Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Invisible Enemy (Part Four)


Originally Broadcast 22nd October 1977
Written by: Bob Baker and Dave Martin

In a nutshell: Having ridden the virus from his body, the Doctor discovers the Nucleus is up and running about the hospital, ready to send a swarm out across the universe. Can the Doctor and Leela, newly teamed with K-9, stop the deadly disease?

Review: All I can think whilst seeing the dodgy Nucleus is “I’m sure Professor Marius has grown his fluffy green eyes since the last episodes cliffhanger”. At least the recuperated Doctor is mocking the Nucleus, which, frankly, looks like a killer Prawn rather than a deadly alien virus. It isn’t even speaking very well, it’s quite confusing to understand, I’m not even sure what its plan is and I’m not sure I really care, I just want Tom Baker to mock it some more.

But now Leela’s disguised herself in one of those nasty green plastic suits, maybe they should’ve dressed the Prawn in that, it’d look more scary. She’s rescued the Doctor and they’ve made it into the TARDIS with a little K-9. I’m feeling more and more that this is a great new TARDIS team, as the Doctor sends him out to stun his current master, telling him he’s “a good dog”.

That pesky Prawn

Quite a clever plot solution has been given, explaining how the immunity to the Nucleus was given to the Doctor and, now, to Professor Marius. I think the happiest thing about them being cured is the loss of that shoddy make-up (no offence to Maureen Winslade intended, but come on, it’s a tad odd). Marius and the Doctor’s interaction about science is great, they really show their love, which the Doctor doesn’t get to share too often, as his companions tend to not have much interest in such matters.

“We’ve reached maximum speed”, “Faster. We must go faster!” makes me think the giant Crustacean isn’t the cleverest Doctor Who villain in the universe, maybe he just doesn’t understand interstellar travel like he does the inside of a human being? Never mind that, I’m quite warmed by the Doctor’s speech about the Nucleus having it’s own right to exist in the universe, as long as it isn’t threatening to take over everything in it’s path.

There’s some brilliant effects work back on Titan, showing bulging eggs about to hatch, I’m not sure how that effect was achieved but it really has stood the test of time. Leela finally gets to shoot a guard now with possibly the worst blaster effects in the history of Who. In the space of two minutes the show has gone from fantastic effects to those that probably didn’t stand the test of time in 1970 let alone it’s broadcast in 1977. Speaking of dodgy laser effects, the ones coming from K-9’s nose are looking worse with every shot.

And those darn fluffy green eyes!

Lowe now holding the Doctor at gunpoint, there’s time for a few fun lines from the latter, which is rudely interrupted as K-9 kills Lowe, possibly a hint of how irritating he could become? I think my favourite part of this episode is the Doctor putting a lead on K-9 and now a shocking moment for a children’s series, Leela telling the Doctor she’s found the solution to the villains; “stabbing them in the neck” as she stands over a corpse. I was quite shocked at how this has made it into the show. Probably because it’s under-running still.

Defeating the Nucleus, the Doctor races into the TARDIS, trapping his scarf in the doors as the whole construction wobbles. The refuelling station on Titan goes up in flames, not the VFX department’s best work on the episode but still convincing. All that leaves time for is Marius to give K-9 to the time travellers in a very rushed manner.

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