Doctor Who #191: The Enemy of the World Part 4

"You can't threaten me now, Benik. I can only die once. And someone's beaten you to it."TECHNICAL SPECS: As with most of this story, this episode is missing from the archives. Yep, it's reconstruction time again. First aired Jan.13 1968.

IN THIS ONE... Fariah is killed and Salamander goes to an underground bunker where he's tricked people into working the earthquake machines thinking there's an atomic war on.

REVIEW: Watling and Hines were on holiday that week, so neither Jamie nor Victoria appear. But then, there's not much Doctor in it either. Once again, the bulk of the episode is given over to guest characters, but the guest cast keeps changing, leaving the viewer with few people to latch onto. After Denes and Fedorin's deaths in the previous episode (and the loss of Griff the doomsaying chef), here we lose Fariah just as she's ready to betray Salamander. She dies a brave death, but alas, it seems like we'll never know her story, what hold Salamander had over her, etc. Benik, an effete heavy introduced in the last episode takes on a bigger role, but he's strictly two-dimensional when compared to other enforcers like Bruce or even the guards who are given lines.

And then there's the introduction of the people who have lived underground for the past five years, thinking there's a nuclear war raging on the surface. They're the ones being manipulated into working some kind of machinery to cause natural disasters where it'll hurt "the enemy" the most, and though Salamander seems to spend a lot of time on the irradiated surface, only their young people want to risk following him up there. What IS this plotline?! It comes out of nowhere and seems like a science fiction plug-in to make a political story a little more Whovian... or a little more Thunderbirds if we imagine the mysterious buzzing scene in which we must imagine Salamander going down to the bunker in some sort of contraption. We've lost even the most basic of visuals for this, but I can't imagine it not feeling like a slice of forever. BUZZZ. BUZZZ. BUZZZ. Gah! And while I'm on the subject of annoyances, I can't really get the other SF conceit of calling places by their Zone designations. It makes Earth feel incredibly small, where the whole of Central Europe is completely undifferentiated and seems only a short drive away from Australia.

And the Doctor in all this? He's still gathering evidence as if he had always been interested in due process, and finding it wanting. These are sum zero scenes, because Fariah dies with her evidence anyway, and Salamander's men know there's an impostor abroad. Aside from Fariah, he's not even given anyone interesting to talk to. Kent is as boring a cipher as they come, and Astrid continues to be the most reckless agent that ever survived a mission, here talking on open coms and needing to be told to turn the scrambler on like it's optional. She's making it much too easy to get her people caught or killed. There's also the matter of the Doctor being asked to assassinate Salamander, as if being his body double actually allows that (and they had their chance when they let Jamie "rescue" him), and of course we know he won't. I suppose it adds a layer of ambiguity that the goodies are just as bad as the baddies, blackmailing the Doctor as they do. Cue another limp cliffhanger and roll credits.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Fariah gets a good death scene, but this is otherwise more annoying than pleasant. There are definitely more plot holes than there are scenes with any of the regulars.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine