FOUR TO DOOMSDAY
FOUR TO DOOMSDAY
Not as bad as the reputation would have you believe. The spaceship model is not bad at all. The interior sets more impressive than anything in the series before and truthfully probably in the classic series, after. The aliens Monarch, Enlightenment, and Persuasion supicious enough and menacing even through subtley, the make up and costumes superb. The music is well done, at least in this episode. The plots not bad either.
What's killingly poor though is the characterization of the regulars. Filmed first for Davison, the Doctor is somewhat bland and as plagues almost all the Doctors after Tom Baker, quippy. He says to the monopticon, "Having a ball?" Not quite as bad as Sly McCoy in TIME AND THE RANI but...still. really.
I guess they're also trying to make the regulars have some friction between them to spice the show up but really it just gives the show less continuity and makes us dislike them more and more. Nyssa here shines as...as usual she's given less to say and do for now...if she were given stuff to do she'd be somewhat interesting but the writer here sort of gives her the least to do in this episode and say. WHich is good since what he gives Adric and Tegan to say and do is annoying and silly compared to both of them before. Tegan was annoying in most of LOGOPOLIS but in CASTROVALVA she improved by a fraction or so. Adric...well this writer can't write for him, can he?
Maybe? I guess what they were going for was interplay and jealousy. It brings out the worst in lover...I mean in companions. First it also makes the Doctor look like a big jerk and an idiot or just a pompous ass. He offers the TARDIS key to Tegan, when she balks (idiot that SHE is too), he only then offers it to Adric, then she takes it and he gives nothing to Adric (or Nyssa for that matter---shouldn't he be giving each of them the key or a key?) Then, he sort of forces Adric to stay with Nyssa (and the idiot Adric doesn't...he leaves Nyssa alone to be taken away and then worries afterward). When Adric tells him NO, he doesn't want to stay with Nyssa, the Doctor is pedantic and says, "Ther'es a good chap." He's a JERK first class. Instead of acknowledging the boy, he ignores his feelings, even though Adric obviously is hurt by this. And the Doctor takes Tegan instead. Would you? Ewk. Because of this, the writer makes Adric sulky but to be fair at least Adric does seem to care about Nyssa, when she is taken away.
What's happened since CASTROVALVA to make everyone so pushy, nasty to each other, and egotistical and grumpy? Who knows fiction wise but again, this was filmed first so maybe they were getting to know each other and their characters and it shows...badly here. Again, to be fair, Adric TRIES to be nice to Tegan and tries to remain positive but SHE acts like a bossy, impatient, and mindless frump to him so she deserves his chauvanistic remarks, which he cannot believe, then again, his culture didn't seem to have Decider Females so maybe they were a chauvanistic society. He certianly didn't treat any female like that at all in the past stories he was in. When he calls Nyssa a girl, she seemed upset by that sort of or embarassed by it in Tegan's presense. Either way, the whole le't's make Adric say stuff about females thing is a strange one and one that doesn't really fit him at all. In fact, lots of that is to come. It could be that he's been ignored or hurt by the Doctor's attention for Nyssa and Tegan.
Another thing I don't like is that now they make Nyssa more intelligent than Adric. Suddenly she knows all this science over him, when HE is the smarter one in almost all the stories before this. The script favors her, the actor playing the Doctor favors her, and soon, the Doctor himself will favor her. It just isn't fair and I was feeling the same way as Adric. AND for some reason Adric acknowledges and it's proven that he is "no good with his hands." He says to Nyssa, "You know I'm no good with my hands!" Why? What has he tried with her? Anyway this doesn't gell with his lockpicking, his building of things, and his coin flipping in the past eps. And for him to admit it? Well it's not like him at all but perhaps he's having a teen fit. Which would be like ANY teen to have. They also seem to be going on (at least some of the time) that Adric knew the Doctor best. "He's always in trouble...or haven't you noticed? It amuses him." Well, that might have described Tom's Doctor to the tee but it doesn't really describe this Doctor. He doesn't seem to want trouble but peace. He also looks somewhat embarassing, the Doctor I mean, when he inadvertently says something like "you should see what some people look like" in front of the funny looking frog faced aliens at the time. Thing is: this writer doesn't know the characters and the actors don't seem to either. Stuff like these lines (Tegan's bossiness and nasty about not being back home, Adric's comments about females) would never have happened during Tom's time as the Doctor because he would have protested that most of this makes Tegan and Adric look dumb and he doesn't travel around with dumb people and the companions he had wanted to be with him. I can't even say making Tegan annoying has given her depth or motivation, it really hasn't. It just makes her worse than she was in CASTROVALVA and it changes Adric almost totally. Regardless of what anyone else says.
And the Doctor...hmmm? He's gone out of his way to ignore the male companion for the female ones. Does this make him hetero or homo? I have another post I might make about this later...maybe. Tegan's constant grumpiness in this and supposed fear are not making her charming or endearing, nor making her the best of companions as later she herself will say . Davison will point out that Tegan often didn't want to be there and that's not making for a good companion. I'm not sure. I mean if you look at the new show, Martha, Rose and even Donna wanted to have fun and be there and wanted adventure. Then again, a true to life character might be more like Tegan, afraid and just wanting to go home. Even Jo Grant wanted this. But Tegan's extreme so Davison might be right on that count. Even though he might just be saying all that because he'd rather have a do nothing, bore like Nyssa over Tegan and/or Adric because the later two characters had more limelight, more lines, and were infinitely more interesting than himself and his Doctor. His Doctor also started to seem more Adric-like than the Tom Baker Doctor and this is another reason they might have gone for getting rid of Adric. Or maybe the Doctor's just gay?
Anyway, there is tension, suspense (even if is of disbelief), and mystery with the arrival of Bigon and the fellow Earth people taken from long ago. What is going on? And Tegan's drawing came to life. How? Why? It's all a good start to be honest. If the regulars had been more than just roughly drawn out and given better lines and a better rapport this would have been so much better. ANd things only get wrose as Tegan gets stupider, Adric goes over to the other side for the second time (the Master in CASTROVALVA first) of his own free will and possibly due to getting the Doc's attention and over his own jealousy thing, and Nyssa gets to be the Doc's favorite again. Bah!