Gotta be honest, I am SO glad to be done with this whole “Unearthly Child” series of episodes. It’s interesting to see groundwork laid, but I’m getting impatient because the next 4-part episode is called…THE DALEKS! WOOT! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve still got a bit of ground to cover until we’re there. Ready…go!
First thing I’d like to do is point out that, in our opening shot here, Ian looks a LOT like young Kenneth Branagh. This is exciting to me, of course, because Kenneth Branagh is one of my all-time favorite actors/directors/godsthatwalktheearth. Just look at this and tell me you can’t see Ian performing in Much Ado About Nothing:
You beautiful men, you.
Regardless of his resemblance to King Henry V, they all get captured by the cavemen once again and are taken back to the rest of the tribe of cavepeople. This plot point of them trying to escape, getting away a little bit, then being captured once more is getting a bit tiresome.
Anyway, once they are back amongst the cave-dwellers, Kal totally tries to blame Za for the death of Mama Cavelady. The Doctor, in a stroke of…adequacy…brings out the knives of both Kal and Za and compares them. He points out that Za could not have killed Mama Cavelady, because there is no blood on his knife. Kal’s knife, however, has a lot of blood on it.
The Doctor then encourages all of the tribe to throw rocks at Kal and drive him out. This seems a bit extreme, but I am honestly more surprised that the Doctor didn’t just suggest they kill him directly.
Once Kal has been driven out, the Doctor and Company are put right back into the cave of skulls. Again. They are all seriously bummed out that they can never, ya know, escape.
Outside of the caves, we see our favorite romantic duo chatting about what has happened and what shall happen in regards to fire, their captives, the forest, blah blah blah. This conversation takes far too long, and is weirdly eloquent considering most of their other dialect has been grunting and pointing. Ultimately, Hur asks Za if he plans on letting the Doctor and Company go free, and Za says that he will either force them to make fire or kill them. So, I guess that’s a no.
Za then goes into the cave and discovers that Ian has made FIRE. He is just admiring this when Kal breaks into the cave and a massive fight ensues. None of the particularly graphic stuff happens on camera, which surprises absolutely no one, but the gist of it is that Za bashes Kal’s skull in with a big rock-club-thing.
Maybe I’m caveman racist, but I can’t tell which one is which.
So once Kal is dead, Ian gives Za a torch to go show his tribe the fire. Upon seeing the flames, Za is declared the official leader. The Doctor and Company think that they will be set free now, since they have helped Za twice at this point, but NOPE. Back into the cave they are sent.
Ian then comes up with a plan to escape. He sees morbid freaking Susan lighting one of the skulls on fire (I can only presume she does this when she’s bored). He concocts the idea that this might just scare the cavemen enough to at least distract them while they try to escape…again.
So this plan totally works. They escape and run back to the TARDIS, this time being pursued by a mob of cavemen who ACTUALLY have torches (although no pitchforks). The gang makes it into the TARDIS and takes off, but the Doctor is commenting on how it isn’t functioning properly. They land in some weird forest thing (again with the forest?!) and the Doctor has no idea where they are.
This is totally not a miniature clay model.
Before going out and exploring, because THAT is a good idea, the Doctor asks Susan to do a radiation reading. Remember that plot from before? It’s back! Susan looks down and gives the all-clear, but as they leave the TARDIS the meter goes up.
This is where we (finally) end the first episode of Doctor Who.