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Old October 12 2013, 04:56 PM   #4
Emh
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Re: The Enemy of the World - Grading & Discuss

Prior to watching the recovered episodes, I had previously seen a fan reconstruction of this serial, so I had a general idea how the story played out, particularly the confrontation of Salamander and The Doctor in the TARDIS. However, there were certain aspects of the story I had completely forgotten about, such as Salamander enslaving scientists to do his natural disaster bidding, the true nature of Giles Kent, and the swaying of Donald Bruce to The Doctor's side.

With that perspective in mind, I found The Enemy of the World very enjoyable, which is a step up from not being impressed by it the first time around. I think a large part of that comes down to the physical presence of Patrick Troughton. There's quite nothing like watching Troughton running down beach, stripping down to his underwear and jumping into the sea, an act that is wonderfully and retroactively reminiscent of The Eleventh Doctor. This is easily one of his finest performances on Doctor Who, tackling multiple roles: The Doctor, Salamander, The Doctor pretending to be Salamander, and Salamander pretending to be a survivor of a post-apocalyptic war. As always, he's wonderful as The Doctor but he really shines as The Doctor pretending to be Salamander. He fooled even myself when he tricked Jamie and Victoria and, later on, Giles Kent that he was actually Salamander and not The Doctor.

The story itself is fairly straight forward from the get go with a man who is slowly taking over the world for malevolent reasons without the world realizing it (which reminds me of Greg Cox's take on Khan and the Eugenics Wars, even though Khan wasn't a center stage figure like Salamander). What's interesting about the story is how The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are simply told Salamander is an evil dictator but there isn't much proof provided other than he's slowly taken control of certain "zones" around the world. However, from the public eye, it seems that he is benevolent man with his inventions such as the Sun Store, which helps alleviate world hunger. It comes down to a matter of trust.

Out of the people who claim Salamander is an evil dictator, only Giles Kent knew him directly. Everyone else takes his word for it, from Astrid to The Doctor's would-be assassins. The Doctor clearly doesn't trust the accusation, but is forced to pretend as Salamander by Giles. From here, The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are swept into a world of intrigue quite unlike most Doctor Who stories. In fact, the only example that pops up to mind is The Reign of Terror, but unlike that story, The Enemy of the World isn't a historical but rather set in the future.

The story is filled with wonderful characters, particularly Salamander, Donald Bruce, Benik, Astrid, Giles Kent, Fariah, even Griffin the sardonic, sarcastic chef. The only characters that don't really appeal are the scientists enslaved by Salamander, particularly Collins with all his whining about going with Salamander up to the surface. Unfortunately, with all of these wonderful characters, Jamie and especially Victoria are largely underutilized. Jamie gets to shine in episode 2 but then he mostly disappears for the rest of the story.

With the story taking place in 2018, the story was set 50 years into the future from the original air date. However, at times while watching this serial, I couldn't help be amused by the level of technology presented. Telephones, data storage, and radios appear obsolete by today's standards. And yet, at the same time, the story still has science-fiction elements: the SPECTRE-esque ability to create natural disasters, rockets that travel from Australia to Europe in two hours, and face-to-face video communication that's certainly better quality than what we have at the moment.

In addition to expanding Patrick Troughton's, Frazer Hines', and Deborah Watling's Doctor Who library, the return of the missing episodes expands David Troughton's library as well. Episodes 5 and 6 are Troughton's earliest contribution to the series, playing the uncredited role of a guard. So minor is his role that I couldn't find him either episode, but I suspect he was amongst the guards who took Benik into custody in episode 6.

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
And that scene of him casually smoking his giant cigar, very proto-Delgardo isn't it?
Now that you mention it, yes it does.
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