Friday, 20 May 2011

1x07 The Escape

“Perhaps we have lived too long. I’ve never struggled against the inevitable.”

Broadcast Date: 4th January 1964

Diving straight in to this one as less than a minute in and the design work has finally let me down! As Susan is leaving the TARDIS, where are the exterior doors? I’m sure this is an error that has been repeated over and over until the 2005 series. Ignoring this small niggle, we get our first non-TARDIS human! A Thal! I’m not sold on his fashion sense, chest half out and plastic coat in tow. His dialogue is a bit dire in comparison to what Nation’s given us in the last two episodes as well. There’s a lot more lines that feel like spoon-feeding the audience to me, but all in all we do learn more about the war on the as-yet unnamed planet.

I’m being slightly negative of this episode, I’m afraid, but I do like the fact the Daleks, for whatever reason, have a dog bowl to keep water in. The writing for Susan is a bit tiresome too, although she has been given something to do, creating a bit of character for her, which I like. And just as I was beginning to like her, Nation decides to give her a dreadfully painful spoon-fed monologue, describing all the boring details we need to know about this planet but didn’t care enough to ask. Luckily for me, the Daleks get some menacing dialogue to cheer things up a bit and then that revolving door of Cusick’s appears, which I love. A Dalek then enters the prison with food and water. The way a Dalek says “water” is the best performance in this episode to date.

This episode is given such an exciting title. The Escape! But it’s such a down point in comparison to every episode to date. I’ve reached the halfway point of the episode, more Thal’s have turned up and talked. More exposition that I don’t really want to know. A bit of sexism later and I’ve found a cocky Thal! I think I’m starting to like them now. And they’ve dropped those plastic coats.

Now we’re swapping to and fro, seeing parts of the Thals and the Daleks, getting more story from each side. This is yet another seemingly simplistic story and yet it works. There’s nothing hugely complex in these early episodes in terms of plot and maybe that’s why it works. The plots easy to follow, we just sit back and grow more and more attracted to the characters as they’re fleshed out.

The first glimpse at the inside of a Dalek
 Our travellers are putting on a show for the ‘Peeping Tom’ Daleks, with some amazingly fun wooden acting put on by the cast. It feels deliberate and I’m hoping it is. That Dalek camera is brilliant though, it gets the most unbelievable views of the room considering where it’s placed in the cell. “Lets concentrate on the Daleks” Hartnell says, and yes, lets. There’s some really clever science fact here to give the Daleks power of movement. It’s again something simple and easy for children to understand, rather than giving them a headache.

A little under twenty minutes in and I’m so involved in the episode now, the Thals have become likable, the Daleks have proved menacing and the scene where the companions are sussing out what a Dalek can do is very well done. Now we finally have our escape! It gives a Dalek a good name that it takes the combined efforts of all four characters to disarm it and even then they don’t render it helpless forever. If one proves so powerful, how can they stop an army? I guess we’ll find out over the next forty-seven years.

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