Doctor Who #290: The Mind of Evil Part 6

"Well... Thank you, Brigadier! But do you think that for once in your life you could manage to arrive before the nick of time?!"TECHNICAL SPECS: DVD awaited, Internet do your magic in the meantime. First aired Mar.6 1971.

IN THIS ONE... UNIT blows up the countryside, taking out the Keller Machine, but not the Master.

REVIEW: You know, the plot of The Mind of Evil does a lot of telling you it will do something and then not doing it. In this episode alone, we have a cliffhanger cheat (it wasn't Mailer's gun we were looking at, but the Brig's SHOOTING Mailer), the Brig about to pull another "Silurians" by blowing the missile in the English countryside (surely, a very bad idea) but we never see UNIT try and are only told it doesn't work, and of course, we haven't heard from Chin Lee or any one else at the peace conference in two episodes. Red herrings and padding. One thing that WAS telegraphed and DID come to pass is poor, addled Barnham being the key to defeating the Kellerite (my word). It makes sense that he would be immune to the creature (who looks more and more like a Dalek, with its lumpy mutant appearance), but not that his presence would neutralize its powers. What kind of creature basically turns its prey into a means to starve it?

The other half of the plot is the Master trying to launch the Thunderbolt missile, but that's not built on any stronger a foundation. Once the Master escapes, why blow it up instead of tugging it to the ocean as previously planned? (Not that I'm any keener on that solution.) Why risk contaminating rural England with radioactivity and/or nerve gas? And there's a complete disconnect between the missile, sitting proudly outside (a large and impressive prop), and the explosion of the warehouse. I do like that the Master got his TARDIS part back, so now he can leave Earth, but his absence will be short-lived. Basically just an excuse to go out and find new alien allies to betray him. Like Season 7's perpetual "science project under siege", Season 8 is at risk from repetitiveness. The Master getting his TARDIS back is merely giving you false hope.

So again - and I don't mean to sound like a broken record here - it's all about catching those nice character moments. Jo standing up for Barnham. Benton getting into the role of acting prison governor, rearranging his new desk. The Brigadier once again going against the Doctor's recommendation and actively avoiding that conversation. Yates' cool summation of what happened in the meantime, "Quite a lot". The Master's gloating phone calls. And the Doctor grumpy at the thought of being stuck on Earth with the Brig, and the UNIT man enjoying it just a little too much.

VERSIONS: I am unaware of any notable differences in the Target novelization. The color version strobes at one point, but is generally more stable than in The Ambassadors of Death. The dragon from episodes 2 and 3, by the way, is pink.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - It ends with a big explosion (frequent in the UNIT era), but as usual, it's the character bits that make the episode live and breathe.

- The plot is frequently nonsense, or a game of stop-and-go with various plot elements, trying your patience. However, each member of the UNIT family (including its grumpy uncle and the black sheep never invited to dinner) gets a nice moment of action or character in each episode, so it's forgiven a lot of its sins.


Anonymous said...

"What kind of creature basically turns its prey into a means to starve it?"

Pretty much any creature that poops where it eats, from yeast cultures to humans living in highly unsanitary conditions.

Siskoid said...

Technically sure. But eating a chicken doesn't prevent me from eating other chickens.

Now I can't get the idea that Barnham has become the fecal byproduct of an incubus.

Anonymous said...

It also could explain why the alien critter needs the power to teleport -- to get away from its poop.

Siskoid said...

Whovians have the strangest conversations.


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