Doctor Who #288: The Mind of Evil Part 4

"Yes, I do have remarkable powers of recovery, don’t I?"TECHNICAL SPECS: Internet, please show me this episode not yet on DVD. First aired Feb.20 1971.

IN THIS ONE... The Master's men capture the Thunderbolt missile, and it's revealed that the Keller Machine is actually a creature.

REVIEW: Just when you thought Terry Nation took away the Daleks forever, they're sort of back as off-model voices representing one of the Doctor's greatest fears. And the Master's greatest fear? The Doctor laughing at him. Perfect! Now that we know that the Keller Machine houses a living thing, it's starting to make more sense. I more easily accept an intelligence that feeds on emotions than a gadget that can do the same. Its casing does look like a little Dalek, doesn't it? Go, go, midget psionic vampire Dalek! As the Autons did, this monster attacks the Master, who continues to do a poor job of controlling his various minions. That it also develops the ability to teleport is perhaps a bit much. Especially since it could broadcast from a distance already. Meh, it makes it bit scarier I guess.

The Doctor spends a lot of time sweating and batting away medicines that might kill him, but it allows Jo Grant to shine a little more. She's an empathetic caregiver, staying at the Doctor's bedside all night, but can also take care of herself in a fight! She's the one who does the karate chops in this episode, while the Doctor uses the "girly" move of hitting someone upside the head with a plate. The rest of UNIT gets a bloody nose though, but the named members of the family take it with aplomb and competently try to fix their failure. Benton is all shot up, but he managed to get an important piece of information. The Brig immediately sees its importance and deduces where to go next. And Yates is still the action hero of the bunch, taking a bullet and then jumping on a motorcycle after the missile thieves. I was expecting a little more Action by HAVOC, but I'll just have to content myself with a bike crash though some crates. And I'm not forgetting the recurring UNIT member that never really got a chance - Corporal Bell, who only appears in this story and the next. Bit of a glorified secretary, sadly.

Hey, the guest cast isn't bad either! I like how the prison physician gets very quiet when he realizes the Doctor has an inhuman anatomy, for example. Doc should watch out for any situation where a human doctor would have to examine him. Like, not get strapped to Keller Machines. And on that subject, everyone noticed how the Master got real worried that he'd killed the Doctor, right? Even gave him a little CPR for the second heart. That's a pretty complex relationship, that is. You only hurt the ones you love. (Patently untrue, but you see where the slash fiction writers get their ideas.)

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The reveals help fix earlier complaints, and all the characters once again get their moments. Still, neither UNIT nor the Master exactly shine in theirs.



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