Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Android Invasion (Part 2)

Originally Broadcast 29th November 1975
Written by: Terry Nation

In a nutshell: Escaping from the UNIT base, the Doctor and Sarah are hunted down as they try to learn more about the mysterious alien village.

Review: Nowhere near as exciting and intriguing as part one, this second episode still holds its own although the plot is starting to wear down a little bit as nothing really new is learnt about the mystery other than using the same tricks again such as people acting weird or the never-before-used dartboard. Despite this, there is a good ‘new’ trick with the calendar being the same date over and over, to which the Doctor remarks “A village without a future”. I think the best part of the episode (narratively) is that Crayford is already dead according to Sarah, as it gets things moving whilst giving you another hurdle, leaving me thinking “Huh? So who’s that?” in Doctor-like ponderance.

Speaking of Tom, both he and Lis Sladen are brilliant again, I love their Doctor/Companion rapport and when Sarah’s replaced by an android, Lis jumps up at her scale of acting ability. The turn Tom takes as the Doctor into a darker image of himself when he knows Sarah has been replaced is fantastic, it shows the Doctor can be like this before it happened to Eleven and Pond in ‘The Almost People’.

I think I’ve found where the problem lies in this serial, however, as it’s incredibly similar to ‘Terror Of The Zygons’ which arrived only three serials previously. The aliens watching the Doctor in the pub, the pub being a location, the aliens ship, two Harry Sullivans, it’s all pathetically familiar. Maybe having a series gap between two such similar stories is a bit acceptable, but ten weeks gap? No chance! It’s a very poor move by Hinchcliffe and Holmes. I know they are generally given one ‘naff’ story a series (‘Revenge Of The Cybermen’, ‘The Android Invasion’, ‘The Face Of Evil’) but I don’t think this one would be held as low down as it is in fans minds if not for the Zygon serial.

There’s not really a lot to add, as there’s not a lot of memorable occurrences here, although Nation puts in some fun moments with Tom like the dog scene, some poor moments like Sarah twisting her ankle and he makes the same mistake with the abrupt ending once again, although there’s some fine performances all round, making me feel sorry for John Levene and Ian Marter as they are in no way challenged in this story and are just provided as padding rather than a decent character. Such a shame as neither character makes another appearance beyond episode four of this story.

A Kraal! Or a Zygon in disguise?

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