Doctor Who #427: The Seeds of Doom Part 4

"When it comes to money, Mister Chase and I are of the same religion."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Feb.21 1976.

IN THIS ONE... Keeler becomes a Krynoid and breaks free. The Doctor is introduced to a killer compost machine.

REVIEW: This has to be the weakest chapter in The Seeds of Doom by far. We've still got the Doctor throwing a heck of a lot of punches, and even holding a gun, again hinting that this might not have been a Doctor Who script to begin with. A line about his never actually using it is no doubt a plug-in here, but even Pertwee was never this Bondian. Where the violence (and Scorbie's brutality accounts for even more) might have been excused by lots of witty Holmes banter, however, the Doctor himself admits that he "can't think of anything to say". A might disappointment in that regard, and Chase is similarly reduced to spouting the dreadfully cliched "I'm surrounded by idiots" not once, but twice! And because this is really the Avengers, the batty old Miss Ducat shows up and is somehow working undercover for the World Ecology Bureau. I'm happy to see her scene in Part 3 wasn't just a cooky one-off, but her role in Part 4 strains credulity.

Keeler makes for a more eloquent Krynoid than the previous example and immediately makes him a favorite of Chase's, but he soon turns into a green Axon, and then into something more like the Slyther. This elephant-sized Krynoid is probably the least well-realized in the life cycle though, hopping at the camera in the silliest way. Guys under a tarp, obviously. The script sadly gives this thing the cliffhanger, when there's a perfectly good compost machine, pumping victims into the garden, in the basement. The thought of this is actually much more horrible than the idea of being eaten by a pistachio blancmange.

The Doctor is off-model, Sarah does her part to advance the plot but barely more, and the villains menace the heroes with unremarkable dialog, so I have to give my gold star to the unlikeliest of characters - Dunbar! He admits his mistake and hopes to fix it, rushing into the house to make an appeal to Chase's reason (if any) in what is a very good character reversal. We don't expect it, but it doesn't feel forced. Dunbar was only in it for the money, but he's already been outraged by the destruction of the Antarctic base, and isn't about to let the country or the world fall to killer plants for a suitcase full of money. He steps up. Good for him. We'd probably do well to call ahead for funeral arrangements.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Keeler's plight and Dunbar's change of heart not withstanding, Part 4 has little to recommend it. The dialog is dull, the violence grows too harsh, the monster looks stupid, and Miss Ducat drives to the mansion through a big plot hole.

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