On the Occasion (part 11)

Tonight I continue with my Doctor Who marathon, but I have decided to skip the Mind of Evil. I recently watched this story and even wrote an article on it for the Time Meddlers of LA’s newsletter “The Intergalactic Inquierer.” Here is that article:

Last week on Doctor Who… The Doctor and UNIT successfully defeated the Master in his attempt to help the Auton’s second invasion attempt, but the Master escaped…

Now the Doctor has taken interest in the Keller machine, and device that removes the negative impulses from the brain and stores them – but there’s been a problem with the machine, a spectator has mysteriously died, and so has the Professor in charge of the device…

Meanwhile, UNIT is busy with two tasks. Not only is the Brigadier in charge of security for the first world peace conference, but UNIT has also been put in charge of escorting the Thunderbolt – a nuclear powered missile with nerve gas (a bit of an overkill on the WMD front if you ask me.) But things at the conference aren’t all well when the Chinese delegation first reports that documents have been stolen (though by Captain Chin Lee herself!) and then the Chinese delegate is killed.

This is yet another wonderful script by Don Houghton, who also penned the previous series’ closing story “Inferno.” It’s diverse elements tie in perfectly once we get into episode two and find out that the Master is skulking around the peace conference eavesdropping on UNIT’s plans with the Thunderbolt, and is also controlling Chin Lee to disrupt the conference. It’s not long before the Doctor starts to make the connections between the Keller machine and Chin Lee and eventually the connection to the Master (a.k.a. Dr. Keller.)

Just like Houghton’s only other contribution, The Mind of Evil is a perfect example of a UNIT story (except this time they are the good guys…) UNIT is a large factor in the events of this story, and is not just a support for the Doctor – UNIT doesn’t just get to play soldiers, but also indulges in a bit of cloak and dagger – which they haven’t really done since “Invasion” (Benton once again in plain clothes.) The Brigadier and company are capable of working things out for themselves – suspecting Chin Lee, working out where the Thunderbolt may have gone. Captain Yates shows initiative and daring in tracking the hijackers. But the highlight has to be the storming of the castle. It is both inventive and impressive, with the Brigadier working a “Trojan lorry”, and even the minor character Major Cosworth displays intelligence with the underground access concept.

Even so, it’s still the Doctor that must come to the rescue in the end, and stop the Master from using the missile – turning the Keller machine against it’s creator.

The Mind of Evil is often overlooked because it is part of the black and white Pertwee episodes, but is available on videocassette and well worth a look.

BTW: 4.5/5

So with that out of the way, I now progress at 8:40 PM PST to the Claws of Axos (episodic version.) A galactic parasite attacks the earth (with the aid of the Master) and comes bearing gifts – an element that can perform miracles. Many malign this story, but at it’s core it’s a good tale – which goes back to the old phrase of “beware aliens bearing gifts” as the gift is the aliens way of sucking the Earth of it’s energy. I hadn’t seen this one since I recorded it in the mid-eighties, and am glad to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be – though not a great story. 2.5/5

That’s all for this evening, but more tomorrow…