Doctor Who #532: Shada Part 5

"Oh, a spasm, a mere spasm. I just hope it wasn't a dying spasm, because it has left us jammed between two irrational time interfaces. Time is moving away from us."
TECHNICAL SPECS: Unaired. Part 1 tells the tale.

IN THIS ONE... Everybody reaches Shada, Skagra needs Salyavin's mind to propagate his own, and Chronotis revealed to be the Time Lord criminal.

REVIEW: The shortest of these episodes, clocking in at some 13 minutes, Part 5 nonetheless packs a visual punch. The Krargs are an ingeniously different monster; the ship explosion is spectacular, flaming wreckage spinning in space; and Shada's asteroid model is at least unusual-looking. Doctor Who's season finales have been notoriously cheap-looking, but it looks like they kept money in the bank for this one (maybe by skimping on Nightmare of Eden). Which makes its unfinished status all the more unfortunate. Who are the Time Lord prisoners Skagra wakes up? Does an attack by sphere-zombies look as ridiculous and loopy on screen as it does in my head? That stuff was never filmed, sadly.

Perhaps because Romana is in all the missing scenes, Chris and Clare seem more like companions than ever. Chris the Doctor's, and Clare's Professor Chronotis'. The latter duo manage to make TARDIS repair scenes watchable (I can't say that's been true of similar fare in the Type-40). Clare has let her hair down, which is a better look for her, and a precursor, it seems for Chronotis sharing his mind with her so she can help fix his time machine. It's a bit like the Doctor-Donna, isn't it? We then learn Skagra wants Salyavin because of his unique ability to project his mind on others (Skagra's insane plan is to make everyone in the universe is carbon copy of his own mind, so he needs the power to be part of his sphere - imagine a universe where we all dress as disco pimps), which can't be a coincidence. And it isn't. Chronotis will later reveal that he's really Salyavin. Sadly, it happens off-screen, with a production still to help us along. So I guess Skagra ALREADY drained Salyavin's mind, but Chronotis resisted, just like the Doctor did when he was put to the sphere. Sorry Skagra, your plan might just fall apart because your technology is no good against Time Lord minds, period.

The revelation perhaps takes some of the sting from Clare blowing Chronotis' secret despite her promises as soon as she's alone with Chris. But to be fair, I too would have said anything to make him SHUT UP. I don't know if he's supposed to be a parody of the intellectual college student who liked to hear himself wax philosophical, but he's SUCH a dullard. COULD these two have joined the crew of the TARDIS as a kind of nerdy Ben and Polly? Given that the Doctor, Romana and K9 are already all tech-heads, a couple of physics students would probably not have been the way to balance out the team...

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - We're missing half the episode, but the half we have is both interesting and cool to look at.



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