Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Wheel In Space (Episode 3)

Originally Broadcast 11th May 1968
Written by: David Whitaker

In a nutshell: The Cybermen are stealthily attacking the wheel, sending their Cybermats ahead of them to render the station helpless.

Review: I’m going to start at the end this time around and say that the cliffhanger to this episode was badly directed, sending a wobbly camera on a ‘fast’ zoom-in to Troughton’s face didn’t really create a hard impact for me about the Cybermen being revealed.

On a cheerier note, I stated in my review of episode two how it’s a shame we’ll never get to see that cliffhanger. As I began playing episode three (which is surviving), I found myself seeing that as the reprieve from last time. I got to see the Cybermen effect and I was right, it was cleverly carried out and looked pretty remarkable.

Back to the episode in hand and I found this weaker than the previous instalment, the Doctor finally makes an appearance though, yet doesn’t do anything bar appear in a few scenes sitting in bed for rest. He did get introduced to Zoe who’s coming into character now. Whitaker has set her up with some character flaws, such as acting inhumane with her calculations, which I’m sure will be developed over the course of her travels with the Doctor, culminating in 1969’s ‘The War Games’. Wendy Padbury has a real connection with Frazer Hines as Jamie and they get on so well in this episode, I love the ‘friendly’ rapport between them, each trying to get one over on the other based on how clever they are.

Worst point of the episode: Quickset plastic is clearly labelled on the ‘quick-setting plastic’ bottle in big felt pen. That’s a nice bit of marketing for the industry. The Cybers don’t appear much, although a Cybermat is attacked with the plastic, although not before the best bit of any Doctor Who episode ever. A team of five Cybermats kills a man, they’re so menacing, I know! I was loving this scene, I really like the Mats and to see them take on a human and win was just fun.

The Cybermen voices are terrible in this episode, it’s usually hard to understand them in some sixties adventures (particularly the Controller in 1967s ‘Tomb Of The Cybermen’) but here it just grates and is inaudible, ruining parts of the episode. They don’t really advance any here either, making the episode cliffhanger pretty much the same as the last one, as nothing of interest has really happened to forward their plans. It’s taken them twenty-five minutes of television to make their way out of their balloons and decide to invade but still no invasion. Ah well, back to audio for episode four now.

Troughton awake again, but not back on his feet

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