The next journey of the TARDIS is this four-part story written by Robert Holmes that ran from 28 December, 1968 to 18 January, 1969.
The Doctor, Zoe (Wendy Padbury) and Jamie (Frazer Hines), find themselves on a planet inhabited by the Gond, who seem to be in some sort of slavery to machines known as the Krotons.
Shortly after their arrival, they witness the complete vaporization of one of the Gond, and it seems the Krotons are selecting the most clever of the Gond, and using their mental energy for their own benefit, leaving them empty shells, which they dispose of. Read as vaporization.
When Zoe takes the test, she is selected by the Krotons, as her intelligence far outweighs that of any Gond, the Doctor, to insure that she doesn’t face the menace alone, takes the test as well, and the two of them learn what is really going on.
Jamie is not so lucky, when he is captured by the Krotons, he is this close to being executed, but they realize he may be useful in finding the Doctor and Zoe, who escape the Krotons, but are desperately wanted back, because their mental energy would serve them well.
This one is a fairly basic story, and probably could have been compressed to even two episodes, but it’s four, and while we spend some extra time this way with the Gond, it doesn’t do a lot to really flesh out the story.
Still, the extra time is fun to spend with Troughton’s Doctor, especially since I know that his time is coming to an end… only a couple more stories, and he’s done…
He’s still delightful and a joy, and his Doctor is so wonderfully different from Hartnell’s and you can see how his interpretation has undeniable influenced those who came after, especially in terms of the series return.
Even with Troughton, this one is a bit of a letdown, especially on the heels of the epic, The Invasion story from the previous week. And while from a production point of view, I can totally understand the need to make a smaller budget effort after the expenses no doubt incurred by the previous story, it just doesn’t play as strongly, and could have used a little more oomph.
Still there are a couple more big stories coming before we say goodbye to Troughton’s Doctor, including next week’s six part story, Seeds of Death, which sees the return of the Ice Warriors!!