Johnny Byrne pens the season 21 opening story that was a four-parter which aired from 5 January to 13 January 1984. Peter Davison’s last season as the Doctor gets underway with the return of a pair of familiar alien race, the Silurians and the Sea Devils.
The TARDIS arrives in orbit around Earth in the future, as Teagan (Janet Fielding) was promised a look ahead. Unfortunately things take a pretty drastic turn, when they materialize on Seabase 4. As usual, the Doctor, Teagan and Turlough (Mark Strickson) set off to wander the base, and promptly get in all manner of trouble with the crew who work there. The base is outfitted with missiles as a defensive position should one of the foreign blocs attack, and missile launch simulations are a regular occurrence.
Tensions are already high before the Doctor arrives, as an unidentified ship has been approaching the base. The Doctor recognizes it is Silurian, and urges the crew to confer with the aliens. A suggestion that is promptly ignored.
As our heroes make trouble for all involved parties, the Silurian/Sea Devil alliance begins its assault on the base, unleashing the monstrous Murker to lead the way.
As they work their way further into the base, the Doctor finds himself pushed more and more into a no-win scenario, and as the cost of the lives being spent around him continues to climb, he may be forced to make a decision that goes against everything he knows.
While not the best use of the Silurians, it was fun to see them and the Sea Devils again, and while they may be planning something terrible about the current possessors of the planet, the ape-primitives as they refer to us, one can at least sympathize with their point of view.
I do like both the Silurians and the Sea Devils, but the man in a suit aspect is really hard to forgive in this episode, which is too bad because I really want to believe in these species as living beings.
The other thing I really liked about this story was the Seabase itself, or rather, its bridge. To me it looked like a revamp of the control room of Moonbase Alpha from Space: 1999. Maybe that was just me.
The decision the Doctor is forced into must have been very rough for the Time Lord, what with his ethics and beliefs, but also shows that he can make decisions that have terrible outcomes if he has to. And we know that he’ll have to again.
And finally could Teagan and Turlough please have some fun, good lords, they are always so somber, and only concerned, for the most part, with themselves. Sigh.
Next time the Doctor confronts The Awakening.