Doctor Who #573: Kinda Part 3

"Are you an idiot?" "Well, I suppose I must be. I have been called one many--" "Keep silent, idiot."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Feb.8 1982.

IN THIS ONE... The nothing in the box enlightens the Doctor who goes out seeking the wise woman, but the Mara has already taken the tribe over.

REVIEW: So what was in the box? A spring-loaded clown. And then, absolutely nothing. Or rather, some kind of psychic artifact that makes men go mad and women (and Time Lords) get telepathic visions. Connected to the Kinda's group mind, it would seem men are absorbed into it, so Sanders is acting like a Kinda - innocent to the evil around him. The Doctor's got more mental defenses than that, of course, as he comes from a telepathic race, but the old wise woman's explanation is far more interesting (and hilarious). It seems idiots are immune too, likely because they're already a little mad. This brings us back to the jack-in-the-box, and then to the jester of the Kinda tribe - a tumbler with a giant tribal mask - whose job it is to appease conflict through mockery and ridicule. So when the old woman asks if he's an idiot, we should recognize he is, at least by the Kinda's definition. Think about it. He too puts an end to conflict with foolishness. The Doctor is definitely of a fool/trickster type. And more the old woman treats him like an idiot, the wider my smile.

The other great metaphor used by the Kinda is the idea of the great wheel of history, a cycle that raises civilizations and destroys them, and like the empty box full of zen, it's something right out of Asian philosophy. It justifies the similarities between this planet and the Garden of Eden because they're on the same spoke. The Kinda aren't a primitive race starting out, they're the end product of a civilization. Or they're both. With the Mara heralding the end of their paradise, the story describes history as a repeating cycle, one in which innocent savages discover evil (and thus, ambition), build a civilization to satisfy their cravings, eventually reach a state of utopia, at which point ambition becomes meaningless, until the cycle repeats. At least that's how I interpret Kinda, and I love it for taking me there.

Back at the dome, Hindle has found a way to make sure it isn't invaded by wiring the building to nuke itself (and 30 miles all around). It's a drastic solution worthy of his broken mind, and kind of represents the other end scenario for civilizations. Those that don't defeat the evil in their society are doomed to be destroyed by it. No everyone reaches a state of enlightenment/utopia. The surreal vision given the Doctor and Todd feels off (that stupid alarm clock is so out of place), and I wish Tegan was awake and acting after her major role in the previous two episodes, but those are minor quibbles when I consider everything I like about Part 3.

REWATCHABILITY: High - A thinking man's episode, and I AM a thinking man.



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