8.2 – “The Mind Of Evil”
Stangmoor Prison is hosting experiments with a newly developed machine which can ‘cure’ criminals of their evil impulses. The Doctor and Jo go to observe it in action, whilst the Brigadier and UNIT have their hands full providing security for the first World Peace Conference. Whilst Professor Keller’s Machine starts to exhibit some unexpected side effects, UNIT have some serious work to do to prevent the peace being disturbed at the conference as The Master reappears.
Season 8 continues with this Don Houghton story of mind altering, control and phobia. Roger Delgado’s Master makes a speedy return after his Auton alliance, this time bringing a mind controlling alien with him in the guise of a machine to help rid criminals of their evil impulses. The parasite inside feeds on the negative impulses of the brain. The Doctor is concerned about the machine as he can’t accept that any evil impulses removed from the villains will remain safely in the machine. Things move on with more mind control affecting events at the Peace Conference as agents are being controlled by The Master to attack delegate leaders and jeopardise world peace.
Jo Grant is settling in and her relationship with The Doctor is developing. Still early days and there is a bit of a dismissive attitude from The Doctor towards her, occasionally bordering on rudeness, as he misses the boffin chat with Liz and gets used to another new companion. There is great location filming, Dover Castle being used as Stangmoor Prison looks great and lots of UNIT action takes place there; riots in the prison, assaults when the troops take control back, it’s used to great effect. Plus there is a large cast which helps to carry it all off. Timothy Combe’s direction is brilliant also, although he sadly wasn’t to work on Doctor Who again after the budget was absolutely tanked and it ended up costing way more than it was supposed to.
“The Mind Of Evil” represents so much of what made the Third Doctor’s era what it was and it had the added bonus of getting more money spent on it than the average serial of the time, so it stands up as being a slightly more solid piece of television. They were able to get away with a bit more. While The Doctor’s phobias appear to be the things that scare him as he faces his various enemies during his adventures (fire from the recent story “Inferno”, Cybermen, War Machines or the voices of Daleks), it’s nice to see that, with The Master, it’s a giant image of The Doctor that gives him the fear, showing a bit of what it is that makes him tick.
“The Mind Of Evil” works well and there’s lots to get out of it. UNIT nicely on the boil, Jo Grant settled in, bit more of a delve into what makes The Master tick, it all rolls along nicely, even at 6 parts. There’s some great casting choices (with the likes of Doctor Who regular Michael Sheard on top form) and you can tell that it went way over budget because it looks so damned good. A top notch 8/10.
Written and edited by Gavin Dunbar