Doctor Who #480: The Invasion of Time Part 5

"Dereliction of duty's pretty rife around here, Chancellor. Hadn't you noticed?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.4 1978.

IN THIS ONE... The Sontarans invade Gallifrey seeking the Great Key. The Doctor and Borusa play keep-away with it.

REVIEW: Out with the lame Vardans, in with the cool Sontarans. Well, that's the idea anyway. In reality, Derek Deadman plays Stor as if he were an Ice Warrior, whispering every line in a halting manner. Villains who speak. Very. Very. Slowly. Annoy the heck out of me, and there's not reason for Deadman to do so after Kevin Lindsay's previous performances as various Sontarans. The Sontarans are more visually striking than the Vardans, to be sure, but they play exactly the same role. One might even wonder how these brutes can be the actual power behind telepathic energy beings when the latter seem the more powerful species. The switch is apparently only useful to the plot because it nerfs the enemy to something the Doctor and Leela can actually handle.

And handle violently. If the Doctor's implied endorsement of Leela's killing in Part 4 was ambiguous, here it is undeniable. He comments most sincerely on her amazing knife throw at a Sontaran probic vent (or is it okay to kill Sontarans because they're proper aliens and/or clones?). The Doctor himself is rather violent too. For example, he threatens to kill Borusa with a staser, rather than let the Great Key fall into enemy hands (and there's no immediate risk of that happening). That scene goes on a bit too long, with the Great Key not very well hidden after all, and looking like an old iron key from Earth (part of the "ordinarization" of Gallifrey authored by a mix of cheapness and laissez-faire comedy in this serial). Once Borusa and the Doctor trust each other, things get more lively and interesting, the two of them sharing some great chemistry and quick banter. Borusa as an aged action hero, wearing a personal forcefield, making arch quips, and running in "most undignified" fashion almost reminds me of his younger pupil, the first Doctor. I enjoy his interactions with the Doctor more than I do the Doctor's with K9 or Rodan, which seem obsessed with incomprehensible technobabble.

Leela has her own team too, continuing to command Gallifreyan outcasts (and now Andred) even after the Vardans have gone. Though I worry about the Doctor encouraging her violent streak, I do like the moment when he entrusts her with the Great Key. She makes a much better moving target than the Doctor or any of the Time Lords, but it also rewards her for her faith in him. It's nice to see, here at the end of her journey, that their trust is mutual.

VERSIONS: The CGI option on the DVD makes the corridor battles much more exciting and coherent. I didn't dislike the Sontaran weapon video effects at times, but they weren't always well done. I AM surprised, however, that the ghastly shot of the Sontaran battle fleet (as an arrowhead shape floating in space) wasn't redone. Seemed like a no-brainer. Ah well.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Concerns about the Doctor's violent streak and the lackluster Sontarans, but there's a lot to like as far as the Doctor-Borusa relationship goes.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (52) Aquaman (71) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (30) Avengers (58) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (677) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (60) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (12) Buffy (6) Canada (70) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (55) Cat (156) CCGs (51) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3961) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1677) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (83) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (763) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (60) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (432) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (39) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (95) JSA (25) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (98) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (129) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (41) oHOTmu OR NOT? (76) Old52 (11) One Panel (291) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (76) Podcast (488) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (539) Sandman (21) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (368) Siskoid as Editor (34) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1712) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (38) Supergirl (89) Superman (1060) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (23) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (83) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (204) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (246) X-Men (102) Zero Hour Strikes (26) Zine (5)