Madame Guillotine Takes a New Lover
The last episodes of the last story of the first season! And, I forgot to mention, the first story I have watched that uses animation to replace missing episodes. In this case, episodes 4 and 5 of The Reign of Terror are still missing from the archives, although the complete audio recordings remain. On the whole I thought the animation was well done, although some of the rotoscoping seemed a bit off to me. Anyway, today was the big finish (in more ways than one).
Let's talk about that.
A Bargain of Necessity
Ian is being held by the traitorous (or patriotic, depending on your point of view) Léon. After some questioning and various threats, Jules (the rescuer of Barbara and Susan) comes to the rescue. Léon is killed in the scuffle, and then Ian and Jules rush back to the safe house. Back at the jail, the Doctor bamboozles the oafish jailer into allowing Barbara to escape. He tries to rescue Susan as well, but not only fails but is captured by Lemaitre.
Barbara arrives at the safe house, and is upset when she learns of Jules' death. She had met him in the previous episode, and thought he seemed like a decent man. She and Ian then proceed to have a surprisingly nuanced discussion about the blurred lines between Traitor and Patriot. For me the entire episode was worth it for this scene, as it is one of the rare times that Barbara is allowed to be a complex and intelligent character.
In the closing scene, Lemaitre strong-arms the Doctor into revealing the location of the safe house against the threat of sending Susan to the guillotine. The Doctor bargains for Susan's life, and both Ian and Barbara are shocked when the Doctor returns to the safe house with Lemaitre at his side.
Prisoners of Conciergerie
DRAMATIC PLOT TWIST! HUGE SPOILER!
It turns out that Lemaitre is actually.... John Sterling! He has been spying from the inside all along, he only needs one last thing before returning home to England: the message that Ian's cell mate wanted passed along. It turns out to be the location of a clandestine meeting happening that night between another spy, and some unknown person. Sterling insists that this meeting must be monitored, before he will assist in the release of Susan. Jules, Ian, and Barbara rush off to the inn where the meeting is happening, where Jules incapacitates the innkeeper and then Ian and Barbara play the part of Innkeeper and Barmaid.
The meeting, it turns out, is with none other than Napoléan Bonaparte, and lays out the manner in which Robespierre will be deposed and imprisoned the next day, to replaced with a new triad of consuls. Shortly thereafter, Robespierre will have his very own date with Madame Guillotine. With that information in hand, the group returns to the prison to meet up with John Sterling and the Doctor. Susan's final rescue happens, everyone rides off in a carriage to the north of Paris, and soon enough John Sterling is on his way to Calais and a crossing to England while the Doctor and companions are in the TARDIS on their way to destinations unknown. But, I totally know it's the Planet of the Giants.
I really must say, the historicals are where William Hartnell shines as the Doctor. On top of that, those are the ones where Barbara is let out of her box and allowed to be an intelligent and strong woman instead of just a damsel in distress. You can imagine, then, just how excited I am that with the next season the historicals become a rarity. Ah, well. At least there are more Daleks to look forward to.
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright
Episode(s): A Bargain of Necessity, Prisoners of Conciergerie
Steps Walked: 6,618 today, 146,308 total
Distance Walked: 3.05 miles today, 65.08 miles total
Weight: 298.54 lbs (five day moving average), net change -8.76 lbs