Friday, 8 February 2013

Doctor Who 'Mawdryn Undead' Review

On earth in 1983 the Brigadier, now retired from U.N.I.T., is teaching mathematics at Brendon Public School, where one of his students, Turlough, a stranded alien Trion posing as a human, steals the Brigadiers car and takes it for a joy ride.  Turlough crashes the car and is knocked unconscious, where he is then contacted by the Black Guardian who promises to return Turlough to his home if he agrees to kill the Doctor.  Turlough reluctantly agrees and is given a small crystal which the Black Guardian can use to communicate with Turlough and give him orders.

Meanwhile on the Tardis, the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa find themselves caught in the warp ellipse of a starliner and are forced to materialise onboard the ship.  The three of them explore the ship and discover that the source of the interference trapping the Tardis is coming from a transmat device.  Joined by Turlough, who has arrived on the ship via the transmat as per the Black Guardians orders, they set out to stop the interference. 
Turlough is tricked into helping the Black Guardian.
The Doctor and Turlough travel to earth using the transmat and disable the device, allowing Tegan and Nyssa to follow in the Tardis.  Unfortunately the Tardis only appear for a moment before dematerialising again, leaving the Doctor and Turlough stranded.  The two of them make their way to the school where they find help from the Brigadier, who for some reason has no memory of the Doctor.

Tegan and Nyssa re-materialise on earth, in the exact place they should have been, but at the wrong time.  Tegan goes out looking for the Doctor and comes across a younger version of the Brigadier, who does know who the Doctor is, and a badly injured man they are led to believe is a regenerated Doctor.

The two groups must try to find a way to reunite, whilst also solving the mystery of the older Brigadiers missing memories, as well as the mysterious individual claiming to be the sixth incarnation of the Doctor.
Can he really be the new Doctor or is he something else entirely?
‘Mawdryn Undead’ is an intriguing little story that plays out brilliantly over the course of the four episodes.  Despite being the introduction of new companion Turlough and the return of the Black Guardian and his plot to kill the Doctor these take second place to the fin of seeing our heroes tackling a mystery from two different time periods.  Plus who doesn’t want two versions of the Brigadier in the same episode?

The story is also an important one for revealing some of the past of the Doctor, and the science behind regeneration.  It is hinted at that regeneration may not be a completely natural part of a Time Lords physiology, but something that the Time Lords created through scientific experimentation.  It is also revealed in this episode that the Doctor can only regenerate twelve times and that he has done so four times already, confirming that the first onscreen Doctor was indeed the first form of the Doctor.
The Brigadier and the Doctor together again.
A great little mystery story that introduces a new companion in a fun and interesting way, as well as bringing back the Brigadier after an eight year absence from the show.  A good fun story that is one of the best examples of the Davison Era. 8/10


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