"You always seem to land on this planet."
"Aye, and it's always
Another Joint Venture recon, and so another BBC globe at the beginning, which is a nice touch. And the last story with all its episodes missing, I'm pleased to say!
So, the TARDIS lands from the sky. I don't think we've ever seen it do that before! And the other first is, of course, the sonic screwdriver, which, er, unscrews a screw with sonics. It may be a nicely understated introduction, but it still gives me a fannish thrill to hear the words. And, of course, it foreshadows the end of the story.
The obligatory tiresome bit where the TARDISeers fall under suspicion is mercifully not dwelt on, but it's immediately apparent that Robson is the most abrasive base commander yet to come under siege. Oh, and there's John Abineri!
"There's something active in the pipeline. Down there. In the darkness. Waiting..."
The footage with Oak and Quill is simply incredible, and makes me wonder exactly what visual treats we're missing. With nothing more than good direction and good sound effects, two men just opening their mouths is the single scariest thing yet to be seen in Doctor Who.
"Oh, I'm not so sure. I don't really like being scared out of my wits every second."
I love the scene of the TARDISeers all doing chemistry together! It's a shame this doesn't survive- if there's one scene to perfectly illustrate this TARDIS team, this is possibly it.
Meanwhile, the tension is being ratcheted up nicely, and Robson is cracking up believably. It's done with a lightness of touch, but all the guest characters are believable, a testament to Victor Pemberton's writing.
I love the fact that Oak and Quill have their own signature tune! The tune and the pair's appearance together give the oddly sinister impression of an evil Laurel and Hardy.
It's hugely impressive how the build-up to
I wasn't sure what happened with Maggie at the end as my recon didn't make it clear- did she walk into the sea?
"We don't know where we're going to land from one place to the next. That's the fun, isn't it."
The conversations between Jamie and Victoria, and then Victoria and the Doctor, are wonderful, again foreshadowing
"Jamie, we're already in the lion's den..."
It's nice to get an explanation of who Oak and Quill are: the first two people to be taken over. But the explanations we get ion this episode aren't mere exposition- the situation seems all the more hopeless as our heroes have no idea where the Weed's nerve centre is.
I love the scene where Megan Jones confronts Robson- it's a shame she didn't become a therapist as she clearly has talents in that direction "Pull yourself together, man!". I like the character, mind. She's sceptical of the Doctor at first, but not long enough to annoy, and soon proves herself to be a capable, no nonsense leader.
Robson's infected hand looks great, and things are clearly gearing up to a climax as he kidnaps
The Doctor's confrontation with the weed-controlled Robson at the start drills home once again the Doctor's aversion to mind control. And then we get a very long helicopter scene with no dialogue and lots of screaming, which isn't ideal on audio!
It's a wonderfully postmodern moment when we realise that
But the icing on the cake is the way
Overall- well, I know I tend to give 5/5s out easily, but I mean them all. But this story really is exceptional, second only to The Massacre for me.