|Originally Broadcast 6th March 1971|
Written by: Don Houghton
In a nutshell: The Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier attempt to find and stop the Master after he’s escaped with the nuclear warhead.
Review: There’s a bloomin’ massive recap on here to get some of the previous episode’s stunts in again and I’m sure the Brig didn’t shout out “I’m going to find the Doctor” at the end of episode five. Cheating, I think! But the Doctor gets to be thankless around the Brig, which is always funny but sometimes the third Doctor has a tendency to be too strong at times. Adding to this, he doesn’t jump at the chance to save Barnham like Jo Grant does.
This episode also carries one of those many reasons I love Benton. When he becomes acting Governor for the Prison and the Brig has to remind him of his position. The UNIT regulars just fit so nicely with each other it makes the whole programme become that much more enjoyable for those watching in.
The Brigadier, however, isn’t at his finest hour. He’s already misjudged the Master before and now he’s adamant the Master can do nothing to stop them. It’s easy to underestimate an enemy, but to constantly do it and be big-headed about it in the same episode is a tad bit of a mistake for someone in charge of a military unit.
|A 'classic showdown' that lasts until The End Of Time (literally, in 2009-2010)!|
With all hell breaking loose over the Master still having the missile, UNIT seem to be taking their time doing anything here. For a final episode it feels a bit slow and drawn out until the action begins. There are also a few silly moments in the episode. Doctor Summers pulling Barnham away from the machine without listening, Benton not noticing the Master is on the phone to him and, best of all, UNIT trying to track a missile they’ve had in their possession for the entire episode, have only just discovered it has a self destruct mechanism. Surely that’d be the first thing you’d check if the missile got into the wrong hands?
The final confrontation is great, if a little rushed. Barnham had to die, really, to get in some more emotion. I’m quite proud, actually, in the way his death was dealt with in an adult moment for the programme. This has certainly not been the greatest or most satisfying conclusion to a serial but it does its job despite being fairly slow about it.
It’s been a strong and surprisingly gritty story for Doctor Who that’s evolved well over the six episodes, starting with the peace conference and ending with a nuclear missile catastrophe resolved. The opening half of the story is much stronger, but, now the serials in colour, it really should come into it’s own as a more appreciated encounter with the Master for the third Doctor.