Doctor Who #504: The Armageddon Factor Part 3

"There's your enemy, Shapp. Runs everything. Attack, defence, surveillance, production, everything. The ideal war general. No glory, no speeches, no medals and no blood."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Feb.3 1979.

IN THIS ONE... Everyone goes to Zeos where K9 acts as ambassador to a computer commandant.

REVIEW: A middle episode and it shows. The war is over, so has the Shadow decreed, but the Marshal just can't let it go, and must undertake one final strike against all reason. Clearly, he's been unhinged by the Shadow's manipulation, and can't see peace unless there is victory. It's a little unfortunate that a great actor like John Woodvine is given the most over the top dialog, allowing for very little nuance. Or perhaps he's just not feeling it. He's still better than Davyd Harries as Shapp, his John Cleese-inspired comedy performance at odds with the dreary nihilism of the serial. Why does he even get into the T Mat? He's gone from jaded officer to bumbling clown in between episodes.

William Squire's Shadow is about as mannered, but at least he's supposed to be in stark contrast with the Doctor, being the Time Lord's opposite number, an agent of the Black Guardian. Where the Doctor is casual, he's stridently operatic. It's not a GOOD performance, mind you, but it has the virtue of being OPPOSITE. Similarly, the Shadow is willing to wait a thousand years for the Doctor to make a mistake and make the segments of the Key available, while the Doctor is very much in danger of doing just that through his innate impatience. The Doctor is never better than when he's being insolent with his captors, and there's some of that before they let him loose (with a spooky disappearing act) to get himself into the required trouble.

And then the story slows to a crawl. There's some walking around on dusty Zeos as Shapp tries to out-bugeye Tom Baker. K9 is off looking for the Doctor, the Doctor out looking for K9, Romana out looking for Merak, Merak out looking for Astra (who isn't on the planet after all). Aside from Romana showing a little Venusian Aikido, they're only killing time until they're all reunited so they can mean the Zeon commandant, yet another sentient computer (that's four in the past three seasons, I think, but I do wonder how they did the sparkly bits). K9 gets to play ambassador to one of his own kind, but that means a lot of bleeps and bloops are exchanged (the future's equivalent of modem sounds) and oh yes, lest I forget, K9 goes all around the room saluting CCTV cameras or something. It's all impossibly dull. Please Doctor, talk about your limbo closet some more. That, at least, sparks my nerd interest.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - It's not uncommon for 6-parters to actually be 4 or 5-parters in disguise. This is the part where you notice it.



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 Class 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 FW Team-Up 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 Shut Up Star Boy 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 Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville 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 Zero Hour Strikes Zine