Doctor Who – Nightmare of Eden. Episode Three

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There’s a lengthy reprise at the start of this episode, which allows us to once again marvel at the ineptitude of Fisk and Costa.  The moment when Fisk angrily hits the door locked by the Doctor is also noteworthy – mainly because of how wobbly it looks.  One good punch would no doubt have caused it to collapse.

The jungle landscape of Eden is very dimly lit.  This not only helps to create a forbidding atmosphere but was probably also done in order to disguise the limitations of the set dressing.  As mentioned earlier, the Mandrels look very impressive in this environment – the sight of one such creature, eyes glowing green, looming in the shadows is a striking image.

Back on the ship they don’t look quite so good.  Although it’s interesting that the lighting levels on the Empress seem to be a little lower than in the first two episodes (was this the point that Graham Williams had taken over directing duties from Alan Bromley?) even this can’t disguise how silly the Mandrels look in the cold studio light of day.  Another infamous moment occurs when they kill a hapless passenger.  What’s particularly silly about this scene is the fact that all the Mandrels were in a lift – are we to assume they piled in and then pressed the appropriate button?  Well, maybe they did – perhaps they’re cleverer than we give them credit for.

The shots of rampaging Mandrels no doubt amused the audience at home and this seems to be acknowledged within the fiction of the programme and we then cut to a hysterically laughing Rigg, who’s watching similar events on a monitor.  A nice post-modern touch, although pointing out the limitations of your production is a dangerous game.

Whilst in the Eden projection, the Doctor gets to tangle with a nasty plant and is forced to bite into it. “You know, that didn’t taste at all bad” he deadpans. All in a day’s work …

The identity of the Doctor’s mysterious assailant from the previous episode is established – it was Stott (Barry Lonsdale), a member of Tryst’s crew who apparently died on Eden.  But now we learn he didn’t die, instead he’s been trapped inside the Eden projection ever since.  This’ll bring the colour back to Della’s cheeks as she and Stott were something of an item.  There’s another surprisingly adult moment in the script when Stott tells the Doctor and Romana of his despair about being trapped inside the CET.  “There were a few times when I felt like blowing my brains out.”

In possibly one of the least surprising plot-twists ever, it’s revealed that Tryst is one of the people behind the Vraxoin smuggling.  Well fancy that.

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