Sunday 15 January 2012

419 The Brain of Morbius Part Two

EPISODE: The Brain of Morbius Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 10 January 1976
WRITER: Robin Bland (pseudonym for Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes)
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Brain Of Morbius

Solon returns to the laboratory so Sarah hides. Solon & Condo & hunting the Doctor and conclude Maran, the head of the sisterhood has taken him. The Doctor wakes in the sisterhood's sanctuary and they accuse him of being sent to steel the elixir. They tell him of Morbius' crimes on Karn and his execution but the Doctor insists he felt the presence of his mind. Sarah follows Solon & Condo as they go to the sanctuary, interrupting the Doctor's being sacrificed to the flame to bargain for his life and Solon offers his servant's life for the Doctor's. While Solon debates with Maran a disguised Sarah loosens the Doctor's bonds allowing him to escape when the fire is lit. Maran fires an energy blast at them from her ring which blinds Sarah. Condo argues with Solon, upset that his master would offer him for sacrifice. Solon promises to reattach his arm. The Doctor brings Sarah to Solon to get him to look at her eyes. In the depths of the castle Solon confers with an unseen colleague that he addresses as Morbius but is summoned away by Condo when the Doctor & Sarah return. Solon examines Sarah but while he is doing so the Doctor catches sight of the Monster. Condo escorts Sarah from the lab as Solon tells the Doctor Sarah's sight is nearly completely destroyed and only the elixir of life can save it. The Doctor leaves to obtain some. Stumbling around the castle Sarah hears a voice calling for Solon and descends the stairs to the basement. Condo is sent with a message to the sisterhood and urged to get there before the Doctor. Sarah comes into the basement lab where Morbius' brain is house in a jar.

Just tops. Fabulous. A little bit "to and fro between the castle and the sanctuary" in places but each move is justified by the plot.

Frankenstein isn't the only story "borrowed" from for this serial: The name Morbius is a steal from the film Forbidden Planet, previously homaged in Planet of Evil. The planet name Karn is taken from author Terrance Dicks' own Doctor Who stage play The Seven Keys to Doomsday. The brain in a jar we see at the end is a horror staple, but a living brain? well there's two anitcendants that I can think of: Doctor Who's own The Keys of Marinus which has the Brains of Morphotron in the second episode but more importantly the Roald Dahl short story William & Mary where a man's brain is preserved living after his death. I saw it dramatised in Tales of the Unexpected (The episode guide says it first aired 1979 so I'm guessing that it's a repeat I caught in the mid eighties) and it lodged in my mind so much that when Liz turned a radio adaptation on in the car the other month I recognised it immediately! It's available on DVD in Tales Of The Unexpected - The Complete First Series and Tales Of The Unexpected - The Complete Series

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