April 2: The Ice Warriors Three & Four

As I mentioned last time, not much happens in terms of plot in episode three.  The Doctor figures out how to stabilize the Ioniser (using Penley's notes), and Arden is killed by the Ice Warriors, while Jamie is left for dead.  But this misses out on a number of character moments, such as how Miss Garrett goes after Penley to try and persuade him to come back to the base, to help them out, first with words and then by gunpoint -- although that bit doesn't last long before Storr jumps her and takes her gun away.  It gives us more insight into Penley's point of view, as we learn he was concerned about being "sucked into that computerized ant-heap you call a civilization."

The Ice Warriors shoot down Arden and Jamie. (The Ice
Warriors
Three animation) ©BBC Worldwide Ltd.
But the really nice moment in episode three comes between Clent and Arden, as Arden feels bad about bringing the Ice Warrior back and starting a lot of the trouble (although the spaceship would still be buried in the glacier, ready to potentially explode when hit by the Ioniser).  Clent goes up to him and tells him not to feel too bad about it: "Don't be to too hard on yourself.  Scientists must question, you know.  I mean, if I'd been in your shoes I think I'd have done the same.  I'd have-- I'd have brought it back."  It shows a more human side to Clent, and it makes us sympathize with him and his position, even if his overreliance on the computer is a poor decision.

Back to video for the last three episodes (and thanks to Philip Morris, we can now enjoy a run of 11 episodes straight, from The Ice Warriors Four to The Web of Fear episode 2 -- virtually unthinkable even just a year ago).  Episode four, again, doesn't have a lot of plot in it (so in this respect The Ice Warriors has something in common with The Abominable Snowmen) -- Victoria escapes from the Ice Warriors (for a bit), Jamie's paralyzed, and Storr is killed by the Ice Warriors when he tries to go to them for help (under the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic, which clearly doesn't work out for him).  And then the Doctor has to travel to the Ice Warriors' ship to find out what kind of engine they use, to see if the Ioniser can be safely deployed.

The Doctor meets with Penley and Jamie. (The Ice Warriors
Four) ©BBC
There aren't as many nice character moments in this story, but there are a few little ones, such as the Doctor urgently needing to use the chemical dispenser so that he can, it turns out, get a drink of water.  But a large part of the episode consists of Victoria being chased through the caves and crevasses in the glacier by an Ice Warrior -- it's directed quite nicely, but there's not a lot of story going on.  (Yet, as with The Abominable Snowmen, I still don't mind, as what we do get is highly enjoyable.) That chase ends with the Ice Warrior crushed under an ice fall and Victoria trapped in its (literal) death grip.  I have to say though, that while Victoria is admittedly under a lot of stress here, she doesn't come across very well, seemingly crying and whining her way through most of the episodes so far -- which also seems like a far cry from the girl who was determined to investigate the Inner Sanctum in the last story.  When Storr finds her and rescues her, you're relieved that she won't be screaming anymore...except then he takes her back to the Ice Warriors and gets killed for his trouble.  And thus ends the virulently anti-science point of view for this story.  We might consider reading into it a moral about how a complete distrust of science is just as likely to get you killed as an overreliance on it, but more likely author Brian Hayles just wanted to get rid of the character and let Penley and Jamie do their own thing in the next couple installments.

And look! Derek Martinus gets to direct another cliffhanger where one of the regulars is trapped in an airlock as the villains slowly drain the air from inside (see "Air Lock", if you've forgotten)...