March 30: The Abominable Snowmen Episodes Three & Four

The slow pace continues, but it still hasn't become a problem.  I'm not sure why that is, to be honest; earlier I was condemning The Web Planet for moving at a glacial pace, but The Abominable Snowmen isn't moving much faster.  I suppose it could be as simple as the fact that here we have characters we can latch on to; Khrisong's frustration at being unable to adequately protect the monastery is much easier to comprehend than the Menoptra's struggles against a large vaguely arachnid creature.

But let's be honest; this is another episode where there's not much actual story development.  We do learn that Padmasambhava is the one controlling the Yeti, and that he's doing so for the benefit of something called the Great Intelligence (though it's still not clear what determines which voice is used when -- I thought the evil whisper might have been the Intelligence speaking through him, but that doesn't seem to be the case).  He's even got a little board with small carved Yeti to move around.  And the Abbot Songsten is clearly under his power, and so he takes a small glass pyramid up the mountain, accompanied by Yeti.  But beyond that, there's not much incident.  We saw the silver control sphere moving as the cliffhanger for episode two, and it takes all of episode three for it to reach the deactivated Yeti, such that its coming back to life is the cliffhanger for this episode.  But everything else consists of nice character moments, such as Khrisong's decision to give the Doctor and Jamie a little trust, or the spirit trap that the monks construct around the captured Yeti.  Although Victoria seems to be rather nosy this time around, trying repeatedly to enter the Inner Sanctum of the monastery just so she can see Padmasambhava, more out of idle curiosity than anything else.  It's not the most successful characterization for her, to be honest.

The Yeti gather. (The Abominable Snowmen Episode Four) ©BBC
Episode four is more of the same: the primary story advancement consists of the reactivated Yeti leaving the monastery, Abbot Songsten placing the glowing pyramid in the cave with the control spheres up in the mountain, the Doctor and Jamie investigating the Yeti some more (with a signal tracking device this time), and Victoria continuing to be nosy, this time finally making her way into the Inner Sanctum.  And Travers has a bit more to do this time, as he follows Songsten into the cave and discovers the pyramid, just as it cracks open and begins spewing out some sort of substance (Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #36: The Missing Episodes - The Second Doctor Volume 2 -- aka the magazine with the telesnaps for this story -- refers to this substance as "an ectoplasmic goo", but chances are good that it was the BBC foam machine being put to use).  And as we've come to expect, there's a fun scene between the Doctor and Jamie, as they find a Yeti standing guard by the TARDIS.  "Have you thought up some clever plan, Doctor?" Jamie asks.  "Yes, Jamie, I believe I have," the Doctor replies.  "What are you going to do?"   "Bung a rock at it."

The most interesting part of the episode comes at the end, when the Abbot Songsten, who has returned from the cave, tells the monks that they must abandon Detsen.  But Khrisong refuses, insisting that his warrior monks can defend the monastery against the robotic Yeti.  And Victoria, as mentioned earlier, finally enters the Inner Sanctum and sees Padmasambhava face to face, revealing an old yet babylike face smiling serenely at her, which leads to the slowest cliffhanger yet: "" Padmasambhava slowly says.  "You........ have.................... no.............."