Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Mind Of Evil, Episode 3 (in colour!)

Originally Broadcast 13th February 1971
Written by: Don Houghton

In a nutshell: A riot breaks out at the prison whilst the Doctor discovers the face behind Professor Keller.

Review: That’s a really ropey dragon isn’t it? I’m not quite sure how anyone could be frightened almost to death by it but I suppose it does its job and forwards the narrative. Afterward, when the electromagnetic device is discovered, it links the two plotlines together neatly and ties us back to Stangmoor Prison and its gritty tone. The disappointment comes when we get Pertwee speaking in other languages sans subtitles. It doesn’t exactly make for gripping television, does it…

We then turn to our third most important plot, that of the nuclear missile being shipped around by Benton and Yates. There’s a bit of obvious waiting-for-action acting from Levene, sporting a horrifically obvious stock background fitted in around him. I love these UNIT characters but it’s almost upsetting to see them when they have to order each other about. Here it’s Yates having a go at Benton. The only reason I don’t like witnessing it is because we’re so used to them being friendly with the Doctor around, so to see them doing their jobs has the wrong and startling effect on me.

I'd be scared of that dragon too. Who wouldn't?
It’s no secret the Master is the man pulling the strings in this story, with fat cigar smoking up the camera lens in one hand and classical music bursting from the other, it takes him two and a half episodes before he puts himself into the action but once he does, Delgado shines through and you could put any dialogue, however bad, in front of him and he’d still sound charming. The Doctor Who team were lucky to find such a perfect fitting actor for the part of the Doctor’s nemesis.

Although, when the Master says “we’re going to create a great deal of havoc in this place” (the prison), is he making a little in-joke about the Who stunt team? I’d love this to be true as it’d serve a nice little bit of fun between what’s seen as one of the greatest working teams in Who’s 50 years. The next powerful line he gets is “Right Doctor, now I’m ready for you”. Coming straight after taking down the entire prison security, this is a beautifully powerful scene, I can’t imagine how awful the early 1970s would be without the Master to keep the third Doctor happy. Being only the second story of the series, the Master being the threat behind each serial isn’t getting tired either, instead it’s upping the ante and making the story more impressive.

There’s a fun scene of the Doctor outside the prison attempting to escape which, despite coming later, reminds me of the zoomed out fight scene that concludes one of the episodes of Pertwee’s The Time Warrior. This episode is certainly fun and well handled, but it doesn’t actually go very far, which is worrying as it’s usually around episode four when the six-parters become tiring.

The best part, however, is the cliffhanger ending, where we get to hear some Daleks! Actual Daleks in Doctor Who! Why, that hasn’t happened since 1967! And their next adventure with the Doctor is still a year away…

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