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TERMINUS


Chase - Posted on 11 July 2009

1

Again, I get the feeling that this might not be as bad as I remember. Still, just as I was forgetting the sore that Adric died...yeah I beat a dead Adric silly...they go and mention him twice. And play his music. AND if that's not bad enough, they have Tegan give away Adric's room! WTDF? There's plenty of other rooms in the TARDIS why does she have to give him that one? The writers or producers just don't care. In order to make things even worse than that, they have Turlough mention his disdain of children but declare all this stuff is going out for a start...out where? How dare they? If they can't mention Adric in an emotional vein then whey do it at all?     

Aside from that, this is not too bad. Nyssa's nice top is missing and soon her skirt will go but that's later. Turlough's still annoying and creepy and not a good companion but I guess that's the point of this. The BG is still using him. The new creepy ship this week is a Lazar dying ground, where people suffering from a leper--or rather Lazar disease are sent to die. That's a scary idea and well done right up to the cliffhanger. Tegan, compared to Turlough, is much more likable now. Nyssa's on her way out and what is she cowering in the hallway in the open for where everyone can see her? WTF?

Davison's not too bad in this and even sympathetic and quirky ("Nyssa, what have I sent you into?" and "Some people have the strangest sense of decor"). He also has some good scenes with Kari and Olvir. He finally has some presense.

Kari and Olvir. What's with their huge helmets? These helmets would not be out of place on a 1960s space man toy. Fashion victims the two of them. Olvir seems to be this week's replacement for Adric. Tegan and Turlough get underground in the drains and might just stay there for the entire story. The ship, again, looks pretty big just as the ship in MAWDRYN did. Nothing here is terrible...yet.

When first shown in the US, this story was watched by a then-colleague who had never seen DW before...she wasn't impressed. I think she came in on the middle, possibly ep3...so maybe that's why...

BTW I wonder if this Stephen Gallagher is the same Stephen Gallagher who created the UK ELEVENTH HOUR. If you watch that show Patrick Steward is the Doctor in many ways with a female bodyguard, his companion. He even says he has to save the world again. The UK version is so much better...         

2

Oh dear, it's all starting to look like a bad 80s video or worse, the cheapie but entertaining slow moving THE STARLOST. If any DW looked really cheap, this is it. I guess it's the costumes and some of the sets as some of the sets look okay. Still, there are not bad cso as in THE STARLOST and the drone bots look menacing and function well. Nyssa pulls her skirt off for no real reason saying she feels as if she's about to explode. On the plus side, the exploits of Tegan and Turlough in the vents under the floor are...well, when I first saw this I thought of it as filler and maybe it is, to keep them busy doing something but to be honest, I find cramped up spaces scary, scarier than any monsters. I once helped wire a church up and crawled through floorboards and in the dark and it was even worse than this.

The sterilzation process and the disease are also scary, made less so here, maybe not to scare kids? I don't know but it all seems to slow down a bit. And the Vanir: Goth Fashion Victims if there can be such a thing. The Center of the Universe? Indeed. And as for the Garm: maybe it if was presented in the dark it could have been atmospheric and if its arrival were scripted and filmed in such a way as to be dramatic...it could have been a real event. Yet here, one of the Vanir just calls it into service and it just lumbers into the light...no real drama, no real tension, no real atmosphere. And it looks daft.

Still, here we don't have monsters and warriors in a cliche mode: the lazars are not evil, just victims, the Vanir are not warriors of the real class but just carriers and toters as one of them says something similar, Olvir is afraid of stuff and even leaves Nyssa to be taken off, Nyssa shows some gumption for once and tries to get away by hitting a Vanir! And the Garm isn't a menacing slobbering ALIEN like monster. As in most of the stories this season, the menace isn't usual. Omega just wanted to get back to his world (for revenge, true), Mawdyrn and his peeps just wanted to die, and who knows what the Mara wanted but it killed no one in SNAKEDANCE. Body horror is in this season too: lazars and disease and Nyssa getting sick; Omega's cornflaking falling apart skin, the snake on the arm, Mawdryn's mutation and brain showing and scars on his face bleeding...yeech, pretty gross and scary.

All in all 2 is not terrible, it just looks like it is and could have been a bit more effective in some scenes...    

3-4

Okay after that horrible TORCHWOOD crap, this is a walk in park, diseases and old men with black skin and red eyes or vica versa... 

Finally this Doctor wins one fight and startlingly. Tegan seems, or rather Janet seems to have a cold in some scenes. The BG and Turlough's little spouting is a bore at this point. Kill the bloody Doctor yourself you big dope or leave Turlough alone or kill him or take him over or whatever but get on with it. This subplot would have been best left out entirely. I must admit I don't quite get a lot of what's going on in both these episodes. How does moving around a control in Terminus get the TARDIS door to reappear? How does Turlough know exactly what switch to try? Or doesn't he?

The scenes with the Garm are pretty much all poor. Sutton does a terrible job in her last two episodes, except her leaving scene. That's pretty good., not as emotional as Sarah Jane or Tegan's leavings but not even as good as Leela's but good nevertheless. IMO. Sutton's screaming is awful and her acting as she's chained up terrible. Olvir tries to help and does, making a near mess of things but coming out okay in the end. He even gets Nyssa to trip him and sit on top of him with her bare arms and legs...Nyssa also begs the Vanir to take other Lazars before her because they are sicker. By contrast, Davison is very very good and his Doctor here commanding for once.

The fight sequences are, for this era, or any for that matter, fairly well done. It's what happens around those fight scenes that sucks. For instance, Olvir is done with his fight and turns to find Nyssa gone but the Garm is just a few feet away, carrying her. He screams as if Garm has gone and he can't find him! Nyssa's entire capture, chaining up, and "cure" are all poorly handled. It is as if the direction for these last two eps suddenly changed and got lax...

Search ABOUT TIME for things that don't make sense about this story, ther'e  is a bunch of em. I can add one to that unless I missed something: Unless I'm way wrong, there was no way the Doctor and Kari could know that the box controlled the Garm. They also seem to find out remarkably easy how to destroy all the dangerous wires and stuff on Terminus to prevent a further accident. Maybe something more should have been done and earlier than this by the Doctor? Who knows. The Garm speaks! I forgot about that entirely and as soon as I heard it, I can rememember why I forgot it. It sounds awful. Really this thing sounds and looks like something from  a SID AND MARTY KROFT comedy and not one of the good ones. If there are any. Olvir and Kari seem trapped on the station; Olvir asked her if she had some thotught as to how they were going to get out of here and she says she's got some idea and at first I thought they were going to make for the Tardis but this is never resolved.

Janet Fielding in a thankless role here does well. She's come a long way from the idiot in FOUR TO  DOOMSDAY and in a similar scene here to the one in that she does remarkeablly well in TERMINUS. When she and the Doctor remeet and Nyssa tells him to be nice to her or tell her he's glad to see her, it's pretty funny. Just before that Nyssa says, "I't'll be nice to see Tegan."  The Doctor doesn't seem too sure, "Yes, well, it will be nice to know she's safe..."  Funny. Kari seemed to be his companion for most of these two episodes and indeed the whole story. She's not much of an improvement on Nyssa and not on Tegan. Turlough has some moments here, most of them annoying, repeating, and boring. A few seconds worth of charaterization does elicit some sympathy.

In any event, an uneven story with some really bad scenes in eps 3-4, poorly executed and acted in many spots and explanations not really given. I mean who built Terminus? Where are the Vanir from? The lazars? Radiation cures the disease? And many more questions but again, see ABOUT TIME 5.

And that ending: not sure how I feel about a zoom in on the Black Guardian's mouth saying...for the hundredth time, "Kill the Doctor now!"               

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