After the last episode had to pivot the story from a claustrophobic base under siege to a quirky thriller, this feels a little more focused and compelling. Interestingly, having opened the story out last week, it now begins to narrow focus again, with Chase’s mansion promising to become a new base under siege from the Keeler/Krynoid (which develops more rapidly than the first version, to the point where this ends with a Slyther-like blob lurching towards the camera).
The focus on money and property is quite interesting. There’s are references to Chase’s ‘magnificent house’, Scorby’s love of money, Amelia Ducat haggling over an unpaid bill (and threatening to involve the lawyers). Chase treats those he pays as if they’re his personal property: ‘Why am I surrounded by idiots,’ he repeatedly complains (wonderfully, Scorby and the butler Hargreaves share a weary glance as the boss rants). Keeler becomes just more raw meat for the Krynoid, which also fits with the idea of people as so much compost (almost literally, in the Doctor’s case). This is pure body horror.
It also continues to be more brutal than ever. Seeing the Doctor being beaten by Scorby is shocking, as we don’t normally see Tom Baker get manhandled about. Although seeing the Doctor running round with a gun is a mistake: it doesn’t make him look heroic or tough, it just makes him look boring, especially since everyone else, including innocuous civil servants, seems to be packing one. Still, it does give Baker the chance to do his James Bond audition piece:
‘What do you do for an encore Doctor?’
Next episode: The Seeds of Doom – Part Five