"I don't know, nowadays they'll publish anything."
IN THIS ONE... Claire finds strange machinery in Chronotis' office. The Doctor spars with the computer on Skarga's ship.
REVIEW: We're down to 17 minutes of usable material, and unfortunately, it looks like we're missing the best bits. The Doctor fools the sphere into thinking he's too stupid to be worth brain-draining, and then convinces the invisible ship's computer that he's dead and thus, not a threat. Taking him at his word, it vents the oxygen, because dead men don't breathe. That's a very Douglas Adams-y idea, right there, and we've been cheated of seeing it put to screen. Instead, there's an awful lot of screen time devoted to Chris Parsons (more on which later) and his fellow student Clare. While I won't deny that the latter's discovery of strange equipment in Professor Chronotis' cupboards is an intriguing wrinkle, it comes at the end of some rather tedious and barely motivated snooping on her part.
As for Chris, am I the only one who thinks it looks like he's being groomed for a room on the TARDIS? He's given the run of the ship, has no existential crisis from the things he sees, and even gets to play comedy scenes with K9 (the "Blast!" bit). He's written LIKE a companion, albeit an incredibly boring one, whether he was ever considered for a spot or not. He's no Duggan, I'll say that. Between him and Clare, there's enough tediousness to go around, but we're also privy to our heroes looking for an invisible spaceship in a the middle of a field (until they notice the red carpet). This doesn't have to be boring, but given they never filmed the scenes INSIDE the ship, it's all just a runaround with no pay-off. The floating ball, cool effect though it is, spends its time frying the brain of a random fisherman. That kind of thing. Scenes in the polka-dot cell finally manage to make David Brierley's K9 funny though.
Chronotis' loss is sorely felt, I must say, but the fact his body simply vanishes gives one hope for the future. K'anpo also survived his onscreen death. Maybe the Doctor knows something, maybe he doesn't. He wants to avenge his old friend, but through means of a "chat" with the space disco pimp Skagra. Doesn't sound all that violent.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - I'm thankful for the mystery and humor, because there's an awful lot of vamping in the materials that survived the strike.