April 8: The Web of Fear Episodes 3 & 4

Alas, episode 3 is still missing, so we're left with a telesnap reconstruction on the DVD.  It's certainly not a bad reconstruction, but you do wish it was the real thing.  Still, at least we can enjoy what's still there, and try to imagine what it was like watching Evans shoot desperately at the glowing pyramid carried by a Yeti, only for nothing to happen when he finally does smash it (so, er, why was the Yeti carrying it around then?).  And the Doctor is back!  Victoria runs into him as he's accompanied by the new base commander, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, who takes them all to the Goodge Street base.  The Doctor is able to reunite with Professor Travers and try to finally get somewhere with solving this Yeti crisis.  But it turns out there's a traitor in the base, who's planting Yeti figurines, opening the base's door, and sabotaging the explosives store.  And then, as the others head out in search of Chorley (who's determined to get to the TARDIS after Victoria has told him about it), the Yeti come in and take Travers away...

Hooray!  The last three episodes of this story exist (once again, a heartfelt thanks to Philip Morris!), and episode 4 is quite a doozy.  There's a real sense of ratcheting up the paranoia in this episode, as we're given a reason to suspect just about every single person in the base -- even the Doctor (after all, we don't know what happened to him during episode 2).  And so there are hints dropped about everyone: Lethbridge-Stewart seems to have no knowledge of Private Evans, even though Evans was the driver who was taking him to Holborn -- and there's the matter of how quickly he accepts the Doctor's story of arriving in a time machine; Evans gives the Doctor a Yeti figurine that's acting as a homing device, and the tin with the sample of web fungus that the Doctor collects at the beginning of this episode is empty when Evans gives it to the Doctor; and Chorley's disappeared while on his way to the TARDIS, seemingly swallowed up by the fungus in the tunnels.  It's all very effective, and the suspicion is a nice way of making everything seem more urgent.

The Doctor finds a Yeti homing device in Colonel Lethbridge-
Stewart's pocket. (The Web of Fear Episode 4) ©BBC
And we also get an impressive action sequence, as the Brigadier takes a squad of soldiers up to the deserted streets of London to recover the Doctor's TARDIS so that they can all escape, only to be ambushed by a group of Yeti armed with web guns.  We get lots of shooting and running around as the soldiers try desperately to fend off the Yeti, only to be brutally killed via cobwebs (skillfully directed on film by Camfield).  And even the scene with the Doctor and Captain Knight in the electronics shop, where Knight is killed by two attacking Yeti, is well done even though it's clearly in the studio (and thus a little more stagey). The action comes as a welcome release after the last three episodes of waiting tensely in the tunnels, even as it serves to brutally reduce the number of people left fighting the Yeti -- Lethbridge-Stewart is the only one to make it back, leaving only him, Anne Travers, the Doctor, Victoria, Jamie, and Private Evans left in the Goodge Street base.  Until the end of the episode, that is, when Professor Travers returns, flanked by two Yeti...