Doctor Who #224: The Invasion Part 3

"Yes, Packer. Our clever Doctor has outwitted you. Oh, then that wouldn't be too difficult, would it?"TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.16 1968.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor and Jamie play into Vaughn's hands, but escape via the lift shaft.

REVIEW: This episode has some fun building the characters of Tobias Vaughn and Packer, a well-matched duo prefiguring Robert Holmes' famous comic double acts (he's writing the next story). Vaughn is intelligent, controlled, suave and polite, making veiled threats with the most genial of smiles. Packer is a foolish brute who gets insulted at every turn by his boss, and eventually loses all composure, his hair messy, his voice higher by a few octaves, random guards bumping into him. Even his impractical wrist-com plays into his panic, forcing him to furiously go from mouth to ear and back again. He's the worst of humanity, while Vaughn is, perhaps, the best... if only he weren't evil. Of course, he too can lose his cool, and does. Unlike Packer, however, anger makes him more fearsome, not less.

The scene in which the characters discover Vaughn has duplicated his office in each of his buildings is truly clever because it serves three separate functions. First, it's a money-saving measure. Second, it tells us something about Vaughn, something he explains further - the key to his success is uniformity. And third, it works with the theme of the Cybermen (ok, I just let that one out of the bag, sorry), a race that is all about uniformity. It's not just found in Vaughn's sense of style, he also gives the Doctor the same ultimatum he gives Professor Watkins (with Zoe for Isobel). If it works, why change it? And though you'd think that would make him predictable, how he lures the Doctor and Jamie to his compound is nothing short of masterful.

If there's a man who can counter Vaughn, it has to be the Doctor. Though he lets himself be captured, he never truly lets his guard down. He uses a simple magnet to kill Vaughn's eavesdropping device (because, of course, Jamie can't shut up about the TARDIS), and leads a daring escape down an elevator shaft and into a train. He's also Vaughn's opposite number thematically, bringing chaos where the other man would bring order. Or else what is that business with the "illogical circuits" Vaughn can't figure out? (See Theories.) If Vaughn sees his predictability as a quality, it's the Doctor's unpredictability that will prove him wrong.

THEORIES: I'm intrigued by the TARDIS' "illogical" circuits and will have to track any information we get about how Time Lord technology works. Whatever the truth, it's fun to think that their science was developed by thinking well outside the box (pun intended). It's story telling magic, is what it is.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Part 3 is all about two duos, one chaotic good and the other lawful evil, both great fun. I'm almost sorry to see the Cybermen show up in the next episode.

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