“The Curse of Peladon”

Third Doctor, Season Nine, Serial Two

reviewed by Tom-Tom

Continuing with The Master-less Season Nine, we get a treat after the dull Daleks serial, a trip in the TARDIS to an alien world. The Doctor still hasn’t recovered the memory stolen from him by the Time Lords at the end of the Second Doctor’s tenure but thanks to pieces of knowledge deigned from tinkering with The Master, he has completed hot-wiring it enough to travel with Jo, who, all dolled up for a date with a UNIT officer, is on her last nerve.

Wouldn’t you know it, the TARDIS lands on a stormy cliff and tumbles down the mountainside just as they step out of it. They’re forced to climb up (Jo in heels of course) and eventually come to the throne room of Peladon, a planet of rather medieval people with superstitious beliefs about Agadon, a fire and brimstone character whose Curse and Monster are quite fearsome albeit mythical in nature. It so happens that this kingdom is the site of an Interstellar Conference by the Galactic Federation to decide whether or not to enter the primitive planet into its ranks, kind of like the entire plot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

The Doctor and Jo are mistaken as delegates from Earth and before they know it, Jo becomes Josephine, Princess of Earth and the Doctor a “man of rank.” The two other parties are Alpha Centauri (a double serving of Mike Wakowski from Monsters Inc) paired with a Dalek sounding head in a fishbowl. Also, to my great and happy pleasure, the Ice Warriors have sent a delegation from Mars. I love every single serial they’ve ever been in or will ever be in. They precurse the Cobra Kai of GI Joe in wearing reptilian garb. Their familiar timpani-heavy theme always puts me in high spirits. Amazingly, they’re in a rather non-threatening role here simply here to help Peladon join the federation. I’m pretty sure this is the first time a Doctor Who villain has appeared in a supporting role since the series began. Their costumes and hissing, snake-like whisper make them my absolute favorite Doctor Who fiend. Here they become more developed and interesting as characters.

It soon becomes apparent that sounds is rotten in Peladon and the Doctor, Jo, and the delegates all have to work together to figure out what is wrong. No one knows who to trust or suspect. There’s a kind of Agatha Christie in space feel to it but it is well balanced with suspense, character development, and humor.

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