Monday 10 October 2011

322 The Mutants Episode Five

EPISODE: The Mutants Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 06 May 1972
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Mutants
Episode Format: 625 video

Reaching the surface the Doctor & Sondergaard are subjected to the rocket bombardment while making their way to the Skybase transfer station. Cotton, Stubbs, Jo & Kai escape from the depressurised section but are immediately recaptured. The Marshall puts them in front of a firing squad but it's interrupted by Jaeger protesting that the Marshall's actions have wrecked his experiments on Solos contaminating the surface. The ailing Sondergaard returns to the caves while the Marshall & his guards hunt for the Doctor who escapes to Skybase but is captured trying to free the prisoners. He is pressed into service helping Jaeger. Jo organises an escape. Cotton attempts to contact the Investigator's ship while Stubbs defends them from attacking guards. They get though but Stubbs is killed as they escape. They are recaptured and taken to Skybase's refuelling chamber. Sondergaard is found by an Overlord guards but saved by Mutants who recognise him. They believe they are sick but Sondergaard explains the mutation process to them and they agree to help him. The Doctor & Jaeger manage to eliminate the contamination using jury rigged equipment. The Marshall threatens Jo in an attempt to force the Doctor's cooperation. As the Hyperion docks it starts to refuel exposing the captives to deadly Thesium radiation.

A bit of escaping, running around and getting recaptured this episode. Essentially the episode treads water with the just the Doctor's capture and Stubb's death advancing the plot. Rick James' (Cotton's) acting is at it' most animated when Stubbs dies but even then it's not good. Martin Taylor, one of the Skybase Guards in this episode, is later seen as Corporal Norton in Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

The Mutants features the d├ębut of something that we'll see time and time again in Doctor Who: the wall panels here with their tessellating triangular design. Designer Jeremy Bear is responsible for their initial appearance here but they, or new segments made from the same moulds, will be back in many other Doctor Who stories. The Mutt Mad documentary, concerning the production of this story, on The Mutants DVD shows them in Horns of the Nimon, Meglos (is that them? I'm not so sure) and Terminus but I think they've been in many other Doctor Who stories (the cells in Stones of Blood immediately spring to mind) as well as appearing in Blake's 7 in Servalan's office in Seek, Locate, Destroy and The Adventure Game. We'll be looking out for these panels again in future episodes.

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