliver’s dialogue that tells him what’s going on. There’s a nice bit of meta by the writer, as well. The fictional trio of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe wander into a land of Fiction. To discover that they’re part of a story. Which, of course, they are.
Very typical of the Doctor – the string runs out, but he just wants to go on that little bit…
Nice acting by Frazer Hines with Rapunzel – terribly sweet, and of course she’d let him in. Only, she’s let him into the control centre. Is this a deliberate plan by the Master, or is Jamie now the wild card?
A stop motion Medusa – that must have taken a lot of the budget. Worth it though. Anyone else think that there are elements of the Weeping Angels with that hand reaching out for Zoe, and those blank statue eyes?20 April 2014 at 21:14 #27054
I admit to bingeing! On the episodes and the comments. Woohoo!! I’ve missed this. Too much RL recently 🙂 And it’s THE MIND ROBBER!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I agree with @confusedpolarity about the only slight mis-step in showing the minotaur. But the medusa is great – stone snakes, slowly waking up – what’s not to be scared of! And Troughton is absolutely flying in the role by now. Just great.
Brave directorial decision to film Jamie climbing in a kilt 😈 (not complaining!)
@wolfweed and @Bluesqueakpip- I agree, the medusa reminded me of weeping angels too. In fact there are a few echoes from this in some of the recent AG stories – The Doctor’s Wife (the TARDIS being breached and the flying console), dream/reality (Amy’s Choice), the Doctor and a character saying the same words at the same time (Midnight).
Love the classic Hammer-style creepy fingernail. And the noise of the soldiers.
<checks nervously behind the sofa>20 April 2014 at 21:17 #27055
One of the scenes which I found really chilling – on first watch, and now – Jamie in the computer control centre (haha, just when you’re thinking the design has really gone under-budget) – picking up the ticker tape and reading what the Doctor and Zoe are doing… right now… (I remember screaming at him to stop reading … oops!).
Shades of Angels take Manhattan?21 April 2014 at 11:05 #27077
Another example of Troughton’s nuanced acting – when the Doctor says “we’re obviously dealing with a fantastic mind” – with a look he suggests that just maybe there’s a bit of knowing flattery going on there, as well as a statement of fact – suggesting he suspects they’re being listened to. Cut to the Master who is obv pleased at his genius being recognised.21 April 2014 at 11:54 #27079PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
The contents of this are really well covered above, and I’ll agree with lots of what is said. The Medusa is very effective (and presenting it as a stone being itself really imaginative).
Troughton is one top form again. I love the scene between him and Zoe as he confesses that yes, he got Jamie’s face wrong the first time. That competitive streak with Zoe was a joy when they explored it on occasion (the best thing about the Krotons is the Doctor trying to beat her score in the Gonds test). It was the first time it was really done, but that childish petulance in his character has always paid dividends when the partner is of good calibre (I’d suggest great partnerships were Two – Zoe, Three – The Master, Four – Romana and Eleven – River).
Also a big shout-out to some excellent cliffhangers in this story. Definite jeopardy every time.
So we have myths, legends, fairy tales and fictions – a world of stories. I’ve always wondered how much (if at all) unconscious effect this had on Neil Gaiman when he developed the Sandman series (for which you can read this blog @galactus wrote on the subject). “The Dreaming” in that series was similar in many ways to the Land of Fiction.
We’ll let you off with the bingeing as this is a Bank Holiday, and it’s traditional for a sugar rush of some description 😉 Some nice parallels with other stories there. I’d probably mention God Complex as well. Not only for the nightmarish visions, but the really off-kilter direction which added to the disturbing atmosphere.21 April 2014 at 12:28 #27080janetteB @janetteb
I too binged on the Mind Robber but it was last year, in honour of @htpbdet. (I don’t think I could persuade the family to watch it again so soon) I don’t know if Dr Who was ever shown weekly in Aus. When I started watching it was screened nightly and when the new series finished they began repeating. Every year the same old repeats so I have never watched it “the British way”.
Mind Robber was the first and for many years only Troughton I saw. I love the claustophobic feel which is enhanced by the “staginess” of the sets. It is a story that takes all the limitations of budget and effects and utilises them to create a surreal atmosphere. Like so much good Brit suspense it also takes the familiar, the child’s story book character, the toys from the playroom and makes them dangerous.
Janette24 April 2014 at 16:24 #27154Arbutus @arbutus
Finally grabbed half an hour to watch this, great stuff. I really love the way that the second Doctor shuttles back and forth between hand-wringing anxiety when he’s not in control of the situation, and serious gravitas when his intellect is engaged. That says a great deal about this doctor’s character, I think. He is at his most confident, elevated, and in control, when he can put his mind to work on something. (Unlike the Third, who greeted any situation with the same air of authority, and the Fourth, who would casually shrug off any uncertainty as though nothing really mattered!)
No surprise now to find a minotaur in the maze! But I wonder how many kids of the day got a little older, reached classical lit in school, and went, “Oh yes, the minotaur in the maze! I remember that from Doctor Who!” Kind of like me recognizing Beowulf from having read Lord of the Rings. 🙂
@scaryb Yes, Jamie climbing the wall was good fun. Nice to have a bit for those of us who admire the male anatomy! I also thought that Jamie was very clever to figure out how the soldier was “seeing”. I didn’t think it would have been immediately obvious, but the penny just dropped for him.
Interesting, @janetteb. I too have never watched “the British way” until now. When I used to watch on TV, it was shown in syndication, once a week, late on Saturday night, but a complete serial each week. This is fun! (Of course, I didn’t get to go on forums afterward and talk about it, either. Even more fun.)26 April 2014 at 17:23 #27205
That’s interesting about different viewing practices. LOL at @arbutus‘s “the British way”
@phaseshift – Agree with you on the God Complex as well. It’s interesting there are so many things in this episode that are picked up as echoes so much later. I’m wondering if that’s just a feature of the show in general – can you see the same in other episodes from this time, or is there something about this particular story that resonates…?
Looking forward to episode 4 later tonight
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