Saturday, February 4, 2017

Doctor Who: "The Gunfighters" Episode 2: Don't Shoot the Pianist

When last we left off, the Doctor and company were in Tombstone, Arizona during the Old West. The Doctor had been mistaken for local troublemaker/dentist Doc Holliday by a man named Seth "Don't Call Me Snake-Eyes" Harper, who invited him to the saloon for a bit of "drinking" with the Clanton brothers, who just so happen to have a bone to pick with Holliday since he shot their other brother.

The Doctor's companions, mistaken for pals of "Holliday," are being forced to entertain the Clantons at gunpoint to ensure that they can't help "Holliday" get the drop on the Clantons.

And all because the Doctor insisted on getting a dentist to yank his tooth.

You think that's bad, though?
Troy ended up burning because the Doctor pretended he was Zeus and had a little idea anout a horse.
Over in Doc Holliday's office, he's monologuing to himself in order to remind the audience what's been happening, since a week has passed between episodes.

Doc Holliday: "Well, Katie, my girl, five minutes should see the end of the man the Clantons think is Doc Holliday. And then I can start trading under another name. What name would you fancy, Kate?"

I wouldn't take naming advice from a woman known in real life as "Big Nose Kate."

But Kate left through the backdoor to head back to the Last Chance Saloon, and she's left behind a note explaining as much.

Doc Holliday: "Why must women meddle?"

Well, somebody has to resolve the cliffhanger, and you certainly weren't going to do it, Doc.

Back at the saloon, Steven is a bit sick of singing the Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon over and over and over. And over.

Steven: "I've sung this song four times already!"
Phineas: "Well, then sing it again!"

The Clanton's pistol makes quite a good argument, so Steven goes back to singing with as much resentment in his voice as he can muster, nearly rivaling Weird Al's performance of "Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch." Luckily, Kate comes in to save the day. She yells at the Clantons to put their guns away before yelling at Charlie the Barman over apparently replacing her while she was out.

Steven tells Dodo to go upstairs and lock her door, away from all the men with guns.

Dodo: "Oh, but I was enjoying playing."

This is the first episode I've covered with Dodo in it, so I should probably point out that Dodo's as sharp as a pound of wet leather. She had some issues with the idea of "danger" in the last serial, too. And that situation had far more peril than playing piano at gunpoint. She was playing Blind Man's Bluff against clowns.

...It makes sense in context, I swear.
Steven isn't as lucky as Dodo, though. Kate's miffed over the fact that Steven was doing her job, so she demands that he sit down and play piano while she sings. And honestly... she delivers the worst performance of the song yet.

I mean, Peter Purves ain't exactly Johnny Cash, but at least he didn't have to fake an accent while he sang. But Sheena Marshe has to smile, dance, go through a little choreographed routine through the saloon, fake an American accent, and sing. Her determination to make her accent last through the whole song is undermining how much enthusiasm and flourish she can put into it, and it sort of drags down the sequence. I feel bad for saying that because her committal to her accent otherwise puts her in the top-tier of fake American accents for this serial.

Anyway, the show is over, and the Doctor walks in clapping, even though he couldn't possibly have seen any of her dance moves before he arrived. Or maybe he's impressed with the fact that she left Doc Holliday's place after him, and yet managed to arrive before him. Although the first person he compliments is Steven on the piano, so maybe he's celebrating Steven's ability to play the piano without looking.

This was years before Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder got famous for doing basically the same thing.
...I may be going to Hell for that joke.
Doctor: "I'd really no idea."
Steven: "Oh, thank you, Doctor. Neither had I."

But Kate's distraction meant that all the angry men didn't have their shootin' irons at the ready. So instead of firing at the man they believe to be Doc Holliday, they confront him.

Seth Harper: "Well, if it ain't the great Doc."
Doctor: "Ohhh, you flatter me, young man. Reasonably accomplished, I would say, but, eh, not 'great.'"

The Doctor has apparently made a miraculous recovery between episodes, since his empty, bleeding socket doesn't seem to be bothering him. He's all smiles as he recognizes Harper from earlier.

Doctor: "Yes, and you so very kindly invited me to join you and your friends for a drink."
Seth Harper: "And a little talk, Doc."
Doctor: "Yes, quite so, quite so. Well, I'm afraid I don't touch alcohol, but, uh, a little glass of milk, and I should be only too delighted!"

"All the species in all the universe, and it has to come out of a cow."
It's at this point that Harper introduces the "friends" he wanted the Doctor to meet, the Clanton brothers.

Doctor: "The Clanton brothers. Oh dear. I mean, eh, how do you do? Hmm?"

The Clantons take note of his worry at hearing the name "Clanton," and they decide to broach the topic of their late Reuben. The Doctor, hoping to avoid any sort of gunfight, O.K. Corral or not, tries to convince them to leave the matter in the hands of the right people.

Ike: "And the right people happen to be your friend Wyatt Earp?"

As the conversation escalates, it seems as though the real Doc Holliday has somehow arrived and made his way to the staircase behind the Clantons. While he lurks with his tiny gun, the Doctor figures out the whole "mistaken identity" thing.

Doctor: "But I am not the Doc. The man you're looking for is the local dentist. Yes! He has a little shop here, along the street."
Seth Harper: "It seems to me that's where I found you."
Doctor: "Yes, well, I can explain that. You see...."
Seth Harper: "And, uh, your gun's got his brand on it."
Doctor: "Uh, well, yes, uh, as a matter of fact, he lent it to me, because, eh, because, eh...."

Yeah, the Doctor's unlikely story isn't winning over too many listeners. The Clantons threaten to shoot Steven if he tries to corroborate the Doctor's story, and Kate even starts trying to rile everybody up by telling the Doctor to "admit" that he's Doc Holliday.

The Doctor's temper starts rising, and he whips out his gun to try and explain yet again that he's only borrowing it. But in his haste, he accidentally fires a bullet into Seth's hand, knocking his gun away. Kate takes control of the situation and basically forces the Doctor to hold the Clantons at gunpoint. He orders Steven to disarm the brothers, and the camera wobbles as he does just that.

The gunshot piqued Dodo's curiosity, so the real Doc Holliday finds himself forced to demand that she head back upstairs as gunpoint so as not to blow his cover.

Meanwhile, the Doctor gets help with his newfound life of crime.

Doctor: "How do we proceed?"
Kate: "Line 'em up against the piano."

So he demands they do just that, and they grudgingly do, with an accidental shot from Steven's gun into the ceiling sealing the deal.

Ike: "You won't get away with this, Holliday!"
Doctor: "I keep telling you, I'm not Holliday! Well, what do we do now?"
Kate: "Well, Doc, I reckon that's up to you now."

She walks off as the Clantons begin to mouth off and say that the Doctor should have killed them earlier.

Doctor: "Indeed, indeed, and may I point out that I still have the chance, sir?"
Seth Harper: "Well, I don't have no gun!"
Doctor: "Exactly! That's the whole point, isn't it, hm?"

Good point. It's easier to shoot people when they can't shoot back. That's why many places in America let you hide a gun on your person. It's to defend yourself against all the people with guns hiding on their person.

Phineas: "Am I hearing right?"
Billy: "If you ain't the lowest, meanest sidewinder...."

Oh, so ganging up on one person is fine, but God forbid he should turn the tables, huh?

But it's at this moment that Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson show up to find the Clantons with their hands up.

Wyatt Earp: "Holdin' a prayer meeting? Why, I'd be proud to join you."

The Doctor is happy to see some local law enforcement, and tells Wyatt that he was simply trying to explain something to the Clantons. With a gun in his hand.

Bat Masterson: "Wyatt and I handle that kind of explaining around here."

After all the guns are accounted for, the Clantons all claim that "Holliday" started it.

Phineas: "Yeah, he shot us all down in c-c-cold blood."

This is Phineas Clanton (Maurice Good), who hasn't had many lines yet. They decided to give him a stutter in an attempt to make him more distinctive. It is, without a doubt, one of the worst-acted stutters I've ever seen. He enunciates his stutters. Instead of getting hung up on certain sounds, or repeating himself, or whatever, he pronounces each stutter like it was a separate word, resulting in phrases like "kih kih cold blood."

Anyway, Steven tries to explain what really happened, but Wyatt Earp has a plan. He knows darn well that the Doctor isn't Doc Holliday. After all, they're pals. But the Clantons are convinced that the Doctor murdered their brother, so he decides to keep the Doctor somewhere safe: Jail.

Wyatt Earp: "You're under arrest, Pop."
Doctor: "Under arrest? And don't you call me 'Pop.'"

"'Snap' or 'Crackle' will do nicely, however."
As Kate sneaks off, the Doctor tries to get out of this current scrape.

Doctor: "I want to see my solicitor!"
Wyatt Earp: "A what?"

I think the joke is that Earp doesn't know what a solicitor is because he lives in the comparatively-uncivilized Wild West. But the joke takes on a new meaning when you realize that in America at this time, "solicitors" dealt with cases in a court of equity, not a court of law, as in the U.K.

So it makes sense that Wyatt Earp is basically wondering why the Doctor just asked for somebody qualified to settle a mortgage dispute.

Wyatt Earp: "A night in the jailhouse is just about what you need."

Bat and Wyatt lead the Doctor to his jail cell, leaving the Clantons to figure that Wyatt Earp is just getting Doc Holliday out of trouble like always. Luckily for them, Steven got left behind in all the fuss....

Meanwhile, Doc Holliday and his new hostage Dodo are waiting things out when Kate arrives. Kate chastises Holliday for not using his gun to solve his problems when he had the chance, making everything much more complicated than she'd like.

It's around this point that all the characters in the room get filled in on the parts of the plot they didn't know. Dodo learns that her captor is Doc Holliday, and both she and he learn that the Doctor was taken to jail to prevent his death through his earlier misidentification.

Dodo tries to run and help the Doctor, but Holliday stops her and tells her that the safest place for the old man is in the hands of Wyatt Earp. And with nothing better to do while they lay low, he whips out a deck of cards.

"What's yer game, then, Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh?"
Over at the jail, Bat Masterson is trying to get up to speed on the situation by asking exactly why the Doctor had Holliday's gun.

As an aside, nearly half of this story seems to consist of people trying to figure out what's actually happening.

Doctor: "I have already told you, my dear Sheriff. He lent it to me."
Bat Masterson: "And why would Holliday do a fool thing like that?"
Wyatt Earp: "Because he knew the Clantons was a-layin' for him."

The Doctor wants to go with Earp to find Holliday, but they insist that he should stay safe in his jail cell, where the Clantons can't put a bullet in his brain. With a gun, I mean, they're not going to try and stuff it up his nose by hand.

Music: "You've a good chance of dyin', it's your last chance to hide. There won't be no flyin' 'til your last long ride."

Back at the Saloon, Steven is surprisingly healthy, considering his current company. He keeps trying to convince the Clantons that the Doctor isn't Doc Holliday, even going so far as to say that the Doctor never fired that shot earli...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I get it.

Okay, I honestly couldn't tell because of how it was filmed, staged, and edited, but I think Doc Holliday shot Seth from the stairs. I was incorrect in assuming that the Doctor accidentally fired off a shot.

But considering that Steven has misfired his gun, can you really blame me for assuming the Doctor did too?

Anyway, Steven seems to very very keen on breaking the Doctor out of jail to prove his identity... which would certainly make it easier for the Clantons to pump him full of bullets. As such, they decide to give Steven a helping hand.

Music: "There's gamblers from Denver, there's guns from the South. And many a cowboy with a dry, dry mouth."

Oh, man, I know what that's like. I sleep with my mouth open, so I wake up with dry mouth all the time. It's terrible. Uncomfortable and leads to morning breath. I've actually found this mouthwash that seems to help, but...

...Sorry. Carry on.

Music: "There's a ragtime piano and a small back room for to sleep off your troubles at the Last Chance Saloon."

Kate loses to the Doc at cards while Dodo stares at the corner in a huff. Doc's feeling a bit parched after all that winning, so he asks Kate to see if the Clantons are still between him and the bar. When she protests, he convinces her by snapping at her.

Doc Holliday is not in a good mood, and he admits as much to Dodo. After all, this was the man who wants to be able to walk down any street in the West. Holding up in a room while he waits for the Clantons to leave is leaving a poor taste in his mouth. So when Kate returns to tell him that the Clantons are still there, he decides to take a little walk anyway. Kate reminds him that there's no need to start anything at the bar, since there's a bottle of booze back in his office, so Doc heads down to his shop to grab his favorite anesthetic.

Kate: "Ain't it wonderful, honey, what a man'll do for what he truly believes in?"

The trip to his office is uneventful, but when searching for his bottle, he finds Wyatt Earp instead. With a gun.

Doc Holliday: "Well, that ain't friendly, Wyatt. That ain't friendly a' tall."
Wyatt Earp: "Maybe not. can't say as how I feel particular well-disposed towards you right now."

Wyatt takes Doc's own gun away... at least, he tries. The actor fumbles a bit, so Doc's actor ad-libs a bit.

Doc Holliday: "Heh heh heh heh heh, yer gettin' clumsy!"

But this kind of shows off Doc's attitude to the whole situation. A trusted friend is disarming him at gunpoint, and he's laughing. Is it any wonder that nobody trusts him to be able to successfully wait out the Clantons' vendetta without causing more trouble? As such, Wyatt Earp has an ultimatum for his pal: Get out of town.

The Clantons are mad and antsy, and Doc Holliday is just asking for trouble. And when the powder keg blows, who knows what innocent people will get caught in the middle? And something will happen. Wyatt knows that he can't keep the Doctor illegally locked up forever. He plans on releasing the old man after telling the Clantons the truth.

Wyatt Earp: "Tomorrow morning. Now, you can ride out tonight and, uh, heh, get yourself a head start."

Wyatt insists that it's not as bad as it sounds. Once the heat dies down, Doc can come back and resume his dentistry practice. But again, Doc Holliday wants it all to be over now so he can start a new life as a dentist without worry. But as Wyatt explains, there's more to this situation than meets the eye.

Pa Clanton and his boys have a cattle rustling scheme that could give them enough of an upper hand to take over Tombstone. Wyatt Earp is waiting for some brothers of his to arrive so he can take on the outlaws with a posse. Doc Holliday offers to help, since it means staying in town and taking care of the men who are after him, but Wyatt Earp is adamant.

Wyatt Earp: "Ride out, Doc."
Doc Holliday: "Else you'll be gunnin' for me... come sun-up."

Back at the Saloon, the Clantons outline their plan to Steven. He'll go on and hand the Doctor a gun through the bars of the jailhouse window, which the Doctor can use to threaten his way out.

Steven: "And where do you guys come in?"
Ike: "Well, we wait outside the jailhouse in case anything goes wrong."
Clantons: "Yeah."
Phineas: "And so's that we can prevent a mis-khh-khkhk-carriage of justice."
Billy: "To welcome him back to society."
Steven: "Ohhh. Not to gun him down?"

Steven, in case you haven't noticed, is acting like bit of a fool. The Clantons claim that if the Dcotor truly isn't Holliday, then Steven can prove it and they'll have nothing to fear. Steven gets even more incentive to follow the plan when the Clantons claim that the Doctor will be shipped to the County jail the next morning.

Steven heads out to do his part, and the Clantons laugh over his gullibility. But just in case, Phineas will trail Steven while Billy gets the hangin' rope.

Music: "With rings on their..."

Fingers, bells on their toes, yadda yadda. Let's cut to something more important. Dodo doing Kate's hair!

First she gets kidnapped, then she performs a makeover. Sarah Jane Smith, she is not.
But any hopes of passing the Bechdel Test with this scene are shattered when Dodo asks if she's really going to marry Doc Holliday. Despite the troubles he gives her, she's still convinced that the two of them will have a happily-ever-after.

Kate: "Though over how many dead bodies, I don't rightly know."
Dodo: "But he's an outlaw!"
Kate: "Oh, honey, I've known them all in my time."

"Mostly for a fee."
Kate: "Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Johnny Ringo."

"Johnny Ringo"? Wow, my third and fourth-favorite Beatles combined Voltron-style into one man!

Kate: "And I'm tellin' you the Doc's the best of the bunch. He's a real gentleman. Just been a mite unlucky is all."

Kate claims that Wyatt Earp has been a positive influence on her man, keeping him on the right side of the law for the most part.

Kate: "That's why for the first time, I think he's gonna settle down."

Which is Holliday's cue to come in and say...

Doc Holliday: "Kate, seems you and I have to leave town before mornin'."

He tells her that Wyatt Earp is gunning for him, and that he refuses to shoot a friend, so the blow is softened. Although it really says something about this place if Kate's definition of "gentleman" is loose enough to simply mean "somebody who doesn't kill his friends."

Music: "You've a good chance of dyin', it's your last chance to hide. There won't be no flyin' 'til your last long ride."

"Flying," incidentally, is hanging. And let's just say that there's a reason the song keeps bringing it up....

Anyway, as the Doctor stares intently at the back of a Johnny Ringo wanted poster...

No, really.
...Steven arrives at the window. He tells the Doctor that Dodo is fine in her room, and he gives the Doctor a gun.

Steven: "Use it to bluff your way out!"

Steven, as it turns out, isn't a gullible moron. He knows dang well that the Clantons still think the Doctor is Doc Holliday.

Possibly because they were laughing about it before he even left.
Luckily, they only need to get back to the TARDIS, and Steven says to meet him in ten minutes. Steven rushes away before the Doctor can outline a better plan, so the Doctor decides to spend his time twirling his new gun, catching the attention of Wyatt Earp.

Doctor: "Oh, uh, Mr. Werp. I say, can you do that?"
Wyatt Earp: "Nope. And I wouldn't try it if I were you."
Doctor: "I have no intention of trying anything. Only people keep giving me guns, and I do wish they wouldn't."

Right there. Best line. Ten outta ten.

The Doctor politely hands Wyatt his gun to look after, admitting that Steven slipped it to him between the bars.

Doctor: "He said to meet him outside in ten minutes' time."
Wyatt Earp: "Oh, did he? Well, I must go and have a word with him"
Doctor: "Oh, yes, I wish you would. And would you kindly explain to him that I'm quite happy where I am for the moment? Hmm?"

In all honestly, I do love the Doctor's obliviousness to the fact that he's essentially telling a sheriff that his friend is breaking the law. The Doctor gives not one crap regarding what's actually going on, and it makes me yearn to see what would happen if a police officer successfully arrested the Doctor in the Revived Series.

I mean a real police officer, not a kissogram.
Anyway, back at the Last Chance Saloon, Ike Clanton is rousing a rabble.

Ike: "And I say Holliday's the meanest man that's ever polluted the fair name of the West."
Mob: "Yeah!"
Ike: "And while he's around, there's gonna be nothing but trouble and bloodshed!"
Mob: "Yeah!"
Ike: "And the law... the law says maybe he'll do a spell in jail. Well, are we gonna let Wyatt Earp get away with that?"
Mob: "No!"
Ike: "Then I say let's go over to the jailhouse, get him out, and string him up from the nearest tree!"

"Ike Clanton is right!"
"Billy Clanton is right about Ike Clanton being right!"
As the mob prepares for a hangin', Phineas presents Steven to the other Clantons, saying that he tried to make a run for it. So Steven gets tied up and turned into a hostage. And if "Doc Holliday" isn't freed, Steven hangs.

The mob files out of the Saloon, so Kate heads up to the real Doc Holliday and their own hostage, Dodo. Doc plans on letting Dodo go, but the mob outside makes him change his plans. They've stolen his dentistry chair, so he runs downstairs to try and stop them. But downstairs, he runs into Seth Harper, who stayed behind to have a drink, and finds himself forced to shoot the straggler.

With the mob after him, Holliday has Kate prep three horses for himself, Kate, and Dodo. Dodo protests, but Doc tells her that it's really not a safe time to be a friend of the Doctor.

The mob makes its way to the sheriff's office, and Wyatt asks when the Doctor planned on breaking out of jail.

Doctor: "About now, Marshal."

The Doctor unlocks his own cell, but doesn't get far, since the people outside have some... plans for him that he's not a fan of.

Doctor: "Good gracious! And Steven's with them!"

And so, the ultimatum is made. "Doc Holliday" gives himself up in two minutes, or Steven starts swinging by the neck.

Music: "You've a good chance of swingin', it's your last chance to hide. And your last chance of singin' 'til your last long ride."

Coming up in Episode 3! It wouldn't be a Western without a hanging.

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