So apparently, in the five days since my last post, we went from "Missing episodes...well, we can dream, can't we?" to "An eccentric African engineer kept a whole bunch of tapes from his career in broadcasting and we're getting all the missing Hartnell and Troughton stories!" back to "Missing episodes...well, we can dream, can't we?" Which means I missed my chance to be either precognitive or foolish.
In practical terms, I was probably a bit of both. The story sounded patently unbelievable, and I didn't for a moment buy that there was an eccentric African engineer out there who had been hoarding episodes. I also didn't believe that he had everything. There's some stuff out there that just will never be recovered, like the missing Episode Seven of "The Dalek Masterplan", which we will not see through anything short of time travel. And frankly, there've been enough "ZOMOG a Seekrit Benefactor has found all Teh Missings and will give them to us and we will have ALL TEH WHOS!" rumors out there that I take all of them with at least a shaker of salt until the BBC makes an official announcement.
But that said, I wanted to believe. Who wouldn't? I wanted to imagine that some third-hand game of telephone had turned a plausible-but-exciting truth, like "Someone has found the missing episodes of 'Evil of the Daleks'!" into a wild, unbelievable exaggeration, and there was a grain of truth to it. And the person who reported it was stating that they had multiple sources, which seemed promising. So yeah, I was at least fooled enough to be hopeful, which is probably enough to encourage the type of person who makes this shit up to yank Who fans' chains.
But ultimately, I think that the BBC is doing the next best thing. The animated reconstructions are great, and they make those old episodes accessible to a new generation of fans. Will we ever see another missing episode? I wouldn't say "no", not after we found 'Airlock' and 'Underwater Menace Part Two', but I'll say I'm resigned to "probably not". Resigned enough to play the doubting Thomas to the next hoax, at least.
But not so resigned that I'll ever stop wanting to believe them.