Saturday, February 14, 2009

"The Edge of Destruction"

Hello, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn and Kroroboros, watching the first episode in the third serial. I think I can charitably say there were differences of opinion this week, so let's get to it!

Episode summary: First aired 8 February, 1964. Leaving Skaro, something happens in the TARDIS and the crew unconscious on the floor. Barbara awakes, discovering the others and has problems for a moment remembering who they are. She discovers the Doctor has a cut on his forehead as Susan awakens, seeming very disoriented. As Susan goes to get things to bind her grandfather's wound, Ian wakes up, showing signs of memory loss. Susan returns and sees the TARDIS doors are open, which is very dangerous. She tries to close them, but receives a shock and faints. Barbara helps the Doctor as Ian takes Susan to her bed where she awakens and tries to attack him with a pair of scissors, then faints again. Barbara begins to wonder if someone or something might have slipped into the ship while everyone was unconscious. Eventually (to make a short story less long), the crew gathers and the Doctor accuses Ian and Barbara of sabotage! Barbara confronts the Doctor, telling him if anyone should be considered suspicious, it's him--he kidnapped them, he tricked them into exploring the Dalek city, and Ian and Barbara have continually saved his and Susan's lives! She then turns towards the clock, only to discover that its face was melting--as are the faces of every watch the crew owns! It is obvious that no one is thinking clearly and the Doctor suggests everyone have a small drink and sleep on it, bringing their wits to the problem in the "morning." However, after everyone else is asleep, the Doctor sneaks out to the controls. He turns and discovers hands reaching out to clutch him around his neck.....

Well. There was certainly a difference of opinion about this episode. I loved it. Ketina...did not. Famously or infamously, this is the "emergency" story that script editor David Whitaker had to quickly write to fill a hole in the schedule, the catch being no guest cast or new sets. As such, he decided to make this a psychological examination of the crew, throwing them all off balance. The characters essentially have concussions--which explains some of Susan's irrational behavior, everyone's memory losses, etc. I find the whole thing really fantastic, seeing the TARDIS (which now appears to be a control room and a sleeping area, not the huge ship of the future stories), watching the characters just thrown into extremes and not quite understanding one another...this is a story that really will either drive them apart of forge them together as a unit. And then there's the question of why this is happening, what caused the TARDIS' apparent fault? Is the odd and extreme behavior caused by the (apparent) concussions or by some outside force, as Barbara and Susan guess? Well, you'll have to tune in next week to find out...and I simply cannot imagine anyone not wanting to!

Kroboros liked the simplicity of the story. There was a lot going on, but it was all confined to the four people and one area. He was intrigued and wondered what was going on, but in a way that made him want to know rather than frustrated him. He's looking forward to hopefully seeing what happens next week! Ronelyn, however, wishes to reserve judgement until she's seen the rest of the story to see if it goes somewhere or just, kind of, peters out.

And, as I said, I can't wait until next week either! I'll turn this over to Ketina, for her...divergent opinion. Until we meet again, I remain



Ketina here.
I'm tempted to have said I loved the episode now, just to be contrary to what The Historian has said. :P
The last time I saw this story, which was many years ago, I recall significantly disliking it. Not much has changes in the intervening years. It's about 4 paranoid, partially amnesiac people running around in circles inexplicably. Okay, they don't literally run around in circles, but the plot doesn't make a lot of sense. Unlike the other viewers, I just found this frustrating.
There was also much silliness and overacting - Susan's gonna need to see a dentist soon because of all the scenery stuck in her teeth. She also had "big hair" syndrome, along with messy hair, neat hair, and just plain inconsistent hair.
I was very amused by the bedtime wear - Susan and Barbara have dark comfy P.J.s, and Ian had quite the sharp smoking jacket. But if I ever tried to sleep in one of those space age beds I would have fallen out the first time I rolled over in my sleep. I want my pillow and blanket!
I was also confused by the melting clock effect. Okay, I get that the clock and various watches are melting (what is time traveller Susan doing wearing a watch?), but why does this deserve the freakout reaction from the girls typically reserved for dead bodies and big scary monsters?

Sorry I broke format this week, but I can't think of a "good" and it was pretty much all silly. :) Hopefully next week will explain the inexplicableness of next week. But anything short of 2/3rds of the crew being possessed, or some kind of bouncy possession, I have a difficult time believing this will make any sense to me.

That's all for me this week.


1 comment:

Alzarian said...

I quite enjoyed this one. Our TARDIS adventurers are still rather new to each other, so I could buy the level of distrust between them... something that might have been harder to pull off if it had aired any later. I love the surreal atmosphere, and watching Susan go after the space-age bed with a pair of scissors was actually rather shocking in what is supposedly a "children's program". It was also fun to spend a bit more time getting to know the interior of the TARDIS, and the food machine makes a welcome comeback.