Paul M. Cray (pmcray) wrote,
Paul M. Cray

Doctor Who: "The Rescue"

I quite liked "The Rescue". At only two episodes, it's the length of a NuWho episode and it is very easy to imagine it being remade as one. The Doctor has been to the planet Dido before, but things are very different now to when he first visited. This is a situation that will reoccur through the series as a way of deepening the mystery by shifting it from "Where are we?" to "What's gone wrong?"

Who did the Doctor visit the planet with? Susan? He is clearly missing her, which is hardly surprising given her unceremonious dismissal from the TARDIS. Luckily there is an al-purpose Susan replacement to be found on the planet. It is noteworthy that Susan is replaced by an almost identical character. Why did Carole Ann Ford leave the series? And why wasn't she replaced by XXX from "The Dalek Invasion of the Earth"? Susan was presumably supposed to be 15-16 in "An Unearthly Child", although, of course, we now know that she is a Time Lord and thus we might not feel quite as bad about the Doctor abandoning her with a virtual stranger at the supposed age of 16-17. How old is Vicki? (Maureen O'Brien was 21 to Jackie Lane's 24.) Vicki is is the audience-identification character for the young segment of the viewership. It'll be a while before it is realised that one isn't actually needed (indded, right at the end of the Hartnell era with "The War Machines"/"The Smugglers"). But they could have rung the changes by making the character from contemporary Earth (too much like Barbara and Ian) or from the past (we'll certainly see that) or alien (with the exceptions of Susan and Romana, who don't really count being a Time Lords like the Doctor, I don't think we have had that) or a boy (Adric!). We might be concerned that someone in the production team either has a bit of a Lolita complex or perhaps even more disconcertingly believes that a section of the audience has something of as Lolita complex (see in particular "The Space Museum" and possibly "City of Death").            
Now Write On...
Given that the Doctor has been there twice, a third visit to is perhaps overdue. Just how have the Dido people got on since the destruction of Koquillion? And the Robinsonade is a sub-genre that appeals so directly to elemental components of the human psyche is never going to get old (survival in a hostile environment and the imposition of order on chaos). What about the Doctor encountering Robinson Crusoe himself (after all he has met Gulliver)? Who indeed did leave that footprint? Or the Doctor could encounter Crusoe's real-life prototype, Alexander Selkirk. Lots of opportunities for a C17th romp there. Or what about the Doctor being stranded sans TARDIS on some alien world? (Of course, in "Inferno", the Doctor describes himself as" a shipwrecked mariner" with the non-functioning TARDIS on Earth.) This gets us back to the notion of time in "Doctor Who". The notion of unseen adventures has always been there. See "The Romans". And there is no reason why the ellipsis could not be 10 years rather than a few weeks. In fact, this kind of timey-wimey stuff quite appeals to Moffat. See for instance "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "The Eleventh Hour" as well as Rory waiting for Amy in "The Big Bang" (see also "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", but then that was based on a novel, where it is easier to get away with this sort of thing, and "The Girl Who Waited"). It would be easy to imagine the Doctor being stuck somewhere remote and having to do something interesting for a few years. Another Shakespeare crossover suggests itself, this time with the Doctor as Prospero. And, of course, that would get us the double whammy of Forbidden Planet too.     
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