Doctor Who #216: The Dominators Part 5

"But Jamie, it's a brilliant idea! It's so simple only you could have thought of it."TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Sep.7 1968.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor tricks the Dominators into destroying themselves.

REVIEW: The villains continue to be unforgivably one-note - even *I'm* frustrated for Toba that Rago continues to stop him from satisfying his bloodlust, only to call for some destruction himself - but this is an episode in which the Doctor catches an atomic bomb in his hands, so there's that. Here, at the end of the story, the Dominators and Quarks run out of time to redeem themselves, and confirm just how rubbish they are. You can easily sneak up on a Quark and trip it up, even though it has no visible eyes. The design would have seemed to indicate it had 360 visions (those little circles could all be miniature cameras), but no, the script won't cooperate. So it's a few more cartoony deaths for them, exploding and only leaving their silly feet behind, as the Dominators stamp their feet and allow themselves to get blown up real good by their own petard. That's what you get for sending down two guys to do the job of a hundred. I mean, what if the Dulcians HAD been warlike and clever? And what happened to the Dominator fleet after this? Crashed down when they ran out of power, or tried again? I can't actually say I care one way or another.

Someone who IS warlike and clever is Jamie, whose continued guerrilla tactics are proving both exciting and useful. Not only that, but his idea is what makes the Dominators' defeat possible. Zoe is stuck in the lab assistant role, which isn't a bad place to be. The Doctor, genius though he may be, takes care of the comedy. On two occasions, he blathers on as danger looms - while holding a time bomb, and waiting for the volcano to erupt - and must be brought to order by one or another of the companions. It's the same joke as the radiation scare from Part 1, so is wearing a bit thin by the end of the episode, but at least he's doing SOMEthing to make the episode livelier. The sonic screwdriver returns, in a sense, for the first time. We saw it work as a screwdriver in Fury from the Deep, but here it actually does a lot more, digging a huge tunnel like a powerful blowtorch. It's the introduction of the Doctor's iconic "magic wand", played by the time vortex generator in The Wheel in Space.

So on one side, rubbish guest characters, and on the other, dynamic performances from the regulars. In the middle is the plot, which is at least energetic in trying to reach the end. The underground bunker previously introduced (and it's nifty periscope) makes a good staging area for the heroes' conquest. There are a lot of fireworks despite Roga trying to put a stop to it. The Doctor's body double runs through the quarry at breakneck speed. And stock footage of volcanic eruptions follow the destruction of the flying saucer. No time for goodbyes, which is good because I never want to see the Dulcians ever again.

VERSIONS: Ian Marter's Target novelization is tighter than the original serial, but I'm unaware of any changes of insignificance.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A good one for Jamie, and I can't fault the action, but the baddies have definitely worn out their welcome and inspire only apathy.

STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium - While The Dominators has some good effects, especially up front, the one-dimensional villains, silly killer robots, and drab guest roles drag the whole thing down. What were the writers trying to say anyway? Was pacifism and/or hippies really a good target of satire in a show about an anarchist who won't use a gun? It's kind of too bad they seemed to spend all that money on it.



Blog Archive


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