| Tuesday, March 10 2009 @ 07:12 PM EDT
|PYRAMIDS OF MARS 3 and 4
Again, it’s clear to see why this story had so many viewers and was the template for DOCTOR WHO for the most part from then until…well, now. Some people, myself included, sometimes state that the story falls apart in the last episode but I have to tell you now that I just watched it and it really flows and holds together. Not that if you pick it apart you can find a lot wrong with it. For one thing: just why did Tom Baker enter the TARDIS in the very last scene, exit it and kick out his foot at…what seems to be nothing?
Anyway, Sutek is suitably creepy. The voice alone is scary, and Tom gets a rip roaring cliffhanger in ep3…the eyes of Sutek just staring at him. Marcus Scarman is a creepy villain, the sets marvelous, the action pretty fast paced, Lawrence sympathetic, the fight scene that starts ep3 is well done and…this just moves along. And the Doctor was so close to losing. The games in the last ep don’t really slow things down. The Marx Brothers movement into the room and then out of the room was a nice nod but really silly of Lis and Tom but whatever. When examined in interior sets, the mummies don’t look so menacing, however, their past killings make one uneasy.
No one can play hurt like Tom Baker and when Sutek is torturing him, he’s at his best in pained acting and …it really works.I must admit, at times, when I first saw this story, I was like: what? Where are they now? Are they on Mars, in England, in Egypt? Where is that room? How did Mars contain Sutek? When the Doctor seems to be facing him? Where was that? Huh?
Despite the confusion and illogic that haunts almost all DW stories, I like this story and it really entertains. What more can one say? The Doctor’s attitude to death…especially Lawrence’s death…is disturbing at best and he just tosses the body aside like it was nothing to him. I guess this was to emphasize how alien the Doctor is…but it’s a bit too much for my taste and, when I first saw it, made me not like this Doctor but then again, Sarah is the human that things center around. Still, it makes it strange when the Doctor opposes Sutek and sticks up for life and humans when he’s just pushed over a dead man. This Doctor is thinking of the grander scheme of things…how many more lives he can save besides just this man.
There are quite a few character things going on between the Doctor and Sarah…and it’s nice to see. Sutek seemed to get what most people joked about: that the girl travels with the Doctor and the Doctor’s façade of just being fellow travelers really isn’t what that relationship is all about. Or was it?
The one thing I enjoyed about Doctor Who was that…at least at that time…was that the girl and the Doctor were not romantically involved…or interested…or so it seemed. Every other show around in the 70s and later the 80s had the female and male leads romantically involved or interested. The Doctor didn’t seem to be interested in that sort of thing…but really was he? Back then it was refreshing. Of course SCHOOL REUNION, while a good story, went and changed all that. Sarah was really into the Doctor that way and he just left her high and dry. He knew he had to. He was going to grow old…oh, boo hoo. Waaa waaa waaa. So Sarah’s pining for the Doctor in that story, for how long? 30 years? And she never married. What a loser they made her. I never felt that way about her in this story. Or during any of her time on the show. I felt she’d marry someone else, have children or at least a career and not be this geeky lonely stranger on Bannerman Road thanks to just waiting for a life…ie the Doctor returning but that’s another story.
Anyway there you have it, Pyramids of Mars, where stuff happens and one wonders why? Sometimes it seems to come out of the blue, the fire in the very end is one of those things. Still, the performances are ALL wonderful, the action dangerous and deadly, even Sarah’s little silly quips are okay if a bit annoying. I mean here she is almost blowing them up and she makes a quick, unfunny joke. Ah well. When’s Leela starting?
While watching this I felt myself wondering that. I mean nowadays a change of companion comes fast and furious that back then having someone in the show for five years…now feels like forever but even the longest running female companion (Sarah) was only in something like 17 stories! That’s not a great deal but it feels like forever. And sometimes I really love Sarah and sometimes I really find her annoying and frivolous.