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5x4. The Enemy of the World
Writer: David Whittaker
Director: Barry Letts
Script Editor: Peter Bryant
Producer: Innes Lloyd

The TARDIS crew arrive in a near-future Earth where a man named Salamander - who looks exactly like the Doctor - has accumulated considerable power through his predictions of natural disasters and his technology that has solved food crises. But some are convinced that he has sinister aims, and the Doctor and his companions become involved with a group seeking to expose him.

Review: If you read the synopsis above and think to yourself that this doesn't sound like quite enough story for six episodes, you're probably right. The main flaw in "The Enemy of the World" is that it takes a little too long, especially because the Doctor understandably remains skeptical of the accusations against Salamander at first while we, the audience, are given enough of a peek behind the scenes to know that he's up to no good. Part of what makes Doctor Who work is enabling the audience to keep up with a protagonist who's smarter than we (or any of the human characters in the stories) are, but here we're in the opposite position, waiting for him to catch up. Fortunately, despite the unnecessarily slow pace, there's enough to make for a solid, if not exactly exceptional, installment. Not only does Troughton put on an able performance as a villain, but two of the guest characters we meet at the beginning - the anti-Salamander agitator Giles Kent and the security chief Donald Bruce - end up playing against type. Kent turns out to be a duplicitous ex-partner of Salamander's, while Bruce is not the standard power-mad enforcer but a reasonable man just trying to do his job, who eventually sides with the Doctor. And things do pick up around Episode 4, when we learn that Salamander has kept an entire group of people underground using advanced technology to stage the natural disasters, under the pretense that the surface is awash in radiation after a nuclear war. While this isn't a classic and it suffers a bit from trying to do an international caper with the budget and resources of 1960s Doctor Who, it's always nice to have more Troughton serials intact, and it's entertaining and clever enough to hold the viewer's interest.

Rating: **1/2 (out of four)

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