Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Serial 41: The Web of Fear

Doctor: Patrick Troughton  (2nd Doctor)
Companions: Jamie, Victoria

Written by: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
Directed by: Douglas Camfield

Background & Significance: Almost a year ago we talked about "The Abominable Snowmen" and how The Doctor went to a far off and exotic location to fight some Yeti, or rather, more correctly, he fought a disembodied sentience who created massive creatures (Yeti) to carry out their bidding. The story met various degrees of success when it was first out. I found it middling, but I know others quite like it.

Then again, those people probably knew more than I did when I watched it for the first time... They'd already seen this one, the one that made the Yeti transcendentally legendary.

It's not hard to see why "The Web of Fear" would be legendary. I mean, in terms of check lists, it is the televisual return of the Yeti, thereby elevating them above other such popular monsters like Zygons, Wirrn, Krynoids, and Macra by proving their viability as recurring monsters and meaning that in eventual Doctor Who visual companions The Yeti can get, say, a page to themselves whereas other monsters like the Zygons will still get a page but that page is much more padded and stretched because there's possibly less to say about them. I jest, but the point remains that I feel like more people would care to see the new series bring back the Ice Warriors (who had four classic appearances) than they would, say, Zygons.

So yes, the Yeti are back.

But there's more! This is the story that really kicks the door down to allow The UNIT era to happen. It's the first time The Doctor teams up with the military to take down an evil foe (the first time hardly counts) and that means he's back on Earth to deal with a problem at home. It's also the introduction of The Brigadier in the first of many, many recurring appearances and he's cast by director Douglas Camfield, who had previously directed "The Daleks' Master Plan" and "The Time Meddler" and would go on to direct other such greatnesses as "The Terror of the Zygons" and "The Seeds of Doom". He's an action man through and through and who better to direct this story?

So let's get to it!


Part 1:

The thing about “The Web of Fear” is that it immediately sets you off to the fact that it’s exceptionally well directed.

Normally I wouldn’t be able to make a judgment call like this. I mean, this season of Troughton stories is notoriously patchy (as opposed to the previous season which is almost entirely lost) and indeed, of the six episodes of this story, only the first episode exists. That episode just happens to be this one, and… I think that’s a good thing. I usually wait and make a judgment call at the end of the story as to “which episode do I want the most if I could only have one”, but for this story, this episode makes an extremely good case for as to why this is the one that should exist. Sure, it’s hardly the most action-packed of episodes, but does it have to be?

I say that because this episode is hands down the biggest tease for a missing story this side of “Evil of the Daleks”.

Sure, not much happens. The Doctor and his companions spend the first half of this episode in The TARDIS in space nowhere near the action of the London Underground. And sure, it’s a lot of standard exploring with torches and hiding from people and The Doctor telling his companions to go one way while he goes another and even the companions getting captured and The Doctor getting “blown up” in a cliffhanger I’ll talk about in a little bit… And there’s even a lot of military shenanigans where they lay down some cables amidst these tunnels and talk vaguely about this ominous threat that’s coming… So much so that none of it *should* be that special.

But what makes it really sing is the direction by Douglas Camfield. It’s no secret that he’s (and this isn’t even me, but I do agree) one of the best classic Doctor Who directors ever (the others who immediately spring to mind are David Maloney, Peter Grimwade, and of course Graeme Harper, because they really match Camfield’s energy and caliber), but the fact that Haisman and Lincoln have essentially handed him a tonal masterpiece, it’s only natural that Camfield would go fucking crazy over this story and he does. There’s not a wasted shot and everything is masterfully composed and constructed.

And it’s not just Camfield (although you could argue that he (as guy who’s steering the ship) is responsible for a lot of the good work in this episode), but everyone else working on it. The lighting is nothing short of breathtakingly elegant (look at the way Troughton’s coat obscures with the shadow of the under-the-platform place he’s in or the shot where he peers out from around the corner...) and really works to paint the world and give it an almost charcoal-on-canvas look. It gives the feeling of darkness in ways that you just don’t feel in Doctor Who all that often. Hell, this set doesn’t even feel like a set, and watching The Doctor and Jamie and Victoria move through the Underground’s tunnels really feels like they’re actually there…

Getting beyond the fantasticness of the production, there’s all the little decisions the script does that makes this episode so much more than just your typical base-under-siege storyline.

For one thing, there’s the Yeti and the way in which Camfield uses the trick he has at his disposal to convey  pieces of information he wants to convey. See, because this was made in 1965, waking up this giant mega pre-Henson monstrosity would be a nightmare to do. So they wake it up by using a clever crossfade. It starts with the Yeti we’re used to. You know the one… The big cuddly squishy plushy thing that attacked the monks in Tibet. You know the ones. The ones that didn’t do anything for the whole god damn story except walk around in the Himalayas and then burst through the Monastery every so often and stir shit up.

But here Camfield puts that Yeti on display, and makes it even more menacing than it was the first time. There’s something about seeing that Yeti “all stuffed” like a bear that makes it even more intimidating…

And then the Yeti wakes up. How? By one of those Great Intelligence spheres we know so much about by this point. The Yeti needs this sphere placed in the proper location in order to be active and moving around. So break into the room it does (in a wonderfully delightful horror sequence; taxidermy: that’s the secret) and implant itself in the Yeti it does. Oh no. the Yeti’s waking up. BUT WHEN IT WAKES UP? Camfield crossfades from plushy cuddly Yeti to menacing beaky Yeti, which is more angular and creepy/scary. And it’s a transition from Gerald Blake to Camfield. And already, within the first seven minutes of the story Camfield’s already done what the previous director couldn’t do in six episodes.

It’s a great first episode. Wonderfully exciting, tense, and horrory. Perfect, AND it’s got a killer cliffhanger, which Haisman and Lincoln set up brilliantly by turning Jamie’s choice of thing to say (“we’re the only ones in the tunnels") into the exact wrong thing to say. It’s great. And it’s awesome.

Also Yetis with guns that shoot cobwebs. How is that anything but cool?

Part 2:

It’s always less-than-fortunate when the main actor playing The Doctor (specifically Hartnell or Troughton) has a vacation and doesn’t appear in one of the episodes of a story. Okay, maybe I’m slightly exaggerating that a little, because it’s more strange with Troughton than Hartnell…

Hartnell gets the pass because Hartnell was (for all intents and purposes) dying on set while they were shooting his last season(s) and lots of his stories featured him removed from the proceedings so it wouldn’t be too hard on him. I mean, hell, that’s why William Russell was cast as the leading/action man so Hartnell wouldn’t have to do such strenuous work. But Troughton’s different. Troughton (from day one, even) was always the leading man in a world full of action and monsters. Just looking at the progression from “The Gunfighters” to anything in this season and it’s clear that this is (for all intents and purposes) a different show. Troughton needs to be here. He needs to be in the thick of things, mucking about, getting in trouble, being The Doctor.

And yet, he’s not in this episode.

It’s not the first time Troughton took a week’s holiday. He had a week off in “Evil of the Daleks” (although if you ask me, it’s seamlessly integrated into the narrative of the story such that you probably wouldn’t even notice) and he’d take a week off in “The Wheel in Space” a few months after this… But whereas “The Wheel In Space” had him ham-handedly out of commission and “Evil” had pre-filmed inserts to make you THINK he’s in the week’s episode, that doesn’t change the fact that The Doctor is entirely absent from this episode and the whole thing is instead carried by the military personnel, Jamie, and Victoria.

The genius decision is that they hang a lantern on his absence, masterfully weaving it into the script.

Suddenly, this episode starts the Agatha Christie “who dunnit?” mystery that runs from here until the end of the story and The Doctor’s absence means people start pointing fingers at him despite the fact that they don’t even know if he’s dead or alive and his absence feels conspicuous even to the people who watch the show knowing full well that (spoiler spoiler?) The Doctor is neither in league with The Yeti nor responsible for their attacks. And yet, the fact that we KNOW The Doctor is not dead (because he’s not dead and they’re not fooling anybody) is made worse by the not-knowing of where he is.  Suddenly, the drama kicks up tenfold because the longer he doesn’t show up, the more we’re not reassured that the day will be saved.

And then there’s a Yeti attack.

Man, it’s the moments like these that I’m infinitely sad that this story doesn’t exist because all I want to see is Yeti vs. army action with the Yeti and their web guns and all that good stuff. So we’re left wondering what it looks like when these vicious furry beasts swat down and kill anyone in their path. But man does it at the very least sound thrilling, and knowing how good Camfield is not just as a director of Doctor Who, but a director of action-based Doctor Who, it’s one of the biggest sadnesses I can think of. It’s made worse by the fact that this is so incredibly strong without seeing it… I can only imagine how Camfield would have further elevated the material.

I also have to admit that the level of world building in this is great. It’s good to meet all these different base-under-siege characters and see how they’re handling the situation. It’s just… it’s really great. And we’re only in episode two. What the hell.

Part 3:

This is one of those episodes (indeed, one of the stories, but also an episode) that’s… almost completely impossible to look at in retrospect. I mean… How can you possibly objectively examine the first appearance of The Brigadier without knowing the next forty plus years in which The Brigadier is “a thing”?

So yes, The Brigadier makes his introduction at the beginning of this episode and it’s… it’s shocking how much it is both event and nonevent. It’s a nonevent because there’s no way ANYONE could have possibly known The Brigadier would reappear next season or even become a regular cast member for five years after that or make recurring appearances some ten and fifteen years after that. Shit, Doctor Who didn’t even know if it was going to get a season seven.

But here he is. And it’s… bizarre. From a story standpoint, he instantly becomes suspect number one in this great “who is the traitor of the story” mystery we have going on. Why? Well, it’s just weird, isn’t it? He bursts onto the scene in mysterious circumstances, alone, with no one to vouch for him.

The only person who can even come close to vouching for him is The Doctor. I mean, he’s the only one who can at least corroborate The Brigadier’s story (yes, I know he’s a Colonel, but he’ll always be The Brigadier so shut up). And this isn’t even exactly reassuring. There’s something mysterious and strange about the way The Doctor just disappeared from the narrative and enters back in as though everything’s okay. It’s even more strange that he’s palling around with this Colonel chap without thinking that there’s a traitor in the midst. It makes me wonder what their first meeting was really like, because by the time Doctor re-enters the narrative, he’s already been traveling with The Brigadier for quite a few minutes and they’ve already made their introductions. And like with the departure of Ian and Barbara, we’re not privy to possibly one of the most iconic Doctor/Companion meetups in Doctor Who history.

That’s not anyone’s fault, though. No one knew The Brigadier would be a big iconic for at least a season.

Then when they get back to base camp, The Brigadier takes control of the situation and starts barking orders and calling meetings and making everyone suspicious with his they-can-drive-through-the-holes-in-it alibi. Hell, I’ll be honest, if I didn’t know better, I’d be distrustful of him as well. So it’s a fine, understandable thing what these folk are doing in this episode because it is a little strange and suspicious. But the key turning point of this comes when The Doctor (of all people) chooses it right to reveal to The Brigadier that he believes there’s a traitor in their midst, that someone is working with The Great Intelligence.

It’s a key moment. Possibly the most key moment of all the moments.

A lot of this is meta-text. Because we understand and identify with The Doctor and he’s the hero of the show that’s named after him. The fact that The Doctor tells The Brigadier that there’s a fox in the henhouse is a moment that could possibly (in fact seemingly) be based on the fact that The Brigadier is the dude in charge of the operation… And yet, I like to believe different. It’s a great scene, watching The Doctor and The Brigadier play off each other as they suss out what each other knows. That The Doctor says “it may be anyone of us,” the implication is that it might, perhaps be The Brigadier (and The Brigadier intimates as much). The Doctor then goes so far as to say “perhaps.”

But what’s magic about it is the fact that The Doctor chooses to share this information not with Professor Travers (who is a known ally from a previous story) but with The Brigadier. It demonstrates a level of respect and trust between the two men, especially given the way they interact when it happens. The implication is that The Doctor has accused The Brigadier, but the truth of the matter is that The Doctor has just shared the one and most crucial piece of power he has over EVERYONE ELSE with someone who could just as easily turn on them. Hell, it's the guy who's currently their number one suspect. And yet why?

Let me put it another way: you don’t tell the spy that you think there’s a spy if you think there’s a spy.

Suddenly, The Brigadier is absolved of all possible culpability, and I think that comes down to these two men starting their friendship off on the right foot. The Doctor confesses (from a very, very early point in their relationship) that he trusts The Brigadier, and this small act is the seed for one of the Brigadier’s best and longest standing friendships. Every time after this, The Brigadier will trust The Doctor to varying degrees (he doesn’t trust The Doctor enough to keep the Silurians alive, but that’s more about a greater good than anything…) but that all comes from the two people here in this room.

It’s… it’s a transcendent moment. It’s one of those moments that you kinda can’t wait to get to. It’s important. It’s a turning point. It’s wonderful. And this story is just… it’s great.

Part 4:

Damn this is good.

So with this part, we start to see the whole crew start to take the fight back to the Yeti. The military mounts up and prepares to fight their way to the TARDIS by way of the surface, sending a trolley through the web-infested tunnels while they go in the hopes that they can load the TARDIS onto the trolley and bring it back to base camp. Ideally, this trolley will arrive just as they are getting there and all will be hunky-dory. Why they need the TARDIS is a bit contrived (they want it so The Doctor can get them the hell out of there or something to that effect) but it’s really just a McGuffin to get the military moving into some military action. So I can’t complain.

I say all this to illustrate how well Haisman and Lincoln juggle their two plotlines. Three really. There’s what’s happening with the military, what’s happening with the trolley, and what’s happening with The Doctor. And the big action/thriller suspense sequence in the middle of this is just… exquisite.

Or at least, it sounds exquisite. It’s one of those big satisfying things that’s just… it’s undeniable. It’s action packed, it’s got real stakes and real loss. The second everything starts going to shit is the second it ups the level. Up to this point we’ve only seen things going a little bit wrong. The Yeti struck out in swift, slightly devastating strikes. But watching the full power of this military strike force go up against four measly Yeti and get clobbered is… It’s awesome. And it makes the Yeti even more scary than they were before. Bullets and grenades don’t stop them. What in the world can?

It’s also stakes-raising for The Doctor, who (in a moment of perhaps hubris) asks to go up to the surface with one of the soldiers to obtain some better supplies. The Doctor gets the supplies, but at the cost of the officer’s life…

All of this goes to say that the Yeti are badass. And the fact that there’s a mole in the operation only makes them even more dangerous. Hell. They were a danger before the mole started feeding them intel. But now that they know every single move every single person makes before they can make it makes them an even bigger threat. The fact that they were ahead of the military when it came to the trolley scenario only foreshadows what evil bad is going to happen when the military ends up attacking the Yeti. And it goes so bad.

To pile onto the madness, the Yeti have little Yeti tokens that we’ve been seeing around willy nilly throughout the story. And these tokens are homing devices that bring the Yeti right to you. So basically, keep them away.

The scary thing about this is not that it brings the Yeti right to everyone in the stunning cliffhanger that caps this episode (more on that in just a minute), but rather that the Yeti have known where the humans are the WHOLE TIME. They’ve known since the beginning that the humans are here. And the humans can’t even get their shit together because everyone is under threat of being a collaborator. We’re led to believe it’s Evans (is it Evans?) but Chorley’s a shady character and that whole thing with Knight might have been a big ol’ fake ruse to fake us all out.

And then at the end of this episode the Yeti march into the base and take everyone hostage.

What I love about it is the fact that this entire episode has been building up the Yeti into something major: a big, unkillable, unstoppable force that no one can fight, both because they’re unstoppable and our people have a traitor in their midst. And now they attack. We just watched everyone get clobbered by the Yeti. And they’re beaten. And they’re exhausted And now the Yeti are upon them. Damn. Imagine this in “Abominable Snowmen”, what with the Yeti not ever really doing anything. Damn. These Yeti mean business. And they’re here to just kill bitches. And The Brig brought them right in (not his fault, he couldn’t have known).

And Professor Travers has been brain controlled. Which means he isn’t the traitor (why would they brainwash someone who’s already in league with them) but also… Just damn. I can’t say anymore. So good.

Part 5:

One of the things that I find this story doing tremendously well at this point is the savage beatdown the Yeti give our good guys and the way that beatdown becomes representative of the futility in fighting them.

And really, given the first four episodes, it’s hard to believe that the good guys coming even close to winning is anything but quixotic. Indeed, the Yeti already have a plan and they’ve had a plan. They take Victoria (with the help of mouthpiece Travers) and leave The Doctor without much. They have our people in their control. They can’t be killed. They can’t be reasoned with. Our people are just screwed at this point, aren’t they?

Not quite. See, The Doctor has a plan, and it’s the tiniest glimmer of hope that can possibly make you think that they’re going to get out of this. Is it a great plan? Perhaps. We just don’t know yet. But he seems to be liking it and he gets a Yeti on his side. So that’s good.

Yet, the end of this episode is a mind-blowingly dark cliffhanger as the web bursts through the wall of the HQ and starts to infest the last great sanctuary. It really just hammers home how impossible this seems. The Yeti are one thing, but what about the eponymous web that’s infesting this whole Underground? There’s just no way to beat it. It’s practically designed to absorb explosions (or to drain energy, or what have you) meaning that typical military tactics are no use. And what even is it, anyways?

That’s probably the best choice Haisman and Lincoln made when making this story. Not only are cobwebs creepy, but watching them creep and crawl and infiltrate make them seem even more intangible and unbeatable than even the Yeti.

It reminds me a lot of Cloverfield. Now, I know that it’s not the most popular of films, but Cloverfield is seriously one of my favorite movies ever. Like… top five. I think it’s a masterful piece of filmmaking from a purely structural/story standpoint. And one of the best choices in that movie is the fact that the big ol’ monster in that movie is not the ever present thing you’d expect the Godzilla of the movie to be. No. It’s actually not even in the movie nearly as much as you’d think it would be.

But what Drew Goddard does in that movie is create smaller, more agile creatures called “Parasites” to terrorize our protagonists while the monster (being too unwieldy and unkillable and able to demolish them in the span of like… seven seconds) is left to the periphery.

Such is the decision here. The Yeti are used to strike out at the characters in the story to effectively take them all down while the Great Intelligence (the secret menace behind the Yeti) functions behind the scenes to make sure all the things happen as they should happen. Conversely, you could argue that the web is the Cloverfield monster of this situation and the second it lashes out to strike, our heroes are not long for this world.

And that’s why this cliffhanger is brilliant. Sure, The Doctor has overcome/ overpowered/ brainwashed one Yeti over to the side of the angels, but that doesn’t mean The Doctor has control over all the Yeti or even the evil malicious web that’s closing in on them. No, the web is unbeatable. And here it comes.

It’s a steady escalation, this story. The heroes are still no closer to finding out who the spy is and the Yeti are no closer to being defeated. Sure, The Doctor turning a member of the other team is not exactly revolutionary (we just saw it a few stories back in “Evil of the Daleks”) but that’s one tiny quibble amidst a whole bunch of great choices that are awesome. It’s a great showcase for Troughton’s Doctor (especially the bit where he talks about how Jamie and Victoria will have to raise his childlike mind into adulthood. Wonderful black humour, that) and it’s a good showing for all the characters. There’s not a bad moment yet and everything that’s been going is wonderful.

Oh and Arnold has returned. How weird……

Part 6:

Endings are hard.

Okay. That’s the worst way to open up the writing-about of the final part of a so-far so-good story. But it’s true. Endings are hard. So if a story has a bit of a letdown in the final part that’s not bad so long as it doesn’t completely jump the rails (“Creature from the Pit”) and wraps everything up in a rather satisfying “ah, clever” manner, we should be okay. And really, “The Web of Fear” does that, but the thing about it that makes it so… not lackluster, but paling in comparison to the rest of the story is the fact that it’s more concerned with wrapping everything up than having a rollick of a time.

Take the reveal at the end, for instance, that Rogers is the spy and has been all along.

The biggest hint was in episode five when he returns from getting captured by The Great Intelligence. I mean… what a giveaway. Everything else was red herrings. Knight being a noble ally, Evans is a self-interested opportunist, Chorley is a coward (also self-interested). Sure, that makes sense. It also couldn’t have been The Doctor, Jamie, or Victoria, nor would it have been Travers (why would they have brainwashed him if he’d been working for them in the first place?) or Anne (although that would have been a hell of a real twist, am I right?). And of course because of retrospect we knew it couldn’t be the Brigadier but also because he was too much an ally in all of this.

So that leaves Rogers. The guy who magically reappeared in the last episode to become the Great Intelligence in this one.

And I know this was stated elsewhere (in Running Through Corridors, for instance), but it bears repeating that the reveal of who the traitor actually is is something of a letdown. But why? I mean, it’s a fine reveal. Sure, Rogers wasn’t nearly central enough for it to be as “oh shit” as they wanted it to be…  But I think it’s more than that, because by the time we get the reveal of “Rogers was the mole”, we’re already in the middle of endgame and that reveal just becomes a reveal that (at this point) seems nothing short of trivial and unimportant. Who betrayed the humans is moot now, everyone’s already been captured in a worst case scenario sorta moment.

In essence, the narrative has passed the relevant moment and left it far behind. Now it just feels shoehorned and a bit too housekeepy. It’s one more thing off the checklist that needs to be marked down.

Wouldn’t it have been better if Rogers had appeared at the end of episode five or something and revealed he was the bad guy? Then you have more time to play with the drama of the event/moment instead of just throwing it in at the end because it’s a nifty and cool thing to do. There’s so much else going on at that point that no one except the writers care. And that’s not good. We should be rocketing towards the ending at this point. There’s no time to spend on stuff like this.

And it’s weird how that one thing can almost entirely abscond with the narrative and make you realize all of the silly things that are happening. The second you have a chance to pause and think about the things, it’s possible all of the things will fall apart.

But other than the mole reveal I’d be hard pressed to say they do. The Doctor is on top form in this one, using the wiped Yeti to his advantage should he ever need it (although did he ever really need it? It came out like more of a great back pocket play or contingency than anything else)  and then using his remote control to knock out the Yeti for a few crucial seconds while he crosses the wires to drain the intelligence is a great, Doctor Who way of getting out of the problem.

It’s just a shame that everything goes to shit because Jamie is a little happy with his trigger finger. His desire to save The Doctor is admirable, but it’s also telling how much he’s scared and how much he’s been put through the ringer. He doesn’t think The Doctor’s getting out of this. The Yeti are unbeatable, after all…

So I can’t fault him for that, and it’s a great way of giving an explosive, action-packed beat to finale off this action-packed story… AND it’s a good way to leave the Yeti question open for future possibilities, especially because this is a great showcase for them as big scary monsters with a nefarious concept to back them up. And it’s not like The Doctor’s plan wouldn’t have worked… So I understand why they did that. Can’t fault them and it’s an interesting way for them to end off a story.

Great final episode. Marred by a few odd choices, but nothing near enough to sully the story. 

Final Thoughts?: Damn this story is good.

And by good, I mean really good.

The thing about it, though, is it's one of those stories that's considered one of the great lost treasures of Classic Doctor Who. If you look at it on Doctor Who rankings it always comes in ridiculously high (and for Troughton too, who's one of the higher scoring Doctors) and it's a story that was referenced numerous times by The Brigadier in all of his subsequent stories. How many times have you heard The Brigadier talk about that time he and The Doctor went about fighting Yeti in the London Underground?

So the story's legendary. Yes. I know. I said that. But I think the big question is "is the hype deserved?" How many stories have false praise heaped on them because they're considered classics? I can tell you for a fact that "The Celestial Toymaker" is a shit story no matter how cool it sounds.

The weird thing is, "The Web of Fear" is a breathtaking a story and far superior to anything you could have possibly imagined going into it. It's not without its faults, but the story makes all of the right decisions, and you can always tell a story's good when it's missing and yet the reconstruction is gripping and engaging from beginning to end. Such is the way with "The Web of Fear". It's pacey and exciting and tense. Doctor Who horror at its finest and a standout in the exceptionally strong Patrick Troughton era. It's a taut script with twists and turns and surprises, wonderfully assembled by Haisman and Lincoln to keep the surprises coming. It's relentless. It doesn't stop. It's a dream.

About the only sadness I can say about it is the fact that it's directed by Douglas Camfield and because all but one episode of it is missing, we'll never get to see what the whole thing looked like. Camfield was known for a number of stories, and I don't mean to knock any of his other ones, but I wonder if "The Time Meddler" or "Zygons" would work nearly as well if you turned off the picture while they were running. I mean, I suppose you could. I don't want to and won't (there's enough missing Doctor Who around for me to not be watching that which exists), but it's a fair question, I suppose. Camfield was always tremendously good at "the big action" and elevating something that was good into something transcendent (as we'll see in a few weeks).

And I'll say right now that "The Web of Fear" is simply transcendent even without the visuals, so I can't even imagine what Camfield could have brought to it. It's one of Troughton's best outings (and considering how many good outings he did have, that's really saying something) and absolutely deserving of its legendary status. My only regret is, again, that it doesn't exist and I knew before I'd even finished it the first time that it's amongst my most sought after missing Doctor Who stories ever, and putting it in the same sentence as "Power of the Daleks", "Evil of the Daleks", and "Marco Polo" should more than say enough about that.

Breathtaking. Magical. Everything I could ever want Doctor Who to ever be. There aren't enough words.

Next Time!: 1st Doctor! An Evil Abbot! Huguenots! Murder! Plots! And Steven Carrying The Whole Show! We continue our month-long 2nd Anniversary celebration with a look at "The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve"! Coming Next Tuesday!


  1. I hoped when you watched this it came up to your expectations, as I thought visually it was amazing!

  2. Most of the Web of fear has been found (episode 2 I think remain missing) & on dvd in 2014 along with the complete enemy of the world.