Doctor Who episode 89: Death of a Spy (30/10/1965)

The histrionics within Priam’s family continue as Cressida and Paris go at each other, complete with some witty and biting puns – Paris accuses Cassandra of ‘galloping religious mania’ (because they worship horses), and Priam refers to Paris’s ‘flaccid façade’. In general, there are a lot of fairly risqué jokes here, including the Doctor worrying about the Trojan Horse’s fetlocks, making Odysseus ‘as worried as a Bacchanate at her first orgy’.

The last episode set up the idea that the story was going to pit the Doctor’s wits against Vicki’s, and this begins with Priam giving her the same ultimatum that Odysseus gave to the Doctor: come up with a way to end the war. Steven even makes things really explicit: ‘Come on, start thinking: it’s you against the Doctor now.’

We might therefore expect this to be a race against time – one day for Vicki and the Doctor to each come up with a cunning plan. But it doesn’t quite unfold like that. The Doctor does all the thinking – after he cools on the idea of giant paper aeroplanes (mainly because Odysseus insists he’ll be flying one) he falls back on Plan B: the Trojan Horse. Meanwhile, Vicki is locked up with Steven, and flirts with Troilus – so by the end of their encounter Steven is ironically referring to him as her boyfriend. It’s nice, I suppose, that we see them as a couple so there’s some explanation for her abrupt departure, but it’s a bit of a waste of the premise.

By the end of the episode, the countdown is over, King Priam thinks Vicki has used her futuristic powers to expel the Greeks from Asia Minor, while the Doctor and Odysseus are cramped inside the Trojan Horse. The episode’s final line is one of the classics:

Cassandra: Woe to the House of Priam! Woe to the Trojans!

Paris: I’m afraid you’re a bit late to say ‘whoa’ to the horse.


Next episode: Horse of Destruction


Death of a Spy no longer exists. Not in any of its regenerations. This review is courtesy of the excellent Loose Canon reconstruction.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Doctor Who episode 88: Small Prophet, Quick Return (23/10/1965) | Lie Down To Reason

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s