This week is a tale of possession as the Doctor (Davison) and company arrive on the planet Deva Loka, and are menaced by the villainous being known as The Mara.
This four part story was written by Christopher Bailey and ran from 1st to 9th of February, 1982. Apparently, it was the least enjoyed story of the season, but time and the fans have been kind to it and it has grown in stature… let’s see what I think of it.
While Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) remains on the TARDIS recovering from her collapse, the Doctor, Teagan (Janet Fielding) and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) decide to do some exploring.
Unfortunately, when Teagan decides to have a bit of a rest, under some chimes,, she is taken over by a force known as a Mara. It is an entity that can only cross over into our reality through a dream state.
The planet, mostly quiet, peaceful and beautiful, has an outpost ruled in the way of British Colonialism, who have a low opinion of the local tribes, referred to as the Kinda, who have taken some members of the outpost hostage.
The Doctor and Adric are captured by Sanders (Richard Todd) the outpost commander, which uses suits that seem very familiar – looking at you Avatar – , and his crew who think they may be hostiles, and have something to do with the Kinda and their hostages. The Doctor, of course, being his persuasive self begins to sort things out, and realize that the Kinda are more than they appear to be, and seem to have an understanding of things beyond their ‘primitive’ state, in fact may be telepathic, and one of the men, Hindle (Simon Rouse) may have fallen under their control, or vice versa as he slowly sinks into insanity.
Meanwhile, we get a look inside Teagan’s mind as the Mara begins to take hold. It’s a little unnerving and spooky, as she encounters an entity that calls itself Dukkha (Jeff Stewart) forcing her to confront versions of herself, as falls under the Mara’s control.
The Doctor is becoming a little more playful, nowhere near as what we will see in the future, but there is definitely a sense of joy
He also begins to, as always, puzzle out what is really going on, and must finally confront the Mara in Teagan’s body, and save his companion before it’s too late, and contain Hindle before he causes irreparable damage to the planet and its people
I actually rather enjoyed this episode, the Doctor gets some fun dialogue, and there are some good moments throughout. Having said that, I already feel the TARDIS is a little too crowded and I’m not really a fan of any of the Doctor’s current companions, though I like him…
Next time, it’s The Visitation!