“Earth’s resources are limited. They cannot be wasted supporting an inferior species.” – Styggron
It’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers Doctor Who-syle. Kind of a low point for the season over all. It starts off strongly with a first episode full of odd and confusing situations. From the strange UNIT soldier marching through brambles without noticing the cuts on his cheek to the strangely empty town, we’ve no more idea what’s going on than the Doctor and Sarah and that adds tremendously to the story telling. They do a good job of having the Doctor put all the pieces together in a way that makes total sense—particularly his explanation for all the new currency being a way of avoiding contamination as money changes hands–and yet it all ends up being totally wrong.
Unfortunately, as the story goes on and we do learn the truth, the plot holes and seemingly nonsensical parts of the Kraal plan start to come to the forefront—not the least of which is why they need to develop an entire army of copies and test them in a fake village. I have to admit it took not only watching it but reading through the script for me to even halfway understand that they intend the non-UNIT villagers to distribute the virus worldwide in a three-week period. I could therefore buy that they have to pass for actual people on the passports of whom they can then travel. None of that comes out in the script, however, so the need to replace an entire village seems rather nonsensical. While there are still some nice bits (like the Doctor’s easy dart bulls-eye and noticing the new board or the iconic image of “Sarah’s” face coming off), the cleverness of the plot starts to wane overall and the pace and action of the story slows down towards a rather abrupt ending. The brief appearance of Harry, Benton, and a substitute Brigadier is a very disappointing end to the place of UNIT in the program. Harry and Benton don’t even get a goodbye.
I do like the description of the Doctor as one with a “long association with libertarian causes” whose “entire history is one of opposition to conquest.” There is also some nice banter with Sarah Jane: “So, providing we don’t burn up on re-entry, and aren’t suffocated on the way down, we’ll probably be smashed to a pulp when we land?” “Exactly! Sarah, you’ve put your finger on the one tiny flaw in our plan.” “Our plan! It’s your plan!”
Best (or worst) unsettling moment:
The first episode is totally unsettling because you have no idea what’s happening. The eeriness is particularly well done when, after wandering through the chilling stillness of the whole village, the Doctor and Sarah are suddenly startled by the zombie-like residents in the pub springing to cheery life at the stroke of the clock.
There are many nonsense parts of the Kraal plan but most of all it’s hard to believe that a man would not notice that his eye is not really missing! [Perhaps he was brainwashed to the point that he didn’t even see it when he looked directly at himself in the mirror and it was only after the Doctor started to chip away with doubt that he could really see?] Sarah’s “fall” down a small slope is also ridiculous.