2.10 The Rescue Pt. 1 - The Powerful Enemy Written by David Whitaker, Directed by Christopher Barry
The TARDIS lands on the planet Dido, where the natives appear to have killed most of the crew of a spacecraft, leaving only two survivors.
The first half was better than I remembered. I have to say Maureen O'Brien does a good job of Vicki in this first episode. Coming across as quite a solid character in some ways. Bennett seems gruff, but has reason to be, and Koquillion is strange and dangerous.
Of note is William Hartnell's acting in this episode. He starts with some nice, doddery, old-man humour and then effortlessly moves to being hurt and upset when he remembers that Susan has left the ship. Later, he moves back to humourous and gives a lovely performance as he muses on telling Ian a fib. People knock Hartnell's acting, ignoring the fact that he was quite sick and dealing with a very difficult schedule, but it's episodes like this one that show just how adept he really is.
"I just remembered. He told me that... Didn't you hear him? They've... They've killed all your crew too." - Maureen O'Brien (Vicki)
2.11 The Rescue Pt. 2 - Desperate Measures Written by David Whitaker, Directed by Christopher Barry
Will the Tardis crew be able to survive Koquillion's murderous intentions?
A good finish, totally in keeping with the first half. In fact I would have rated it a little above the first half if it hadn't been an element of the ending. Hartnell's performance is good, moving fluidly from kindly old man to hard and more than a little dangerous when he finally confronts Koquillon.
Ian and Barbara get one or two nice moments, especially when Vicki talks about their age. And Vicki rightly gets some variety of material for her first story.
"Oh yes I like the Doctor! It's funny but, as soon as he walked in I felt that you could trust him. But why does he wear those funny clothes... and that, long white hair?" - Maureen O'Brien (Vicki)
7/10 The Rescue
Not a bad little story, and a reasonable introduction to Vicki. Maureen O'Brien gets to run through a range of emotions - anger, despair, happiness - and does so rather well.
The story is a small and intimate one, which given its real job is to introduce the new companion, is actually quite a good decision. And while some people have knocked the plot from time to time, it has ideas and elements that make it quite interesting on a first viewing with no foreknowledge.
There's quite a dark edge running through the second episode. Sandy's death cries are actually rather sad, pathetic, and not a little disturbing, the situation made all the worse for Barbara having ignored Vicki's pleas not to shoot. And Vicki's anger at Barbara is palpable. For a short time at least, she utterly hates the woman who killed her pet! And fair enough, too.
I do think the story suffers thanks to the deus ex machina ending of the Dido survivors appearing just in time to help the Doctor. Why the heck didn't they take down Bennett sooner? And while some folks complain about the twist that Bennett is Koquillon, I think it's reasonably unexpected. Certainly by this point we've seen plenty of ropey looking creatures menacing our heroes, so for one to turn out to actually be a man in a suit is rather cute. And the Doctor commenting that the mask Bennett is wearing is for ceremonial occasions further explains it looking, well, like a mask.
Finding out that Bennett has killed so many people to protect himself is another dark aspect. And the Doctor's subsequent attack on the man when he realises the danger to himself and his friends is pretty full on. Energy weapon, a sword strike that, if it had connected would have done serious damage, and then the old man grabs a pillow in what must only be a last ditch attempt to smother his foe! In the previous story the Doctor states that he never takes a life unless his own is directly threatened, but this story seems to show that once he's decided there's a threat, look out!
Whatever flaws one wants to pick on in this tale, you can't knock Hartnell's performance. He had a script that allowed him emotional pain, loneliness, joy, mischief, sympathy, anger, and rose to the occasion beautifully every time.
All up, quite reasonable. It works well at two episodes and really highlights the range and ability of the show's lead, while doing a good job of introducing a new companion.