The Time Meddler part 3

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    Craig @craig

    Part 3. A Battle of Wits

    The Doctor has escaped and Vicki and Steven also manage to find the way out. All are soon returning to the monastery. The Doctor is interested in The Monk’s plans. Vicki and Steven think he may have left them behind.

    This one has a fantastic cliffhanger. We’ve discussed the previous parts here:

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    What a great episode, and what a fabulous cliff-hanger ending! This episode and this whole story is a perfect example of why I sat glued to the TV, open mouthed and wide eyed almost 50 years ago.

    I will not try a synopsis or analysis, but leave that to those like @phaseshift and @bluesqueakpip, who can do it better justice, but I will call on @fatmaninabox. This was what I was talking about when I said that I can still clearly recall crying out (almost 50 years ago) at the TV with the exclamation: “Oh, Wow!” at the end of this episode.

    And, of course, this is the story that opened up the whole Who universe. Watch it. It is truly a classic.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Steven’s “who’s a clever girl then” is a bit patronising considering Vicki has been way head of him since episode 1. 🙂 At this early stage, he does come across as a bit of an arse (he does improve and sets a tone for amiable competitiveness with companions like Vicki and Dodo in the future). Their “follow the leader” game could be considered a bit of plot filler as they try to locate the Doctor, but at least it lets them locate that suspicious looking gun on the cliff.

    Helpfully, the Monk has told us what it is with that excellent “to do” list. Position Atomic Cannon is a step many a Machiavellian genius has had to put on their Gantt chart to power.

    He’s an odd one, the Monk. On the face of it, he’s pretty considerate and convivial. Last week, cooking breakfast for the Doctor, here he seems to muse about a blood transfusion for Eldred. He’s capricious, ahead of his time, whimsical and more than a little nuts. Now – who does he remind me of? The scenes with the Doctor and the Monk are quite funny, with Hartnell and Butterworth both with a twinkle in the eye. The similarity between them even seems to extend to being handy at rendering the odd Viking insensible.

    And then….the discovery by Vicki and Stephen of the Monks big secret, and history is written. After two less than awesome cliff hangers, this one is an absolute corker.

    Many thanks to @blenkinsopthebrave. When I first saw this, I knew the story well. I’d always seem to know the secret of what the Monk was, so it’s nice to hear from someone who saw it when first broadcast what an impact it had. I still find it brilliant, even though it couldn’t come as a surprise. When you think about in context, it makes You Are Not Alone seem tame in comparison.

    Excellent stuff.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    ‘No more Monkery!’

    Now that the TARDIS has been swept away it’s a shame there isn’t some sort of a replacement available. Oh…

    Anonymous @

    @blenkinsopthebrave – I loved it. So much in fact that I watched part 4 straight after 🙂 I’d always avoided the older stories but I’m starting to develop a real thirst for them. Granted, the production values are low but these early DW are infinitely more watchable than other programs of the time, the cringe-worthy Star Trek for example.

    I already know who/what The Meddling Monk is thanks to the Big Finish stories but revealing what the sarcophagus really was had me squeeing with delight.

    Yes, @phaseshift, a nice little ‘to do’ list. I was secretly hoping that we’d get a nice montage of snow capped mountains accompanied by some soaring music for item 4.  🙂

    One of the criticisms that Steven Moffat (unfairly) gets is the way he doesn’t portray grief properly (or just ignores it), Amy being parted from baby Melody for example. But it’s here as well. Edith seems quite chirpy considering the events of part 2.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    That really must have been one heck of a cliffhanger at the end of this episode, when people were watching it for the first time. Welcome to the Whoniverse! 😀

    Going back to the beginning of the episode – Vicki’s bright, isn’t she? Faced with a locked room mystery, she simply starts looking for the secret passage.

    The exit via the (very long) tunnel does seem a bit of a plot filler.

    Yes, he’s an odd fellow, this monk. On the one hand he seems to enjoy having power over the Doctor (until he finds that he hasn’t). On the other hand, he gives Eldred penicillin and uses antiseptic – which he had absolutely no need to do. Wulnoth would’ve been unsurprised if Eldred had died from an infected wound.

    Nice to see that Edith is somewhat recovered, if still obviously shaken up. For such a tiny village, she’s also remarkably well informed about national and international politics – but possibly our monk had been a bit too chatty one night. 😉

    Oh, lord, for a mobile phone as everyone trots around the forest just missing each other. It’s like As You Like It or A Midsummer Night’s Dream – ‘meanwhile, in another part of the forest…’

    I think these Vikings may have had one too many knocks to the head, especially Sven. See what comes of not wearing your helmet in battle?

    Oh, I love the progress chart. Wasn’t this later parodied in Buffy (or possibly they just had the same idea)? The Mayor’s ‘To Do’ list: Plumbers Union Reschedule, Meet With PTA, Become Invincible, and Haircut. The Monk’s: Arrival in Northumbria, Position atomic cannon, Sight Vikings, Light beacon fires, Destroy Viking fleet…

    They do play the Monk and the Doctor as very similar, yes. I certainly thought (when the Doctor tricks the Monk in believing that he’s got a gun) that the Doctor ‘recognises’ the Monk now. He might not know exactly who the Monk is, but he knows where he’s from.

    And Peter Butterworth and William Hartnell are both playing this as a game between equals. They’re enjoying themselves, and they’re playing the characters as enjoying themselves.

    Was it Terry Pratchett who said ‘never build a cell you can’t get out of?’ The former monks of this monastery certainly followed that principle. The one obviously lockable cell just happens to have a secret passage. 🙂

    Which the Doctor uses to trick Sven. When he finally figures out something is wrong, that is.

    Wulnoth is rather obviously suspicious. So he should be. Beacon fires? When invading Vikings are around?

    Meanwhile, Peter and Vicki are in Another Part Of The Monastery. Did I mention mobiles? Certainly come in handy in this episode. But they do at least spend the time that they’re using to carefully avoid one Viking, an injured man, the Monk and the Doctor in a useful manner. They go exploring. And find something, underneath the old sarcophagus.

    Aaannnddd it’s a …

    No. Go watch.

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