Doctor Who #674: Delta and the Bannermen Part 2

"Take a look at this butterfly. Arguably one of the most beautiful creatures in the whole of nature. Yet if you were to see a pupae, you'd think it was the ugliest sight you've ever seen. But you can't have one without the other."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.9 1987.

IN THIS ONE... Delta and Billy go on a motorcycle date and the Bannermen invade.

REVIEW: Though the ugly baby becoming a cute one that seems to wear its wrinkly green skin as a costume seens impossibly cheap, I'd say the story's main problem to date is how awkward the violence is in this piece of whimsy. When Gravok destroys an entire bus of people who never hurt anyone and whom we LIKE, it's like a whole other story is invading this one and destroying it. The ugly piece of meat he chews on is actually gory in this, because it doesn't fit. Perhaps genocide just wasn't an appropriate subject for such a story. I mean, the Bannermen look like they came out of a Devo video, and with all the rock'n'roll about, a clash of musical styles and attitudes might have created enough tension without doing away with Murray and the other googly aliens.

The American satellite watchers finally get to meet characters involved in the main plot, but only barely. Their quest leads them to yet another non sequitur character, a bee keeper who makes the episode's metaphorical point about pupae turning into beautiful butterflies (cue Delta's baby) and who seems to think he can speak to his bees (are these the same bees that apparently have the ability to leave Earth in the new series?). Cute bits, and well used in what can almost be called a musical montage as the Doctor and Ray look for Delta and Billy (and elsewhere, Mel oversees the holiday camp's evacuation). The music really is a highlight, giving a good sense of period and fun.

It's unfortunate that the Delta-Billy relationship is so strange, however. Is she controlling him with hormones, or something? Billy's got so little personality, he's like a churchy zombie, taking everything in his stride, accepting all the weird goings-on very much like he has... chemical help. Any scene with the two of them playing house with their creepy green baby feels eerie at best, and just stops the action at worst. The Doctor needs to find them a lot sooner.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Still a lot of charm and great musical cues, but it doesn't earn its violence, nor its romance.



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