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     Home »  The Tom Baker Era »  DEADLY ASSASSIN 4, FACE OF EVIL 1
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     Sunday, March 29 2009 @ 11:21 AM EDT
    Yes, the matrix part has ended but for me, this episode is just as good as the other three. The Master’s plans are put in play or rather his backup plans. It is gothic and atmospheric and all the actors make me believe it, even if the Master might look silly in space with the sash around his neck…as the Doctor says---the Master is insane. It’s odd the Doctor does not know any of this history of Rassilon and odder still that once he hears the history, he deduces more about it than Engin but whatever, that makes Gallifrey a more fallible place…and the cover up(S) by Borusa make it political. It is easy to see how Borusa ends up the way he does in his later, finale story, he was never entirely good and honest. DW was always somewhat political but now it gets high handed about it and …it makes it more interesting in this and the next few episodes including FACE OF EVIL and ROBOTS OF DEATH. Right now, for me, these stories can do almost no wrong. Again, all of this are just my opinions and anyone who sees differently are welcome to their opinions, I’m a bit aggressive I’m told in my reviews and well, I can’t help that much. Yes, it would have been nice to see some of what was happening to Gallifrey…untold damage, great loss of life, etc but we’re told it and if we’re paying attention and have some imagination, we can fill on the blanks ourselves. The ending is excellent as is the Doctor’s goodbye to Engin and Spandrell. A great episode and a great ending to a great story. Oh and I just love this version of the Master to pieces.

    This sets everything up so nicely that this episode is just about perfect. People rave about the jungle in PLANET OF EVIL, and that one is good but for me, this one is so much better. The sounds, the sights, the trees, the brush, sand and rocks all are quite suitable, beyond suitable really. Very functional. Okay, so the monsters being invisible is part of the cheapness of this show (on a 60’s Irwin Allen show you might get a very impressive giant one eyed Cyclops or a fur covered animalistic biped but this is DW…in the 70s in the UK). All the characters are nicely drawn out as are the political ambitions, manipulations, etc but all is not given away…why are they calling the Doctor the Evil One, why are there spaceship relics about, who visited this place? What or who are the Tesh? The scientific mysteries are just wonderful and the set up made me want to find out more. This is how DW should almost always be: scientific mysteries, action, monsters, and all adding up to something that makes sense. Leela is…yes, a derivative character savage…ala Sheena, a female Tarzan but Louise Jamieson makes her come to life the moment she’s on screen and she’s believable throughout her short nine stories. The Doctor’s interaction with Leela is superb, despite Tom Baker’s misgivings about a savage killer for a companion. He tones her down, the actor and the character, I’m sure. Okay so the set up is not unlike PLANET OF THE APES which itself has a killer ending to it but here, it’s sort of more enjoyable…as we know it might not end up as depressing as that movie series did. In any event, the cliffhanger is surprising and interesting. Is there anyone who saw it that didn’t want to find out what that face was doing there? And Tom Baker starts his jokey stance as well as his commanding tone (“No more Janus Thorns, ever, understand?”) and I just love him even more for all of his stuff, serious and funny. I find the show taking on a new tone, that of being more out there, more with it, more political, more mysterious, and away from Earth and it all works better than the Earth stories somehow…which the NEW series should learn how to do because…well, I’ll save that for another time…but for right now, these stories well into Davison’s first season can really do no wrong (of course I won’t mention the small handful of stories that I can’t stand such as MEGLOS, LEISURE HIVE, and INVISIBLE ENEMY but every series has its downfalls even at the best of times).

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