17x3. The Creature from the Pit
Writer: David Fisher
Director: Christopher Barry
Script Editor: Douglas Adams
Producer: Graham Williams
Synopsis: The Doctor and Romana
arrive on the planet Chloris, where the ruler, the dictatorial Lady
Adrasta, is involved in a scheme to preserve her monopoly over metal (a
rarity on the planet) by imprisoning Erato, an ambassador from a planet
that sought to establish a metal trading pact, in a pit, where he is
now feared as a dangerous monster.
Review: "The Creature from the
Pit" is never exactly boring, and there are a few elements that stand
out as particularly creative or amusing. There is, of course, the
moment where the Doctor, having been thrown into the pit, pulls out a
rock climbing manual, discovers that it's written in Tibetan, and then
quickly pulls out "Teach Yourself Tibetan" as well. (One wonders if his
pockets are bigger on the inside than on the outside too.) The best
among the guest characters is probably Organon, a soothsayer who's
trapped in the pit with the Doctor and who, despite having his heart in
the right place, is aware of the suspect authenticity of his
profession. However, Adrasta and the bandits that occasionally wander
into this situation are all pretty conventional stock characters, and
it's a little hard to believe that Erato has been accidentally killing
people in the process of trying to communicate without realizing that
something about his methods is amiss. And while it's hard to pinpoint
exactly why, the whole thing seems oddly underplayed: the characters'
reactions don't seem to match the alleged gravity of the situation
at times. (Let me emphasize, as I know this is a sore point when
discussing the Graham Williams era, that I'm not saying the characters'
reactions are too silly - I'm saying they're too bland.) While one
could do worse, "The Creature from the Pit" is far from Doctor Who at its best.
Rating: **1/2 (out of four)
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