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|Sleepy, Slow-Moving Historical
|Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
|Sunday 26 August 2007
Some Spoilers Ahead
The Massacre starts out rather nicely, as the Doctor and Steven arrive in sixteenth-century Paris and decide to try to blend in with the populace and enjoy themselves. Having some knowledge of this period of France's history, the Doctor decides to seek out the famous apothecary, Charles Preslin, while Steven remains in a pub on his own.
When the Doctor doesn't return on time, Steven is forced to find a place to stay. This leads to him becoming entangled with political troubles between the Catholics and the Hugenots. The Doctor has disappeared, but Steven finds that the Abbot of Amboise, who is residing in the city, looks just like the Doctor. But is he the Doctor, or is he just his double?
After a nice first episode, The Massacre drags considerably through episodes two and three. In some respects, it's a nice period piece. It is largely character-driven, consisting mostly of dialogue, with little action, and very little incidental music. But it could've been better at three episodes rather than four. When Steven and the Doctor are finally reunited in episode four, they make a hasty exit when the Doctor realizes that they are on the brink of The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve. In the process, the Doctor sends a girl, Anne Chaplet, that Steven has gotten to know, off to a very uncertain fate. Steven believes that she died in the massacre, and that they could've saved her by taking her with them. As a result, he is determined to leave the TARDIS at their next stop, and does so, briefly. While the doors are open, the Doctor has a very interesting scene in which he soliloquizes on the fact that all of his traveling companions have left him, even his dear Susan. He considers the possibility of returning to his home planet, but states that he mustn't do that. Then, Dodo comes running into the TARDIS, looking for a police telephone to report an accident and call for help. Steven runs back in as well, telling the Doctor that he must take off because policemen are heading for the TARDIS. Dodo remains in the TARDIS, stating that no one would care if she went missing. The scene is quite odd, and is the most improbable introduction of a new companion in the show's history, in my opinion.
And so, while The Massacre has some nice moments and is well-acted by the cast, I really fail to understand how it merits a rating of 8.9 after 42 votes (the stats at present). And since it appears that no video footage of this story has survived, it seems that I'm not alone in this assessment...
|A darker historical than usual, excels..
|Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
|Thursday 27 May 2010
One of the biggest mistakes of the BBC after William Hartnell's tenure as the Doctor was to leave the purely historical tales behind. From The Highlanders we only have the psuedo historical, which arent as informative or as enlightening as some of William's excellent early tales. And in my book The Massacre is by far the most gritty, relevant, and different historical of the lot, as it is pure drama, with no corny and stupid jokes incorporated which lighten most of the other historical tales of this time. This story has shocks aplenty and some terrific acting from Bill as the serious Abbot of Amboise. A total different kind of creation than his witty, grandfatherly grouch act of the Doctor. The final scenes with Steven sickened at the way things have turned out are some of the best scenes of Doctor Who history. The pace is steady and unravels very absorbingly for me. This is all a historical tale should be. Plain and realistic and solid. And its nice to see Peter Purves get a better role than usual as Steven, getting to lead the events for a change. Thanks for this story BBC, its one of your very best. Beats anything in the (overall) awful new series. Sum up this tale in one word: RAW. Its a real darn shame its only available on audio.