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Mar 11, 2007

The Daemons, Fits the Third, Fourth, and Fifth

I always forget that the Daemons is only five parts.  Perhaps it's that the Pertwee era seems to be alone in having odd-numbered serials, save for a handful in McCoy's time(which, being a McCoy fan I find disappointing, as another half-hour of Survival would please me to no end).  Which, by way of explanation, is why I've reviewed it in 2/3 time.  I was originally planning on doing 3 reviews, but then I looked on the menu of my Creative Zen, and noticed there were only 5 episodes. Briefly flirted with the idea of tacking on Return to Devil's End, but passed.

This episode, I view as a breakthrough in some ways, merely for the third Doctor admitting that something actually took him by surprise.  There's enough "Elemental, my dear Benson" moments in his run alone to make Sherlock Holmes look like quite a nice bloke by comparison.  That seems to be the only break though, as just about everyone in this episode seems to be a complete git, at least towards the poor Brigadier.  Little wonder he sometimes wishes he worked in a bank, as, like someone mentioned here earlier, his soldiers and scientific advisor seem to have very little respect for his authority as a military leader. If I were him, I'd have sacked the lot by now, and arranged a small accident for Pertwee's Doctor to gamble on a slightly more respectful model.  Oh, and traded Jo Grant in for someone else, as well.  Maybe see if Liz wanted her job back.  Come to think of it, The Master, despite being the clear-cut villain in the story, seems to show the Brig the most love, or at least the least spite, save for Yates's "don't ask, don't tell" moment there at the end.  Pity that, the Brig may have made Yates a happy man, at least for a few minutes.  Where's Captain Jack when you need him?

It's a shame the Goatman Azal had so little to actually do, despite having 2 and a half hours to do it in.  Maybe with a higher budget, Azal could have been quite the baddie.  Or he might have had six minutes of screen time before collapsing into a black hole.  Or 2 minutes of screen time before having an energy-gasm contest with Benton before disappearing entirely.  Meh, then again maybe we should just be happy with what we got.  It was a nice touch that he almost granted his powers to the Doctor instead of the Master purely out of spite for the latter.  I bet McCoy's Doctor would have gone for it.

Images_3 "Chap with wings there. Five rounds rapid." This is, and will always be, a classic line. And the look on Benton's face as he blows Bok to smithereens with that bazooka.  A man like that should really be either dismissed from the military for mental reasons, or given plausible deniability and sent somewhere unpleasant.

The May Day Morris Dancers.  Oh good lord.  That's all I can say.  I've nothing against Maypoles, or modern reinterpretations of ancient pagan rituals, but..but..no.  No more from me on that.  Except..ah..oh, the newspaper suit. 

The ending really strikes me as a very calm, rational one.  Instead of some big monster and explosion as the last scene, or Jo and the Doctor running off in the TARDIS, or the Master seeming to die horribly, he's arrested.  ARRESTED.  Earth authority actually doing it's job, and taking the prisoner in alive, despite under heavy guard. Which, of course, leads into one of my favorite Pertwee-era moments, when Jo and the Doctor go to visit the Master several serials later, only to find that he's taken control of the Prison that UNIT put him in.  One sneaky monkey, that Master. 

ROll on, Robots of Death, and one of the most fabulously flamboyant costume-sets ever in the history of Sci-fi!


It's a funny one, The Daemons. Held up as a classic for ages, then went through a few years where it was derided as an example of the cosy Pertwee era and a load of old tosh. And nowadays seems to be viewed somewhere in the middle.

I like it, like it a lot. It brings back a lot of memories of those old Hammer films I used to watch on the tv as a kid, usually called things like 'Devil At The Gate' and so on. I like Miss Hawthorne a lot, the charming old dear, the Quatermass-inspired heat shield is a nice idea and the ending is rather touchingly cheesy in this day and age.

When you really like something, you can forgive flaws and I think that's the case with The Daemons for me. There have been rumblings that it might turn up on DVD sometime in this year or next, and I'll be picking up a copy when it does.

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