Written by Donald Cotton
Directed by Michael Leeston-Smith
Vicki and Steven are put in a Trojan dungeon and sentenced to execution unless Vicki works a miracle. At the Greek camp, The Doctor must find a way to win the war or face his own execution.
I’m really enjoying this story. I felt like the first two episodes got off to a bit of a rocky start, but now that all the characters are in place and the situations are established, we can sit back and watch everything unfold.
The Doctor is in a particularly difficult spot here. He faces execution unless he can win the war, but he has Vicki and Steven in Troy to worry about and he cannot interfere with history. He tries out an idea of catapults and “flying” soldiers into Troy, but when Odysseus proposes The Doctor be the test flight, the idea is quickly nixed. In the end, he has no choice but to suggest The Trojan Horse, in part to save his own skin. However, this constitutes major interference in time. In fact, we have The Doctor actually causing an historical event, something the show has avoided up to this point. Whitaker’s views of time and history are now officially gone. The only thing that stands between history as we know it and history being changed is the benevolence of The Doctor. He will make things unfold the way they should. That’s an awful lot of responsibility to place on a man who once lied about a fluid link being destroyed so he could explore a city. This may be the first place where The Doctor ceased being a curious explorer and started becoming a meddler. He seems scared to death to do it in this story. Sure, he preserved the timeline in The Time Meddler, but that was to stop a renegade Time Lord. Here there is no Time Lord to stop, there are no aliens. It is just humanity fighting a war, and now The Doctor has interfered and set into motion an historic event that will move into mythology. Perhaps that is the only saving grace, that it becomes mythology rather than established history. In a sense, he is protected because no one knows if the story is true or not. But, having gotten a taste for interference, and not being caught, I think we can expect this behavior to escalate.
Vicki (Cressida) and Steven (Diomede) spend most of this episode in a Trojan dungeon. Cressida has been given an ultimatum. She must use her supernatural power to either give Piam information about the Greeks, or cause the Trojans to win the war. Otherwise, she will be executed as a witch, something Cassandra will do with relish. Priam trusts Cressida, however. This trust is rewarded when a giant horse appears on the plains, a wooden avatar of the god the Trojans worship. Vicki knows she didn’t cause this, but Priam believes she did. Vicki knows what this means and Cassandra is correct, it is an ill omen.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Troilus. Vicki seems to be playing on his affections for information and possibly freedom. The would be in character for her. What seems out of character is that she is falling in love with him. Sure, Troilus is smitten, but O’Brien’s performance as Vicki doesn’t seem to convey this quite so well. I think she is staying in character, in spite of what the script demands.