Doctor Who and the Silurians (part seven)

Our son really enjoyed the ending of this story, as well he should. It’s a great climax, with the Silurians chased back into hibernation by a runaway nuclear reactor, and then the Brigadier – possibly acting under orders from the Ministry – destroys their base completely while the Doctor’s back is turned. Over the next few years, the Brigadier will become more of a second banana than an independent character with his own motives and agenda. When people talk about the “UNIT Family” that will emerge, it’s a family without a place for a character like this more ruthless military man.

There are two farewells in this episode. First, it’s a darn shame that Paul Darrow’s Captain Hawkins gets third-eyed by a Silurian. I believe we’re meant to assume that he is killed; he’s never mentioned again and his fate is not specifically disclosed. In a perfect world, Hawkins would take a few months to recover and become a regular in the following season instead of the new character of Yates. I’m not saying this because Hawkins is a particularly interesting character, but because Paul Darrow is such an interesting actor. I highly recommend his many fans check out the BBC’s 1973 adaptation of Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise. He’s terrific in that.

But perhaps more sadly, it’s goodbye to Jon Pertwee’s forearms and his snake tattoo. After this, Barry Letts made certain that the Doctor would never again be seen either nude or in short sleeves, so that Pertwee’s tattoo, a trophy from his days in the navy, would stay covered up. I understand that there’s a fan theory to explain how, when the Time Lords changed the Doctor’s appearance, he got that tattoo as well as a new face. Well, of course there is.

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