Doctor Who 129 – The Smugglers Part 3

Written by Brian Hayles
Directed by Julia Smith

The Doctor and the innkeeper escape Pike’s ship.  Now the search for Avery’s gold begins.

As mentioned above, The Doctor and the innkeeper are able to escape from The Black Albatross.  This proves disasterous to their guard when Pike returns.  The Squire and Pike, while the escape is occurring, decide the best way to be rid of Ben and Polly is to convince the revenue agent that the two Londoners murdered Longfoot.  The agent goes along with their accusation, and takes Ben and Polly away.  Pike and The Squire then finalize negotiations for smuggling.  What The Squire doesn’t realize is that Pike has no interest in being a smuggler.  He is here for one reason: Avery’s gold.  However, the smuggling goods hidden in the church’s crypt will not be overlooked when he raids the village.

The agent releases Ben and Polly, trusting their word over The Squire’s.  The rumors he came to Cornwall to investigate implicated The Squire.  As the agent fills Ben and Polly in on the investigation, The Doctor arrives with the innkeeper.  The innkeeper, upon seeing the agent, feels he has been betrayed by The Doctor and flees.  The agent, anticipating a confrontation between Pike and The Squire, rides for reinforcements and The Doctor, Ben, and Polly set about finding Avery’s gold as a negotiating tool to protect the village from Pike.

As Pike returns to the ship to make raiding plans, The Squire and the innkeeper resolve to find Avery’s gold before Pike returns.  What they don’t realize is that one of Pike’s men, the man named Cherub who was Longfoot’s real murderer, is following them.  Whether he is working for the good of Pike or for his own reasons, is unclear.  But in a confrontation in the crypt between The Squire, innkeeper, The Doctor, Ben, and Polly, Cherub kills the innkeepr.

Up until this point I can see why the historicals eventually fell by the wayside.  This isn’t a bad story, but I have found it somewhat difficult to engage with.  There is a lot of posturing and maneuvering between characters, deceptions and double-crosses, and while this isn’t a bad thing, you need a larger cast to achieve this and sometimes it is hard to figure out who is who.  I think if the episode still existed I would be having an easier time with the story.  That said, this was the first episode of this story that I really got in to.  Usually I find my interest waning in part three, but here I felt we were beginning to see two episodes of build-up pay off.  Honestly, I think that seems to be the form of the historicals: two and a half episodes of build-up and one of action.  I’m glad to finally see the story moving forward.

The Squire is a fool.  First, Pike completely dupes him.  Second, when he finally meets The Doctor, he insists on formalities and acting like gentlemen.  This isn’t something that will likely stop Pike.  It is good that The Squire recognizes the danger of a man like Pike, however.  But I think he means to save his own skin in this.  Typical government man.

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