Wednesday 27 July 2011

247 The War Games: Episode Four

EPISODE: The War Games: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 10 May 1969
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke & Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Derrick Sherwin
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The War Games

Doctor & Zoe find themselves inside a larger area inside the box, like the Tardis. Inside are groups of soldiers in the uniforms of different times and armies. The ship lands and the Romans leave. Jamie and Jennifer are captured by the American forces. They are freed by Southerners but then imprisoned on the orders of their officer: Von Weich from the 1917 zone. The War Chief and his scientist talk about programming the soldiers when Von Weich reports on Jamie & Jennifer's capture. The travel capsule returns to it's base. The Doctor & Zoe disguise themselves and explore. Jamie & Jennifer are rescued by a soldier who has broken his conditioning and can't be hypnotised but he is captured in the escape. The Doctor & Zoe stumble into a lecture the scientist is giving explaining about taking the soldiers from Earth, processing them to convince them they're still on Earth. Some have broken the conditioning and formed a resistance. He brings in a captive who has broken his conditioning: Lt Carstairs! He reconditions Carstairs to make him obedient, which makes him unable to recognise his advanced surroundings. Carstairs accuses the Doctor & Jamie of being spies, recalling the court martial. The Doctor suggest that Carstairs being completely deprocessed before being reconditioned. Jamie & Jennifer are recaptures and returned to the barn, reunited with their saviour from the resistance. The resistance attacks, freeing them and capturing Von Weich. The War Chief and his guards arrive at the lecture and recognises the Doctor. An alert is sounded and as they flee Carstairs escapes, taking Zoe prisoner because he believes her a spy and draws his gun on her to shoot her....

My opinions on the War Games went up when I saw it on DVD but now I'm watching it episodically it's absolutely cracking. Loving it to bits. A tinsy bit of time wasting here: Jamie & Jennifer escape, get split up, Jamie gets in a fight, Jennifer gets captured, Jamie frees her, they both get captured and taken to the barn where they started from, but it's minor and at the same time the Doctor's part of the story is moving on as they discover the conditioning of the soldiers and confirm they're not on Earth. The Doctor almost, but not quite, says that he thinks his people are responsible in this episode. The look of shock on his face, and the War Chief's as they recognise each other is superb.

Joining us this episode are a few new faces: One of the American Soldiers, Leroy, is a young Leslie Schofield. He'll be back as Calib in The Face of Evil. He's in Star Wars as Chief Bast the Imperial Officer that recommends the Death Star is evacuated, Blake's 7's second episode as the sadistic sub commander Raiker, has had stints in Coronation Street & Eastenders and loads of other roles. He's a very recognisable face to anyone who's seen any TV in the last 40 years. Rudolph Walker, playing Harper, was also in East Enders but is best known for his role in the controversial ITV sit com Love Your Neighbour. Vernon Dobtcheff makes his only Who appearance in this story. You'll have seen him as one of the scientists being blown up near the start of The Spy Who Loved Me.

1 comment:

  1. The War Games is one of those stories that I think is crying out to be seen an episode at a time. With the coming of VHS and DVD we have, in fandom, lost that habit but there are some stories that only really show their true colours when you see them a bit at a time.

    I love the way this story always seems to be finding something new in each episode. It adds to the charm when you never quite know what is coming next.