While I had a bit of trouble transitioning from 2012 television back to 1970s television in part 1, with this episode, I was back in the groove. Things really start to move in this episode. We get more intrigue with the mysterious Mr. Channing, who has taken over a plastics factory. We get our first sighting of an Auton. Most importantly, however, we have The Doctor, fresh from his recovery, ready to bolt in the TARDIS. Unfortunately for him, The Brigadier has the key, so The Doctor barters his services in UNIT’s investigation in return for the TARDIS key. Surely this will be easier than when Marco Polo had the key.
Today, I want to focus on Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. I find him wonderful! He seems to be a continuation of the Second Doctor. I’m sure that we are still witnessing a transitional phase here. The previous incarnation’s personality may wane as we go further into the era, but for now, I enjoy that I can still hear the Second Doctor’s voice in the dialogue. This is probably aided by Robert Holmes’ writing, since he wrote two stories for Troughton.
Perhaps the most surprising part of this episode—for me, anyway—was when The Doctor met Liz Shaw. The two immediately teamed up to study the plastic meteor fragment, and to goad The Brigadier. And, if I’m not mistaken, the Third Doctor was flirting with Liz! Granted, it was quite mild. It came across as a flirtatious comment between intellectual equals. This probably won’t make too many old series fans happy, but I think, with the Third Doctor, we have the possibility of a sexual Doctor. By this, I don’t mean that he actively pursues his companions (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), but that he enjoys the verbal repartee that is flirting. The Third Doctor is already adding a type of suave charm to his arrogance. Keep in mind, this charm flows out of the arrogance, almost as if, were we able to peek into his mind, he was saying “Why shouldn’t women be interested? Look at how brilliant I am!” Make no mistake, his charming of the ladies has nothing to do with scoring; it is always about his genius.