Doctor Who (Tom Baker) – The Face of Evil


Part of the Doctor’s (Baker) past comes back to haunt him this week. Though it would have had a bit more of a punch if this were a sequel to a previously televised story.

This four-part tale was written by Chris Boucher and had originally ran from 1 January to 22 January, 1977. The Doctor and the TARDIS arrive on an unspecified planet, far into the future, where it seems there are two tribes currently at war with one another.

There are the psychically enhanced Tesh, who are technically proficient, and there are the Sevateem, who live as little more than a savage race equipping themselves in the rubble and accoutrements of the survey team (sevateem) they arose from, without understanding any of it.

Amongst the Sevateem is Leela (Louise Jameson) a tough and resourceful warrior who has made herself a bit of an outcast amongst her people. She’s also in for a bit of a shock when she comes across the Doctor, as he seems to be the living personification of an evil god that there is a huge monument to, and portions of the Sevateem try to please.

At this point, it seems the Doctor has been travelling by himself too long already, as he’s started talking to himself…

It seems the god Xoanon is being held prisoner by the Tesh, and the evil god that so resembles the Doctor, and with Leela at his side, he is determined to figure out what is going on…


As the Doctor climbs through the Mt. Rushmore version of his head, with the brilliant and brave Leela at his side, he starts to figure out what really happened here, and realizes that he is in fact partly to blame…

He arrived long ago and tried to help out the struggling colony that was trying to flourish there, and as such, left a memory print on the colony’s A.I. driven computer, Xoanon,which he forgot to wipe before he left.

The program became corrupted, with his memory imprint attempting to control all of it, so the Doctor must confront his own darker self. The computer has other ideas, and sets the auto-destruct while controlling members of the Tesh, Sevateem and even Leela. The Time Lord, of course, quickly handles these issues, and readily restores Xoanon to its proper condition.

Not a bad story at all, and I love that Leela can handle herself, and that maybe she’ll end up rescuing the Doctor as much as he rescues her. There are a number of moments of humor including when the Doctor threatens a member of the Sevateem with a jelly baby.

I also love that the Doctor chastises Leela for killing two guards, issuing a fairly blunt warning not to do it again… this should be a really fun pairing. And despite the fact that her people want her to lead them by story’s end, she instead slips aboard the TARDIS unawares…

Which could prove interesting as the Doctor hurtles toward The Robots of Death!



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