Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Doctor Who-The Enemy Of The World

                        While on vacation in early 21st century Australia with little ambition to do much more then build sand castles,the doctor soon finds himself an attempted assassination victim. Not because of  anything he has done,but because of whom he appears to be. After he,Jamie and Victoria are rescued by one controller of these assassins,agent Astrid Ferrier in a helicopter.

                      Seems that with a world government divided into specific geographical zones,Astrid's boss Giles Kent is hoping that the doctor will help him to infiltrate the organization of Salamander,the man that the doctor was nearly killed because of his physical similarities to him. Salamander has been using his solar generator to help grow more productive crops but,according to Kent,is using this as a means to take full power over the entire Earth and it's people.

                       Not yet convinced that Salamander is a villain,Kent manages to utilize the doctors resemblance to con Bruce,a ward of Salamander that Kent and his people have made a deal with the would be president for life.  Reluctantly the doctor and his companions agree to infiltrate Salamander's base. With Jamie and Victoria pretending to take jobs in his kitchen staff while in continual contact with Astrid.

                          While there they discover that Fedorin,one of Salamander's closest confidant's,is involved in a power struggle for leadership to take Salamander's position with Denes-who is Kent's only ally in the worlds European zone. Also one of their fellow staff members,the food taster Feriah,clearly has no love for Salamander or his methods. 

                         For his part Salamander has been managing to create earthquakes and volcano's that he explains off as natural disasters only he can stop. Denes is arrested in the ensuing struggle when Salamander orders Fedorin to murder the man. When he cannot morally,Salamander poisons Fedorin. On the lamb with Kent,he and the doctor fend of one encounter after another with Salamander's sadistic guardsman Benik.

                               Once the doctor finds out that Jamie and Victoria are now held hostage by Salamander? He manages to convince with Kent's help (and in disguise) to convince Bruce that Salamander is going betray all his alleys with falsified records of their misdeeds. For his part,Salamander has descended through a pneumatic  tube underground to a group of people who believe Salamander is protecting them from a nuclear war above ground and working to bring them goods to survive.

                               After Feriah is killed by Benik following her betrayal of Salamander? Astrid meets up with an injured gentleman named Swann who,after discovering a newspaper clip in a care package contradicting what Salamander told him,ventured to the surface with him and his knocked out by Salamander to keep him from discovering the truth. After he dies in her attempted care,she manages to infiltrate his base and discovers the pneumatic tube-using it to tell the people underground-used to create the volcanic earthquakes by Salamander,the truth of the deception.

                              Upon emerging to the surface,Astrid reveals to a Giles Kent confronting the doctor (who he believes is Salamander) that she has just learned that Kent and Salamander were actually working together all along to overtake the Earth. As Kent tries to escape,he dies when Salamander attempts to destroy the tunnels with another Earthquake. Leading Astrid and Bruce out to undo the damage and rescue Salamander's hostages? Jamie and Victoria,sent back to the TARDIS upon their rescue by the doctor for safety,finds Salamander trying to impersonate the doctor himself until the genuine article struggles with him for control of the TARDIS-with Salamander ending up falling out into the time vortex.

                               Overall this story is a superb example of a once lost Doctor Who story that lives up to it's legendary representation. It's a very James Bond-like adventure serial that's full of motion,action,highly motivated characters and the wonderful subtext where the doctor is for once very reluctant to get involved. And actually has to be coerced by Astrid and Kent to impersonate the psychically numb dictator Salamander in order to defeat him. Of course he's totally reluctant to kill-reasoning from Kent's embrace of murder as possible subtext for his collaboration with Salamander.

                              This is also a wonderfully character driven story. Patrick Troughton of course takes a wonderful turn as not only the doctor and the Yucatan accented Salamander but as the doctor trying to IMPERSONATE Salamander as well.  One of my favorite characters in this story is Salamander's food taster Fariah,played by Guyanese derived actress Carmen Munroe. This is a character who is essentially a slave to Salamander,forced to worked at the bottom of his domestic ladder. It is learned this occurred due to blackmail. Yet we never learn for sure,if I suspect if perhaps one of reasons for this was one of the African zone nations in this story actively resisting Salamander's power. This ends up being a story that never ceases to thrill and compel for just about any Whovian.