Doctor Who: Snakedance (Story No. 125/BBC DVD)
A Episodes: A+
Doctor Whoís decades long run on the BBC has
ensured that the show has enjoyed some phenomenal episodes, and endured some
awful ones as well. Story no. 125 falls firmly in the former category.
Snakedance deserves its
reputation as one of the strongest stories of Peter Davisonís run as the
Doctor, and it adroitly links back to another great story in the 5th Doctorís
tenure, Kinda. Drawn to the
planet Manussa by companion Teganís (Janet Fielding) haunted dreams, the Doctor
and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) must free their friend from the mental grip of the
Mara, the evil alien intelligence that plagued them in Kinda.
arrives on the planet amidst the populaceís yearly celebration of the Maraís
seeming defeat centuries in the past. Little does the populace know that
the creature lurks in Teganís mind awaiting its chance at freedom. As it
takes hold of her, it also manipulates a young noble of the planetís ruling
elite, Lon, ably played by Martin Clunes. The Doctor must convince the
planetís doubting authorities that the Maraís threat is real, or it will
manifest through Tegan and Lon, and bring about a new dark age of pain
suffering on the world.
psychological nature of this tale falls right into Peter Davisonís wheelhouse,
as his thoughtful and considerate Doctor slowly puts the pieces of the mystery
together, then takes the ultimate gamble to gain the insight needed to
challenge the Mara. Ms. Fieldingís performance as the tortured Tegan
marks one of her strongest on the show, and Colette OíNeil delivers a
stunningly nuanced portrayal of Lonís over-indulgent mother, Tanha.
extras wonderfully support the episodes on this disc. Snake Charmer delivers the kind of
interviews and insight that featurette should, including plenty of commentary
from Peter Davison and writer Christopher Bailey. A delightful segment
from a childrenís show called the Saturday Superstore features
Mr. Davison taking calls from young fans and playing a bit of cricket with a
miniature bat. The usual batch of commentaries nicely round out the
plentiful extra offerings.
Snakedance offers quintessential Davison
Who, and should make the top ten list of most fans of the classic shows.
-†† Scott Pyle