Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Visitation (Part Two)

Originally Broadcast 16th February 1982

Written by: Eric Saward

In a nutshell: Adric and Tegan are taken captive by the deadly Terileptils as the Doctor, Nyssa and Mace try and find out what they’re up to.

Review: I feel we’ve recapped too much at the start here, although it’s probably because there was no real ending, the action just stopped last time. But we’ve got a lovely effect of the cast walking through a brick wall, it’s actually pretty cool and effective, it still works now, thirty years later. The first five minutes of this episode are a bit…odd. We’re a bit all over the place with the regulars and Mace sort of wondering round waiting for action to happen themselves as they chatter about the taste of ale and the smell of sulphur.

What’s most surprising is the Doctor leaves behind two of his companions and what’s more surprising is Adric shouldn’t even be unconscious, he was barely touched by the glam-droid! I can’t help but think it’s an excuse to get our characters split up to introduce new bits of the plot and make it so we’re not following the one storyline for twenty minutes.

At the ten minute mark we get to see our monster, which is surprising really, as they weren’t saved for an end-of-episode moment. The Terileptil looks pretty good, it’s quite clearly a rubber monster but it still looks good. The mouth moves at the right time, it maybe a little slow moving and it doesn’t suspend my disbelief much, but there’s something there. It has a ‘quality’ for want of a better explanation. I’m not sure, though, why Adric blurts out everything about the TARDIS upon seeing him. He can’t be scared to death so why is he? I think from this and his turn in Four To Doomsday he should change his name to Blabbermouth.

The Terileptils - revealed too early?
The jumping between storylines is a good move, actually, to break up the narrative. It’d get a bit too much following jus the Doctor and Nyssa or just Tegan and Adric, so splitting them up works well, even if it wasn’t done 100% convincingly. I feel I haven’t said a lot about this episode and I’ve almost reached twenty minutes. It’s certainly not slow and events have developed well in this second episode, I think I just don’t have a lot to say because I’m caught up in it.

In the past The Visitation has always been my favourite Peter Davison serial despite never really ‘getting’ the fifth Doctor’s time of the show. I think it’s a solid story (ok there are some plot holes) with very memorable guest characters and monsters with some fun moments between the Doctor and his companions. The BBC also handles period pieces with seeming ease. It’s just hard to find something I don’t like in this story that jars too much.

Events develop rapidly by the end of the episode as the Doctor visits the Miller and Adric escapes from the villains. Tegan has to stay behind, which gives us a third storyline to follow in the next part, so maybe that’s the secret behind strong storytelling? Give us one group of characters to follow for part one, two smaller groups for part two and split them smaller for three sequences in the third part before they culminate together in the final part. It sounds like a strong theory to me. We’ll find out if it works in the next part of The Visitation tomorrow!

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