Doctor Who #522: Nightmare of Eden Part 3

"The passengers should be your first concern, yet I find you drunkenly looking on as they are attacked and killed! Well?" "They're only economy class. What's all the fuss about?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Dec.8 1979.

IN THIS ONE... There's a narc agent on/in Eden, and barbecued Mandrels makes vraxoin.

REVIEW: Though perhaps not as pronounced, the acute pointlessness of Part 2 does continue in Part 3. The Doctor and Romana argue about whether to name a random direction "East" or "North" (Romana should read her Bible, it's clear it should be East), and when they try to disentangle the ships, Fisk tries to stop it for no other reason than that would advance the stalled plot. But while this is all rather annoying, it's nothing compared to the massive plot holes and unexplainable science being demonstrated. Tryst has created "bigger-on-the-inside" TARDIS tech BY ACCIDENT, though apparently, you don't have to use the viewer as a portal, any unstable matter zone will do (so why aren't there creatures from the other environments he's got in there?). Stott the narc agent gets trapped in the Eden zoo, escapes, but returns because that's somehow a good "base"? And stupidest of all, if you fry a Mandrel, it'll decompose and turn into vraxoin, previously said to be an extinct fungus' byproduct. Does it make sense for the same drug to have two completely unrelated sources like that? Why don't we have cocaine squirrels and marijunalligators then? The silliness of the premise destroys any good will I might otherwise have had towards the clever idea of smuggling drugs in a carry-on ecosystem.

So I've seen more complimentary reviews of Nightmare of Eden than mine calling it surprisingly mature for its era. I suppose the whole drug angle might give it that label, and we do have Rigg here coming down HARD from his high. While I don't dispute this, but with its cuddly monsters, caricatured accents and crazy plot holes, I rather think Nightmare is GOOFY. So in its moments of violence, it seems sadistic and overblown, not "adult". The Doctor bites a giant man-eating flower in the roots, causing a ridiculous chlorophyll spray. Unnecessarily gory. The Doctor callously kicks a prone/dead Mandrel. Just ugly. And when that Mandrel actually dies at the end of a power cable, it's rather disturbing to watch a relatively cute creature's chest and face cave in like that. Meanwhile, anyone who tries to take a swing at someone else is so badly choreographed, they might as well be in a pantomime fight. Nightmare of Eden should take itself more seriously, or less. It certainly doesn't achieve the right balance.

At least Part 3 reveals some crucial information. Stott isn't dead and is a drug enforcement agent. Tryst and Dymond are partners in crime. Mandrels = Vraxoin. But then you get to yet another dialog fluff, or to a scene where a Mandrel attacks passengers next to the only giant ALARM button we've seen in the serial and you wonder if anyone's really making an effort.

- The plot slowly gets out of the mud and starts to move again, but it moves in stupendously idiotic and tone-deaf directions.



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