Okay after years of avoiding this, I started watching it. Part One is not bad: great location work and set up. PRetty Good cliffhanger. Davison, however, is saddled with the worst companion toward the end of his run: Kamilein is the worst, bad idea, poorly acted and executed here; Turlough's not the best of companions and as for Peri...can I say Cliche? Annoying? Loud, fake brashness? And what's with Peter's new look vest and hat? ANd that bad haircut. Anyway this is not bad
I'll agree with you on Kamelion. Why anyone would've wanted a character to establish continuity with "Time-Flight" is beyond me — even though the idea of a shapeshifter serves the story well. And I've never understood how seemingly the whole of male fandom could be so beguiled by a pair of breasts that they forgive Nicola Bryant's flatly horrible acting.
Still, Bryant's breasts do emphasize the thing that makes this episode so memorable: the wardrobe. Every person on camera throughout the episode is in a reasonable outfit, rather than a costume. Turlough's in his "school boy" look only for a few brief moments, and even then it's a deprecated version — something wrinkled, just thrown on, and very much sans tie. Meanwhile, the Doctor progressively loses more and more of his costume. in the end, sure, he's left with question-marked suspenders, but the overall effect of him in shirt, braces, (different-than-usual) pants and trainers is far better than any other look he's ever had. Save the question marks, and it looks like something that could've been off the rack.
And, talk about buying retail. Anthony Ainley looks superb in something approaching a Saville Road suit. Yes, we find out later there's a reason the Master is in a suit, but never mind that for now. How much better Ainley looks out of that ridiculous costume!
Even Nicola Bryant's now-trademark shorts and hitched up shirt seemed logical. That's what American young women would've worn over a bikini at the beach. It was only later episodes that turned one script's "reasonable attire" into a ridiculously impractical "costume".
Beyond the visual look of the wardrobe, there's the excellence of the foreign location. Some have joked that "Fire" went on location in a virtual quarry, rather than exploiting the village charms of Lanzarote. But personally, I think that this location makes a damn sight more visual sense than the sledgehammer tactics of filming in Amsterdam for "Arc of Infinity" or Spain in "The Two Doctors". The volcanic island serves the story rather than the story being written around locations the producer happened to be able to arrange. Especially when compared to the episode that came just before it ("Resurrection" part 4), it felt to me like I was watching a rebirth of the show.
As things turned out, it was only an anomaly of the JNT era, rather than a confident new direction. Still, there's a maturity of visual form in this first part (and throughout the story) that few "classic" episodes were able to achieve.
es I agree with you about the visual form of ep1 but by ep4 it was sort of...already seen over and over again and a bit boring really. Still, I felt the same about the style...it seemed a new direction but then when Turlough leaves...we're left with the Doctor and one companion again and...a girl...again. The fact that she's from America (but not really) doesn't do much to give it new feel...and soon the show would deteriorate into a parody of itself...and I might argue that in CAVES that very thing happened. Over the top villains on evry side, check. Near topless Female in trouble: check. Explosions an running : check. Androids and caves: Check. Phantom of the Opera horror cliche driven plot: Check. Android copies: Check. Good cliffhangers: Check. Cheeky bad monster and effects of mud slides: Check. Throw in some Blake's 7 cruelty and you've got CAVES and the new direction of the show
The Gallifreyan Embassy - Forum