The Mind Robber part 5
3 May 2014 at 16:20 #27317Craig @craigEmperor
Zoe and Jamie have been turned into fiction. The Master tries to persuade the Doctor to be the new Controller.
“I have yet to see a robot that could fly.”
Just you wait Doctor, there’ll be thousands when they invent CG.3 May 2014 at 22:32 #27331wolfweed @wolfweed
Is the Master Tape teleprinting in RTD font?
Everybody uses Rapunzel’s hair?!?
The Battle of Fiction is great fun.
Mankind to be trapped as fiction (like sausages?)…
”Let’s get out of here and duck!”
Next week at the start of The Invasion episode 1, Jamie says ”It worked…!”
The Mind Robber stands as a perfect slice of Who, very lean with a strong focus on the TARDIS crew. It success surely has a lot to do with it’s director, David Maloney. Powerful visuals and a disturbing effects soundtrack. I’m sure the eerie wind and the explosion sounds heard in this episode are the same ones used later in Genesis of the Daleks…3 May 2014 at 23:41 #27340Anonymous @
I find it interesting that the Master wrote the action adventures of one Capt Jack Harkaway in the Ensign which now, I believe, is the mag used by the Church of LDS (Mormons) much like the Jehovah’s who also have their monthly subscription piece. So, if the whole thing was cycled back, then the first few episodes actually didn’t exist? Once you remove the controller that is; but as time travellers they still remember them? Kindest and confused, purodidlion.4 May 2014 at 12:38 #27347Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
@Purofilion – The Ensign magazine which had the adventures of Jack Harkaway isn’t the same as The Ensign (LDS) magazine. It was a (seemingly) perfectly genuine Victorian/Edwardian penny dreadful, Jack Harkaway starting his illustrious career as a plucky British schoolboy who ran away to sea.
Again, meta references. The Doctor being a plucky Time Lord who ran away to see the universe… 🙂
I love Rapunzel, she’s so sweet. It’s that bright, cheery, ‘Everyone else does’ when the Doctor asks to use her hair as a rope. You almost get the impression that all the other fictional inhabitants have been using her hair as a handy route to the pub.
It’s difficult to believe that this was David Maloney’s first outing as director. He did say in the commentary that he’d used his BBC contacts (he’d moved up from Floor Manager) to make sure he was supported by the guys he thought were the best camera crew. It’s also difficult to believe that Peter Ling wasn’t a science fiction writer and was only doing this to try his hand at the genre. It’s a really terrific story, which takes the oft-handled speculation – what if there’s a world where fictional characters are real – and runs with it.
His fictional characters, of course, aren’t real even in The Land of Fiction. Like Gulliver, they’re confined within the words of their books. When Jamie and Zoe are turned into ‘fiction’, they can only repeat lines from the earlier script – and can be made to do anything the scriptwriter wants.
Good stuff. I’m glad I watched it.4 May 2014 at 14:10 #27348ConfusedPolarity @confusedpolarity
Another strong episode – The Mind Robber really is a tight, controlled piece of storytelling.
I love the central clash between the Doctor and the Master/the Master Brain; it’s the biggest mistake possible to allow the Doctor equal power over the computer and he’s quick to take advantage. Troughton’s on top form again; there’s everything from foot-stamping petulance to hand-wringing despair when things are going badly, to that gleeful “Oh, you’ll have to do better than that!” when he parries the Master’s storytelling thrusts. I can sit through poor Second Doctor stories for the pleasure of watching him so a story of The Mind Robber’s calibre is always going to be a pleasure.
Jamie and Zoe – fiction becoming fiction – are a treat too. They’re almost cartoonish in their glee when trapping the Doctor (and I love the fact that his optimism overcomes his common sense when he sees them ad the TARDIS). It’s also good that all our fictional friends, from adorable Rapunzel to the camp Karkus, and of course Gulliver himself, get a final appearance.
One small niggle that I’ve never really noticed before; all of a sudden the Master Brain is implicated in a plot against Earth that’s not been hinted at before. It’s no more surreal than anything else in the story, but it does feel a bit unnecessary. Our Heroes have been in peril; that’s plenty enough for me 🙂
And is it just me, or would that ending really cause a rumpus if it was tried in the current show?
I’ve loved watching The Mind Robber again – and by the way it’s got m into the habit of watching quite a lot more of my BG collection again too! I’m off now to re-watch Tooth and Claw – comments on that will doubtless appear in due course as well!4 May 2014 at 19:59 #27360Anonymous @
It’s also difficult to believe that Peter Ling wasn’t a science fiction writer and was only doing this to try his hand at the genre.
After recognising the name, I Googled him and my suspicions were correct – he used to be a writer on ‘Crossroads’. The Doctor’s loss was Meg Mortimer’s gain 🙂4 May 2014 at 23:34 #27363PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
Yes the “duelling storytellers” face off is pretty engaging as we get characters like D’artagnan, Cyrano, Blackbeard and Galahad being summoned as avatars for the battle. It’s not a massive canvas, but given the restrictions of the piece it does have a cheeky feel, and some thought went into the fight scene (as opposed to Time Meddler, where everyone looked a bit embarrassed).
@confusedpolarity, I also thought the sudden threat to Earth appeared more an afterthought, and not really necessary. In this situation the fate of the Doctor and Companions is really the heart of the conflict, and the addition seems a little superfluous.
And is it just me, or would that ending really cause a rumpus if it was tried in the current show?
Heh – as a long time contributor to web forums I think attempting something like Mind Robber full stop would meet with some cries of betrayal these days. “Too much fantasy”, “not hard sci-fi”, it would be Comment Bingo. I hope the writer was returned home as it’s left completely up in the air. The episode that followed, Invasion part 1 never mentioned him. That would certainly be seen as infuriating today, I think.
I’d actually love to see a return to the Land of Fiction with new production methods. I’m sure the right writer could have a field day, especially integrating animation to create something bizarre and whimsical. I’m thinking along the lines of the Farscape episode Revenging Angel, which some of us (including @fatmaninabox) have discussed. I’d pay good money to see Capaldi interacting with Toad of Toad Hall and Dangermouse.
I think that’s why I actually love Mind Robber. It is whimsical, is quite daring in its ideas and unapologetically refuses to end with a pat answer (like psychic pollen in Amy’s Choice 😉 ).
I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve mentioned my admiration for Moloney before, but you’re right to mention Peter Ling. I think it’s always been a strength that Who has occasionally allowed writers to experiment with the genre, and usually the results are worth watching. I didn’t know he wrote for Crossroads @fatmaninabox. In fact, I haven’t thought about Crossroads in about 2 decades, and now I do, I’m regretting it. 😀
So farewell for now, ye olde B&W era. It has been excellent with both Time Meddler and Mind Robber leaving me very cheerful.10 May 2014 at 20:21 #27455Arbutus @arbutus
Coming late to the party, but I wanted to make this post before jumping into this week’s offerings.
Great scene with the fictional battle. It reminded me of the game we used to play as kids, where you took turns telling a story, and it would completely turn on a dime as the next narrator took over and rewrote reality. As others have said, I also loved Rapunzel, and how hopefully she kept looking for her prince! But she was always willing to help out with her hair, no matter her disappointment.
I agree that the plot against Earth didn’t really bring anything to the experience. But I guess it was felt that there had to be some explanation for why they were doing what they were!
@phaseshift The Doctor meets Dangermouse. Brilliant.11 May 2014 at 20:22 #27473ScaryB @scaryb
That was great fun, love these rewatches (tho a bit behind). And thanks everyone for the background infos and comments. It’s been one of my favourites since I watched it 1st time round, so great to hear everyone’s very positive reactions (esp @bluesqueakpip ).
And a nice chuckle re @phaseshift and @confusedpolarity‘s suggestion about the reaction if it was to be redone today (but what a great idea!). Ah, yes, BG Who was all about “hard sci fi” was it? Would be great to revisit it now.
And agree with the comments above – we empathise most when the threat is to a very small no of characters that we identify with. It’s much harder to feel for an anonymous group, no matter how big the threat. OK, OK, the whole of mankind is going to be turned into fiction – BUT WHAT ABOUT JAMIE, ZOE AND THE DOCTOR?! It’s very much linked into what @blenkinsopthebrave and others have been discussing elsewhere about a monster-free historical and “old fashioned” story telling. It doesn’t have to be that way all the time, but with the right story “small is beautiful”. The Girl Who Waited being another excellent example.
And picking up again on comments previously – it is interesting how many themes in AG Who are echoed in this story.
Great end of episode cliffhangers throughout this story, and the final one is no exception. No conventional reassurance that they have been returned to reality in the last scene… tune in again next week folks. (Thanks @wolfweed for confirming they survived)11 May 2014 at 20:23 #27474
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