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Classic Doctor Who Review: An Unearthly Child, Part 4

Posted by: Whochick

Classic Doctor Who Review: An Unearthly Child, Part 4
An Unearthly Child Part 4 (The Firemaker)
The First Doctor: Story 1.4

And now, my review of Part four of the Classic Doctor Who serial An Unearthly Child, which is known as The Firemaker. I will be reviewing each episode, rather than each story, as some of the classic stories are really long. This is the last of four parts of this first episode, so next week I will 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): 3
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: A Forest and The Cave of Skulls
Baddie: Kal
The Doctor’s Alias: The Leader of the strange tribe.
The Doctor enjoys: Getting away from the cavemen
The Doctor dislikes: The Cave of Skulls (he says that it is evil.)
The Doctor apologizes to: No One this time
Doctor-y Strangeness: The Doctor tricks Kal and helps drive him away.
Susan-y Strangeness: She thinks up the flaming skulls.
Scary Stuff: Just when you think you’ve made it to safety…cave men with weapons! And that Cave of Skulls.
Does someone local help out? Hur and Za a little.
Connections: The Doctor talks his way out of a situation again.
What we learn: Ian knows how to make fire the old fashioned way. Susan helps to fly the TARDIS. The Doctor can’t take Ian and Barbara back as he doesn’t have the proper codes.
My Favorite Bits: “This is a bad knife. It does not show the things it does.” The Doctor tricks Kal into showing that he killed the old woman. “Remember, Kal is not stronger than the whole tribe.” Susan adding a skull to a torch. The flaming skulls.

Observations and musings:

In this episode, The Doctor tricks Kal into confessing that he killed The Old Woman and then helps to drive Kal out. He even comes up with the idea of scaring the cave folk. Perhaps it was just me, but it seemed to me that The Doctor was a great deal more relaxed than before in this episode. Everyone was stressed and he was busy thinking of a way out. Also, we learned that he can’t take Barbara and Ian home. Well…not easily, anyway. Oops.

Susan finds herself scared again this time around. But she’s also the one that finds something that Ian was looking for to make the fire. Perhaps flint? And she’s also the one who thinks up the flaming skull thing. I’d guess that most of her travels with her Grandfather are not quite this exciting.

Poor Ian and Barbara. They’re along for the ride whether they like it or not. Ian makes fire and gives Za some good advice. Barbara points out that if he didn’t make fire, they’d be dead. Really, it’s a good thing that they have each other. Let’s hope that they make it home some day.

Stay tuned next week for a discussion of the Pilot episode.

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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.

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