Oh, how I missed this Doctor and his way of doing things…
See, the Doctor is just doing a lot of smart things without being overly obvious about it. For the crime of exposing the Controller as an old man terrified by giant space crabs, the Doctor and his friends are sent to work down in the gas mines. No, the serial still hasn’t said what the gas is for. It’s toxic to humans. That’s all I know. Ben, however, is still brainwashed by the subliminals, so he’s sent to keep an eye on the others.
The thing is, Jamie, Polly, and the Doctor all know Ben is brainwashed, so that’s not a good plan, like, at all. But it’s how the Doctor deals with it that amused me so. He sees Ben watching him, and he doesn’t get mad or even raise his voice. He just points out he knows exactly what Ben’s doing (it’s rather obvious), and continues to do whatever he’s doing. He further asks Ben what Ben is going to do if he does see something, and then reminds Ben how out-of-character this behavior is, all of which just confuses the young man. Then he suggests Ben better not let Jamie catch him spying.
Ben just gets a bit baffled and leaves.
For what it’s worth, Jamie also catches him and does…nothing.
Now, the only reason the Doctor wasn’t with the others is one member of the group needs to work in the control room as a foreman, and though the Doctor objects to being left behind, he changes his tune when Jamie and Polly essentially remind him that he’s the only one smart enough to figure out what the machines do. He doesn’t object to that. He does object to Jamie calling him old, but that’s neither here nor there.
As for the other thing the Doctor does, he figures out the math behind everything that’s going on more or less on his own, to the point where the flustered Pilot is shocked and appalled, thinking the Doctor somehow hacked the main computer instead of the Doctor’s just general brilliance being on display. Lots of other Doctors would have gotten huffy or arrogant. This one just tells the truth and plays naive.
It’s just kinda awesome. I miss stuff like this.
Oh, as for the rest of the episode, Jamie and Polly work the mines, but when one guy with a set of keys is knocked out by the gas, Jamie swipes them and goes through a door even the rebel Medok knows is a bad idea. Medok follows, but something gets him. The Doctor, taken up to the Control room again for his general Doctor-ness, may not be able to help much if Jamie gets in trouble. And then the Scotsman finds himself surrounded by giant crabs, so I guess he did get into more trouble.