Doctor Who: The Face of Evil
The names of Doctor Who adventures are rather confusing. We have The Mind of Evil, The Faceless Ones, The Face of Evil, and so on. Personally I tend to think of them as 'the one where...'. In the case of this adventure I am not sure that actually helps because I think of it as 'the one where everyone would be better leaving well alone,' and that is also my title for several others!
In fact I think it would be better called by one of the titles mooted before the final was settled on, and which unfortunately was rejected on the grounds it was pretentious: The Day God Went Mad.
A major thread of the story is commentary on humans' religious instincts and behaviour, specifically what it is which could be described as God, different understandings by people at different levels of development and the role we ourselves have in creating a divine cosmology. The fact that the Doctor appears in the cosmology here because of a previous mistake he made repairing the computer, is an interesting parallel to the religious imperative to know yourself, and specifically to an awareness of your own frailty.
That said, the religious instinct is here limited to the level of a disturbed subconscious or a tribe of 'primitives'. The depiction of the primitives is one thing which repeats the theme of colonialism about which I blogged in my last post. I note that the primitives are depicted with a relatively dark skin tone, and of course I don't know whether this was perceived as a result of tanning or to increase the colonial overtones by making a racial point, of course I don't know. It is clear that the male savages always go bare chested, and obviously a man who would be seen without a shirt can only be a rude primitive!
That said the male costume doesn't come across as sexual, but it is very apparent that Leela's costume is very sexy indeed, and includes such kinkiness as getting tied up at one point. I rather inconsequently found myself wondering how, when she is supposed to be a primitive, she can manage to shave her armpits! The men also have trimmed hair and beards and I have decided to take this as one of those details which show a TV show isn't really real.
There are several very sweet details in this adventure. Chief is the one where the Doctor threatens someone with a jelly baby rather than the knife he was supposed to use. The Mount Rushmore-like carved face of the Doctor may or may not be a comment, I will leave it to my US readers to decide. I also love the way that in the publicity photos included Leela is holding Who's Who!
I started off by saying that people should leave well alone, and in this case the savages come out on top.
Post a Comment
Thank you for commenting! All comments are moderated so won't show up immediately.