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Classic Doctor Who Review: An Unearthly Child, Part 2

Posted by: Whochick

Classic Doctor Who Review: An Unearthly Child, Part 2
An Unearthly Child Part 2 (The Cave of Skulls)
The First Doctor: Story 1.2

And now, my review of Part two of the Classic Doctor Who serial An Unearthly Child, which is known as The Cave of Skulls. I will be reviewing each episode, rather than each story, as some of the classic stories are really long. When I finish all four parts of this first episode, I will also review (or rather, discuss) the pilot episode. Luckily, it is available on my DVD. I will try and note any differences.

An Unearthly Child features The First Doctor as played by William Hartnell.

Episode: An Unearthly Child by Anthony Coburn
Rating (1 to 5): 2.5
Doctor: The First Doctor
Companions: Susan “Foreman” (The Doctor’s granddaughter.), and Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright against their will.
Time: 100,000 B.C. (according to the original title of the show.)
Place: Someplace sandy, near a forest and a cave.
Baddie: Kal?
The Doctor’s Alias: Doctor Foreman
The Doctor enjoys: Messing with Ian, from the look of things.
The Doctor dislikes: Being attacked and tied up in a cave.
The Doctor apologizes to: Ian at the others for getting them into that situation.
Doctor-y Strangeness: He can be understood by the cave folk.
Susan-y Strangeness: She’s really freaked out when her grandfather disappears.
Scary Stuff: The Doctor gets kidnapped. Also, all four are trapped in the cave of skulls.
Does someone local help out? Za doesn’t kill our heroes outright.
Connections: This is the first peril we’ve seen the Doctor in. As we know, he gets really used to this sort of situation. He is already good at talking to delay his own death.
What we learn: The Doctor has a Geiger counter. Perhaps the yearometer is not calculating correctly. The TARDIS is supposed to change shape. It has been an Ionic Column and a Sedan chair. The Doctor can calculate when they might be from samples he finds. The Doctor smokes a pipe. The Doctor has a notebook which holds notes from the places they’ve been and the key codes to the machines on the TARDIS.
My Favorite Bits: “-…Doctor Foreman. -Doctor Who?” The Doctor taunting Ian about his lack of belief. Susan leaping on the back of The Doctor’s attacker.

Observations and musings:

The Doctor is surprised to see that the TARDIS has remained a police box. Then, while he is out collecting samples he gets kidnapped. This sort of thing ends up being a common occurrence for him in the years to come. That teaches him to go out without spare matches in his pocket.

Susan is surprised when the TARDIS doesn’t change. When The Doctor goes missing, she is really freaked out. Is it so unusual? Or is it that he is her only family? In any case, she is willing to attempt to defend him when someone is trying to kill him.

Ian and Barbara are lost in a situation that they find difficult to comprehend. It’s sort of amusing that the History teacher is having an easier time of absorbing the situation than the Science teacher. Yet, when the Doctor goes missing, they seem much calmer than Susan. I wonder how the three of them figured out where the Doctor was. Here’s hoping they survive until the end of the story. …And know how to make fire.

Stay tuned next week for part three.

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About the Author

Whochick is a huge Doctor Who fan. She loves the show so much that she not only co-authors a blog on the topic, but also a podcast that you should listen to. Whochick resides in California with her husband (the Shadow Architect), and occasionally refers to herself in the third person.