Friday, October 6, 2023

Second Doctor Revisited: "The Highlanders"

Breaking into the Second Doctor era, I was surprised to enjoy "The Highlanders" so much. The purely historical episodes were not my favorite (which is interesting because I also highlighted "The Romans" in the First Doctor era). But it was a great display of the Second Doctor's character and an introduction to his longest running companion.

When I first learned that Doctor Who was dreamt up as an educational show, all I could do was wonder how Daleks fit into a history lesson. And then you get episodes like this and I imagine this is the kind of educational-ish episode the creators had. On a related subject, please note how the Doctor shows absolutely no consideration for aberrations through history. A far cry from the First Doctor insisting that Barbara could and should have no impact on the Aztecs.

It was great to see the Second Doctor begins to show his personality, with disguises, voices, and accent. "I want a hat like that." All I could think of when I heard these lines was the Eleventh Doctor energy. What other incarnation of the Doctor had such an affinity for hats? And yet we got two moments of that Matt Smith trickling back down the Doctor's timeline. "I would like a hat like that." Though it should be noted that the Second Doctor was seen admiring a fez in the "Prisoners of Time" comic. We can only hope he bought it.

There's this trope in Doctor Who where the TARDIS team gets split up. If it weren't for that, the Doctor would have actually booked it out the situation. This story was easily that classic "TARDIS team gets split up and has to get together before they can leave" motivation. Especially since the Doctor can't truly risk changing anything about Scottish history, it made for an interesting dynamic.

I was excited to watch/listen to this story because of the introduction of Jamie McCrimmon, who would become the Second Doctor's best friend and long-time companion (he'd stay with the Doctor until his forced regeneration). With how important the Doctor/Jamie bromance is to this era, I was a bit surprised by the last minute invite into the TARDIS. It made sense as a way to get Jamie to safety, but I was confused and put off a little that there was no thought of friends or family left behind. 

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