Our ongoing mission to watch Hartnell Year One at the rate of one episode a week continues with episode four.
So they get caught again, giving us our very first Story Loop – capture,escape, capture, escape – and it’s only episode four!
It’s clever of the Doctor to outwit Kal by appealing to his vanity but you wonder what would have happened had he kept his big mouth shut.
In terms of story, it’s strange that Hur gets a sudden attack of thickitis when she’s been the one driving Za to act up until now. And where did all this stuff about sacrificing them on the old stone come from? There was none of that chat earlier on, yet Horg, Hur’s old dad from The Onedin Line confirms it later so that discussion must have happened prior to Za popping into the Cave of Skulls for a chinwag…
This is where we get the payoff of Ian not having any matches back in the junkyard. Interesting that we don’t get the scene where Ian works out how he can make fire, we just see him at it already.
Funny how one yell from Hur brings the whole tribe running into the cave, a tribe that now seems conveniently reduced in numbers…
Za seemingly has time to stop off for a haircut on the way to chasing the travellers back to the TARDIS!
Ooh, a spooky forest. Now that looks more interesting. I wonder what’s waiting for them there?
So. Having watched the first four eps of Doctor Who at the rate of one a week, what’s the verdict? Well, to be honest, this first story isn’t as dull as we remember it and I think it actually benefits from being watched weekly, just like it would have been back in the day. Bingeing on all the episodes at once the minute you get the DVD home isn’t actually the best way to watch the series, particularly these early episodes with their slower pacing.
But that slow pace isn’t quite as evident when viewed individually so I would highly recommend you watching your Who weekly from now on.