In Too Deep Into Doctor Who: The Second Doctor
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Doctor Who, where I over-analyse each of the Doctors to find out which is best.
The way this is going to run is very simple: I take ten categories and give each Doctor points 1 to 10 along the way. Now some of this may seem familiar since I will be repeating myself, but I plan to have this be a be all and end all look at my favourite fictional character. So join me each week as work out which of the Doctors in my absolute favourite.
A complete one eighty of what came before, he’s a great Doctor who often seems to be running around trying to fix various problems. While he’ll fight the good fight there’s that hint that he regrets the situations he blunders into and wishes for a quieter life. Still, he’ll always save the day where he can. A funny little man who more often than not loves to act like a buffoon. 7/10.
Now as I’ve previously said the â€œcosmic hoboâ€ remarks come very much from how he’s dressed. It is essentially a more casual version of the First Doctor costume. Which is sort of interesting, but ultimately rather dull in the long run. It helps him look scruffy and disorganized, but it’s hardly the most interesting costume out there. It’s more to help the audience accept that he’s the same man, rather than a new one. 4/10.
The Story: It is with great regret that we don’t get to see the Power of the Daleks story, since it’s instrumental to Doctor Who’s history. However having listening to the audio, I can say that the story is fantastic. The visuals were probably a huge let-down, but the story itself is just great. Daleks without weapons, forced to instead become the servants to humans and tear the colony apart with civil war. Honestly it’s a great story written by a great writer that I wished still existed for us to see. 7/10.
The Doctor’s Introduction: Patrick Troughton had, without a shadow of a doubt, the hardest job out of any of the Doctor’s to date. He had to totally convince the audience that the concept of ‘regeneration’ was a totally reasonable thing that should be embraced. He had to step up and reassure the audience that he was the same man before. And he is just fantastic at it. Again, shame we only have audio… but boy does he know how to keep the audience entertained. 7/10.
Overall: There is so much that’s good about this story. Not only do we have the return of the Daleks, we have a new character who claims to be the Doctor. However, can we trust him? Is he the same man? The new character of the Doctor works well in the theme of the Daleks becoming ‘servants’ to the humans, reflecting an almost clever change in them. The themes in this work so well off each other that it’s worth noting how subtly their intertwined. Maybe it was intentional, maybe it was a happy accident. I guess we’ll never know. 7/10.
Final Verdict: 21/30 aka 7/10.
Polly: It’s with this Doctor that the character does more. Very much a retread of the Ian/Barbara concept, they perfectly fit in with the time the show was being aired. Dated now, but still a good character. Just prone to screaming a lot. 4/10.
Ben Jackson: Again, does a lot more this time round… but ends up getting sidelined due to the introduction of the next companion. He does a fine enough job, but he’s just not up to those that came before or after. 4/10.
Jamie McCrimmon: Jamie is perhaps one of the Doctor’s most loyal companions. He sticks with the Second Doctor through the latter’s entire incarnation, and only leaves when he’s forced too. Add to that he’s a brave, noble soul that plays off so well with the Second Doctor and you have one of the greatest companions ever. 10/10.
Victoria Waterfield: She screams. A lot. Okay she does more than that, but the screaming is the primary thing that defines her. She is the standard ‘damsel in distress’ in a very annoying way. Still, the character’s not a total waste. Good, but ultimately not great. She gets points for being from a different time period though (something I wish New Who would do once in a while). 4/10.
Zoe Heriot: Zoe is an interesting character. At times she appears to be smarter than the Doctor, when the truth of the matter is that she is instead just more logical. This brings in a brilliant double act between her and the Second Doctor, a man who acts far more on instinct than cold logic. Compare that with Jamie, the man who has no real logic in his system, and they work so well together. Plus she subverts many of the clichÃ©s by being a smart, competent woman. 8/10.
Final Tally: 30/50 aka 6/10.
Honourable Mentions: The Web of Fear may have topped the list, since it was recently found and as great as I remembered. Sadly it still has one episode missing, so it sadly misses out by the smallest of margins.
Story: The Tomb of the Cybermen is the first Patrick Troughton story I watched and thus my favourite. I mean this just has so much going on to make it scary. The tomb is a terrifying place to be in, the monsters are horrifying, the human villains quite monstrous. It’s such a brilliant four parter with no real faults. 10/10
Monster: It’s the Cybermen. Second only to the Daleks, these monsters work perfectly in this story. They’re clever, they’re calculating, they’re outright scary at times. They probably creep me out more than the Daleks. 10/10.
Nostalgia Factor: Like I said, first story I watched, where I had a rather rude introduction to the Second Doctor. I remember spending every moment watching hoping that they didn’t open the tomb, praying they didn’t, but of course they did. And the Doctor helped them, which made it creepier. Fortunately he saves the day, but I’m still terrified just thinking about it. 10/10.
Best Moment: The moment I fell in love with the Second Doctor character. When his companion mentions he’s so old he probably can’t remember his family, he replies â€œOh yes, I can when I want to. And that’s the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they… they sleep in my mind and I forget. And so will you. Oh yes, you will. You’ll find there’s so much else to think about. To remember. Our lives are different to anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.â€ It’s a touching little moment that really counterpoints well with the cold, logical monsters the story is about. Emotion versus the emotionless. 8/10
Ranking: If I had only twelve episodes of Doctor Who to watch, and I had to rank those twelve from best to worse, this would be number three, giving it a score of 8/10.
Final Verdict: 46/50, aka 9.2/10
The Second Doctor â€“ The Dominators (dishonourable mention: Nil).
Dishonourable Mentions: There aren’t really any dishonourable mentions because there isn’t enough Patrick Troughton to give a fair hearing. I could mention The Space Pirates is famous for being bad… but I don’t know enough about it to say.
Story: The Dominators, however, deserves to be called bad despite it being of the few stories left from Troughton’s era. Who knows why the Doctor thought it was a good idea to use the Quarks as a way of arguing for his defence. Add onto that a rant about why hippies and pacifism is bad, that was so long they actually cut it down an episode cos it was such a boring rant… Yeah this is saved by the lead actors performance and nothing else. 1/10.
Monster: Oh the Quarks… clearly meant to be the next Daleks, aimed to have so much merchandise made about them… and their most successful achievement is being used in a comic where they had giant angry bees. Yeah they’re just stupid. So very, very stupid. 0/10.
Guilty Pleasure Factor: Again, saw this as a kid, and there’s only three good things about this episode: Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury. The three leads managed to make a lot of good with a really bad script. 3/10.
Worst Moment: They tried to get a stunt double in for Patrick Troughton… and rather stupidly had an almost close-up on the face that ruined the illusion. It gets a point for making me laugh though. 1/10.
Ranking: Ranking these twelve episodes from favourite to less favourite, this one comes in at number seven, giving it a final score of 4/10.
Final Verdict: 9/50 aka 1.8/10.
Best Speech/Moment(Television only)
My favourite speech comes from him having to defend himself to the Time Lords about why he meddles:
â€œTIME LORD: You have heard the charge against you, that you have repeatedly broken our most important law of non-interference in the affairs of other planets. What have you to say? Do you admit these actions?
DOCTOR: I not only admit them, I am proud of them. While you have been content merely to observe the evil in the galaxy, I have been fighting against it.
TIME LORD 3: It is not we who is on trial here, Doctor, it is you.
DOCTOR: No, no, of course, you’re above criticism, aren’t you.
TIME LORD: Do you admit that these actions were justified?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course, I do. Give me a thought channel and I’ll show you some of the evils I’ve been fighting against.
(The Time Lords nod to each other.)
DOCTOR: The Quarks, deadly robot servants of the cruel Dominators, they tried to enslave a peace loving race. Then there were the Yeti, more robot killers, instruments of an alien intelligence trying to take over the planet Earth.
TIME LORD 3: All this is entirely irrelevant.
DOCTOR: You asked me to justify my actions, I am doing so. Let me show you the Ice Warriors, cruel Martian invaders, they tried to conquer the Earth too. So did the Cybermen, half creature, half machine. But worst of all were the Daleks, a pitiless race of conquerors exterminating all who came up against them. All these evils I have fought while you have done nothing but observe. True, I am guilty of interference, just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!â€
For reference, imagine if a soldier walked into the House of Congress and pointed out all the bull that the politicians go through. How they sit about and talk while he goes out and fights the real fight. This is a great moment where the Doctor gets to show why he’s a meddler and proud of it. A defining moment for the character. Patrick Troughton lets loose at those around him and it works perfectly. 7/10.
In contrast to the First the Second Doctor does a lot better in the expanded universe. It helps of course that we don’t have much of Patrick Troughton to go on, thereby leaving a blank slate of sorts for us to fill in our impression of him. But stories of this Doctor are often fun to read, if occasionally ham-stringed by trying to fit in with the TV style. Here we get a blunder of a Doctor, one who haplessly tries to solve the problem through luck more than skill. Really this Doctor (like the one before) probably doesn’t survive well in the expanded universe due to him lacking anything that makes him an interesting main character. 5/10
The Story: The War Games was recently voted the best 60s story of Doctor Who (and 12th overall) and I have to agree with that statement. Now I’d recommend the novelization over the actual serial only because the book snaps along at a faster pace. Still the story is great: Soldiers all throughout history are being kidnapped by a group of aliens to make them the ‘ultimate army’ which will be used to conquer the universe. It’s very anti-war and shows just how bad all the fighting can be. 7/10.
The Final Moments: The Second Doctor gets put on trial by his own people, giving us a moment where we get to see what the Doctor stands for. However this is undercut by the simple fact that the regeneration is just not that good. He doesn’t get any real last words, the concept is left up in the air, and later on we learn that the Time Lords basically killed him as punishment. So while the last episode is good, his last moments aren’t. 3/10.
Overall: I’m tempted to give this a one since only one episode actually deals with the regeneration… but since one of the bad guys is a Time Lord like the Doctor there is at least a small bit of foreshadowing. 2/10.
Final Verdict: 12/30 aka 4/10.
It’s a shame that we’ve lost so much of the Second Doctor but, on the whole, it’s a great section of Doctor Who. Immortalizing the now famous ‘base under siege’ story, the show makes great use of its budget to really push the boundaries. With a more active lead the stories flow better than they did previously, with some of the best companions of all time helping to round out the mix. 8/10.
Final Verdict: 59/100
So there you have it. My look at this Doctor. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Tune in next week for my take on the next Doctor on the list. Till next time.