Doctor Who episode 590: Mawdryn Undead – Part Three (8/2/1983)
‘Spare me the endurance of endless time.’ I’m torn between finding this all perfectly pleasant adventuring and wishing there was actually more to it than lots of people wandering about in their own little storylines. Turlough’s continual excuses to avoid killing the Doctor, and the Black Guardian’s grumpy exhortations are wearing a bit thin, even if the Guardian’s appearance on the TARDIS scanner is a nice little link back to The Armageddon Factor. Still, Strickson gets to appear in the creepiest scene in the episode: Turlough’s discovery of the room of the undead.
These “mutants” follow the same design thinking as the Daleks, their stiff robes meant to make it look like they’re gliding. It almost works, except some of the actors are better at walking without bobbing about than others, and Peter Moffatt’s choice of shots reveals the gap between their skirts and the floor (you can see their little feet tripping away). It turns out they’ve all half-inched a metamorphic symbiosis regenerator for the Time Lords, and as punishment have been condemned to perpetual life. Their only ambition now is to die by stealing the Doctor’s “Time Lord energy”. It’s a shame the Black Guardian didn’t contact Mawdryn – he might have been a better bet than Turlough.
Meanwhile, two Brigadiers are also pottering around the Flying Dutchman spaceship, comically just missing each other and certain catastrophe. This is mildly entertaining, but just – so far – feels like another way to distract from the lack of much urgency. There’s a lot of fun in the script – the Doctor dashing into the control room just as Tegan and Nyssa are discussing whether Mawdryn really is him; the “past” Brigadier ordering a surly Tegan about; the Doctor fixing the TARDIS tracking device with a spoon. But none of it is yet coherent.
Next episode: Mawdryn Undead – Part Four