"I am the Master!" "So what? I'm Perpugilliam Brown and I can shout just as loud as you can."
IN THIS ONE... Peri runs around Sarn's volcanic desert with the Kamelion/Master after her and Turlough meets a boy with the same branding has his.
REVIEW: The heaviest Kamelion episode yet, the old screaming metal puppet turns into Peri's stepfather Howard, and into a silver version of Howard, and into the Master when he's under the Master's control... There's a LOT of this. While faux Howard's accent is even worse than true Howard's, I will give Dallas Foster points for doing a pretty good imitation of Kamelion spazzing out. Bizarrely, they brought in Gerald Flood who played King John to do Kamelion's voice when he's being a useless robot. We know it's one of the voices he can do, of course, but couldn't he be voiced by ANYONE, including Foster's? The Master seems to be trapped inside his TARDIS, vicariously taking revenge on the Doctor and trying to poach elements of his TARDIS, as part of his usual disjointed continuity. Every time he appears, his previous appearance is either ignored or magically waved away. So while the Doctor's sabotage in The King's Demons might have resulted in events seen here, The Five Doctors is in the way. In The King's Demons, his fate from Time-Flight was undone with a few lines. On the one hand, it seems clumsy not to have him come directly from the previous defeat (and it only gets worse, you'll see), but on the other, it's like he's having as many adventures as the Doctor and I can't begrudge him his untold story. It's true that characters shouldn't be on pause while not on screen. Right, Kamelion?
This early, I'm liking Peri, or at least, the Peri that dares stand up to the Master. Young Nicola is, I think, at her worst when trying to present fear and uncertainty, her hesitations sounding forced and in the American accent, particularly whiny. And there's certainly some of that here. But beyond the fear is a good deal of courage, and she mostly sells how desperate Peri becomes when lost in Sarn's volcanic desert, running and sliding through incredible vistas that look like matte paintings but are real. (Cumming also brings the location's heat to the studio where she shoots through fire when she can.) It's also amusing to see her get pulled along by Turlough as soon as gets a second to sit down. We're getting to know her, but we're also getting to know HIM. Better late than never, I suppose. Turlough's always been intense, but rarely has he put such intensity at work trying to accomplish something. And whether his motivation is to escape Trion's notice, discover what happened to his father's ship or schooling the other Trion/Chosen One in the ways of the universe, he shows an new and surprising kind of leadership.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is more intimately involved in making us discover the world of Sarn. Is he the prophesy's "Outsider" whose identity has been usurped by the Master, or is their presence a coincidence? There seems to be some truth in these prophecies since the appearance of a Chosen One, someone with the Trion brand, apparently heralds a Time of Fire. Turlough's just arrived at wouldn't you know it, the planet is about to split apart. Timanov blames the Unbelievers for his world's woes, and his faith is rewarded; the facts reflect the myths. The Unbelievers are just as sympathetic, obliviously hiding out in volcanic vents about to fill with lava, about, in fact, to be roasted alive by the "god" they don't believe in. But they are more believers that Timanov gives them credit for, putting their faith in the Doctor and the prophesied social change he is said to herald. he's caught between the two factions, each taking ownership of their own "Outsider", both Time Lords. Timanov's tragedy isn't that he believes in the wrong thing, it's that his faith is abused. The Master is a false Outsider, and indeed, speaking through Kamelion makes him a false Master!
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Entirely too much Kamelion for my tastes, but all the regulars are good and the location is gorgeous.