Doctor Who episode 213: The Dominators – Episode 4 (31/8/1968)
This week Rago gives Toba a poor performance review, and a final verbal warning. It’s a tough job being a people manager. But rather than learning lessons from this feedback, Toba doubles down, accusing his boss of being too soft and, later, ignoring his direct instructions to start killing off the captive Dulcians (Balan makes a proper meal of dying, staggering round like someone in an am-dram Shakespeare).
Meanwhile, Jamie is once again stuck underground trying to open a hatch. Paired up with Cully, his Braveheart attitude strikes the right note, inspiring Cully to break free, and join him on a Quark hunt. If the theme of the story is spurring the indolent to action, Jamie’s it’s best proponent so far.
Elsewhere, Troughton and Padbury get their first great scene together as the Doctor trues to investigate what the Dominators are drilling for, and how they power their spaceship. His indulgence of Zoe’s cleverness, and her rapid realisation of what he’s doing, is lovely: Troughton plays it as the Doctor being utterly delighted to have such a sharp companion – for the first time he has an assistant he can engage with on an intellectual level, and it introduces a whole new dynamic.
This scene, plus Rago’s confrontation with the Council of Dulkis, are the high points of the episode. Hilariously, poor Brian Cant is gunned down by a Quark for insisting that Rago makes an appointment to speak to Director Senex, and not to be so rude. Striding into the heart of Dulcian government as a ruthless conqueror, informing the planets leaders that they are now his slaves, and giving a fatal demonstration of his power actually make Rago look like a warrior rather than the worrier he’s been to date. It’s hardly a classic moment to put alongside the Daleks taking over Vulcan, but it at least raises the stakes in time for the final episode.
Next episode: The Dominators – Episode 5