Saturday, 21 January 2012

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Android Invasion Part Four

Stock footage!

That's not nearly as impressive a recap as "Scary face!" or "Robot face!" is it? Also, the NASA rocket is obviously not the same as the XK5 rocket that the Doctor and Sarah went in a few seconds earlier.

The Doctor talks to Sarah while in the background we see a fake-Doctor hiding in a black thing. I will have to watch out for him because I know he's there but the real-Doctor and Sarah don't. This is clever foreshadowing of the peril for later in this episode.

The real-Doctor plans for them to hide in the black things to get to Earth instead of the androids. Sarah worries about all the things that could go wrong:
"So, providing we don't burn up on re-entry, and aren't suffocated on the way down, we'll probably be smashed to a pulp when we land."
"Exactly. Sarah, you've put your finger on the one tiny flaw in our plan." The Doctor is more reassuring than that sounds because of his winning smile that he gives Sarah when he says "Exactly."

On Earth the mannys in the scanner room have seen Crayford's rocket, but they don't know he is a baddy now so they don't know of the peril.

At the Space Defence Station, Benton comes in and talks to Harry. A big fat jolly manny comes in.

He is called Colonel Faraday and he takes them with him to the scanner room. He tells them about Crayford, saying "He's been further into space than any other human being." Harry and Benton give each other a look that says they both know he is this: wrong. This is a subtle moment but it is one of the little things that helps make this such an enjoyable episode.

The black things all land on Earth and the Doctor gets out of one and looks for Sarah. Sarah is also on Earth and she finds the TARDIS. The Doctor meets her there but - oh noes - it is the fake-Doctor! There is another black thing nearby. It opens and there is a fake-Sarah inside.

Real-Sarah runs away.

The XK5 rocket lands. The Doctor comes into the Space Defence Station and shows his pass to the UNIT manny on guard. He goes into the scanner room and stops Harry and Colonel Faraday going into the rocket.

Android-mannys start knocking out real-mannys to replace them, including Benton. The Doctor speaks to Harry and Colonel Faraday and he takes out a robot-detector and it shows there are robots right there! This is a dramatic moment, and is followed by fake-Doctor entering with a gun. Real-Doctor slams the door in his face and then jumps out the window.

The Doctor meets Sarah in the car park while fake-Colonel sends soldiers to look for him. The Doctor sends Sarah to the rocket while he goes back into the Space Defence Station. Fake-Benton stops him but the Doctor fools him into thinking he is the fake-Doctor:
"Don't be a fool Benton - I'm one of you."
"Didn't you hear the Colonel just now? The Doctor's not here, he's at large somewhere in the complex."
"Oh yes of course sir. I'm sorry sir."
"That's alright Benton but keep your wits about you. Nobody knows who's who around here."

LOL. Time for this picture again:

Then fake-Doctor comes in and says "Don't be a fool Benton - I'm one of you." So fake-Benton shoots him. But because it is an android it is not hurt and says "Satisfied?" Poor confused fake-Benton.

In the scanner room the real Doctor's plan to turn off all the androids is foiled at the last moment by fake-Doctor shooting the Doctor's friend so the last button isn't pressed. Crayford comes in and is horrified that a manny has been shot.

Fake-Doctor tells him the truth that the Kraals are baddys who are going to kill all the mannys with a virus but Crayford doesn't believe him. He still thinks Styggron is friendly because he saved him, so real-Doctor tells him the truth that Styggron didn't really make him better at all, just put an eyepatch on him for no reason other than to make him think he had been made better.

Crayford takes off the eyepatch and discovers he had two eyes all along!

This is a powerful and dramatic moment, and is heavily symbolic - the eyepatch representing Crayford's willful blindness to the Kraal's real nature, and by removing the eyepatch he is seeing the truth at last.

Crayford runs away and the real Doctor uses this as a distraction to disarm fake-Doctor of his gun and then they have a fight. Real-Doctor manages to finish his plan to turn off the androids and they all stand still. There is another nice touch when the Doctor picks up his hat and then trows it away because it was fake-Doctor's hat. Then he picks up his real hat and puts it on.

The androids have been turned off but the story is not over yet. Sarah tries to rescue real-Harry and real-Colonel from the rocket where they are prisoners, but Styggron comes in armed with a gun and his virus.

Crayford comes in and, because he is no longer a baddy, he fights with Styggron - he makes Styggron drop the virus on the floor but then he gets shot. The Doctor comes in and he fights Styggron too. Styggron lands on the virus and it makes his face go horrible, but he shoots the Doctor before he dies.

For a moment Sarah thinks the Doctor is dead, but then the real Doctor comes in and it is revealed that it was the fake Doctor that got shot. Styggron's friend's prediction in part two that the Doctor could reprogramme the androids has come true in the end.

Styggron and his android invasion have been defeated, so that is the end of the story. All that is left is for the Doctor and Sarah to go back to the TARDIS and it disappears. With them in it this time.

The Android Invasion is a great story and is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories of all the ones I have seen. Like The Keys of Marinus it shows that Terry Nation was good at writing stories without Daleks in them as well as stories that do have Daleks in them.
There are lots of exciting moments and scary bits, as well as clever plot twists and turns and witty dialogue. What is there not to like in this story (aside from the dodgy stock-footage cliffhanger to part three)? It is classic!

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