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     Home »  The Tom Baker Era »  ROBOTS OF DEATH 3-4; TALONS OF WENG CHIANG 1-..
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     Saturday, April 04 2009 @ 01:06 PM EDT
    First of all, one notices that this holds together more than one thought and really only falls apart when one considers you can tell who the killer was a awhile back, if you were paying close attention AND the ending is over so fast…I really would like to have found Toos and Uvanov on their feet, rather than the “You’ll be okay, Toos,” that seemed dubbed in by Tom Baker. I wonder if originally they had made it so that everyone died except of Leela and the Doctor. That seemed to be the trend and would happen in HORROR OF FANG ROCK. Here, the quick speed out is annoying. Also: did Poul die? He didn’t seem to be dead. AND ignore the large plot hole in the fact that the robots could recognize people visually and not just by their voices…and quite a few other plot holes by ep4, such as…the radio devices could once be used as location locators but the robots couldn’t tell where Toos was…or perhaps earlier on, it was Zilda’s room that Uvanov knew was where she was going. In any event, this is rather good and tense and suspenseful. The Robots are perhaps the very first, arguably, truly creepy murderers. The sand minder really doesn’t seem like a moving vehicle but never mind that, the sets are nice even if they don’t seem to depict a vehicle rather than a large building. This is good and entertaining. Everyone in ep3 except poor Toos (who’s attacked in her room in a creepy scene that makes one think she’s not going to make it to the end) is sneaking around the miner ship or hiding. And soon after being rescued by Leela and D84 (wouldn’t he be a great companion!), so is Toos (hiding that is). On the subject of D84, he would be a great companion with this or any Doctor really. Makes one wonder why they went with a fake looking but real robotic device when they went with Kamelion, possibly the lamest robot/android in existence among Sci FI and fantasy shows and movies. More on how awful an execution of a fair idea Kamelion was…truthfully, Kamelion had no personality but D84 does. One thing I didn’t get was why he kept saying, “I heard a cry…” over and over …and why the Doctor said, “That was me,” when it was Leela. Leela’s caring for Toos was nice and showed that she can comfort others. And have a connection to a female.

    A perfect pair of episodes. And this can’t be more different from ROBOTS OF DEATH as ROBOTS OF DEATH was from FACE OF EVIL. At this point, the series can do no wrong. Jago is a dumb idiot and I found rather unlikeable, why he’s so popular I don’t know. On the other hand, Prof Litefoot is a sincere, kind, and straightforward character. Perhaps I dislike Jago because he is so stupid in the first two episodes and that might be because he’s been hypnotized by Chang. Once again, there are plenty of villains working for the villain and the Mr. Sin is one of the most sinister beings the series has ever invented and well executed…even if it’s pretty clumsy, that makes it more sinister because the doll or the actor…which is which is not difficult to tell but when will it come to life when we see it as a doll or when will it move when we see it’s human/pig eyes? The fights are good this time out and Leela just shines. Her interplay with Litefoot is interesting, indeed with everyone. Yes, this is DW, so the effects don’t quite come off but the setting does. The fog, the docks, the theatre, the house of Litefoot, the streets, the sounds, all of this is just so well done I can ignore how awful the rat looks and truth be told, it’s filmed as not to last that long and when it is there, the actors pull it off (well, not literally!). NEW AVENGERS did this same type of monster and I can’t recall how it looked there. LAND OF THE GIANTS did it and with a bigger budget in the 1960s and it looked better…just. There’s plenty of action in this two episodes and a lot of set up, scares, and …well, it introduces all the players. I like the chase with Weng Chiang in the theatre. And yes, there is a mix of elements here from other sources but for once, it all seems perfectly natural and…perhaps better than the source material? We have among others, SHERLOCK HOLMES, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, FU MANCHU, Universal Horror, JACK THE RIPPER, and others. Doesn’t bother me in the least. At the end of ep 2, Leela gets her very own first “classic” cliffhanger when Mr Sin, knife in hand walks up toward her through a doorway…Great DW and I can’t understand why when I showed this ep to friends, they didn’t scream for more…

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