|Originally Broadcast 19th January 1982|
Written by: Terence Dudley
In a nutshell: Whilst aboard the Urbanken ship, the Doctor is being closely watched by his hosts as the TARDIS team are split up and examined.
Review: I’m at odds with this serial so far; I’m enjoying it yet nothing happens for the time it’s taken to get nowhere. I’m now fifty minutes in and I can sum up the story so far in one line.
‘Aboard a spaceship, powerful froglike aliens have created an army of robot-humans as they travel back to Earth’.
The Doctor and Tegan become a team in this episode, becoming split up from Adric and Nyssa who are left to do bugger all except wonder around a ship saying “What’s that?” except for that one pansy push a robot gave Nyssa, that was quite fun mainly due to Adric’s reaction.
I’ve found myself really liking the Doctor/Tegan duo, maybe the creative team should’ve thought about dumping the other two into an escape hatch or something as when it’s just the two it’s nice, yet when all four are together it’s crowded and nobody gets enough screen time to be liked.
Stratford Jones as Monarch is brilliant, he’s not got anything spectacular or new to work with but I’ve really enjoyed the performance so far, as I have with Phillip Locke’s Bigon. I’m surprised the Doctor hasn’t jumped in with a ‘Bigon’s be Bigons’ joke yet, but there’s still two episodes to go. I’ll look out for that later.
|The brilliant Stratford Jones|
Back to Tegan and the Doc for a mo, as in one of the early scenes of this episode (before the team get separated) there’s a brilliant moment of, I assume, serendipity. Fielding begins her line and Davison’s Doctor interrupts, seemingly by accident yet due to editing or time reasons it never got cut out and works marvellously. It appears to not be part of the script and I hope it isn’t!
This is another Who story that gets a fantastic cliffhanger which is spoilt by effects and over-shooting the event. Bigon opens up his chest to reveal he is, in fact, an android and the design work for this looks brilliantly realistic, but then they have to overdo it by having a pathetically poor shot of him lifting his face up and down and pulling out some circuitry from his chest. All this takes away from the fact he’s not a living being and ruined what should’ve been one of the best ‘shock’ moments of the series.
On a final (and quick) note, what’s with all the padded dancing and badly choreographed fight scenes? That’s where Terence Dudley’s plots gone…on padding!