No Wonder Peter Davison and Janet Fielding Announced They Were Leaving
So, I got a bit of a late start today. After yesterday's epically long workout combined with a very long work day plus a birthday party, I just couldn't bring myself to get up early this morning. That being the case, I didn't hit the treadmill until well after 9pm tonight. In retrospect, I shouldn't have bothered.
But I guess I have to get through this story no matter what, so let's
talk mock about that.
Warriors of the Deep - Parts 1 & 2
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
This is easily the nadir of the Fifth Doctor era. If you watch carefully, you can hear BBC executives crying in the background and starting the effort to cancel the series. It's not that the story is bad, per se, it's that the execution is horrendous. After successfully bringing back so many classic enemies in the past two years, John Nathan-Turner decided it was time to bring back the Silurians and the Sea Devils, not seen since the Third Doctor era, and never seen on screen together. Who could imagine how badly it would turn out.
The first and biggest problem is the set and costume design. The whole story takes place inside an underwater military base in the year 2084. At the writing stage it was meant to be a
ripoff homage to the movie Alien, with dank and rusty sets filled with gloom and menace. Somehow by the time it reached production it turned into brightly-lit gleaming white sets with absolutely no menace at all. As for costumes, the Silurians are so rubbery that the mouths don't even move. Their telekinetic third eye was changed into a blinky red light, just so you could tell which one was talking in any group scene.
And then they unleash their deadly beast, the Myrka. It is supposed to be a fearsome towering monster, lurking in the shadows and striking with lightning speed and sewing terror throughout the crew. Instead, it is basically two guys in a horse suit. I mean, sure, it's a giant reptilian horse thing, but it is totally a horse suit. In fact, the two (uncredited) dudes inside the costume are seriously the same two guys who played Dobbin the Pantomime Horse in a children's show called Rentaghost. Given that Classic Who is notorious for wobbly sets and rubber monsters, it takes real effort to stand out as an awful design. Boy howdy does this story stand out.
Even if you get past all of that, there is the complete and utter lack of action. It's all people standing around talking about action, and even people standing around pointing guns and pulling triggers, except the guns don't fire any kind of visible projectile or energy weapon. No blinky lights, no nothing. The actors might as well have just made finger guns and shouted "PEW PEW!!".
Plot? Sure, I guess there is one. A group of Silurians awaken a larger group of Sea Devils in order to launch a new attack against mankind and reclaim the Earth. There is a military sea base, acting in an obvious allegory for the Cold War, waiting for orders to unleash nuclear hellfire against the enemy. There are a pair of crewmembers who are plotting some kind of sabotage. And into the middle of all that comes the TARDIS and her crew, blundering around being chased and shouted at.
I literally just finished watching the first two episodes less than an hour ago, and I can't remember what the midpoint cliffhanger was. Let me go double check...
...Oh, right. Myrka the Pantomime Lizard Horse has broken into the base, and the Doctor and Tegan are trapped inside the airlock with it, where they will surely be
faintly gesticulated at killed. Oh no!
Good lord, I don't even want to get out of bed tomorrow to watch the second half. Who can blame Peter Davison and Janet Fielding for giving their notice?
Companion(s): Tegan, Turlough
Episode(s): Warriors of the Deep - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,564 today, 2,127,343 total
Distance Walked: 4.30 miles today, 1,089.09 miles total
Weight: 246.90 lbs (five day moving average), net change -60.40 lbs