In which Ian, Barbara, and some Thals traverse many dangers, toils, and snares. And The Doctor smashes things.
“My child, don’t you realize what I’ve done with just a few simple tools and a superior brain!” -The Doctor mere seconds before being captured by The Daleks
The attack by the unseen lake mutant has severely rattled Ganatus’ brother Antodus. In fact, this is the second time Antodus has escaped this creature. While Antodus was in significantly less danger this time around, he is convinced that this expedition will be fatal. As a wise bartender on the Starship Enterprise once said, “if a man is convinced he is going to die tomorrow, he will find a way to make it happen.”
Fortunately for The Thals, construction of the neutron bomb would take 23 days. Must be the Dalek Construction Union, insisting on their lunch breaks and eight-hour work days. The Dalek council doesn’t like the time table and decides to investigate other options.
Meanwhile, having left the lake and now finding themselves in the caves alongside the city, Ganatus continues to make moves on Barbara. He even tries to undermine Ian a bit by asking Barbara if she always does what Ian says. There is a bit of chemistry between the two actors, and this developing attraction does come off as believable. Also of note is that Barbara seems to have partially adopted The Thal look. She doesn’t go bare-shouldered as Dyoni does, but she is wearing Thal trousers, which inexplicably have giant circles cut along the sides of the legs and thigh. Barbara’s trousers have patches rather than exposing skin like the male trousers do and this allows our lead actress to have a bit more modesty than poor Dyoni. I must admit that I’ve never understood fashion on this planet, let alone fashion of Skaro. I guess The Thal costumes are to help emphasize the physical perfection of the people, all bare-chested and bare-shouldered and such. Interesting, given that The Daleks are thinly-veiled Nazi analogs (a scene where The Daleks give a Nazi salute is particularly interesting). But the irony is nice, that the Nazis, who subscribed to a view of the super man as blonde-hair, blue eyed are represented in this story as mutated abominations. Whereas the Thals who must be exterminated are in actuality the perfect men and women. Terry Nation turns the Nazi beliefs on their head. A rather nice touch, if you ask me.
Antodus wants desperately to go home, but in a brief struggle where Ganatus prevents Antodus’ desertion, there is a cave-in. Everyone has no choice but to go on, a path that leads to a lengthy scene in which our characters must jump a chasm. I can’t quite decide if this scene builds tension or pads the episode. Either way, the episode climaxes as Antodus fails to make it across the chasm. We end with a literal cliffhanger, as Ian clings to a rock by his fingertips, Antodus hanging from a rope below. Tension and excitement! One might even call it an ordeal.
Oh, and The Doctor and Susan have been captured by The Daleks again. This is probably relevant.