Episode guide: Mad Dog
Mad Dog is a gripping episode and a splendid showcase for the acting talents of Denis Lill. It is a great tribute to him that the viewer lives every moment of this episode with Charles, as he is forced to ever more desperate measures to ensure his survival. Here once more his strongest character traits are brought to the fore, perhaps most successfully in his challenging philosophical discussions with Despite Fenton's pessimistic realism Charles remains idealistic optimistic. However, it is Fenton who comes across as more realistic, which makes a refreshing change.
Morris Perry provides sterling support in the tragic role of Fenton. His performance is one of the most haunting and poignant of the series, both before and after the rabies takes hold. To see him degenerate into a frothing mess is at once horrific and disturbing.
The episode achieves an interesting mix of styles by juxtaposing weighty dialogue in the first half of the episode with the non-verbal action oriented second half. The hunt itself is gripping and is typical of the gritty texture of the third series. The scene of Charles's brief respite at Fenton's home in which we hear Fenton read his aloud is beautifully done. Heather Canning is also worthy of note as she makes a sparkling and all to brief appearance as Ellen, Charles' saviour, as the episode nears its end.
Here, Don Shaw once again delivered a very strong script which was perfect for the series, given its careful balance of complex dialogue and action adventure. The scenery is also wonderful to look at.
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