At the end of their stint in the Wild West in the last story, the Doctor has piloted the Tardis to what he believes is the distant future; a time when all wars have ceased.
Dodo and Steven believe that they have actually landed in the age of early man.
School boy humour alert – the Doctor uses a device called his Reacting Vibrator.
But in all seriousness, it could well be a very primitive form of what went on to be condensed into his Sonic Screwdriver. At least in my head canon.
I enjoyed this story for being quite a fun sci-fi idea. It’s reminiscent of more modern episodes, and features a race of higher beings who get life enhancing abilities from draining ‘lower lifeforms’ at their mercy. A true joy of the story for me, was listening to Jano take on mannerisms from trying to transfer the Doctor’s knowledge and power. Special mention to Frederick Jaeger who played Jano for actually attempting to copy Hartnell’s vocal nuances – something that neither Richard Hurndall nor David Bradley ever really seemed to do.
When the Doctor, Steven and Dodo arrive on the unnamed planet; it is revealed that the Elders were expecting them and have been plotting their course around time and space. Their astronomers had been watching their movements for a long time and were aware of who they were. I really liked this element since it feels a little bit like the Elders have been watching the Doctor’s adventures a little like we have. They even ask the Doctor to join their ranks. It also makes them seem very powerful and a little god like and a force to be reckoned with.
I do however feel as though this story could have been told in two parts similar to The Rescue. It feels a little dragged out for a story that contains one ‘body swap’ idea and not a lot else.
I’m not sure if I’m overthinking it but the savages that we are introduced to in the story are actually the more reasonable party; and when it is revealed what the Elders do behind closed doors, it is clear that the title of the story refers to them as the savages. It’s great when a story takes your expectations and flips them on it’s head. Especially when it is done successfully.
And then of course we have Steven departing the Tardis team forever. It seems like every couple of stories we are getting a new set of companions. I really like Steven too so it’s a shame that it isn’t him that gets to help the Doctor through his first regeneration instead of Ben and Polly. Anyway, taking all into consideration I would give The Savages savage savages out of savage.