Doctor Who (Tom Baker) – The Brain of Morbius

 

The Doctor (Baker) find himself in a riff on the classic Frankenstein story in this four part story written by Robin Bland (a pseudonym for Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes). The story ran from 3 January to 24 January, 1976.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) still haven’t arrived in London, in fact the Doctor is intent on blaming the Time Lords for pulling them off course, especially when they arrive on Karn, a planet not so far, galacticaly speaking, from Gallifrey.

It was a dark and stormy night on Karn, as the Doctor and Sarah, stare out over a graveyard, of spaceships, before mounting a passage that takes them to a spooky fortress like castle, and the brilliant, but mad, scientist, Mehendri Solon (Philip Madoc) and his Igor-like assistant, Condo (Colin Fay), within.

It seems Solon is working on creating the perfect being, melding parts from a variety of species, all he needs is the perfect head to house the brain of an evil Time Lord, long believed to be dead, Morbius. Solon believes the Doctor’s head will be just right, and plans to remove it at the earliest opportunity.

Not so far off from Solon’s home is a sisterhood of priestesses, who watch over a waning flame, which provides them with an elixir of life, that permits them a life of such length it approaches immortality. In the past, they have been known to share the elixir with the Time Lords, but as the flame wanes, they fear the Time Lords, in the form of the Doctor have come to steal the last of their elixir.

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The Doctor happily knows how to reignite the flame, create more of the elixir, and hopefully put a stop to Solon’s dastardly plan. That being said, the Doctor is a lot more fun in this story than he has been of late, and it makes for an easily enjoyed story.

When Solon seems to be taking too long to separate the Doctor’s head from his body, Morbius insists on a brain case, and to be attached to the body now. This results in a monstrous creation that threatens everyone on Karn, and it will be up to the Doctor, Sarah and the sisterhood to find a way of stopping them.

All the moments you would expect to be touched upon in a Frankenstein film are here, the angry villagers (in the form of the sisterhood), the monster, the mad scientist, Igor… they’re all here!

There’s also a nice moment when the two Time Lords square off in a form of mind game, and you get to see both of their previous regenerations.

Then after the monster is defeated, and the elixir is flowing once again, it is time for the Doctor and Sarah to slip into the TARDIS once again, and continue their travels!

And next time, they’ll encounter The Seeds of Doom!

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