Doctor Who #667: Time and the Rani Part 3

"Out of the frying pan into the mire."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Sep.21 1987.

IN THIS ONE... The Tetraps use their tongues to make the TARDIS crew stiff. -cough-

REVIEW: So the story hits a wall, as many stories do, in Part 3. The things that seemed charming at first are starting to wear thin through overuse, and the plot isn't moving as much as it ought to. Case in point the Doctor's mangled expressions. Due to lack of story, they seem more frequent, and more awkward too. And there's repetition that is fine week to week - the threat from the strange matter asteroid, for example - but daily (and I realize this is unfair, but most viewers today will watch the whole story in one go), is kind of tedious. Speaking of repetition, Mel screams a heck of a lot in this episode. I know JNT brought her on board for her lungs, but Bonnie Langford must've been regretting signing on the dotted line. She wasn't THIS scared of the Vervoids, was she? And when she's not screaming, she's delivering awful dialog, like telling the Rani not to underestimate the Doctor. Uhm... don't you WANT her to underestimate the Doctor?

And while the effects that worked in Part 1 and 2 see some use here again, the video "insect" that comes out of that S&M disco ball in the Centre of Leisure is neither convincing nor dramatic. And the giant brain? Don't make me laugh! Because the brain already did, thank you very much. I didn't laugh for long, however, because I found the Rani's expression when it starts spouting technobabble disturbing. Get a room, you two! Maybe adjacent to whatever room the Tetraps are using (less tongue, please!).

I don't mean to imply the episode is all bad. Urak the Tetrap is clearly in love with the Rani and finds the Doctor lacking in the nemesis department, but it's an unhealthy relationship. When he suggests she's a genius the mega-brain needs, I don't think he's trying to pull a fast one; he's trying to give her a compliment. And he only gets abuse for it. Though I wish we saw more of Faroon, Beyus' status as a collaborator is at least touched on. He probably thinks he's doing the only thing he can to protect his people. The Centre of Leisure offers a chance to sketch in Lakertyan culture a little bit. They've got that kissing rock at the door, and music from a Miyazaki film or something. Small, but appreciated details that give the Lakertyans a little more credibility.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Nothing heinous, but the plot is stuck on neutral while the characters go to and fro, making the flaws more noticeable.



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