Doctor Who (Tom Baker) – The Seeds of Doom

 

And just like that we come to the end of Season 13 of Doctor Who, and we close it out with a 6 part story by Robert Banks Stewart that plays, initially like a riff on the classic, The Thing From Another World. This serial ran from 31 January to 6 March, 1976.

It seems a research team in the Antarctic has discovered some strange seed pods, that despite having been frozen for thousands of years, when they are brought into the station, show signs of life, and in fact, they will very soon threaten the very existence of not only the camp, but the entire planet. They’re intelligent plants, dangerous, contagious, and known as Krynoids.

In London, as the Doctor (Baker) and Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen) are dispatched to the Antarctic to investigate the strange reports, a devious, millionaire, with a floral and fauna fixation, Harrison Chase (Tony Beckley) is dispatching a team of his own, Scorby (John Challis) and Keller (Mark Jones) to recover the seed pods at all costs! But while these plans are developing, one of the pods has hatched, and is already infecting one of the research team, beginning his transformation…

The Doctor finds himself at odds with Scorby and Keeler, and the villains temporarily seem to get the upper hand, setting a bomb to remove any trace of the base, and escape with the last remaining pod. In a rather troubling moment, the entire Antarctic team is destroyed in an explosion that takes the growing Krynoid with it, and leaves the Time Lord and his Companion marooned in the icy wilderness.

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Happily, they are rescued before the next episode gets too far along, and the story relocates to the slightly warmer clime of England, as Harrison Chase lays claim to the remaining seed pod, and hopes to foster it, grow it, and even let it share its spores, infect the world, and wipe out humanity. And poor Keeler is going to be patient zero…

While the Doctor and Sarah are trying to find a way off the estate, Keeler’s infection grows, slowly causing him to grow to a troubling size, and lose any semblance of his humanity… The threat becoming so extreme that our heroes find themselves teamed up with their former foes, and have to find a way to stop the plant-beast once and for all!!

Happily, UNIT and the RAF provide some help, and wipe out the colossal plant creature and our heroes emerge from the wreckage of the estate fairly unscathed, if a little dubious of those with a green thumb…

And boom, the season is over. I will say this, the stop-motion work on the giant Krynoid in the final episode was pretty outstanding… it looked great!

So, let’s tumble into the TARDIS, aim for Season 14, and find out what mysteries the Masque of the Mandragora hold for us!

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