Saturday 4 February 2012

439 The Deadly Assassin Part Four

EPISODE: The Deadly Assassin Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 20 November 1976
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin

The Doctor overcomes his injured foe forcing him from the Matrix before escaping himself. They trace the Master's connection to the Matrix finding Master's corpse and dying Goth. Borusa, unhappy with events, concocts a coverstory making Goth out to be the hero. The Master revives and attempts to seize control of the Eye of Harmony, the Time Lord's energy supply created by Rassilon many years before, to revive his regeneration cycle and destroy the Time Lords. As quakes rock the capital the Doctor struggles with the Master who falls to his doom. The Doctor leaves Galifrey, but as his Tardis departs from the museum where it has been kept Elgin & Spandrell see the Master sneak inside a Grandfather clock, his disguised Tardis, which dematerialises.

This late the story suddenly turns into a disaster movie with the Master unleashing the power of the Eye of Harmony and nearly destroying the Time Lords capital all so he can live. It's a decent enough episode, in fact the entire story has been pretty good. What we're introduced to here for the first time is Rassilon, the founder of Time Lord society who gave them Time Travel and harnessed the Eye of Harmony. This might seem to go against what was said in the Three Doctors about Omega detonating the star to give them time travel but if Omega's consumed by the star's explosion and transported into the anti matter universe then Rassilon is the one that stays behind and gets all the glory. Later writers will add a third member to this pairing, a mysterious Other.... but sadly this idea never reached the screen and was merely developed in the books.

Of course the Master has got away. He'll be back, but not for a few years.

I like Deadly Assasin. It rolls along nicely, even part three which I'm not convinced is necessary. However at the time the then President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society (and future TV Zone editor) Jan Vincent-Rudzki wrote a scathing review of the story feeling it went against everything shown on screen about the Time Lords so far.

I have to query the stupid title though: Which assasin *isn't Deadly?

After this episode was transmitted Doctor Who took a break through Decemeber and over the Christmas period. During this time 60 minute compilation repeats of Pyramids of Mars and Brain of Morbius were shown. Deadly Assasin was itself repeated in August 1977, the Deadly Assasin was novelised by Terrance Dicks. It was first released on video in the USA in 1989 in a compilation version, the only story released in this format not to be sold in the UK. An episodic version was released in the UK in October 1991 on the same day as The Sontaran Experiment & Genesis of the Daleks double pack. The Deadly Assassin DVD was released in March 2009.

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