Doctor Who #411: Planet of Evil Part 4

"You and I are scientists, Professor. We buy our privilege to experiment at the cost of total responsibility."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Oct.18 1975.

IN THIS ONE... Sorenson turns into a werewolf, but the Doctor brings him back to Zeta Minor where he's cured.

REVIEW: As far as the serial's science goes, the finale isn't any better at not invoking magic. Sorenson goes totally Primord and starts shedding multiple transparent, ape-like creatures said to be "pure anti-matter". The Doctor continues to use anti-matter as a ward against the anti-matter creatures (I don't know why they're so scared of themselves). And in the end, the Sorenson creature falls into the black pool to the Void, but the spirits of the forest give him up, purged, for returning all the anti-matter to its source as per their deal with the Time Lord. Oh and then the Doctor uses a Jedi mind trick on Sorenson to make him abandon the idea of anti-matter exploitation, incepting one about tapping the motion of planets instead. Hogwash that dilutes the unhappy ending this story was always heading for.

And yet, there's something worth exploring in its underlying themes. In Part 4, things are about to get worse as two madmen, Salamar and Sorenson, are on a collision course. Like the ship and the planet. And like matter and anti-matter. Forces try to keep them apart, Vishinsky takes over, the X-O's prerogative, as his commander loses his cool for the last time, but he mutinies. The Doctor talks Sorenson into jettisoning himself to save the ship, but the monster inside him takes over. Visually, this is all accompanied by a cool lock-down sequence with doors dropping one after the other in a corridor. It's like a game of Fiasco, and you know who got all the black dice. It's really too bad the science and the tech used by the characters are indecipherable gobbledygook, numbing the viewer to everything good about the story.

VERSIONS: I am not aware of any significant changes made in the Target novelization.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Plenty of action and jeopardy to keep you from getting bored from the technobbable scenes, but the happy ending is forced.

STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Draping this story in science (or "Science!") has turned a potable and sharp-looking Gothic horror tale into complete nonsense. Too bad, because there are a lot of good things to discover in the design, the direction and the performances.



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