Wednesday, 25 May 2011

1x10 The Ordeal


“Even if we do get through, we’ll never defeat the Daleks. Ganatus, we’re all going to be killed.”

Broadcast Date: 25th January 1964

As I sit down to watch episode six of ‘The Daleks’ after a short break, I’m instantly drawn in by the fact the reprieve from episode five is shot differently and here looks much more mesmerising and alien in comparison. Instantly gripping me, we then get the disappointment of more people standing around. I’d like to see Chris Barry do something differently. I wish I was still watching ‘An Unearthly Child’ purely for Waris Hussien’s direction.

I’m enjoying seeing the Doctor give out plans amongst him, Susan and the Thals. He really comes into the role of taking charge once Ian goes his separate way, giving another side to the character, one much more associated with the character today.

But now we’ve flicked back to the Daleks and their need to spread radiation before going back to seeing Barbara and co. travelling the caves. I’ve got to give it to Terry Nation, by splitting these characters he does give a much more visually appealing look to these episodes by not trapping us to one location. The design of the caves looks good, although cheap, the lighting here proves very effective.

A fantastic shot reprises last times cliffhanger.
The scene with Babs trekking through the caves is drawn out, and the effective lighting soon becomes ineffective due to the fact I’ve not seen anything else for a while. This scene feels very staged with Bill Russell calling down to Ganatus.

I know this story wasn’t initially planned to last seven episodes, but this is the time for me when it always begins to feel overlong. The scenes in the cave, despite being different, soon loose my interest and the Daleks seem to be doing nothing for the last few episodes bar standing still in a room ranting about radiation, whilst watching the Doctor Who opening titles.

There’s a camp little struggle between Antodus and Ganatus and by camp, I mean ‘how the heck is that meant to look convincing’ which only results in me finding similarities between Antodus and Adric. And I think I prefer Adric! Why did he never get to fight the Daleks?

Sidetracking aside, we’re back to watching the Doctor and Susan so I’m happy again. The Doctor’s curiosity with the Daleks and how they work is brilliant, all down to Hartnell’s performance. He’s really not had much to do in the last few episodes, but what he has done has really made me warm to him. His little mannerisms are already coming through in his dialogue but now he’s been captured by the Daleks using some nasty camera flares! Why couldn’t they just take Susan?

And oh no, we’re back in the very dragged out caves/tunnels scene. Our cast have to jump from one side of the tunnel to another, which somehow we have to watch for almost ten minutes. All this manages to achieve is loose its audience interest, especially mine. It’s all fine wanting to see Ian jump across, making the first move, but I don’t want to see it four times over. Although the scene does kill off that little Adric-like Thal, that makes me happy again.

Moving back to the good scenes, we have a scene between the Daleks, Susan and Doctor Who with some fantastic ‘showdown-like’ scripting from Terry Nation. “That’s sheer murder,” Hartnell blurts out in disgust at the metal menaces. Some fantastic dialogue in this scene, making the episode for me. The Doctor, despite his dark sides, is disgusted at these creatures, creating the rivalry that has lasted for almost fifty years. This scene is where you feel that battle begins and that is why this serial is truly worth watching and why it has become the classic it is.

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