Doctor Who #587: Time-Flight Part 3

"There's nothing green about the Xeraphin, I assure you."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.29 1982.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor breaks into the inner sanctum and has a chat with good and evil Xeraphin.

REVIEW: Well, there hasn't been an explanation for why the Master had to dress up as Kalid (yet). It's not even glossed over, it's ignored, in an episode that throws so much technobabble at you, it's largely impossible to connect with any of its events. The Master putters around the Doctor's TARDIS and his own while the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and smug Professor Hayter putter around the "inner sanctum" of a race called the Xeraphin. These guys are the basis for Earth's angels and devils, I guess, even though they've crashed in the Jurassic era, where they merged into a single being that can now be used as a schizophrenic power source. More or less, it seems like the Master needs to replace the heart of his TARDIS with this thing. So it retroactively makes a sort of sense that Nyssa is in danger of being "consumed" by the creature's knowledge, Bad Wolf-style. Hayter takes her place, which would have made more sense if he'd shown anything resembling an open mind over the course of the last couple episodes, and he is indeed consumed, turned into another bloodless but somehow gory corpse. I don't know if he really did learn something through the experience, if he's part of the Xeraphin now, or if they just gobbled him up so they could manifest as humanoids who speak English or what. It's not well explained, and the whole damn thing made my attention drift. Hayter's sacrifice is about at motivated as his smirking about his fellow passengers' "first honest day's work". Dude, you're a university professor, right? Glass houses...

What is it with this era and people pushing buttons on the TARDIS console without any hope of achieving anything? Here it's Captain Stapley, who eventually resorts to simple sabotage. Why the TARDIS allows itself to materialize and dematerialize with all these idiots at the controls is anyone's guess. One of many throwbacks to the early days of the program (like the number of companions) is that the TARDIS is treated as a ship - Stapley even calls it TARDIS without the article - so people are always being invited to board her and talk about "flight decks" and such. In the context of this episode, it's just more puttering around, talking technical. A big WHO CARES?

Things pick up in the final act when the good and evil Xeraphin show up, discuss their secret origin, and debate about whether to help the Doctor or the Master. It turns into a seance at the very end to block the summoning of the baddies, but like many things in Time-Flight, it's all moot when the Master beams the gestalt creature into his TARDIS and the Doctor admits the evil Time Lord has finally defeated him. Yes, it's all about you, Doctor. I guess it has to be, because I'm really not sure what the stakes are here. The Master wants some gas for his TARDIS and now he has it. Oooh. Snore.

REWATCHABILITY: Low - It's all technobabble and exposition and nonsense. I envy Adric at this point.


Craig Oxbrow said...

... Thane Krios, what are you doing here?

Kal said...

Fantastic post and for the perfect day. I watched a documentary awhile back about Canadian comic industry. It's too bad that we never had the population to support the industry. No matter how great we were we still had to compete with the US Comic juggernaut. But we did half create Superman, the most American of all heroes and today the six part animated CAPTAIN CANUCK series begins. I would like to see Captain Canuck go mainstream.

Siskoid said...

Oops, I'm sure you wanted to post that under Golden Age Canadian Comics, Kal! Let me paste your comment over there!


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