Doctor Who #111: The Bomb

"...and as for me talking to them, or speaking to them, as you say, well, the problem’s quite simple." (Your incomprehensible Billy fluff of the week)TECHNICAL SPECS: Part 4 of The Ark. First aired Mar.26 1966.

IN THIS ONE... Humanity is freed from the Monoids with the help of the Refusians, and all three races live happily ever after on the planet.

REVIEW: The way The Ark's plot is resolved leaves a lot to be desired. The Monoids' defeat hinges a heck of a lot on one of their number turning against them, a character (#4) that isn't even mentioned in the previous chapter. So his dissidence comes out of nowhere and somehow leads to the Monoids massacring each other. There's so much screaming, I have to wonder if they all left their collars "on" by mistake. Their smarmy collaborator, Maharis, also gets shot for his trouble as soon as he arrives on Refusis, an entirely predictable fate. At the end, the Refusians request that humans and Monoids alike live in peace on the planet, and it seems an easy treaty to forge. Looks like #1 was the bad apple, and it's questionable whether the thousands of miniaturized Monoids would have appreciated his genocide of humanity once they came out of their trays. While the Refusian solution is a proper one, the Doctor's sermon doesn't really fit the facts. It's possible things changed over the course of 700 years, but from his perspective, the Monoids never were slaves. The Guardians always called them "friends", some had jobs on the command deck that didn't seem menial, and even Zentos gave them first shot at the TARDISeers when they were to be executed. The script is incredibly inconsistent.

The high production values finally fail the serial, with wires showing on the model launcher sequence (probably there on the others, I just didn't notice), a dodgy outer space explosion, and no new design elements to look at. The humans look really sweaty too - was something wrong with the studio temperature? However, director Micheal Imison is trying his damnedest. There's a nice reveal of the giant statue behind Vanussa's head, and the Monoids show some skill at jungle camouflage (as they did in the part 1). I also like how he keeps shooting the invisible Refusians as if they were there, making room for them in the frame, or following them into empty sets.

The final TARDIS scene has its own problems and peculiarities. We're already used to Dodo dressing horrendously, but Steven's at it as well. What IS he wearing? The Doctor starts fading in and out, like he's caught something off the Refusians, but of course, we know it's really John Wiles Innes Lloyd the Toymaker. Strangely, the credits roll of the central console instead of black. The production team seems to be trying to make its own stamp on the series. None of it will stick.

VERSIONS: Several scenes were added by Erickson himself in the novelization - the Doctor visits different habitats aboard the Ark, Zentos continues to be suspicious of him even after he finds the cure, Steven's clumsiness causes the TARDIS to bounce back to the Ark, and Dodo plays tennis with the Refusians. He also adds a second Refusian speaking part and names the two of them Charles and Mary.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Beyond the strong premise and twist, and the largely well-produced visuals (aside from the costumes, I mean), we're still got a completely inconsistent script where things happen only because the writer's decided they happen.

STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium - As a whole, the central twist and production values carry the story, but the Monoids are rarely anything other than laughable and the plot doesn't stand up to scrutiny.



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