112 – The Hall of Dolls (The Celestial Toymaker Part 2)

Written by Brian Hayles
Directed by Bill Sellars

As The Doctor continues to play The Toymaker in Trilogic, Steven and Dodo must solve their next riddle while menaced by living playing cards.

There’s something about the name The Hall of Dolls that I quite like.  Sadly, this story isn’t nearly as creepy as I would like it to be.

The next game Steven and Dodo face is one where they must choose the one chair out of seven that is not deadly.  To accomplish this task, they have dolls which they can place into the chairs.  True to form, The Toymaker has given them challengers in the form of The King of Hearts, Queen of Hearts and the accompanying Jack and Joker.  The stakes are somewhat higher now because everyone is playing for freedom.  Steven and Dodo must win their game before The Doctor wins his so they can all return to The TARDIS.  The Hearts want to win so they can be freed from playing card form.  This really puts Steven and Dodo into a questionable position, for by winning their game, they condemn others to eternal subjugation to The Toymaker.  Unfortunately, this idea isn’t lingered upon as Steven continually insists that it is “us or them”, and Dodo reluctantly goes along with him.

Naturally, Steven and Dodo win.  The Toymaker gives them the clue to their next game, and the Doctor’s companions travel on.  As they leave, however, the remaining dolls from the previous game come to life and follow them.  Again, I’m sure that is not nearly as creepy as it sounds.

Not much else happens in this episode with one exception.  The Doctor, after warning Steven and Dodo about the game, is made mute.  So he now has no physical form, apart from his hand, and no voice.  Even though the production team went in a different direction for replacing Hartnell, even at this point you can see how they were setting the groundwork.

In other news, if you haven’t heard, Michael Gough, who played The Toymaker, die last week on St. Patrick’s Day.  I think I first saw him as Alfred in the 1989 version of Batman.  It would be nice to see more of his performance as The Toymaker, but at least episode four is still in the archives, so we have something.

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