There are dark skies on Krelos and something gigantic is descending. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela have set off for some relaxing fishing in the planet’s peaceful mountain pools . But their fishing is interrupted by an explorer in distress – an explorer who is not quite as he seems. Far below, left interfacing with the TARDIS, K9 has made a troubling discovery. Will he be able to warn the Doctor of the Fate of Krelos?
Despite a gripping start this play is a slow burner. It’s not a bad thing and it’s a deliberate move to respond to the gripping title early but then give the story plenty of space to breath and grow. It’s almost whimsical at first, with elements being carefully built up until you reach a gripping cliff hanger. It’s rare to get a story that’s given the time to do this and writer Nicolas Briggs makes the most of the opportunity. The change from the light tale of the fishing trip gradually morphs into the more serious situation rather than suddenly changing gears. The eventual reveal of the true threat is also beautifully handled, with enough clues that it could be suspected or maybe guessed if you are paying attention but without enough doubt that you are never sure.
One of the real highlights of this episode is the amount of interaction we get between the Doctor and Leela. Having them be able to interact without a direct threat hanging over them leads to a lot of delightful banter: it’s nice to have so much interplay with only the two of them. While it’s in some ways a shame K9 is separate for much of the tale his role is pivotal and he’s never pushed into the background. It’s not a massive cast here but that lets the focus be more on the TARDIS crew. The few other characters are effectively used though: Michael Cochrane’s Geralk is especially entertaining and endearing.
Without saying much about the plot this is a cracking tale with plenty of mystery and mayhem. Season 4 of the Fourth Doctor range has been strong so far, and this tale is a fine addition and well worth catching, it certainly leaves you eager for the concluding part.
Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Michael Cochrane (Geralk), Veronica Roberts (Relly/Krelos Mayor)
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs