On Verity! this week we were discussing The Sea Devils in particular and the Third Doctor in general. So, in honour of our delightful episode,* I’ve put together a handy guide to the five most important things about the story we rattle on about for a good hour or so.
The Five Most Important Things About The Sea Devils
1) There is a swordfight.
It is a sciffy fact of universal acknowledgement that all SFF is made better with swordfights.** Especially space swordfights. Sod that nonsense about archaic weaponry and surely humanity will have come up with new stuff, swords are cool. And anyway the future probably has personal shield tech like in Dune and KOTOR and space guns just don’t get the job done as handily as a pointy laser stick.
Should any members of the Restoration Team be reading: I know you’re v keen on destroying my childhood by removing spanners and changing beloved Dalek voices and “no complications” lolarity, but if you ever want to make up for such SACRILEGE, how about substituting in this instead of the actual Doctor & Master swordfight in Sea Devils? I’m sure George Lucas won’t mind.
And, of course, destroy all original copies of the fight. And pretend this was what they meant to do all along. Flawless plan!
2) A most Doctor Who-ish of Doctor Who cliffhangers.
Unlike the other things on this list – which are all Facts – this, I admit, is quite personal. See, that cliffhanger where the Doctor and Jo rapel down a cliff to the beach, running from the Master on one side, an inconvenient minefield to their right, some hapless security dudes to the left, and SEA DEVILS ( well…one
sea devil… Silurian Eocene homo reptililis Earth reptile indigenous Terran…whatever you call them) emerging from the sea before of them? MAGICAL. It is DOCTOR WHO in a very complete and brilliant way. If you love this cliffhanger, then you are a good and proper person. If you do not, I am so sorry.
The Doctor is a filthy sandwich stealer. Just to add insult to injury, when they’ve escaped Deadly Danger and got to the relative safety of the naval base, Jo sensibly has a hot drink of Proper Tea and then asks for some food cause, heh, stressful day.
The Doctor decides the proper thing to have is WHISKY (or possibly brandy?). He’s drinking! On the job of saving the day! And then he steals all the sandwiches. APPALLING.
The lesson is, do not let the Doctor drink, for he will then steal your sandwiches.
4) Pretty guns.
Guns are bad. The Doctor said so once. Which means that all those times (including The Sea Devils, heh) where he carried or used one don’t count and he’s a pacifist. Somehow. Despite blowing up planets. FANNISH LOGIC AT ITS FINEST.
Anyway, the important thing here is that while guns in real life are awful, guns on the telly are cool, and The Sea Devils gets some of the coolest guns in all the Whoniverse. Look at it! It’s a shiny circle! Brilliant.
5) Jo tries out for The Avengers.
It’s not that I don’t think you shouldn’t criticise the companions, it’s that if you can’t say anything at all positive, then you’re an idiot.*** Jo comes in for some of the worst stuff. Cause she’s so silly and fluffy and thick. NO. NO SHE IS NOT. Jo saved the universe because she felt she had the moral authority to kill herself and the Doctor when all of creation was in danger. The Doctor? Copped out.
Anyway, now I’ve got the gratuitous reference to the awesome of The Time Monster out of the way, Jo is also pretty keen in The Sea Devils. So keen, I feel like she’s trying out for The Avengers. Can you see it? Jo and Emma Peel? Try and tell me that wouldn’t be a classy team. GO ON. I shall mock you with my Frida Kahlo finger-puppet.
In Sea Devils Jo not only gets a top notch costume (white trouser suit made of Magic Material of Cleanliness, and she looks damn good in it too), she engages in cunning escapes and rescues. She communicates plans with hand signals, clambers through ventilation shafts, bribes dudes to borrow cool transport to places she’s not supposed to go, and breaks the Doctor out of a high-security prison while the guards are trying to hunt her down.
And that’s your five thngs! Gosh, have you ever seen a more useful guide to something ever? I think not.
* Delight not guaranteed.
** The Monster of Peladon being the exception that proves the rule. Nothing can improve that. Nothing. Ever.
*** Unless it’s Evelyn, of course. I really, really don’t like Eveyln…but, yeah, I’ll still admit, in a good mood, that she’s in two whole stories where she doesn’t wind me up horrendously.