Under instructions from Martha’s mother Francine they turn on the television to see Martha’s sister Trish. Trish is part of a news report about her boss, Professor Lazarus, who is claiming that later that night he will ‘change what it means to be human’. Intrigued by his statement the Doctor and Martha decide to investigate.
That night the two of them attend a function held at Lazarus labs and meet up with Trish, Francine and Martha’s brother Leo. Francine is initially distrustful of the Doctor and his interest in her daughter but the two of them are interrupted when Lazarus begins his demonstration. Stepping into a capsule in the centre of the room Lazarus claims he will perform a miracle. The machine activates and is flooded with energy. When it comes to a stop Lazarus emerges, now a young man.
Concerned with the effects the machine may have upon the subjects DNA the Doctor and Martha get a sample of Lazarus’ DNA to test, which they discover is fluctuating and highly unstable. Meanwhile Lazarus mutates into a giant scorpion like creature and must drain the life force from victims in order to regain his human form, using it to stabilise his own DNA. The Doctor and Martha must find a way of stopping the monstrous Lazarus before he kills again, with Martha’s family potential victims.
‘The Lazarus Experiment’ is by no means a complicated episode. Boiled down to its simplest description it’s simply a creature movie where the mad scientist has made himself a monster and must be stopped. There is nothing wrong with this style of episode, there’s no great thinking going on, you don’t have to pay a lot of attention, just simply be taken along for the ride and enjoy the action for what it is.
The Lazarus monster is a cool creation, though the CGI effects felt dated when the episode first aired. It’s a real shame to see what could have been a very memorable creature be reduced to ‘wasn’t it crap looking’ status.
Lazarus himself if performed brilliantly by long time Who contributor Mark Gatiss, who manages to play the elderly Lazarus convincingly enough and brings a lot of depth and age to the younger version of the character. The addition of Martha’s family is also done well, with the mysterious Mr Saxon sending people to manipulate them against the Doctor, adding to the series’ through plot.