Things aren’t looking good for the Doctor at the start of this episode what with him being apparently dead, and all that, but that soon wears off and he wakes up in the nick of time just before he is about thrown into an acid bath, which would sting a little.
Poor Peri was convinced that the Doctor was actually dead as were all the Varosians who were particularly gratified that he was dead even if there was absolutely no evidence that he was anything to do with any sort of rebellion against the people of Varos but on Varos it is enough that people think that you are a rebel, it’s just that kind of dystopian society.
Of course everything is filmed on Varos so the Doctor wasn’t able to escape quietly which meant that for a lot of time the Varosians always knew where he was and what was doing at any given time, which makes it difficult for the Doctor to pull a surprise on the Varosians.
It was fun to watch the power of the Chief Officer and Sil fall away and the Governor realising that he was actually gaining power from them and showing his true colours rather than the party line that he is forced to tow in his appearances to the people of Varos.
Sil was getting more and more delirious throughout this episode and his face at the end when he had his whole world pulled from under him was a picture and Nabil Shaban really sold how annoyed and pissed off that he was.
Martin Jarvis’s Governor got stronger throughout the episode and was able to overcome his obstacles to being the governor that he wanted to be and not the governor he was supposed to be.
This episode featured the oft mentioned scene where two people ended up in an acid bath after an altercation with the Doctor. It would be unfair to say that the Doctor pushed them in as he was trying to avoid himself being thrown into the acid bath which is quite understandable when you think about it.
It can be argued that he was directly responsible for one of them falling in but the other one was pulled into the bath by his friend so I don’t think that we can blame the Doctor for that.
Colin Baker was much calmer in this episode than he had been before and I believe that by the end of this episode we really get what his Doctor is all about and when he finally settled down into the role. Jason Connery’s performance actually improves in this episode and he is a lot more animated and more believable. Nicola Bryant is good with the little that she actually has to do in this episode but gives a good stab at it.
Peri and Areta get transformed into a bird (in Peri’s case) and some sort of lizard (in the case of Areta) and Peri later got captured when the Doctor, Jondar and Areta are trying to escape after rescuing Areta and Peri as it would have been too easy for them all to have got away without much of a problem and also a bit bad for the Varosians themselves.
In fact some of the scenes at the end between Bryant and Jarvis are among the best scenes in the episode and show that Bryant is so much more than her limited characterisation often allows.
It was most satisfying to see the Governor triumph over the regime of the Security Chief (a snarling performance by Forbes Collins) and also to bring Maldak round to his way of thinking who was to be honest a bit wavering in the first episode and did seem quite easily suggestible which makes you wonder how on earth he got the job in the first place as it seems to be that the qualifications for a guard on Varos are similar to that of an assessor with ATOS or Maximus for benefit assessors!
I think that this episode was a bit faster pace than the first one and that there was a lot more to enjoy here whereas the first part is all about setting up and introducing characters allowing for this episode to be more story oriented which shows in the events that occur in this episode when compared to those from episode one.
Now that the Doctor is more settled down we seeing him as being a very different character to that of the fifth Doctor, which is a pleasant change even if he can be rather annoying and loud and brash and abrasive, but very much his own character.