(x-posted from LiveJournal, with some edits)
I've been following Mark Watches Doctor Who for a while now (I started at Mark Reads The Hunger Games and it just ballooned from there). He finished Series 3 a few days ago and then, as is his custom after he's done with a new series season, picks a Classic Who story to review. So far, he's done "City of Death" and "The Three Doctors" for Classic Who. Then, per a recommendation that came during his review of "Blink," he decided to review "The Caves of Androzani," which is the last story to feature Peter Davison as the Doctor.
(Between Mark Watches and Traveling the Vortex, I'm definitely getting my Classic Who fix. I'll have the whole run covered in no time. Which may or may not be a good thing).
A little background would help - I started tackling Classic Who a while ago. I wanted to start from the very beginning, but that proved to be overwhelming. So, I canvassed the Doctor Who community on LiveJournal to see where the best place to start would be. I got a few recommendations and since I'd seen Davison as the Fifth Doctor in "Time Crash" (which is a must-see and easily searchable on YouTube - it's less than 8 minutes long), I went with his first story, "Castrovalva." I really liked that one, so I went on to "Four to Doomsday." Then I was glued to "Kinda" (that one was amazing - I'm surprised it doesn't get more love from the fandom). Pretty soon, I'd plowed through Five's entire first season without breaking a sweat (even getting a little bleary-eyed at "Earthshock").
It was at that point I made myself pull back because I was racing through Five's era so quickly and I wanted to make it last a bit longer, so I tracked down some Tom Baker episodes and sampled some Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton, all of which I enjoyed very much (I'm one of those people who likes everybody and everything. It takes a lot to get me to hate anything, really). Then, school started up again and life got busy and we all know how that goes.
Part of the reason I was dragging my feet in watching the rest of the Peter Davison era was because I really hate watching my favorite characters die (he does come back, but he's a totally new person. Essentially, it's still the same character, but... it's DEATH!) And I knew - I JUST KNEW - that "Caves" was going to be awesome and exciting and soul-crushing all at the same time.
And I am - well, not really pleased to report, but I am going to say that I was unsurprisingly correct. So much so that I was still in a depressed funk the next morning at work (one of the teachers I work with is also a "Doctor Who" fan and we had a mini therapy session while the students were doing their assignments. Sometimes I wonder if I'm a little too pathetic).
Now, I watched "Caves" out of order, which softened the blow a bit. I still had some Five episodes to go back to, but I don't know if that made it any better. Either way, these were my initial thoughts. I think I'll go back a watch the whole thing again, just to get a better grasp on what's going on.
But for now, this is my comment from "Mark Watches" and I wanted to save it here -
[Begin MW Commentary]
"For the past little while, I'd been working my way through the Peter Davison era. I absolutely adore Five (I think it's the celery - never in the history of anything has a vegetable been made of so much awesome) and I was dreading his regeneration because REGENERATION IS SO SAD! (That's probably the only thing I hate about "Doctor Who" - you get attached to one Doctor and he's wonderful and you love him… and then he regenerates. And it's not enough that he regenerates, but they have to do it in the most heartbreaking way possible).
"Now that I've had a day to grieve and rant and freak out, this is how I see this story - all the other characters surrounding the Doctor and Peri are pretty much all bad guys. The focus on this story is not the events on Androzani and how the Doctor can fix their issues . The focus is the Doctor and Peri are in trouble and they've got to get the antidote and get out of there. There is NO fixing the problem between the government and the rebels - better to leave them to duke it out amongst themselves. The Doctor and Peri have no allies (maybe Salateen, but even his reliability is dubious) and they are completely on their own - even more so when they get separated from each other). This is such a shift from how other "Doctor Who" stories are set up and everything about it is beyond brilliant. Peri is so adorable, Jek is the epitome of creepy, and even poisoned, the Doctor is badass awesome (the cliffhanger from episode 3 - HOLY CRAP!)
"And the CELERY - I think I was okay in the eye-moisture department until the Doctor pulled out the celery and tried to revive Peri with it - THAT is where you know the Doctor has no idea what to do. And when the Doctor is clueless… it's time to crawl into the corner with my blankie and sob. I can definitely see why this ranks even higher than "Blink" as a fan favorite…
…BUT WHY DOES IT HAVE TO KILL MY SOUL????
[End MW Commentary]
...sigh... now I have to go do homework. This will not end well.