The Rescue is a two-episode story that existed solely to introduce a new traveller, Vicki. As far as stories go, it was less than awesome. It’s a rarity that may have benefited from another episode. I was most interested in the actual residents of Dido, who make a brief appearance at the very end without much explanation.
First, we meet Vicki and Bennett. They’re waiting for a rescue ship and Bennett can’t walk. They’re apparently being held prisoner by Koquillion, a strange alien being that we are led to believe is what those who live on Dido look like. He claims that his people had killed the rest of the humans’ crew and he was protecting the two of them from further attack. The two humans seem to fear Koquillion. Meanwhile, our three remaining travelers land in a cave. Again. Doesn’t the TARDIS have some program that keeps it from landing inside things like tombs, caves, and spaceships? Just another example of a previously noted design flaw.
The Doctor seems distracted, perhaps a little depressed, by Susan’s absence. Ian and Barbara are being very understanding, but, curiously, seem to barely even notice that she’s gone. They got over it pretty quickly. Cold hearted bastards. For whatever reason, the Doctor is very sleepy. Maybe it’s his depression. I’ve seen the commercial for medication — everyone suffers when you’re depressed. Even the dog. In this case, Ian and barbara suffer, forced to venture outside alone where Koquillion greets them, pushes Barbara off a cliff and causes a cave-in on Ian and the Doctor. Unfortunately, the cave-in leads to more cave jumping, an adventure that takes up half of the doctor and ian’s screen time, it seems.
In the end, Koquillion is really Bennett (What a twist!). he’s dressed up in some fancy ceremonial robes. We know this because the Doctor had previously visited Dido and knew them to be a peaceful race. One without crazy heads and murderous tendencies. When death is imminent, the real Didoans show up to save the day. Then promptly disappear.
One thing that was a bit irritating with this is that Bennett’s motives are not very clearly explained, or at least don’t make any sense (he wanted to kill people, but not have anyone know he killed them? Why did he kill them to begin with?). This was also the case with the human villains in The Sensorites. I wonder if there was some sort of unwritten code or a different understanding of humanity in the pre-turmoil sixties (If it were an American show, this would be pre-Martin Luther King and robert Kennedy assasinations, pre-watergate, pre-woodstock, pre-Kent-State, pre-large Vietnam protests) that prevented the writers from being able to clearly articulate or explain human treachery. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just poor story telling.
So, how about Vicki? She’s alright. She has a bit of Susan’s dependency issues, but she’s also a bit more fiery than Susan. I’m afraid she might lack a bit of the intelligence that Susan’s character occasionally displayed, and definitely lacks the intriguing alien side story weirdness, although that was never really developed. In an odd moment, when Vicki introduces herself to Barbara, Barb asks if her name is Victoria. She responds “No. Vicki. V-I-C-K-I.” Was this a necessary interaction? Why did she spell her name like that? I thought that was a strange response and may signal a bit of headstrongness in her character. We’ll see how she develops, will she be written as weakly as Susan or will she be a bit strong like Barbara? Or even stronger? It was difficult to tell in this very short introductory story.