Tuesday, September 22, 2009

QQQ3 - Frontier in Space 3

Escape update: The Doctor and Jo start the episode by getting busted out by the Ogrons, only to be recaptured by the humans less than a minute later. The Doctor is then questioned first by the mind probe, then by the President, before being shuffled off to the penal colony on the moon. He is then aided in an escape, along with Professor Dale, by fellow prisoner Cross until Cross betrays them both and traps them in an airlock at the end of the episode. Jo has a quiet episode. After the initial escape/recapture, she spends the rest of the episode in her cell until The Master arranges for her to be held prisoner on his spaceship.

Ah yes, The Master. He makes his first appearance of the story in this episode, but, almost as if the production team was growing weary of finding ways of involving The Master in stories as Roger Delgado was, his entrance is not accompanied by Dudley Simpson's usual musical theme. I've never felt the inclusion of Delgado's Master to be anything if not welcome, and the same goes here. I like it when The Master arrives impersonating someone else, and not in disguise or having hypnotized someone. The audience and the (absent) Doctor and companion are the only people who know of The Master's true identity. If Frontier in Space was a Christmas pantomime, you could almost hear the children in the audience screaming out to the President and General Williams that the man they were talking to wasn't a commissioner from Sirius Four at all.

The darker side of the Earth Empire is revealed here by the sheer fact that they have a penal colony on the moon, most of the prisoners are there for political reasons, and that all sentences served there are for life. Only in the most iron-fisted of regimes would such conditions be considered normal. The prisoner Patel's attitude would lead one to believe that his beloved Peace Party is little more than a terrorist organization (or a band of freedom fighters, your choice). However, someone has conservative and grizzled as Cross seems to think that the party may soon take power, and that his own pardon would follow soon afterwards. What kind of empire is Earth really running here? And why has The Doctor been so keen to protect it? As much as I enjoyed this episode, I couldn't help but be enthralled with what was really going on down on Earth in the 26th century...


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