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Mar 01, 2007

The Suds of Death

Well, it's the final episode of a 6 parter, and as usual, all the plot for the episode has been explained in the previous episode, so we know exactly what the plan is for the heroes to succeed, and it's just a question of how they go about it and how much they pad it as to whether it's any good or not.

The Seeds of Death Episode 6

As the story opens, the Doctor is regretting using too much washing up powder for his scarf, and he's clammering at the door. The Ice Warrior shoots at Zoe and Jamie, but realises they're not expendable characters, so he misses them. Quite why the Doctor was so frightened by the vegetation is beyond me, as he seems to have been covered in it, then fallen into it, and with no adverse effects. The Trio are locking themselves in a room, and the Ice Warrior is shooting the door (leading to a very good effect on the door). But some nice men are clearing away the Fairy liquid from in front of the weather centre, and getting shot for it. That'll teach them to try being nice. Still, the Doc has a portable sunbed now, and the Ice Warrior gets more of a tan than he wanted.

The Doctor now has two plans to deal with the two problems: the weed and the aliens. He sorts out the weather so that it'll rain. That takes care of the weed. Then the Doctor wants to throw himself in among the pigeons to stop the homing beacon (about the 50th homing beacon this serial) and go up to the moon. I just love the line "It hasn't been tested yet!" "Well, now's the time to test it!". He fiddles with the controls, but the Ice Duke catches him and gives him a ticking off. One of the second Doctor's trademark "I give in, you win" ploys buys him a little more time, feigning cowardice. It turns out that he has lied, and he did turn off the signal. Yay!

The Ice Major realises that the Doctor has beaten them, and goes to attack him, but Jamie appears at T Mat, which for some reason makes the Ice Warrior vulnerable to a movement from the Doctor, and he destroys the Ice Captain. Jamie and the Doctor then electrocute the remaining one. That's an interesting way to get rid of him.

I can't think of many television episodes or films where the happy ending has storms in it. A little bit of irony there. I also love the way the story doesn't end here, because Lodnar, Gia and Eldred are still arguing even after the Doctor and his motley crew leave. It shows that the Doctor has one his bit, but that life still goes on, and there are still issues to be dealt with. Or something like that. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the writer just didn't know how to finish it, I don't know.

And then, that wonderful theme music!

In conclusion: the direction is absolutely fabulous, Michael Ferguson really knew what he was doing. I think I'll look into some of the other ones he did, as it's been a long time since I saw The Ambassadors of Death, and The Claws of Axos, and I've never seen The War Machines.
The actual plot is laden with cliches and generic stereotypes, and situations where it's pretty clear what's going to happen to anyone who's seen the type of thing before, but the writing is so top notch that it keeps you excited all the way through.
The acting is easily good enough all the way through, with only Radnor being slightly wooden, and occasionally Fewsham near the start. The Ice Warriors are brilliantly designed with excellent costumes (apparent from the pinsir hands, which look silly some of the time) and all move with a convincing waddle.
What else is there? I really enjoyed this story. Some of today's directors would do well to watch this story.

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