Doctor Who episode 241: “The Space Pirates” – Episode Four (29/3/1969)
After last week this is a bit of a let down. There are some funny moments, like the Doctor landing on drawing pins, but a lot of it is fairly transactional plotting designed to move the story along, and some of the amusing dialogue and character work suffers as a consequence.
General Hermack is still flying about in space, one step behind the pirates but getting closer. The funniest bit of the episode is the ‘camouflage cone’ that the Beta Dart puts on to fool the pursuing Minnows: it is, literally, a false nose for the spaceship that allows the pirates to sneak past the Space Corps undetected.
Meanwhile, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe have met up with one of the captured Space Corps personnel, Sorba, who mocks their attempts to escape while the Doctor deduces their cell must have a secret door, and gets on with the business of finding it. In fact, it’s Clancey who rescues them all, and, in a change of plan, decides to seek help from Madeleine Issigri – after some running around in caves: soon to be the go-to solution for the mid-serial doldrums. Even Troughton can’t lift this: ‘I’m not a magician Zoe,’ he says disconsolately.
After some info-dumping about how Clancey feels that Madeleine holds him responsible for her father’s death (also note – her father is technically missing, rather than dead), he decides to ask for her help rather than taking his chances with the murderous Caven. And so, at the end of the episode, Madeleine, Clancey, Caven and the Doctor are together in IMC headquarters, with Madeleine revealed as the real traitor.
Next episode: “The Space Pirates” – Episode Five