Thursday, 30 May 2013

Galaxy Four 2: Trap Of Steel

Originally Broadcast 18th September 1965
Written by: William Emms

In a nutshell: Steven is captured by the Drahvins whilst the Doctor and Vicki bargain for his life by going in search of the Rills.

NB. As this episode is missing from the BBC archives, this review is based upon the surviving audio book narrated by Peter Purves. Telesnaps do not exist for this serial.

Review: Episode 2 of Galaxy Four is pretty much the opposite of the opening instalment, which had some fun character interaction, funny lines, a strong cliffhanger and a plot that moved at a bearable pace. Peter Purves doesn’t have anything to do apart from put his foot in it and then get shoved into a holding cell where once in a while the writer remembers about him and adds in a scene where he embarrassingly stumbled through some dialogue about trying to escape. I do feel sorry for Purves, who hates his character in this story, but I think he misses the point of Steven jumping into prison in Vicki’s place. It’s a bold move for feminism, I suppose, and does make a change to have the male imprisoned instead of the female companion.

Speaking of feminism, it’s hard to talk about Galaxy Four without mentioning producer Verity Lambert’s decision to turn the male Drahvins (as scripted) into females to bring a bit of spark to the episode. It does work, as the story would be even more simple, tedious and done-to-death than it is.

Steven Taylor: Being badly written for since September 1965
Meanwhile, as Stevens having all the excitement, the Doctor and Vicki seem to be sightseeing their way along the planet’s surface as they await the Chumbleys to pick them up, which isn’t going to happen for fifteen minutes because we need to make that the climax of the episode, which is the worst thing in the history of Doctor Who. Because the episode is missing, we have Vicki laughing at the cuteness of a chumbley before, out of nowhere, she screams violently as the credits roll. What did she scream at? No idea. Where’s the audio explanation of what she screams at? No idea. What did this cliffhanger achieve other than hurting my ears? No idea.

There isn’t a lot to say about Trap Of Steel, the episode fails to interest me at any point of it’s twenty-three minute life, instead it makes me pray to whoever is up there that the next episode is brilliant, as it’s the newly discovered part of the serial. I don’t want the only new William Hartnell episode since 2004 to be rubbish. Please, it’ can’t be, can it?

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