Sunday 23 January 2011

062 The Web Planet Part 5: Invasion

EPISODE: The Web Planet Part 5: Invasion
TRANSMITTED: 13 March 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet

Barbara, Hrostar and another Menoptra find a secret passage and escape into the rock. At the Carsinome Vicki releases the Doctor from his capture, her control device having been damaged in the previous episode. The Doctor uses the control device and his ring to control a Zarbi and they use it to try to leave the near deserted Carsinome. Barbara and the Menoptra have stumbled into one of the Menoptra's temple of light where they meet the remnants of the Menoptra invasion force. Hilio, their captain, despairs at the loss of his forces. They have a living cells destructor, the Isop-tope, they planned to use against the Animus, Barbara urges them to go through with their plan and attack. Vrestin & Ian assisted by the Optera set out underground for the centre, the inner sanctum of the Carsinome where the Animus survives. The Doctor, Vicki and their Zarbi follow Menoptra tracks seeking the Invasion force. Ian, Vrestin & the Optera encounter some bad air in the tunnels forcing the Optera to tunnel a new escape route. Barbara has a plan, but Hilio isn't comfortable with it. However at that moment the Doctor, Vicki and their captive Zarbi arrive. While tunnelling the Optera Nemini accidentally releases an acid stream which she blocks with her own body at the cost of her life. The Doctor modifies the Menoptra plan: he will take the Isop-tope into the Carsinome and use it. The Menoptra Prapillius borrows the Doctor ring in order to control the Zarbi that the Doctor brought: he thinks it will be useful in the attack. Vicki & the Doctor return to the Carsinome where they are swiftly recaptured. The Optera reach the point under the Carsinome and start burrowing up. Barbara & the Menoptra wait ready to attack, waiting for the Doctor to succeed, but Vicki & The Doctor are cocooned in a web generated by the Carsinome.

A little slower paced than the previous two episodes but towards the end you start to feel as if things are coming together for the final confrontation. I do wonder about the wisdom of having the Doctor escape and return to the Carsinome in the same episode, maybe if he'd escaped in the previous episode that might have worked a little better.

This story is famous for uniquely having only non-humans amongst it's cast of characters. We have the controlling Animus, the ant like Zarbi with their Larvae Guns, the butterfly like Menoptra and their relations the lice like Optera. Every other classic Doctor Who story features at least one human or human like being in addition to the main cast.

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