Doctor Who #297: Colony in Space Part 3

"Well? What do we do now?" "Try and escape?" "Of course!"TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Apr.24 1971.

IN THIS ONE... Jo is captured by evil miners and strapped to a bomb. She escapes, but is captured by the primitives. And the colonists capture the mining ship.

REVIEW: So essentially, an episode about capturing people and things. While there's a lot of "incident", it doesn't mean the story is moving forward with any momentum. Part of it is waiting for the Adjucator who is supposed to come in and clean up the mess. The miners vs. colonists is in a holding pattern until then. While it made me wonder how close Earth is, or if alternatively, Adjucators are assigned to manageable sectors, but I still would have appreciated an arrival within the episode's time frame. It's a bit of an illusion because the miners take actions against the colonists, and vice-versa, despite it all, so where's the lack of momentum, Siskoid? I suppose it's in how flat and unchanging many of the characters are. Dent and Morgan are so cold and villainous that they might as well be machines. Caldwell, introduced as the only sympathetic miner, hasn't changed either. He's still highly ambivalent, helping a stranger like Winton just like he helped the Doctor. The nice colonists are still nice, and Norton is still a jerk (because he's the mining company's inside man).

The one ray of hope among the guest cast is Winton who moves away from the "rash youth" archetype and is allowed to bond and have fun with Jo Grant. Well, I say fun... They're chained to a bomb together. But they have a nice exchange and help each other escape. By the end of the episode, he's back to rashness and trying to board the mining ship, but with the Doctor's help, the attempt is successful. Jo, on the other hand, is immediately re-captured, and by the end, captured AGAIN, this time by the primitives. She's taken from one of their caves to another of their caves, which makes for a pretty lame cliffhanger, albeit a well shot one.

The primitives, at least, still hold some mystery. They have an ancient civilization, are telepathic, and know who's been naughty and who's been nice and choose their targets accordingly. Jo is probably being brought to where they keep the TARDIS, and we'll get to know their culture through her experiences starting in the next episode. One last note: I like that this is a future with firearms, simply because these will always be easier and cheaper to manufacture and use. The episode already has too much "laser noise" posing as music as it is.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - I can't get enthusiastic about this runaround, in large part because of the mustache-twirling, one-dimensional villains. Surprising coming from Malcolm Hulke.



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