Doctor Who #518: The Creature from the Pit Part 3

"I thought you were dead. Why haven't you died?" "I'm sorry, my lady. It was an oversight."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.10 1979.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor talks to the Creature, and the Creature calls a piece of its ship back to itself with the help of the metal scavengers.

REVIEW: Sadly, the Doctor and Organon the Astrologer are separated at the start of this episode, and the pairing was the only good thing in the entire serial. Organon still gets a good line (above), but otherwise goes unmolested by guards who once threw him down the pit, or is threatened by the Lady Adrasta to go look for Romana. She immediately shows up so it's all padding anyway. As for the Doctor, he's talking to himself a lot since the Creature has no voice, and that's where Tom Baker is usually weakest. There's a nice bit where he drags the Creature's small eggshell with his scarf, but otherwise, it's rude silliness like blowing through the Creature's appendage. I would compliment the sequence in which the Doctor and Romana fire K9 at the guards with the help of a mirror, but how did that big thing fit in the Doctor's pockets? Besides, K9 has been used as a hand-held cannon for two episodes by this point; it's rather disheartening.

But why make an effort when the guest characters are this stupid? Lady Adrasta is irritatingly dumb and shouty, letting crucial information slip on scripted schedule, raving and ranting and threatening everyone as the only mode of discourse open to her. She's on panic mode throughout, and there's no real reason for it. When she feels threatened by the Creature at the end, a Creature she knows not to be a man-eater (well, who knows what she's thinking, it's all very confusing), the cliffhanger hinges on her fear. Cliffhangers in which the VILLAIN'S life is threatened aren't usually effective, but in this case, I WANT her to get killed. That's a rare cliffhanger indeed. I hate Adrasta more than I did Vivien Fay, and that's saying something.

Now, I don't know what Adrasta knows and doesn't, but it's all so obvious. The Creature is from another world, the metal in the mine is from its ship, and Adrasta has taken its only mode of communication (that glowing wheel thing) and thrown it in the pit. Did the thing grow to unmanageable size there? Can it ooze through tunnels? If it can control the scavengers remotely, why hasn't it pulled that trick on Adrasta's men before? And what is the Lady trying to learn about the giant piece of shell, or doesn't she see it's connected to the Creature? If she does know more than she says, she might have thrown her engineers a bone instead of letting them fail in their task. The plot is working hard to be as dumb as the Creature design, but at least there are mysteries left to answer in Part 4. Not that I'm expecting any amazing answers.

REWATCHABILITY: Low - A stupid, annoying villain. The crappiest of crap monsters. And the regulars not at all at their best. Remedial.

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