Friday, November 20, 2009

4T4 - The Invisible Enemy 4

Things finally limp to a finish in an episode that, while barely clearing 20 minutes in duration, seems much, much longer. The Swarm, in its final manifestation, looks quite ridiculous, and needs to be helped to move around wherever it goes. The final explosion of the Titan base is equally disappointing as the shot cuts from a static shot of the base model to a different shot of a wall of flame, the join covered by a white flash.

The Invisible Enemy was the first story produced by Graham Williams, and it bears all the lesser hallmarks of his era - cheap looking sets, lazy direction, and bad jokes. You can almost hear the canned studio audience laughter over the final scene when Professor Marius wonders aloud if the recently departed K-9 is "TARDIS trained". Groan.

K-9 is possibly the most troubling aspect of this whole production. As much as I do enjoy the dog (and I do, to a point), K-9 has been an easy out in this story - always ready to provide the answers, always there to scan for danger, and armed with a wickedly accurate nose laser. The Doctor is now, in effect, armed for the first time in the series' history. The level of danger that The Doctor finds himself in severely drops whenever K-9 is around, and so, too, does the level of drama. Admittedly, one often expects new companions to receive a greater share of the action in their debut story, but such a start for K-9 does not bode well for the future.


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