Robots of Death pt 2 commentary

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At last, the long-awaited commentary for Robots of Death part 2, the classic Tom Baker story.   (If you want to read my comments on the first part, click here.)  Just a note here—I generally cannot be bothered to remember the character’s names, so mostly they will be identified by their distinctive hats

No, Curious George, this is not the Man in the Yellow Hat.

No, Curious George, this is not the Man in the Yellow Hat.

We will pick up with the Doctor trapped in the collector and being buried in sand…

  1. Reprise—where did the Doc get his little Boy Scout flashlight from?
  2. This sand must be coming in at a spectacular rate, in that the Doc doesn’t try to escape, just stands there staring at it.
  3. Ah, back to the BBC storeroom, in which Leela is hiding unconvincingly behind open shelving.
  4. Um, what is the Doc breathing through?  Where did he get his bit of pipe?  We never see it again.
  5. Commander really is useless at commanding.  Is he an example of the Peter principle?
  6. Is anyone going to bother to tell gold-dressed woman that [how to be delicate here…] that her shirt’s fabric is clinging embarrassingly.  Do they not wear bras in this culture?  I wonder if the poor actress noticed only after the show was on tv? 
  7. Tom does look very happy to be out from under what look like coffee beans.
  8. Do all of the machines and buttons on this spaceship make exactly the same noise, ‘cuz that could really be a nuisance.
  9. “What were you doing in the hopper?”  “Oh, don’t ask me such silly questions!”  ha!
  10. Wait, wait, wait—Doc got rescued when continuing flow of ore was turned off, but was chamber completely drained?  Otherwise, how could robot, with only one quick glance, see & id body (especially when Doc himself had to enter the chamber & get up close to see that it wasn’t Leela?)
  11. The vibrant greens and silvers of the masks are inspired.
  12. Classic horror film bit here w/ body behind curtain—bringing up point that murderer is increasingly trying to hid bodies, whereas killed the first one in plain sight & left him in the storeroom.
  13. Oh, D84, your dark silver face is so meanacing.
  14. “If I had killed him, would I not have killed you, too.”  Well, who can argue with that logic?
  15. Go Strycnine, with your same exact model shot as before, only in close-up.  Way to be boring!
  16. This conversation between Leela and the robot is a bit odd—she seems oddly relaxed for someone who thought she was going to die just 30 seconds ago.  D84 is being all Sherlock Holmes, too.
  17. “Is there anyone alive to tell?”  Ah, so you’ve seen the end of Hamlet too, huh.
  18. Ha!  Serves him right for slapping a girl! Take that, Commander!  He does look mighty shocked, but maybe it’s just the eyebrows.
  19. “You try that again and I’ll cripple you!”  I believe her and serves him right.  This here is why I like Leela so much.
  20. Leaf-hat boy seems to take particular pleasure in labeling the robot “D for Dumb.”
  21. Did you notice the little squeeze that the robot gives Leela as she asks if anyone has told him that he can’t speak?  Nice touch (literally).
  22. Wow!  Leela really has a ton of strong, insult/ one-liners in this scene.  She’s quite the spunky one, and pulls no punches when she recognizes stupidity.
  23. Um… Commander, are you aware that your argument makes no logical sense? Ok, just checking.
  24. Pool, there’s no point talking sense to a man wearing a leaf-hat.
  25. “Bring THAT.”  Dude, are you trying to earn yourself another knee to the groin?
  26. Methinks Pool has an idea about who did.
  27. I think that the Doctor uses the jelly babies as a system to distinguish good guys from bad guys—have you noticed that bad guys always overreact to them, whereas good guys eat them, usually cautiously…
  28. Poor Tom’s feelings are hurt b/c they refused his jelly babies.
  29. Tom assumes he is in charge because he has the tallest hat.
  30. I like the lilting, danger-under-the-surface tones of voice between the Doctor and the Commander here.
  31. Ah, boys and girls, a little lesson on the differences between facts and inferences.
  32. I like how they all turn on each other (rather like Midnight, that).  It’s quite realistic for the circumstances.
  33. Ah, Tom’s little mischievous grin as he suggests an alternative murderer.
  34. Dark-haired boy doesn’t even deign to turn around to snipe at the Doctor.
  35. Oh Oh!  I want to use that one: “You know, you are a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain.”
  36. Ok, so everyone is upset as the two stow-aways are being hauled off, and fish-girl has chosen this moment to begin a chess game with herself???
  37. Oh, good.  You can use all of that extra money to buy some mouthwash because, dude, really!
  38. What was that last look on the Commander’s face all about? 
  39. Um, the rest of the design is fab, but those boots—is that really the best you could do?
  40. Shhhhhh!  Don’t be exclaiming your murderous mission to all and sundry!
  41. Clearly they ran out of money making all of the cool sets and costumes, leaving zero cash left for the metallic restraints (though the script does have a go at explaining away their cheap looks).
  42. “I have an uncomfortable feeling…” could be that bubble wrap around your neck.
  43. Leela looks suitably skeptical about the Doc’s ability to save them.
  44. Yet another close-up of Strychnine with unwarranted dramatic sting and dodgy CSO.
  45. It is nice to see people actually working on this ship for a change.
  46. Commander is terribly whiny—maybe his hat is heavy.
  47. Excessively long shot of Strychnine’s wheels?  Why ?
  48. Poor Leela just looks miserable and bored.
  49. I like that Leela is perceptive and can judge people by their body movements, then warn the Doctor.
  50. Pool has two things going for him here: 1—he has no hat; 2—he reminds me of one of those sarcastic and smartly-sardonic Shakespearean characters.
  51. And now, for those of you who were not paying attention in episode one, we will review Asimov’s robot laws.
  52. It always comes back to the bees, doesn’t it.
  53. You have befuddled Pool, Doctor.
  54. Are we going to leave poor Leela locked up?  “Thank you.”
  55. And where are we sneaking off to in such a hurry, fish-girl.
  56. Meanwhile, in the BBC closet… was the guy’s name really Chav?
  57. Another point to the strange scream.
  58. Tom’s Doctor does make a good investigator.
  59. I’d call for a robot—with goofy shoes, apparently.
  60. Methinks that the robots would be sneakier murderers if they had pockets in which to keep their corpse markers hidden.
  61. Cue sub-plot point and very fake crying from Zilda.
  62. Yes, thank you Captain Obvious.
  63. Oh, gold-girl, you really do need a bra.  Why did no one tell the poor woman?
  64. Perhaps the humans turn to this robots after the Ood freed themselves.
  65. I like the little bit of jargon that she slips into her radio message to Pool.
  66. “Oh, I should think it’s the end of this civilization”—rather casual there, eh Tom.  It’s the end of the world as we know it, it’s the end.
  67. That’s quite the snazzy watch the Commander has there.
  68. Ahh, he had a crush on fish-girl the whole time.  He apparently never grew out of the stage where pulling on a girl’s pigtails (fish tails?) and teasing her showed his lurve.
  69. Go, Pool!  You tell that Commander what’s what.
  70. I like the contrasts between Pool’s light and the Commander’s dark.
  71. He goes down rather easily—has Pool been practicing his Venusian jujitsu?
  72. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”  Such a creepy bit of poetry—and used by the great Agatha as well.
  73. Oh dear, a greenly lit Strychnine fell off of a cliff—good Star Trek acting, all.
  74. Leela has to be very careful about how she stands up in that dress.
  75. “Oh thanks, I’d never have thought of that.”  Everyone gets good sarcastic lines.
  76. Oh dear, have they broken poor Strychnine?
  77. “It’s a gift!”  and a curse.
  78. Well, that settles that, then.
  79. Apparently Strychnine is a girl ship?  “She’s going!”

 

And… we’re out!

Well, that was quite a long one, especially as I began it last Thursday and finished it a midnight on Tuesday night, with a long weekend of family time in between.

Hopefully, part 3 tomorrow evening. 

Until then… [doo doo doo da dooo…]

For Part 3, click here.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: “nine times out of ten”– Robots of Death, episode 1 « Words All Day Thru

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