The scenes with Tony Beckley as the brilliantly disdainful Harrison Chase, icier than the Antarctic, are really the only thing that makes this tautly effective little horror story feel like part of a bigger narrative. The Doctor and Sarah Jane could almost as easily have blown the base up, saved the world and flown off for more adventures in space and time, and this would still have been a more satisfying and complete story than The Sontaran Experiment.
Instead, this is structured like the inverse of The Time Monster: instead of a rambling narrative coming together in a more focused finale, the dangling implication is that this threat will become global once Scorby and Keeler acquire the second Krynoid pod for Chase. So this becomes a taster for the main dish. The Winlett/Krynoid looks ghastly, a lumpen shape lumbering through the snow or lunging at the Doctor and Sarah in the power room, but its threat is more theoretical than real: the true danger in this episode is Scorby’s casual violence.
The Doctor seems amused at the pettiness of this enemy when the fate of the planet is at stake, literally laughing at Scorby’s tough man act. But in general he’s in a foul temper, telling Stevenson ‘Winlett as a man no longer exists’ in the same brutal way he told Laurence Scarman to forget about his brother Marcus. He even snaps at Sarah Jane. He’s channelling the most cantankerous elements of his first incarnation – which might be why he misquotes Hartnell’s last line (also spoken at the South Pole), ‘Stay warm.’
Next episode: The Seeds of Doom – Part Three