Doctor Who #296: Colony in Space Part 2

"Are you some kind of scientist?" "I'm every kind of scientist."TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Apr.17 1971.

The Doctor discovers miners want to oust the colonists to make big money.

REVIEW: A big robot slides into a colony housing dome and attacks the Doctor (remember this image because it'll act as cliffhanger for THIS episode as well, only with Halloween rubber gloves), and then a miner dressed like a futuristic Gestapo agent walks in and reveals the 'bot didn't mean nothin' by it. It's been a while since Doctor Who's featured quite THAT level of anti-climax. Still, it seems this miner, Caldwell, really is the well-meaning sort, and he even lets the Doctor drive his slightly rude car back to his ship (a pretty cool model, that one, though the interiors don't really match its sleek plane-like design). Pertwee can't keep his hands off the wheel of every new vehicle the production finds, looks like.

In these miners, the Doctor finally finds people at which to be crabby. They leave him in a room to watch TV, wherein we get glimpses of a terrible future for Earth, war torn and over-populated (I'll take the mention of "100 million people" to mean "people who need housing", or else Captain Dent misspoke). Episode 2, and the mystery of who killed two colonists is already revealed to be Dent and his heavy, Morgan, using the robot to scare the colonists away so they could get a rich duralinium vein. Caldwell is the only "good" miner, but he can be bought, or if not bought, threatened. This is a Malcolm Hulke script, after all, and he likes to show humanity's weaknesses.

One mystery Is quickly done away with, but another springs up. Norton, the neighboring colonists who claims to be the sole survivor of an attack by the planet's green primitives, frames a rather friendly one for murder. His words and actions are fostering mutiny, and it looks like any character with a positive outlook (like Ashe, the colony leader who shares supplies with the primitives) may be in danger of getting killed in this story. So are the primitives friendly or hostile? They assist the main colonists, but also attack the Doctor (who's pretty handy with a spear, that's a nice little fight). They seem to read minds, but can't telepathically "speak". Are they hostile only to hostiles, and friendly to friendlies? Could be. And just why have they carted the TARDIS away? Colony in Space hasn't given up all its secrets yet.

- Some good design, some silly design. Anti-climaxes, but new mysteries popping up. Friendly, believable characters, and rather more one-dimensional villains. We're left with an episode in the middle of the road.



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