Doctor Who #193: The Enemy of the World Part 6

"You forget, I'm World Security Controller. I make rules and break them. And men, Captain."TECHNICAL SPECS: The final episode from this story is missing from the archives. A reconstruction will have to do. (The episode has since been found, see Versions.) First aired Jan.27 1968.

IN THIS ONE... Kent and Salamander's plans blow up and the latter is sucked out of the TARDIS doors after briefly impersonating the Doctor.

REVIEW: The Doctor must be watching his own show, because he's now convinced that Salamander is creating natural disasters without much evidence to back it up. Benik tries to catch Doc-as-Salamander in a lie, but still gives him important files to look at. But the Doctor is only uncovering information we already knew, and as he sends Jamie and Victoria away to the TARDIS long before episode's end, we're left with the feeling that the TARDISeers once again won't be participating fully in the proceedings. As it turns out, they weren't even necessary in the first place. It turns out Kent was in on the plot from the beginning, trying to bump him off to take his place (which is nonsense since Kent had absolutely NO good will from the world government), and manages to get into Salamander's compound with incredible ease. In other words, there was absolutely no reason for him to play coy and send Jamie, Victoria and the disguised Doctor in there to collect information and/or assassinate the man. He had the info already and he could have killed Salamander himself.

To make matters worse, the plot continues to feature Astrid as the hero of the story. She gets to the underground bunker, does the Doctorly thing of proving the radiation meters as fake, and at a melodramatic pitch, promises to bring them up to the surface safely. Kent and Salamander blow each other up in the tunnels, and that's that. Well, almost. While I would have liked to see how the production handled the finale in which Salamander and the Doctor are fighting in the TARDIS console room (and I since have, see Versions), the damn thing is over before you know it as the TARDIS inexplicably dematerializes with its doors open and Salamander is sucked out into the space-time vortex. The episode ends right there as if it were a cliffhanger instead of the story's end, without so much as a word, and feels deeply unsatisfying. Salamander might as well have died in the explosion for all the weight his confrontation with the Doctor has.

THEORIES: Leaving aside the possibility that the TARDIS "accidentally" left its doors open on purpose, where does Salamander GO? More recent episodes, like Utopia, infer that riding the space-time vortex without a time machine is deadly, and in The Sound of Drums, we learn that just looking into it can make some men go mad. In the next episode (spoiler!), the Doctor merely says it would be very unpleasant for Salamander for him to "float around in time", but that could mean anything. The New Adventures novels offer an epilogue of sorts, but not an answer. Christmas on a Rational Planet has a character see a man, presumably Salamander, floating in the vortex.

VERSIONS: Writer Ian "Harry Sullivan" Marter apparently cut a lot of material from the episodes when writing the Target novelization, used slightly harsher language, and established the date as 2030. As for the restored episode, it shows us how the production showed the vortex as blown-out lights. I like it, and the confrontation looks really cool too. We'd seen pictures, but it is very well realized. The video also answers a question I had earlier - it seems there are several tubes for the bunker people to get back to the surface.

REWATCHABILITY: Low - By this point, the story has spent all the brownie points it got from the wit of the first three episodes and we're left with an anticlimax that's less and less about the people we're watching the show for.

STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - I had such high hopes for the season's only non-monster story, and it could have been a breath of fresh air. While there are some interesting guest characters and witty dialog early on, don't be fooled. It soon turns out that the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are only extras walking around somebody else's show. Given what this team of regulars has given us to date, that's entirely unforgivable. Can still be enjoyed for the performance Troughton gives as Salamander, as a testament to his thespian skills, and there's a certain joy to seeing a formerly lost serial, no matter its faults.

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