Doctor Who #374: The Monster of Peladon Part 3

"There's nothing 'only' about being a girl, your Majesty."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Apr.6 1974.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor befriends Aggador (again) and eventually heads to the refinery where there's... an Ice Warrior (again).

REVIEW: As predicted, the cliffhanger is resolved the same way it was in The Curse of Peladon, the only twist being that the Doctor's spinning object is a different one. Can we truly hope that the appearance of an Ice Warrior in THIS episode's cliffhanger WON'T suffer the same fate? Yes, as a fan, I'm happy to see them again, but as a viewer, I'm wondering if Brian Hayles has anything new to say about Peladon. The plight of the miners is the "original" element, and that's repetitive and dull. Gebek and the Doctor try to get a meeting with the Queen, but they're blocked either by Ettis' rebellious shenanigans, or by Ortron, who thinks he runs the place. Eckersley isn't any more helpful, by turns giving sinister looks and racing off impulsively. This is a story in which no one wants to listen to reason, and it's annoying as hell. Something SHOULD stick at some point, shouldn't it? The fact that Aggador doesn't kill the Doctor and Sarah should convince the Pels they are friendly, for example. But no, there's nothing to be done except wait the plot out.

And it's finally happened. Sarah Jane mentions Women's Lib. And it seems completely absurd. It's supposed to echo how Jo Grant counseled young King Peladon in a time of crisis, but comes off like she's telling a MONARCH that she isn't second-class because she's a girl. (Notably, a serving girl also appears in this episode, just as we were starting to wonder if there were ANY other women on Peladon.) Is the Queen only a figurehead, as ceremonial as keeping a long-lived Aggador beast in the basement, leaving the Chancellor to rule as regent until she marries or begets a male heir? Maybe. Except her asserting herself is sure to show this "law" is merely bone-headed "tradition". It all feels rather silly, and the way the Doctor nudges Sarah to advise the Queen in this without actually saying it... Ugh. It's like Sarah can't wait to talk about the Lib, when it's never really been an issue. Much better is Sarah's savy poli-sci instincts in analyzing the situation with the Federation troops that once called "can't be recalled" (again, the needs of the plot are given more weight than any kind of reasonable logic).

Aside from that, a lot of skulking through tunnels, the Doctor disables the refinery's security system in what appears to be real time, and he's in the dungeon, he gets to do a magic trick for which the camera is unfortunately not aligned to see. Grumble, grumble.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Just a little boring, that's all. Maybe the Ice Warriors can liven things up.

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