Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5E1 - The Power of Kroll 1

The Power of Kroll is a bit of an unusual story, from the outset. It's written by Robert Holmes, but nowhere is it evident that Holmes has cast his usual bit of brilliance whilst crafting the scripts for this episode. Any humour in this episode is derived almost purely from Tom Baker's (by now rampant) improvisations. This looks like it will be Robert Holmes trying his best to be average.

For starters, we're robbed of any establishing shot of the refinery, thus making the first shot of the episode look like Thawn has returned from a shopping trip at the mall (and is kind enough to buy a treat or two for Harg). Apart from the well shot location footage in the swamp, it generally looks like this is (one of) the "cheap" stories of the season, a designation that Graham Williams's predecessor Philip Hinchcliffe rarely had to bestow upon one of his productions. The sets don't look too stable, and the fact that John Leeson was cast in an onscreen role when it proved that K-9 would be unused betrays the budget a little bit. In all fairness to Leeson, though, he puts in a good performance, and he never once sounds like K-9.

And, if you watch closely at the very end of the episode when Romana is supposedly being terrorized by a Swampie in an unconvincing squid costume, screaming half-hearted the whole time like some damsel-in-distress, you can almost see the exact moment when Mary Tamm decided to tear up Graham Williams's Season 17 contract offer...


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