Doctor Who #189: The Enemy of the World Part 2

"What on earth made you take a job as a food taster?" "She was hungry."TECHNICAL SPECS: Missing from the archives, so as usual, a reconstruction was used. (The episode has since been found, see Versions.) First aired Dec.30 1967.

IN THIS ONE... Jamie and Victoria infiltrate Salamander's household, and the Doctor's double proves able to "predict" a volcano eruption.

REVIEW: It's amazing how just a different haircut changes Troughton even when he's playing the Doctor in turn playing Salamander. And though he impersonates the man well enough not to alarm his chief of security, Bruce is still suspicious due to the circumstances. As Salamander himself, Troughton creates a fuller characterization. Salamander is quick to anger and arrogant, and likes to toy with his prey. He makes predictions that come true because he makes them happen, and is quite sinister when he makes his casual pronouncements. I'm kind of disappointed that he appears to be so evil, actually, because until we meet him, it's hard to know if the Doctor and his friends should even get involved, or if they're being played for fools. Salamander plotting a man's death means there's less ambiguity. Still some though. For example, though Bruce seems like a typical heavy, he still expresses shock at the number of people killed in the volcano eruption.

I also remain unconvinced at how the regulars are inserted into this story of political intrigue. Fine, the Doctor is a dead ringer for the target, but they also have Jamie and Victoria infiltrate the household as if they were master spies. In actuality, they're centuries out of date, so it seems doubtful they could carry off an undercover job. Jamie gains Salamander's trust far too easily (with a plan that's reckless like all of Kent's plans, it seems) and then gets his "girlfriend" a job in the kitchens as well. "Girlfriend"? Oh Jamie...

The script continues to impress with its wit and several quotes might have made it to my header. I couldn't bring myself to use the "disused Yeti" joke though. The episode's MVP is Carmen Munroe as Fariah, a rare role for a black woman. She's a servant, but at least she's not mute, quite the opposite. There's something delightfully cruel about how she has Fedorin taste food in her place. Could she as dangerous as Salamander is? Certainly, we should be wary of her taking Victoria under her wing.

VERSIONS: We now have the original video. Letts is good at creating atmosphere, like Jamie walking in the fog in a pre-filmed background, or water playing on the spies' faces under the jetty. The entire cast is good, filling the silences with looks and emotion. Fariah seems much more friendly, even when she's being mean. It makes us like her even if she's a bit of a villain.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Sometimes feels like another show entirely, just one starring Patrick Troughton in another role, though there are some very good scenes in it.



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