Doctor Who #462: The Invisible Enemy Part 3

"I know this brain like the back of my hand."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Oct.15 1977.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor and Leela travel through the Doctor's brain and inadvertently free the virus into the macrocosm.

REVIEW: Doctor Who does Fantastic Voyage as things get stupider and stupider. The micro-clones, who are somehow connected enough to their other selves to feel pain when, for example, Leela is inexplicably knocked out dodging a laser beam, delve into the actual anatomy of the Doctor's brain, a sort of Barry Lettstastic world of CSO. Some of it is gorgeously realized (see above), but it's still a completely inexplicable universe, even with the Doctor's attempt at a dissertation on Time Lord brain physiology. (The inclusion of a 1000-brain networked super-mind node, which the Doctor can no longer access, is interesting though.) My problem isn't so much empty space and breathable air and mini-Rovers, free-floating white blood cells that amusingly "eat" the Lowe clone the virus sends in to help it. No, my problem is that the production can't seem to decide if the Doctor's brain is a piece of anatomy or a metaphor. It's fine to talk about the brain metaphorically (the passing thought is a cute idea), but the idea that you can't see across the gulf between the conscious and unconscious crosses the line, as do the winds of thoughtlessness blowing in Leela's face and the window looking out on Grecian columns flying through space. You can do Fantastic Voyage, or you can do The Deadly Assassin, but you can't do both.

The Nucleus is an ugly, amorphous creature who seems to be destroyed when the clones explode (the leftover hairpiece and CLONED knife - forever in the Doctor's brain? - are thoroughly silly), but through the magic of the Doctor's mantra about tear ducts SOMEhow transports it to that anatomical location, where it is regrown as a giant prawn. As with the previous episode, the production itself is also a big mess, with K9 cutting through a wall quite obviously pre-cut, and the same flailing about during shoot-outs, a lot of pointing without anything happening. Louise Jameson would have made the scene 100% better just by going "piew piew" as she did it. I do so hate it when an episode reduces me to the role of nitpicker...

VERSIONS: The CGI option can't help the brain dead plot, but it does fix a few of the bugs. The wall K9 fires at is now intact, and the sequence, as with any laser-related sequence, is given a lot of raw energy. It's certainly more exciting with the beams added. The passing thought, or synapse fire, or whatever that is, is also given a bit more spark, though it wasn't strictly necessary.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - The world of the Doctor's brain is certainly imaginative and a lot of work went into realizing it. However, the script is so objectionably dumb, it nearly invalidates the production design achievement.



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