|Sleeping Tegan....the best Tegan of all.|
“Well, I suppose I must be."
1) If this story seems atypical of this first season supervised by new script editor Eric Saward, you’re right; it was originally commissioned by Christopher H. Bidmead during his short tenure as Script Editor. Bidmead encouraged writers to do deep, complex stories and Saward....didn’t. This results in a muddled serial that seems at odds with the themes it wants to explore.
2) Go away, stupid paper mache’ snake. Just...go away.
3) I get that John Nathan Turner intended for the Davison Doctor to be somewhat vulnerable...but ye gods, Davison frequently looks ridiculous. When the first glimpse of him in this serial depicts him clutching two cables in his teeth as if he just found a fish in the river, it makes it hard to take this Doctor seriously.
|"Rahhhr! I's a scaaary Paper Mache Snake!"|
4) You know, when you’re so burdened with companions that you let two of them literally sleep the bulk of the story away, assigning the Doctor another companion specific to the story seems silly....
5) ...although this is in no way a critique of either Nerys Hughes or her character. Hughes’ character works very well with Davison’s Doctor (Hell, I’d take her over Tegan any day), and provides a vital, subtle contrast to the rather vigorous acting of the other supporting players.
6) You can see one of the reasons why Adric ended up the sacrificial lamb this season. This marks the second time in a row where the little snot somehow throws himself in with the enemy, and as such Adric comes off as an unreliable companion at best (something Nathan Turner will try even more ovetly when he introduces Turlough later). Hell, we’ve got a moment where Adric turns, and The Doctor literally sighs and rolls his eyes!
7) Is it just me, or is that subplot about the missing three crew members forgotten about halfway through?
8) One of the things I like about Richard Todd’s performance as Saunders is how the man we meet at the start is a bit of a perjudiced jerk...but the person he becomes after exposure to the Kinda is very much there. Saunders is consistently the same person throughout this serial; it’s just he sees things from different perspectives in different points in the serial.
|This is what real evil looks like...|
9) I will never understand why we need Stupid Paper Mache Snake when there’s a much more effective manifestation of The Mara in Jeffrey Stewart’s Dukkha. Dressed as some sort of courtly gentleman from a Shakespeare play, charismatic but malevolent, Stewart drives the scenes where the Mara communicates with Tegan resulting in her possession.
10) Christopher Bailey’s script features a lot of fascinating concepts in regards to the titular Kinda (At least until Saward muddies Bailey's Bhuddist leanings with a slew of Christian stuff)--their belief that speech is a sign of wisdom, their telepathy, their cultural mores, their use of humor as a negotiation tool--but it’s very difficult to take them seriously when they’re all played by British actors with a slight spray on tan and some hawkish features.
Overall...potentially an intriguing multilayered story that’s hindered by some script meddling and a thoroughly stupid set of special effects (not to mention that paper mache snake. Go away, paper mache snake).