Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Masque Of Mandragora (Part Three)

Originally Broadcast 18th September 1976

Written by: Louis Marks

In a nutshell: Hieronymous hypnotises Sarah and orders her to kill the Doctor whilst Count Federico pushes his luck too far.

Review: I quite like the cult masks, I bet you were thinking I was going to like the cult for a minute, didn’t you? No chance! The masks actually look quite scary and menacing, with the pointy teeth and lack of plastic in appearance. Meanwhile, it’s a shame the cliffhanger with the Doctor came to sod all but it gives us a chance for him to utter the line “You can’t count, Count”. There are just so many reasons in this serial why Tom remains in the top three favourite Doctors for people (the other two being Tennant and Smith). The rest of the sword fight was a little disappointing though.

Oh no. I spoke too soon. I just praised the brilliant masks and now one of them has to go and jump about the screen like a bright ball of Mandragora Helix. What a shame. I’m now almost ten minutes into the episode and apart from Sarah getting hypnotised, I still feel like we’re not really making headway into any developments. It does feel a bit like this serial is ‘all talk’ and no action. I’m not saying I dislike my dramas without a lot of action, but I feel like this episode is stuck in a bit of a limbo, with nothing really happening for us.
Count Federico - just kill him!
I can’t help but feel I’m giving little commentary on this episode but I don’t think there’s anything noteworthy to actually…note. I’ve got just ten minutes left and not a lot has changed. I’m hoping for Federico to get killed, however. He’s been slowly pushing his luck more and more with each episode, although not just with our heroes, he’s also started pushing Hieronymous to breaking point now. Plus he’s a bad guy, so he has to die, right?

“I thought it was time we had a little chat” the Doctor says he comes face to face with Hieronymous. After almost three episodes I can’t help but agree with him. Sadly, it doesn’t really amount to anything and there’s no ‘big speech’ between the two opposites. I was hoping for a bit of a showdown akin to the likes of the Doctor and Finch in School Reunion. Maybe next episode? Finally things seem to be happening by the time this episode ends, although I thought that at the climax to episode two, so who knows!  But that is a FANTASTIC cliffhanger that’s pulled me right back into the story. After two episodes of not much happening, that ending was just what was needed! The last two episodes were worth it for that, I just hope the excitement carries on into the final episode of The Masque Of Mandragora…

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