Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"The Rescue"

Aired Jan 2 - Jan 9, 1965

Episode 1 – The Powerful Enemy
Episode 2 – Desperate Measures

Story 11

Written by David Whitaker
Directed by Christopher Barry

Synopsis

With the Doctor, Ian and Barbara still feeling the loss of Susan, the TARDIS materializes in the 25th century on the planet Dido, one the Doctor has visited before.  The time travelers come upon a crashed spaceship from Earth. Its two occupants, a paralyzed man named Bennett and a young girl named Vicki, are living in fear of the imposing figure of Koquillion, a native of the planet, whose people have apparently killed the other members of the human expedition. However, it does not take the Doctor long to deduce that Koquillion is in fact Bennett in disguise; it was actually he who killed the others in order to conceal an earlier murder he had committed on the ship. Confronted by two of the humanoid Didonians, whom he thought he had completely wiped out, Bennett falls from a high rock ledge to his death.

After discovering that Vicki's father was amongst the murdered crewmen and that consequently she is now an orphan, the Doctor offers her a place aboard the TARDIS, which she gratefully accepts. T
hey all depart as the two Didonians smash the radio guiding the rescue ship to the planet.


Analysis

After Susan's departure, the decision was made to give a single two-episode story over purely to introducing the new companion, Vicki, played by Maureen O'Brien. This turns out to be a very solid decision, as O'Brien is given a good showcase for her talents by writer David Whitaker. O'Brien immediately impresses in her debut, giving the role of the junior companion a good deal more spunk and fire than had previously been on display. This is no knock against Carole Ann Ford, just that the script and O'Brien's performance are geared to a more resilient and plucky character.

Although both William Russell and Jacqueline Hill aren't given a whole lot to do here, they do their customary excellent job, while Hartnell excels here. He's clearly relishing getting all the heavy lifting of the story, and he does connect well with O'Brien. Let's see if Vicki remains as interesting in future stories as she does here.

The only weak issue here is the slight and simplistic nature of the story, which struggles to fill even its short run time, but the story here isn't the main objective. The purpose here is to introduce Vicki, and in that, it succeeds admirably. The story itself merely has to work, and it does, even if it is too slight to merit any further discussion.

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