1-2 and the start of 3
This is what DW should aspire to be all the time really. Or rather if it did, then this wouldn't stand out like it does, would it? I mean there's location filming in PARIS! In PARIS! The streets, the cafe's, the museums, the cars, the streets! The trains. The gates! The Eiffel Tower! It all looks so grand.
Tom is in great Tom form, Lalla is spot on and the guest stars are all grand. The story involves a time crack or rift...and shouldn't DW also be doing this kind of thing more often? I mean it is a time travel show about a man who fixes time...and how many time problems have we had over the years? Three? Four? TIME MONSTER, PYRAMIDS OF MARS and...tha'ts really it and even those two don't really figure that much of a time problem happening into the plot or the main plot.
The splintering of the Count is an inspired bit and not really told to us until the start of ep3, a great piece of story idea, that an alien could be split across time and still be the same being. The scenes at the start of ep1 look great in prehistoric times before there was life on Earth (the dialog and script get the actual time wrong, it should be something like four THOUSAND MILLION YEARS back, I think or even longer) but no mind. Catherine Schnell and Julian Glover (but guest stars in SPACE: 1999's first season and Catherine was Maya in all of season two) are marvelous together and separately. Romana's being embarasssed by the Doctor saying, the painting is one of the best in the universe is funny and cute, she mentions the Braxtiel Collection, which, obnoxiously becomes something important in the Benny canon, and Brax may even be the Doc's brother...
Never mind, Duggan is funny when contrasted to the Doctor and Romana's almost non violence although the Doctor gets to punch a soldier in the start of ep3. The monster mask is a bit...floppy and not really impressive but if you want monsters then DW really, at this time in its history, is not for you. There were still monsters but the show wasn't based around just them and especially not this story.
My favorite lines are, "Darling, be careful, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems." To which the Count says, "My darling, I don't thnk anyone is as stupid as he seems."
...and later when Duggan talks to Romana, "You know what I don't understand..." and Romana interupts with, "I expect so."
Having a time mess, a time splinter, the beginnings of life on earth mixed with a modern plot to steal the Mona Lisa in Paris while a scientist works on a time machine in a basement is not just so Doug Adams but so DW and so Tom Baker. There's not enough praise I can heap on this story. I just love it!
I can't praise the music enough either, it's light and airey and the location work matches it perfectly or the other way around. I love the shots of running through the streets. That said, there's an awful lot of re-explaining the plot as well as explanation going on and to be honest, I'm thankful for that. Without it I might not understand any of it! And mixed in with that are wonderful nods to past Gallifrey and jokes scattered throughout ("Capt Tancredi?!" "Heard of him?" "No", and everything Romana says about Duggan).
Glad to see more of Scarloni in the pasts. I don't really get why Romana and Duggan have to break into the cafe to talk but it's a nice scene. Did they even try to stop the painting from being stolen? Not sure.
Anyway this ep is almost totally Baker's and Glover's and they both do a fine job. Kerensky is a fool but he didn't deserve to die that way! Fairly well done effect, if nothing else effective.
Again, another good episode and for once we get a scene in the past ("What do you mean time's running out, it's only 1505!).
the plan comes to fruition thanks to Romana. Tom and Lalla put a nix on a loud row between the Doctor and Romana with just a few words and a few jokes, "If you're helping him with time travel I shall very angry or cross," and the pair should have written more for their characters if that's the case.
Glover is amazing in this and even in that silly mask he has presense. Duggan comes out smelling like a rose and the Doctor and Romana just ...are just magnificent. This has to be the ultimate DW story...again, no story is without it's faults and this one has a few: like they wouldn't be able to breath that far in the past. And isn't Scarloni 's other selves still alive in the past? Or aren't they? The original storyline explains some of this but it's poor and not at all sensible. The changes they made were for the best.
Best of all, the Doctor trying to get a taxi in rush hour Paris, "Is no one interested in history." Much is made of John Cleese's cameo...and I think he's pretty good...but really it's so short, who cares. It is a funny scene though.
What a surreal story and as different from the two stories before and after it as can be. Still that's what makes DW so good: one day in Paris 1979, the next a jungle planet...
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