The Tripods Season 2 episodes 9 & 10

Episode 9: As we’ve seen lately in the news, rebellion can spring up in surprising places and from surprising sources and so it is in this pivotal episode. Will’s visit to the Cognosc has stirred the masters and now it seems as if Coggie is helping the Freemen by draining enough power to cause major problems within the city. You can tell things are bad because people are running around looking concerned and fiddling with dials. Worse than that for the slaves, the Pink Parrot disco breaks down. Unable to dance, they just collapse – it’s just like 4am on a Sunday morning!

Last week’s encounter also seems to have emboldened Will who stands up to his master’s angry reaction rather too well hitting him in that sensitive area and killing him! Perhaps he should try and frame his annoying roommate Bol!
The pace at which things are happening can strain credulity at times. After all there have been uncapped Freemen loose in the city before so why none of them has been able to take Will’s course does leave a few unanswered questions. However there is a satisfaction in seeing the controlled environment of the city fall into chaos so easily, a reminder of the well known idea that any society is three meals away from anarchy. Having started all the trouble, Coggie zooms off leaving Will to an uncertain fate though somehow Fritz seems to have found a way out of the city.
The German’s rise to the Power Elite is the less satisfactorily written strand of the story in particular how he manages to avoid having his head pumped full of data. Having been so controlling in earlier episodes the masters’ portrayal has changed to that of grumpy old men muttering about things they don’t like. And whatever happened to those brutal guards who would surely be taking the opportunity to bash a few people about?

Episode 10: A racy run around which to anyone used to Doctor Who at the time with its brief, slow chases at the time must have been surprised by. The aftermath of Will’s master’s death combined with the fuss caused after Coggie’s departure adds up to a flight from the city for Will and Fritz. However, they first have to retrieve Will’s documents, which proves to be a hazardous undertaking. Meanwhile the dislikeable Bol gets his just desserts and it is hard to feel much sympathy when the guards get to him.
The whole episode is taken up with Will and Fritz’s attempted escape which is depicted with imagination by making full use of the extensive locations. The sharp editing also ensures momentum is maintained giving a real sense of scale supporting the idea that the city is enormous. There is just one oddity- a lengthy chat between two masters in a sort of electronic gurgle. In the absence of captions we can only guess what it is they are chatting about, probably The X Factor.
There is a surprising level of violence in the episode. Unlike some ostensibly children’s shows our main characters freely indulge in punching guards and even chucking them in the water. Somehow or other Will and Fritz have become unlikely heroes.

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