Doctor Who #469: The Sun Makers Part 2

"The cause of your unfortunate experience, of which I trust there are no ill effects?" "Oh, not at all, not at all. Your guards were entirely charming, and so attentive."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Dec.3 1977.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor is thrown into the Correction Center, but released by a curious Gatherer before he can be rescued by Leela and friends.

REVIEW: Not quite as witty as Part 1, Part 2 takes us closer to The Macra Terror by revealing the powers that be are pumping anxiety-producing drugs into the ventilation to keep the population afraid and under control. Even Leela feels the effects, and it's so alien a feeling to her that she immediately notices her unusual apprehension and then goes on to overcome it! That's why we love Leela. I do have concerns about the character though. Here, she promises to draw blood on the rebels who threatened her, and later shoots an unarmed technician, probably fatally. Now, a character with such an extreme position in a series like this can only really work if she evolves away from that position. By this time, Leela should be a little more civilized and less lethal. Otherwise, the Doctor has monumentally failed in trying to declaw her. She should have learned the program's lesson that there's a better way, and need not have lost any of her fiery temper in the process. Emasculating Mandrel with words is perfectly fine, trying to do it with her knife is not. (She doesn't make that attempt, mind, I'm making a point about her killing ways.)

As for the Doctor, he gets sent to the Correction Center, which could have been a little more Kafkaesque for my tastes given Part 1's penchant for the absurd. It becomes a good place for exposition about why the proles are such sheep (the 1% of course get pills to nullify the gas), and the Doctor narrowly avoids a lobotomy. Though Leela, Cordo and K9 are coming to save him, he's released by the Gatherer instead, leading to a pretty fun conversation where they try to outdo each other in politeness. Looks like it plays on the Doctor's prodigious ego too, because he seems to believe the Gatherer's sincerity. The Gatherer's courtesies are well honed as a fawning sycophant to HIS boss, the toad with a silly voice, hunched over calculations, called the Collector. Holmes has some fun with language in the scenes they share, but the latter may be a touch too cartoony.

On a production level, The Sun Makers is somewhat schizophrenic. The location work is interesting, crazy long white corridors with real depth, while the studio sets meant to match them are shoddy, with marks for the actors sometimes visible on the floor. I first thought it was meant to show a society in creative decay, but no, it's just ugly white walls badly joined to the floor. At least those are environments K9 can easily navigate.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - We've done satire, now let's get this plot moving, but at the cost of some of that very satire.


snell said...

In her defense, Leela's bloodthirstiness may be attributable to the gas--perhaps she hasn't shaken off the effects as completely as she thought...

Siskoid said...

Or shaken off the humiliation of getting captured, suspended and steamed!


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine