Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Colony In Space (Episode 5)

Originally Broadcast 8th May 1971
Written by: Malcolm Hulke

In a nutshell: Posing as an Adjudicator, the Master is attempting to explore the native city, but he soon finds he needs the Doctor’s help to discover what lies within. With Jo Grant kidnapped by the Master, the Doctor has no choice but to help.

Review: I had to take a bit of a break between episodes four and five as I wasn’t pulled into the story enough, it was certainly enjoyable and had good ideas but I was getting tired of the drawn-out nature of the show. But have no fear, faithful reader, as I returned to find episode five much better!

Sure it still has its faults, the ‘colony vs. company’ storyline has been written to death and both sides are starting to make me yawn, but we get brilliant, fantastic writing and acting for our three musketeers; the Doctor, Jo and the Master.
Jo gets captured in a rather stupid fashion; maybe it was because most women were ‘useless’ in the 1960s and 1970s on television, at least this will change in Who with Sarah Jane Smith in just over two years time. Delgado at one-point alerts the Doctor that Jo could have a ‘foetal accident’ at any time, I’m certain of it!

The natives take a backbench in this episode, which I think works really well considering the exposure they will no doubt receive in the final episode of the serial. The one time they make an appearance they are made to look weak and crap too, a wonderful piece of setting up false expectations for the audience. The cliffhanger (occurring after the native cameo) is really badly shot here; it looks like the Master is moving in slow motion! And speaking of dull endings, the ‘get-out’ from episode four is pretty disappointing, a big letdown for people who remembered the exact same cliffhanger with a more exciting outcome just two serials back in ‘The Mind Of Evil’ (1971).

Delgado's most frequent job for Colony 5: Point and aim
Personally I think this was one of the stronger episodes of the serial, even more so if you don’t listen to any dialogue not spoken by our three favourite characters, making your own up instead is much more fun. Just think how much better the audience storyline could be. Instead of ‘Oh we’ve found out the Adjudicator isn’t real. Should we tell the others and make peace? Nah, lets fight for another two episodes’ we could have ‘God that Adjudicator looks rough in that picture.’ (I’m not known for my comedy, I’m sure you can do better in your own homes).

That aside, lets move onto episode six where we’ll hopefully have more natives and less colonists!

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