Tom gets some good lines (‘This is no time to start talking about noses’; ‘He’s got narrow little eyes. You can’t hypnotise people with narrow little eyes.’) and I particularly enjoyed the Doctor’s focus on the details of Swampy architecture while Romana and Rohm-Dutt fret about their impending deaths. And it’s a much better exposition scene than the endless refinery sequences in Part Two. Sadly, though, we’re not past those: here there are lads of discussions about the logistics of blowing Kroll up. ‘How many pages, Graham?’
Again, the location filming is a lot more engaging and impressive than most of the studio work. The escape through the swamp is quite tense (like something out of an old Southern Gothic film) as the Doctor and Romana dodge Swampies and Kroll’s tentacles. ‘Horrible,’ says Romana thoughtfully as Rohm-Dutt gets dragged into the reeds doing his best Robert Shaw in Jaws impression. And John Abineri’s really going for it. All this is very entertaining.
But the refinery scenes drag this down more effectively than Kroll does her victims. Dull characters having dull conversations on dull sets. [EDIT: I’m indebted to Jonathan Morris for pointing out many of these scenes were added or padded by script editor Anthony Read, which explains the dip in quality. Although if experienced Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes under-wrote the episodes I’m left wondering how interested he was in this.]
Next episode: The Power of Kroll – Part Four