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Reaction: Classic Doctor Who - Mawdryn Undead - CaffieneKittySpace
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caffienekitty
caffienekitty
Reaction: Classic Doctor Who - Mawdryn Undead
I've just re-watched the Fifth Doctor episode, "Mawdryn Undead". This is personally significant because it was the first Doctor Who I had ever seen, way back when, and it scared the living crap out of me.

I had thought that I was a lot younger when I'd seen it, but judging from the original air-date and that this was on in Canada, I must have been at least twelve. In my defense, I wasn't watching it voluntarily, and I was half-asleep. I was staying at my sister's place, sleeping on the couch. It was past midnight, she came in, plunked down at the end of the couch, waking me up, turned on the TV and told me to suck it up and deal. Not in so many words, but the sentiment was there. She then watched all two hours of this very intently and wouldn't explain anything.

So, 12-ish years old, half-asleep, no idea what Doctor Who was or what anything meant, and I saw this one, all two hours of it. Gave me a dread fear of meeting myself from another time and destroying the universe, and perhaps also some distinct trepidation of pink ruffles.

(Not much of a picspam, but there are a few crappy screencaps.)

Here's what I found on re-watching it for the first time in about 25 years:

-The scene where Turlough drives the Brigadier's car off the road has been repeating in my dream-landscape once in a while ever since then, and I never realized it was from this. Hunh.


VT n BG BFFs

-Black Guardian with the dead bird in his hair. Gaaaaaah. That's just wrong. Still.

-Also, Turlough is kind of a dick. At the start. I guess he gets better in later storylines. And Tegan and Nyssa are raging idiots. I'm fairly certain they don't get much better, sadly.


Braaaaains

-Guy with exposed gummy-brains (and looks vaguely like Riff Raff from Rocky Horror) insisting he's the Doctor, now seems very silly. Then, when I was twelve and half-asleep and had no idea what the Doctor was and why these people were trusting him and whether or not gummy-brain man was actually the Doctor or not? Freaky. As. Hell.


oh noes ruffle-monsters

-Ah, yes, rubber-suit ruffle-monsters. *snerk* The silent roving around in a pink ruffly pack towards the end was... I guess... kind of... eerie, maybe...? Oh come on! I was twelve, and half-asleep and very confused, did I mention?

-All the talk of death and the ruffle-monsters wanting to die, I don't remember it bothering me too much. But I'd been watching murder mysteries and Sherlock Holmes movies since I was seven.

-You know, I think the atmosphere of tension really got me when I was twelve. The ruffle-monsters not overtly attacking, but creepy and manipulative, and two ordinary guys who were supposed to be the same person who'd blow up the universe or something if they met each other just missing each other every time the turned a corridor. And the who's what where when back and forthing. Surprising amount of tension. The BBC Organ of Imminent Doom assisting a great deal in that. Most TV shows airing in North America didn't have anything like a similar atmosphere tension-wise.

-Incidentally, the "'77" Brigadier vs "'83" Brigadier (Hallo there, UNIT dating issues!) make-up and costuming holds up quite well under scrutiny, even now.


whoops, mutationwhoops, de-aged

-Tegan and Nyssa suddenly going all mutated and then de-aging. This creeped me way the hell out as a kid.

-Contains a genuine occurrence of "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow"!!!! \o/ Favorite bit of technobabble, since it's absolute scientific nonsense and in essence, just the Doctor trying to sound like he has a plan when we all know he's winging it. Additionally references the 'Blinovitch Limitation Effect'. Yay!

-Also, Doctor willing to give up his lives for his companions. Check.


not quite a spa day

-Creepy, bondagey, life-sucking machine to kill the ruffle-monsters, fix Nyssa and Tegan, and suck away lives 6 through 13 from the Doctor. It's rather pink. Looks like an automated esthetician parlor now. Not that I've ever been in one, automated or not, but that's what I think one would look like.

-The Brigadiers meeting each other, that kind of autopilot look they both get before they touch, like there wasn't much will involved in them touching and they couldn't have stopped if they'd tried. For some reason, that freaked me out the most as a kid.


Conclusion: The Brigadier is awesome twice over, the Doctor is still awesome, Turlough is creepy but probably gets better later, Tegan and Nyssa often make me want to beat my head against a wall and sometimes there isn't really a monster, sort of. Not nearly as freaky now as it was when I was twelve and semi-concious.

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Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic

8 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
idioticonion From: idioticonion Date: June 27th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was completely in lurve with Turlough as a young girl. Esp in Enlightenment. I recommend that episode!

I need to watch more classic Davison.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 27th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Classic Who is great fun to watch, especially given the level of attention to continuity in the new series.
dendritejungle From: dendritejungle Date: June 27th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
DUDE. THAT WAS YOUR FIRST EPISODE??!? I'm amazed you stuck with it! I was a veteran watcher by then, and that episode confused the hell out of me. Also those freaky brain-caps disturbed me more than anything I'd ever seen in the entire show. DO NOT WANT.

caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 27th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
DUDE. THAT WAS YOUR FIRST EPISODE??!? I'm amazed you stuck with it!

Actually, I didn't have the opportunity to watch it again on a regular basis until I got access to cable TV in college, and then it completely wrecked my sleeping schedule because I'd be up guarding the VCR in the common room 'til 4 AM. :-)

I was a veteran watcher by then, and that episode confused the hell out of me.

I watched it ridiculously late at night this time and still followed it, but I'd really like to go back again and specifically watch for who's with which Brigadier when and where and try to work out the shooting schedule. :-)

Also those freaky brain-caps disturbed me more than anything I'd ever seen in the entire show. DO NOT WANT.

They might not have had a lot of the technology for special effects that we have today, but the plusating exposed brain is still quite horrific.
malevolent73 From: malevolent73 Date: June 27th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never watched any Dr. Who, but I can def see how this would freak out a half asleep 12 year old child. My daughter claims that she would hear the X-files theme while I watched it when she was little and it still freaks her out. I send it to her phone for fun sometimes. HAHA
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 27th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never watched any Dr. Who, but I can def see how this would freak out a half asleep 12 year old child.

There's a lot of Doctor Who, if you ever decide to give it a try. This episode would probably not be an ideal place to start though. :-)

My daughter claims that she would hear the X-files theme while I watched it when she was little and it still freaks her out. I send it to her phone for fun sometimes. HAHA

You are officially the world's awesomest mom. :-)
lurkingwombat From: lurkingwombat Date: June 27th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
hey there
you are too damn scary, you know that? You are. Ask me why in a few months!
This was cool to read. Love the episode. Tegan i could take or leave but i always like Nyssa. Especially in "Terminus" running around in her underwear ;)
Have the movie "Happy Accidents" as well though haven't seen it yet. The "Blinovitch Effect" is mentioned therein. The movie is referenced in the wiki article you linked.
hugs
Lurking Wombat
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 27th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
you are too damn scary, you know that? You are. Ask me why in a few months!

Hm. Well, if you guys had just re-watched Mawdryn Undead yourselves' you'd have said, so since I was going to send you an email of things I already know about series 5, I'll stick my speculation about this in on that.

Tegan i could take or leave but i always like Nyssa. Especially in "Terminus" running around in her underwear ;)

*facepalm* Sigh.

Have the movie "Happy Accidents" as well though haven't seen it yet. The "Blinovitch Effect" is mentioned therein. The movie is referenced in the wiki article you linked.

Cool! It's awesome when sci-fi terms appear otside their natural habitat. :-D
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