In which our heroes make a valuable attempt to escape and Za fights a creature just off camera.
Despite the portrayal of the tribe adhering to every stereotype of cavemen, this is a surprisingly well-paced story. After the power-struggle in the previous episode, this episode sees the characters as they attempt to escape. They are tracked by Za and Hur into the forest, where Za is attacked off-camera by a beast of some sort. Against Ian and The Doctor’s wishes, Barbara rushes to help the injured Za. She and Ian tend to Za’s wounds and try to get him to the TARDIS for medicine, when they find their path blocked by the tribe under Kal’s leadership.
During the course of this episode, the reality of the situation finally catches up to Barbara and she has a moment of panic. Having once lived comfortably in the 1960s she has been taken against her will to the early stages of The Ice Age and is being stalked through the forest by cavemen. Barbara is understandably rattled. Ian does his best to help her focus, again showcasing his character’s primary purpose–strength. The Doctor runs the gamut in this episode, from expressing remorse and responsibility for the predicament, to being prepared to murder Za to urge his companions to keep moving. If not for their compassion, the travelers would have escaped. In many ways, this seems to be the primary message of the primitive/civilized theme in this story. Compassion is the driving force, it is what sets a society apart from others. It doesn’t matter how advanced The Doctor may be, his lack of compassion is inhuman. Compassion is also the key for the tribe’s survival, not fighting over power and fire. And just as the tribe must learn to work together, The Doctor and his companions must also learn to work together. Sadly, at this point they are constantly fighting. One gets the impression that The Doctor is regretting his actions and that it may have been better to let Ian and Barbara go to the police rather than find themselves in the past.