Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Underwater Menace (episode 3)

Originally Broadcast 28th January 1967

Written by: Geoffrey Orme
In a nutshell: The Doctor gives Zaroff the run-around as he decides he must be captured, before Zaroff feigns a faint and gives the Doctor and co. the run-around!

Review: The silliness of The Underwater Menace continues into this third instalment, with the Doctor and Ramo about to be decapitated when Polly becomes the voice of the Mighty Amdo to rescue them. It’s a bit silly and obvious, but in this story anything seems to work. Ramo’s disgust at being betrayed by this false God falls flat, though, as there wasn’t enough of a build up to the beliefs using Amdo (or the voice of Amdo) itself.

The big scene for this episode takes place around the market street, with the Doctor in disguise to try and lure Zaroff into a trap. Ben and Jamie arrive, dressed up as guards, with a great missed opportunity at showing how they came by their costumes. It feels like a fun little scenario that would fit well into this serial, in the same way we witness Indiana Jones punch out a guard to get a costume too small for him. And who else thinks Ben looks kinda sexy in his outfit?

Troughton is his latest guise. You didn't think I'd post a picture of Ben did you?
Part of this story which comes under heavy criticism is the appearance of the fish people. I do like the costumes, they’re not beautiful but they carry a decent and memorable appearance. The scenes of them floating/swimming are cleverly constructed by the production team but do feel a bit slow, the direction being fairly misjudged for the tea time audience.

Despite an amazingly choreographed action sequence, the embarrassing events build up for Zaroff as the story goes on. First off, he pulls the oldest trick in the book by staging a feint in order to escape the clutches of Ramo and Polly. Secondly, he decides to pull out a gun which is painfully obvious it’s a sound effect by the stiltedness of Furst’s gun-toting hand before his infamous declaration “Nothing in ze world can stop me now!”

Find out if anything can at the same blog tomorrow!

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