Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Mind Of Evil, Episode 2 (in colour!)

Originally Broadcast 6th February 1971

Written by: Don Houghton

In a nutshell: The Doctor has to leave Jo at Stangmoor Prison whilst he investigates into problems with the peace conference for the Brigadier. The man behind the mystery? The Master!

Review: There are a lot of ‘silly’ happenstances in the second instalment of The Mind Of Evil. First off is Benton a.k.a. World’s Worst Tail. He’s the most inconspicuous man I’ve ever seen and then he ends up losing Chin Lee. He tries to find her again resulting in showing where he lost her. Around the corner from UNIT HQ. He made it round one corner before she spotted him and escaped! The next silly happening comes when the Master dons a disguise to ‘fix’ the telephone and goes into his little tent to unmask. He switches on his device to listen in on Yates’ conversation and just happens to get the important info right then and there. This is followed by the Master walking out into pure daylight sans disguise in front of UNIT HQ and walking away. It seems the safest place in the world for criminals is outside the front of military organisations.

This episode also falls on slightly racist grounds, which isn’t the best place for Doctor Who to be at the moment, given what’s been reported about it lately. A Chinese girl helped Keller install his machine at Stangmoor and a Chinese girl is also working for the Chinese delegate. “Coincidence my foot!” claims the Doctor at the thought of there being two Chinese girls in England. For someone who spends most of the episode on great friendly terms with the Chinese, this is a bit of a misstep. Despite this, the scene of the Doctor having a chat in a Hokkien with the Brigadier standing there helpless and awkward is brilliantly comedic. Poor old Brig!

The outside of UNIT HQ, the safest place for terrorism in the country!
The mystery of this story is being leaked out at a sensible and intriguing pace. I feel there’s already enough to piece together everything but then we have the nuclear warhead subplot enter into the fray. Houghton is a great writer, giving us a few different plotlines that will all fall together into one tidy package by the time we’re done.

Despite being a good episode, the biggest problem with it is separating the Doctor and Jo. They really have a great chemistry, unlike most other Doctor/companion teams and to have them apart for an episode is a tragedy, I love seeing the duo onscreen having fun, like in the opening minutes of episode one. But I don’t get why the Doctor would leave Jo at the prison, he must know it won’t end well. I know it won’t and I’ve never met Jo Grant! Also, where the heck did she get some chocolate to give to Barnham in his hospital bed in prison? I think she’s been smuggling some goods in. Nick ‘er!

And on a final note, why on Earth does the American delegate have a fear of dragons?

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