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Doctor Who: Planet of Fire

Doctor Who 5th Doctor

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 11:22 AM

Here's my tentative plan for the rest of Classic Who. I have finished watching the 5th Doctor adventures. I'll probably post my review for Caves of Androzani in a few days. I then plan to watch the 3rd Doctor's final season. After that I've decided to watch all of the 4th Doctor era before moving on to the 6th and 7th Doctors.

I'm doing this for two reasons. The first is that I believe switching between the 3rd and 5th Doctors contributed to my burnout on Classic Who and also stopped me from fully appreciating both eras as separate entities. The second reason is that I want to end my re-watch of Classic Who with the actual final seasons and even if I did watch the 6th and 7th Doctor eras concurrently with the 4th Doctor era I would finish the last two Doctors before I finished the 4th since he has more seasons by himself than the final two Doctors combined.

My plan is to watch at least one or two serials a week though that number may go up or down. If I get really into a season or story I may burn through it fairly quickly.

I only ask that people refrain from telling me anything about the 6th and 7th Doctor eras and their opinions about them. I've tried to stay as spoiler free as possible about those Doctors and want to approach them from as fresh a view as possible. Okay, onto the review.

We lost one companion last story and now we are losing another one. It is a shame because I like Turlough a lot and I don’t think he was ever really given the focus or development he deserved but more on that later.

This was a much better story than “Resurrection of the Daleks”. The story hangs together better and all the disparate threads come together quite nicely, even if there are some unanswered questions and plot holes.

I have to say, the cliffhanger where Peri finds the Master in the box was genius. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think that there would be a miniature Master residing inside. It was quite comical. The fact that he did it to himself just makes it more comical. I did get a bit of a laugh at the scene where Peri is trying to smash the bug sized Master with her shoe.

Speaking of Peri, I’m not sure how I feel about her yet. They did give her a bit of a wanderlust at the start with her wanting to travel to Morocco before going back to school in New York. She did scream a lot at first, but she was thrust into this adventure with no warning and has to run from the Master right away and then gets lost in an alien landscape. She handled it quite well, all things told. I think she can be a good companion but I’ll probably reserve judgment until I see how she interacts with the 6th Doctor since she travels with him more than the 5th. I also wasn’t sure how I was supposed to view her relationship with her step-father considering he did strand her in a boat to stop her from leaving and then the fact that she seems to have nightmares about him.

The location shooting was used to great effect. It was a beautiful landscape they were at and really gave a sense of a dying planet.

I wasn’t sure if the origin for the inhabitants of Sarn and the interference by the people of Trion would work but by the end of the story I felt it all linked up rather well. Trion has obviously never heard of the Prime Directive since they don’t seem to mind interfering with other cultures and placing observers on every civilized planet. Here they have been using Sarn as a penal colony. It has gone on long enough for the people there to base an entire religion around the Trion workers in environmental suits and the chosen ones with the mark on their forearms.

Turlough’s history is filled in here. He was in the military on Trion alongside his father and they were both on the wrong side of a civil war. His mother was killed; his father and baby brother banished to Sarn, and Turlough was placed on Earth as a schoolboy. It is quite a random punishment but one that seems to fit seeing as how Turlough absolutely hated it there and called it the worse place in the universe in this story. This history explains why Turlough seemed at ease using a gun during “Warriors of the Deep” and might also explain some of his darker tendencies since he probably lost a lot in the war.

It does mean that Turlough’s request to be taken back to his home planet at the end of “Enlightenment” is now at odds with this new information since Turlough is a political exile. Then again, maybe he didn’t care what would happen to him at the end of “Enlightenment” considering everything he had just went through.

I do wish the story had given us more scenes of Turlough and his brother Malkon together. They didn’t interact much. I did like seeing a new side of Turlough once he discovered that Malkon was his brother. He wanted to murder the man who had shot Malkon and then was the one who took his brother into the flames to heal him.

I had wrote in my review of “Terminus” that I thought it was dumb that Nyssa took her skirt off and walked around in her underwear for no good reason but that I probably wouldn’t complain if it had been Turlough. Well, here he does indeed take off his pants and walks around in colorful briefs for a little bit. Mind you, there is a good reason for him to do so. He has to jump into the water and save an inexplicably drowning Peri.

I was sad to see Turlough leave. As I wrote above, I don’t think he was ever developed as much as he should have been. It seems like in a lot of the stories he was in he kept getting imprisoned or otherwise removed from the Doctor. There also wasn’t any real discussion between the Doctor and Turlough about Turlough’s role in the Black Guardian’s plans. I also would have liked to see him have more scenes with Tegan as well. Still, he was a companion that stood out from the rest and was one of my favorite companions from this era. His reason for leaving was a good one too. His exile is finally over and he just reconnected with his baby brother.

I just realized I haven’t mentioned Kamelion yet. I felt his role in this story would have been better had he been used at any point in time between “The King’s Demons” and now. I had almost forgotten he existed. I can’t even say I was sad to see him go since he didn’t do anything really aside from being controlled by the Master.

“Planet of Fire” was a good send-off for Turlough (much better than what Nyssa or Tegan received) and was a decent Doctor Who adventure. It definitely felt like it was clearing the way for Colin Baker’s Doctor since Turlough and Kamelion were gotten rid of, Peri was introduced, and the Master seemingly died.
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#2 Christopher

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 12:48 PM

Kamelion was a missed opportunity. They intended to use him more, presumably having him adopt a different actor's form in each story, but they stil would've needed the robot body some of the time, and the prop didn't turn out as well as hoped, so they just ended up abandoning most of their plans for the character. It's a pity.
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#3 G-man

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Posted 19 April 2020 - 11:02 AM

Remind me ... didn't Planet of Fire guest star Peter Wyngarde (General Klytus from Flash Gordan)?

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#4 Christopher

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Posted 19 April 2020 - 12:41 PM

View PostG-man, on 19 April 2020 - 11:02 AM, said:

Remind me ... didn't Planet of Fire guest star Peter Wyngarde (General Klytus from Flash Gordan)?

Yes, that's correct.
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#5 RJDiogenes

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Posted 19 April 2020 - 05:26 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 18 April 2020 - 11:22 AM, said:

After that I've decided to watch all of the 4th Doctor era before moving on to the 6th and 7th Doctors.  
Cool.  I tried at least twice in the past to get into the Tom Baker Era without success.  This may be helpful, because I still have a strange desire to do so.

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I only ask that people refrain from telling me anything about the 6th and 7th Doctor eras and their opinions about them.  
I never got to see the 7th Doctor.  They stopped showing it on the local PBS station right after Colin Baker.

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I have to say, the cliffhanger where Peri finds the Master in the box was genius. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think that there would be a miniature Master residing inside. It was quite comical.

We shall call him... Mini Master.

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Speaking of Peri, I’m not sure how I feel about her yet.  

I remember liking Peri, but I liked pretty much all the Companions-- even Turlough, who had that really shifty look about him.

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and Turlough was placed on Earth as a schoolboy. It is quite a random punishment but one that seems to fit seeing as how Turlough absolutely hated it there and called it the worse place in the universe in this story.  

Having been a schoolboy, I completely understand this.  :D

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I had wrote in my review of “Terminus” that I thought it was dumb that Nyssa took her skirt off and walked around in her underwear for no good reason  

She was hot.  I mean feverish.

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He has to jump into the water and save an inexplicably drowning Peri.  

Actually, Nyssa's underwear and Peri's pink bikini were among the high points of the show for me.  :lol:

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I just realized I haven’t mentioned Kamelion yet. I felt his role in this story would have been better had he been used at any point in time between “The King’s Demons” and now. I had almost forgotten he existed.

Was he destroyed?  He'd be an interesting character to bring back in the modern series.  I'm sure something interesting could be done by drawing a parallel between his chameleonic abilities and the Doctor's Regenerations.
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#6 Christopher

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Posted 19 April 2020 - 07:43 PM

Yes, Kamelion was rather definitively destroyed.
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