Friday 10 August 2012

626 The Caves of Androzani Part Two

EPISODE: The Caves of Androzani Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Friday 09 March 1984
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Graeme Harper
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revisitations Box Set - Volume 1 (The Caves Of Androzani / The Talons Of Weng-Chiang / Doctor Who - The Movie)

The bodies are examined and found to be android duplicates. The Doctor & Peri have been taken away to Sharaz Jek who intends to keep them his prisoners for company. He already has Major Salateen, General Chelak's second in command as a prisoner who he has replaced with an Android duplicate. Jek wishes to avenge himself on Morgus who was responsible for him being heavily scalded and nearly killed in a mud burst on Androzani Minor. Both the Doctor & Peri experience cramp and Salateen recognises it as an early symptom of Spectrox Toxaemia. The cure is the milk of the Queen Bat, which only lives in the lower cave levels. While Sharaz Jek is negotiating with his gun runners The Doctor engineers their escape confusing their guard robot with his dual heart beat. They are ambushed in the tunnels by another robot and Salateen leaves the Doctor for dead, taking Peri back to the base. The Doctor is caught in a battle between the gun runners, pursuing Sharaz Jek to his base hoping to find his Spectrox supply, and the Magma Beast that lives in the lower cave levels.

Good grief, doubles again? Since the start of the Davison era we've had a projected double of Adric (Castrovalva), a double of Nyssa (Black Orchid), a shaped changing robot (King's Demons & Planet of Fire) and a plot to infiltrate governments using doubles (Resurrection of the Daleks) plus an abandoned idea to substitute the first Doctor with a robot double (Five Doctors). I think maybe this plot point has been overdone a bit!

I've heard the word Toxaemia used twice: the first was in Genesis of the Daleks (Dystronic Toxaemia, caused by handling the Thal explosives) and the second is here. Genesis was script edited by Robert Holmes who wrote this story......

Morgus is a bit of a nasty chap isn't he? The mine disaster referred to in this episode will only make complete sense if you were watching the previous episode closely. Morgus sent an executive there and then was seen sending someone else to arrange something. Don't be any doubt, Morgus arranged the explosion.

I get that the scene with the gunrunners Stotz & Krelper arguing sets up tension between Stotz & his men but it's a bit vicious and nasty with Stotz trying to force an apparent suicide pill down Krepler's throat. A thriller series or Bond film maybe.... but Doctor Who?

There's no avoiding this: The costume for the Magma Beast is hugely disappointing. It looks very similar to an Argond from The Adventure Game series 3 of which was running concurrently with this season of Doctor Who . In fact the sixth & final episode had just aired the previous night to this episode being shown!

This story is the return of veteran writer Robert Holmes to Doctor Who. His last story was 1979's Power of Kroll since which he'd been working on other TV series including Blake's 7 and his adaptation of Child of Vodyanoi by David Wiltshire, The Nightmare Man. The director on that was our old friend Douglas Camfield with Camfield's trusted lieutenant Graeme Harper serving as Production Manager. Here Harper makes his solo Doctor Who directing debut, after contributing uncredited to Warrior's Gate. There's some nice little touches here including odd filming angles and fades between scenes that you don't normally see in the series.

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