"Has it occurred to you, sir, that this may create world panic?"TECHNICAL SPECS: Thank you Internet for allowing me to watch this. First aired May 2 1970.
IN THIS ONE... As Carrington prepares to inflame the world against the aliens, UNIT rescues the Doctor and Liz.
REVIEW: Explanations, climaxes and conclusions, but having kept the mysteries going this long, the finale couldn't possibly meet expectations. Carrington is justified in his Cold War paranoia because the aliens (accidentally) killed his crewmate during his Mars mission, and his elaborate frame-up to get Earth forces to unite and blow them out of the sky using manipulated media coverage is actually ahead of its time. Where I'm left needing more is in the villains getting some kind of comeuppance. Carrington is taken away, but was that all broadcast? Because if his plan was to fake an alien attack, the sight of creepy aliens actually attacking the makeshift studio would do it, so I guess not. How about a line to that effect?
Reegan gets caught, but just smiles and hopes the authorities will take into account that he pointed at the aliens and suggested using them to get the space center back from Carrington. Thanks, but that wasn't much of a leap, not sure you should expect leniency after murdering a dozen people. And there's no coda showing the aliens/astronauts exchange, nor any indication of where this first contact led, nor how Carrington forced them to kill for him when they were clearly opposed to the idea. The aliens were never heard from again, and it's hard to care when the Doctor doesn't. The episode ends with him leaving matters into Liz Shaw's hands and going back to his laboratory. Still more obsessed with getting the TARDIS working?
Thankfully, though the ending is abrupt and anti-climactic, there's a lot to love before that. Carrington takes the Brig prisoner, but he escapes with a bit of action (not strong action, but ok). The Doctor builds a communicator, but also a loud telegraph that sends an S.O.S. to UNIT. Benton's back in the game, and is the one to catch it AND to suggest using the Doctor's car to follow it back. Because of Carrington's deceit, UNIT is undermanned and has no vehicles, see, and it's pretty fun to see them riding along in the classic car. The Brig gets into more action at the baddies' shed, and while the choreography is simple, the handheld camera work keeps it dynamic. A good episode for the UNIT boys overall.
VERSIONS: The only deviations in the Target novelization are tiny, like renaming reporter John Wakefield Micheal.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - It's a good episode, with some strong ideas and action bits, but it just seems to end before the story does.
STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A suspenseful science fiction mystery made more exciting by the HAVOC stunt team. The Ambassadors of Death doesn't go where most Doctor Who stories go with this kind of material, achieving, perhaps, what the Doctor wanted to in Silurians.