Doctor Who (Peter Davison) – Snakedance


Teagan (Janet Fielding) falls under the influence of the Mara again in this sequel to Kinda. This four-parter ran from the 18th to the 26th of January, 1983 and was written by Christopher Bailey.

Using Tegan and an alien named Lon (Martin Clunes), the Mara plans to steal ‘The Great Crystal’ which will help focus the energies needed to return the creature to a corporeal existence.

The Doctor (Davison) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) have their work cut out for them if they wish to stop the Mara once and for all!

The Doctor realizes something is amiss when they arrive on the planet Manussa, and the coordinates were supplied by Teagan, who still has a portion of the Mara within her. This is something that the Time Lord discovers when he puts Teagan in to a hypnotic state.

To free Teagan, he must find a specific cave, with a snake mouth’s entrance, the very cave Lon is wandering through and falls under the control of the Mara as well. And they scheme to claim the Great Crystal.

It’s kind of interesting watching Janet Fielding indulge her inner, scene-chewing villain, it’s definitely melodramatic!


The Doctor, meantime, has problems convincing those in charge at Manussa that theMara poses a threat to them, even when it sounds like the legend of its return is coming to exist right before the citizens’ eyes. That doesn’t stop them from locking both the Doctor and Nyssa while Teagan and Lon seek out the crystal, and prepare for the ceremony.

There are some good things in the episode, for instance, Nyssa gets a change of costume, they lament the loss of the sonic screwdriver, and the appearance of a talking skull, there are bad as well, first and foremost, the rather iffy effects of the Mara serpent form on Teagan’s arm.

It’s always fun to see the actors who play the hero get to play the villain as their character, but, I’m sorry to say, not being a fan of Teagan, I wasn’t exactly excited, but, as I said, it was interesting to watch her chew the scenery.

Of course, the Doctor finds a way to stop the resurgence of the Mara, saving the ceremony and the planet, before getting ready to carry on their travels.

This one wasn’t my favorite story of the season so far, of course I didn’t much care for the original Mara story either. I will say that the writing in the past series has gotten tighter, there seems to be more going on, and there tends to be a fast pace to most of the stories. That’s good, it makes it so easy to binge, I just would have wanted a stronger story.

Next time around, we encounter some old friends, a new Companion and Mawdryn Undead.




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