Friday, 7 June 2013

The Mind Of Evil, Episode 5 (in colour!)



Originally Broadcast 27th February 1971

Written by: Don Houghton

In a nutshell: The Master has kidnapped the Doctor and is making him fix the Keller Machine whilst UNIT prepares to launch an assault on Stangmoor Prison.

Review: This serial is starting to turn into an escape and recapture game for the Doctor and Jo. It’s getting a bit tiresome for them, but it still isn’t coming across as repetitive as it should be, in fact, I’m still enjoying it.

Meanwhile, the Master is great in this episode! Not only reluctantly returning to Stangmoor after being blackmailed by one of his ‘colleagues’ but he’s also being more menacing and deadly than usual, threatening to kill Jo Grant. It’s quite shocking, as the Master is usually charming and evil without resorting to getting his hands dirty, yet he’s willing to have Jo shot here. Delgado brings all his acting skills to the table and makes it look easy. It would’ve been interesting to see how Delgado reacted with other Doctors, as it’s impossible to imagine him flirting with anyone but Pertwee.

Speaking of, when the Master has to carry a plug and socket for the Doctor in order to help him with the Keller Machine. This is just one of those scenes that make everyone say Doctor Who is quintessentially British. In what other show would you get an archenemy carrying a plug and socket for you whilst you’re being threatened by him to fix a deadly machine that can feed off brain activity? Brilliant.

Quintessentially British!
And the Keller Machine gives us some great ‘old’ monsters to look at. Daleks! Cybermen! But why’s the Doctor scared of the Zarbi? Maybe the Keller Machine was trying to scare him to death by threatening to make him watch The Web Planet in one sitting? That’d do it for me. And if that wasn’t enough, we get knowledge of an old untelevised story as the Doctor meets Walter Raleigh in the tower of London! I can only imagine this was the first Doctor getting up to trouble

The UNIT attack that takes over the final five minutes of this episode is just amazing. I love the stunt work that went into early 1970s Doctor Who and it’s no finer than it is here. People fall off buildings, people fall down stairs, people shoot at Bessie! And then we get a failed escape attempt by Jo Grant who gives us one of those cliffhanger endings that are silly. It’s such a strong ending but there’s clearly going to be a silly way out of it, but I remember seeing a similar ending when I first watched The Caves Of Androzani (1) and it was tremendous. I couldn’t fathom how they’d get out of that one. And how are they going to get out of this one? Come back for the conclusion to The Mind Of Evil!

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