Doctor Who #244: The Space Pirates Part 5

"Now where did I put my bag of marbles..."TECHNICAL SPECS: Another missing episode, another reconstruction to the rescue. First aired Apr.5 1969.

IN THIS ONE... Our heroes are locked into a room with Dom Issigri, who was thought dead, while the pirates think up a plan to frame Milo Clancey for their crimes.

REVIEW: My big question this time is why Lisa Daniely vamped so much in her previous appearances as Madeleine Issigri if she was never actually much of a baddie. She spends all her time in this episode objecting to the possible murder of the heroes and even proves to only be an accessory to piracy after the fact. All that ominous looking into the distance... what was that about? Just one more in a string of mischaracterizations in this story, though usually, it's the companions acting strangely. You'd expect a script to at least follow its own continuity. The pirate Caven is similarly flawed. Clearly ruthless and bloodthirsty, but always keeping people alive for no reason (even if the Doctor glosses over it by saying Caven obviously has a reason). Why keep our heroes alive initially, or Sorba? Why keep them alive AGAIN, just so you can kill them by asphyxiation on the sabotaged LIZ? And why keep Dom Issigri alive and locked in his study for YEARS? He holds him against Madeleine in this episode, but she didn't even know he was alive. That's a very complicated ploy (the office is kept locked, but it's still in the building, and somebody must've brought food regularly) when her implication in the pirates' crimes should be enough. Pool old Dom isn't very consistent either, mad from years of captivity one moment, working with the heroes the next. He takes care of his grandfather clock, but there's dust everywhere. And Clancey? He's all about telling us that Dom is eccentric because he has all these 19th century antiques, but dude's dressed like a trail boss.

There's also a lot of arguing among the pirates, and the Space Corps hitting a dead end, none of which we care about. That leaves exactly one set piece for the Doctor, an escape attempt that's at least more interesting than the norm. He uses candle wax and marbles to make the floor slippery, and attracts the guards with an oil lamp fire. The best bit: He keeps his favorite marble. It is green. But that's it, really. His other scenes are decent but unremarkable, and the companions aren't up to much. One gets the feeling that a lot of their non-verbal interaction has been lost with the video, which no doubt would have elevated the material a notch. The Doctor doesn't go up in the doomed LIZ because the companions are missing in action. What are they up to? Aside from keeping the Doctor from leaving on a death trap, I mean.

REWATCHABILITY: Low - Dull and low on Doctorishness, the episode's biggest problem is that it continues a nasty streak of character inconsistency.



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