The Talons of Weng Chiang part 6
20 July 2013 at 00:37 #14158Craig @craigEmperor
The final part. The Doctor, at his mischievous best, bargains with Weng-Chiang over the key. Jellybaby anyone? And is that a Batmobile in your pocket…? It’s kinda lucky the key can be easily destroyed or he and Leela’d be toast. There’s great interaction between Jago and Litefoot again, and we finally find out who Weng-Chiang, or “bent face” as Leela calls him, really is. I’ll be interested to read what people think of the the Doctor’s actions during the final showdown.
Once again, apologies for the quality this week, the final part was missing on YouTube. As I said before, I find if you squint a bit, or sit further away from the screen, it helps. Again, I recommend you buy it from the BBC shop as part of a box set that also includes Caves of Androzani and the eighth Doctor’s TV movie. It’s less than the price of a round of drinks, or a big box of muffins. 😀20 July 2013 at 16:05 #14208Anonymous @
I felt strangely let down by this final part, compared to how elated each of the previous 5 parts made me feel. There was a bit too much of ‘let me tell you my evil plans before I kill you’. Although on that point, Mr Sin really came into his own in this part, grunting in ecstasy as he indiscriminately fired lasers at everyone. I also felt his murderous glee, which is odd because his face is an immobile mask – I guess that’s a tribute to the writers, director, and cinematographer (and, of course, the evocative grunting of Deep Roy).
@phaseshift wrote a comment back on his Paternoster Gang blog which explains how Vastra is connected to Jago (and more on how Vastra met Jenny), and has information on the Big Finish audio series starring the ToWG characters Jago and Lightfoot.20 July 2013 at 17:56 #14212wolfweed @wolfweed
I like the way that we’re only presented with a rough idea of what Greel got up to.
What exactly did the Dr do with the Filipino Army at Reykjavik? We are left to our own imagination.
More chess which the Dr wins…
Leela should have just stabbed Greel in the back when she had the chance…
Favourite line: ‘That machine just saves you having to chew the grisly bits.’
20 July 2013 at 19:08 #14213PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
Magnus Greel – the notorious “Butcher of Brisbane”. Love the discussion over the chess board, although Greel does feel OTT compared to Chang. If you could see his eyes they’d be rolling all over the place.
Leela taunting of him over begging for mercy even as she faces his distillation apparatus is great. What a character. Mr. Sin’s bloodlust in the heat of battle as he cheerfully even kills allies was quite shocking as he grunts and oinks with delight.
2012 saw a timey-wimey prequel/sequel in the audio universe as the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Turlough encounter a younger Greel in the 51st century when the Filopeno Army was marching. It’s quite fun, and seems to indicate that the mysterious Time Agent Greel mentions earlier in the episode is the Doctor’s next incarnation. A link to the story “The Butcher of Brisbane” on Big Finish. As @shazzbot mentioned they also do the Jago and Litefoot adventures.20 July 2013 at 19:48 #14215chickenelly @chickenelly
Aaa just finished watching it on a 5 inch square on my computer. I know there was a lot of comments on the previous episodes about filler, however curiously I thought most of this episode could be categorised as this. I enjoyed Jago & Litefoot (I might check out those audio series) and Leela & the Doctor, but old bent face was a bit hammy – especially when compared to (as it turned out) the nuance of Chang.
Unfortunately during watching this episode, the thought popped into my head that Tom Baker reminded me of John McCririck….
…it rather ruined my viewing after that.20 July 2013 at 19:52 #14216Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
@Shazzbot – I agree; it was a faintly disappointing ending with rather a lot of ‘we’ve escaped – oops, no we haven’t.’ Added to a fair amount of ‘let me tell you who I am before I kill you’.
I can’t help thinking that a character called ‘Magnus Greel, the Butcher of Brisbane’ would have been even scarier than not knowing who Weng-Chiang really was. So I wonder if they were deliberately trying to hint that this ‘Weng Chiang’ might be the Master?20 July 2013 at 20:34 #14217Whisht @whisht
hm, I think we all saw that the bigger ham was Weng Chiang rather than Sin.
(oink oink)20 July 2013 at 20:43 #14218Whisht @whisht
but really I loved watching this and this story is great.
Also I’ve loved this one-episode-a-week trial of the Doctor (approximating what was it like), even though actually (now for me) it was a bunch of poor resolution a week episodes on a laptop with alcohol, rather than sitting on the floor watching the telly, with my dad’s left leg reassuringly to the left of me.20 July 2013 at 21:31 #14219stevethewhistle @steve-thorp
I expected Leela to have been more proficient at killing Greel, but maybe the armour was knife-proof, and, if she had succeeded, it would have been a very short episode.
I am not sure where the parody of “The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God” is from, but Wikipedia doesn’t think that it is from Harry Champion.
I reckon that the comic relief was kept up nicely to the end.
Did Scotland Yard really supply the TARDIS?20 July 2013 at 22:00 #14220Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
@SteveTheWhistle – I think the Doctor suddenly realised he’d been quoting a poem from 1911 and hurriedly named a music hall performer who did that kind of stuff.
Yes, for a warrior of the Sevvateem, Leela was a bit pants this week. Enthusiastic, but it was clearly either the fight director’s week off – or they’d run out of that part of the budget. 🙂21 July 2013 at 01:27 #14223wolfweed @wolfweed23 July 2013 at 18:26 #14298HTPBDET @htpbdet
WENG: Give me that key and I will spare her life.
DOCTOR: Never trust a man with dirty fingernails.
WENG: You can trust me to kill her if you do not immediately put it down! Now obey me at once!
DOCTOR: I tell you what, I’ll make a bargain with you. You can have the trionic lattice when we get to the House of the Dragon.
WENG: What trickery is this?
DOCTOR: No trickery. You’re holding two others of my friends.
WENG: What of them?
DOCTOR: I want them released.
WENG: Two blundering dolts? Why?
DOCTOR: I doubt if you could understand that, but that’s the condition.
WENG: Very well. They’re nothing to me.
DOCTOR: Good. Right. Then you and your chaps can lead the way and I’ll follow.
WENG: Bring the girl.
DOCTOR: No! The girl stays.
WENG: You would be wise not to press me too far.
DOCTOR: Just lead on.
Tom Baker is on fire in this episode and demonstrates, surely and definitively, why his Fourth Doctor was a wonderful creation.
He stares down Magnus Greel with a cool detachment, ensures the safety of as many as he can, ingeniously engineers escape by making a sort-of home-made bomb and assists in sending Mr Sin over the edge of his control so that he reverts to undiscerning feral pig carnage mode which incapacitates Greel and permits the Doctor to turn his own evil distillation device on him. It’s a cold and gruesome end for Greel – at the Doctor’s hands. But somehow it seems entirely justified: Greel was finished, the Doctor just saw him end his painful life more intensely and a trifle sooner.
Leela is sensational – her attempt to slaughter Bent Face and her courage in the face of death marks her out as a companion the like of which we have never seen before or since. Her tea lesson, on the other hand, demonstrates her inherent charm:
LITEFOOT: And then, for example, I would say “one lump or two, Miss Leela” To which you would reply, “one will suffice, thank you”. Now, do you follow?
LEELA: Supposing I want two?
LITEFOOT: Oh, no, no, no, no. One lump for ladies.
LEELA: Then why do you ask me?
DOCTOR: Come along, Leela.
Louise Jameson, in just three stories, had clearly established herself as one of the great Companions.
Jago and Litefoot cement their reputation as the greatest support double-act ever in the history of the programme. I remember McLeela and I hoping that they would join the TARDIS crew for the next season. Alas, as ever, our best hopes for the programme never eventuated…
I was, in the end, glad that Greel turned out to be a murderous psychopath from the future, the Hitler of the 51st Century, and not the Master. It was a nice timey-wimey touch having the Doctor encounter a foe in Victorian London he had fought against in his past, the foe having escaped into the past and “caught up” to that “present”. It was a first in BG Doctor Who – and a fine first at that.
Robert Holmes at his finest.24 July 2013 at 18:08 #14344PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
Just a note, because I said I would. DVD extras – what do you get if you purchase the DVD?
Well that depends! I have the original double disc version released in 03. I think others may have the version from the Revisitations box set which I believe is a 3 disc version with lots of bells and whistles + remastered vision and sound. If anyone with the newer version wants to give their view please do so.
The commentary on mine is a bit of a laugh, with Louise Jamieson, Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), David Maloney (Director), John Bennett (Chang) and Christopher Benjamin (Jago) reminiscing. It’s not really a “go to” more than once though.
There is a series of Blue Peter clips from the era discussing the show, and about 25 minutes of really poor quality footage from the shooting. An interview from Pebble Mill with Philip Hinchcliffe probably reveals all the showrunners were expected to get in front of the camera now and then, even at this early age, and there are a some Trailers and continuity announcements from the episodes.
The most interesting thing is “Whose Doctor Who”, an hour long documentary from the BBC’s “Lively Arts” strand fronted by Lord Melvyn of Barg. It’s one of the first serious looks at the series and is quite a nice little time capsule. It features interviews and behind the scenes work on Talons, and much hilarity it to be had. I found the following oddity posted on YouTube. “The Directors cut” is about 2 1/2 minutes long and contains re-edited scenes and “sound alike” dubbing.
It probably proves that some people have far too much time on their hands:25 July 2013 at 00:16 #14362Anonymous @
@phaseshift — I too found the documentary a fascinating little history piece. I particularly love the father and son fans — both clearly refugees from the Open University school of sartorial elegance.
Not much to add to what’s been said about this episode above. Lots of fab stuff. It’s interesting though, isn’t it that no one has that much to say about the ending compared to the other episodes. Is it the case, I wonder whether Old Who was much more about the journey rather than the arrival, compared to Nu Who, which is much more about payoffs to previous set ups?
Greel was a bit hammy though. But having said that I’ve always thought it would be cool to see him again. I haven’t heard the audio adventure ‘prequel’ but I will get around to it. I always did think though that the events of the 51st century in this story did sound suitably epic however.29 July 2013 at 08:27 #1455929 July 2013 at 08:32 #14560Nick @nick
It struck me on rewatching a few years ago that in many ways this was a 4 part story (the theatre and sewers) tagged with a two part ending (the Temple). I think it would have been easy enough and perhaps preferable, to wrap this story up beneath the music hall without the change in location for the last two parts. Anyone know whether Robert Holmes started out writing a 4 part story and was asked to extend it to 6 ?
Nick29 July 2013 at 09:44 #14561HTPBDET @htpbdet
No you have missed nothing.
I have not got around to penning my thoughts – but I hope too soon.
🙂29 July 2013 at 10:45 #14564Anonymous @
@phaseshift – that was great, that ‘Director’s Cut’! Thanks for posting it here. I wish they’d done a longer piece, though.22 April 2015 at 19:13 #39671The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman
This is my favourite story of all time. To me it’s one of only 3 stories that I rate 10/10 and nothing will ever top it.
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