Doctor Who: The Sea Devils

Ugh.  I should start by saying that I’ve had a crappy day.  Not because anything bad happened (it didn’t), or because anyone did or said anything to upset me (they didn’t), I’ve just felt crabby and lousy all day.  So you may want to take whatever I say hereafter with a grain of salt.  On the other hand, the fact that I’m aware of my grouchiness might cause me to overcompensate and be too forgiving.  I suppose this entire paragraph is completely unhelpful.  Sorry.

Anyway, let’s get the knitting business out of the way first.  I’m now exactly halfway done with that big ol’ orange stripe.  (For a split second, did you think I was going to say halfway done with the scarf?  I wish!)  Once I get it finished, I’ll probably post another picture.  I do have to admit that I only knitted through about half of this story.  I was feeling lazy through the first three (of six) episodes, so I wasn’t quite as productive as I could have been.  Sue me.  (Golly, I am a curmudgeon today aren’t I?)

Ok.  The Sea Devils.  I’ll come clean right off the bat.  I’m not exactly a fan of the third Doctor.  I don’t hate him or anything, he just ranks at the bottom of my list.  I love the Doctor.  I love all of his incarnations.  I simply love his third the least.  Something about his stuffy aloofness tends to rub me the wrong way.  And he has a bit of an action hero thing going on that doesn’t sit well with me.  There’s something James Bond-ey about him.  And at the risk of pissing off even more readers, I’m going to admit that I’m not a James Bond fan either.  Hey, at least I’m consistent, right?  Right…?

That being said, I still enjoyed this episode.  (Full disclosure: I love Doctor Who so much that I find it hard to imagine an episode I wouldn’t get at least some enjoyment out of.)  I haven’t watched much Pertwee at all, and no more than a couple episodes in the last 15-20 years, so this was an interesting exercise in reminiscing and catching up.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this episode before–at least not that I remembered.  I’m pretty sure I have the Target novelization and have read that–some story elements seemed quite familiar, but nothing visual rang much of a bell.

Ringing a bell brings me to my biggest complaint about The Sea Devils.  The sound effects drove me INSANE.  High-pitched, screechy noises seemed to pop up everywhere with no rhyme or reason.  I honestly considered just giving up and turning it off around episodes 2 and 3.  The shrill noises were so incredibly grating that I wanted to scrub out the inside of my head with a wire brush.  It would have been preferable.  I was ok with the sounds when they were visually linked up with the action, for example, a Sea Devil communicating or a machine communicating with the Sea Devils.  That was all well and good, but at the beginning of the serial, we’d hear them when a person in an office hung up the phone.  Wtf?  Maybe it was supposed to not-so-subtly indicate that “someone’s watching” or “there’s something out there somewhere.”  I don’t care.  It was awful and unnecessary and took away from the story rather than adding to it.

I did enjoy watching Roger Delgado as the Master.  He’s so delightfully and charmingly evil.  When a guy like that says “All your troubles will soon be over” you just have to smile, really.  Another character whom I rather loved to hate was Walker, the Parliamentary Private Secretary.  What a jerkwad!  I just wanted to smash his face against the desk!  (Gosh!  What’s with me today?)  He did help me out in one way though.  I’ve never known what to say when I’ve been asked what superpower I’d want if I could have anything at all.  Well now I know.  I’d like the power to make people see/recognize/feel how they make other people feel.  So when jackasses like that are being jackassey, I can turn it around on them and say “Here, this is how you’re coming off to the rest of the world.  Are you sure you want to keep acting like that?  Hmm?”

There were a couple of plot issues that bothered me, the worst of which surrounded a machine that the Doctor and the Master were making together (ostensibly, to awaken all Sea Devils all over the globe).  The Doctor agrees to this readily, and the Master, for some reason, just believes that the Doctor is going along with it and cooperating.  That just seemed ridiculous to me.  Then, when the Doctor turns it on and something is obviously wrong (the Sea Devil in the room starts clutching its head in pain), the Master lets it go on for several minutes before turning it off.  There’s no good reason for this.  (Except from a move-the-story-forward point of view, ’cause it gave Jo and Captain Hart time to escape, but the Master knew nothing of that, and if he did, wouldn’t have wanted them to get away anyway.)

Overall though, this episode was good fun.  It had the Master, it had the Sea Devils (a great “enemy” race ’cause they’re not actually aliens at all–they were here first, and that leads to a delicious moral dilemma), it had some good location shooting–on water and on the beach, it had the Doctor reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, and it even had fencing and Venusian aikido.  What more can you ask for, really?


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