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The Face of Evil

Reviewed by Paul Sinkovich

The most unusual feature of this story is the fact that the Doctor has caused the very problems he is trying to solve. True, he thought he was helping by reprogramming a computer on his first visit, but nevertheless, he is indirectly to blame for the deaths of most of the Sevateem race.

The first episode is very well constructed - Leela recognises the Doctor as "The Evil One". She knows he eats babies (jelly!) - and then the brilliant cliff-hanger at the end - the Doctor sees a huge carving of his face in a mountain. From this point on, the story becomes a bit confusing - how did the Doctor know the passageway to the Tesh was through the statue mouth? How did the Tesh develop telepathic powers so quickly? How did the Doctor get a mirror in his hands, when firmly tied, to reflect the atomiser beam? Why does a 'savage' like Leela wear tight, short, leather clothes and shave her armpits?

The last point brings us to the new companion, Leela. I feel it was a good idea to bring in a companion who wasn't just a screamer - Leela could take care of herself - Janus thorns, etc. Except when the story needs some action, e.g. the Doctor fighting with Tesh around electrified walls, conveniently, a 'tap' to her stomach disables Leela. Unfortunately, in later stories, she becomes more and more in need of the Doctor's protection, and less independent. Then the big question - is sex appeal needed in Doctor Who? The producer, Philip Hinchcliffe, admits Leela was introduced to "attract the dads". Does this improve the story? It may improve ratings, but it does nothing to help develop the plot. What do you think? Write and tell us.

Tom Baker as the Doctor is in good form; his character in this story is how most people remember him; with his wit and humorous remarks:

Doctor: "Hello"
Leela: -"The Evil One"
Doctor: "Well, nobody's perfect, but that's overstating it..."

Doctor: "Drop your weapons or I'll kill him with this deadly jelly baby."
Warrior: "Kill him, then."
Doctor: "I don't take orders from you. Take me to your leader."

Overall, I quite enjoyed this story; it is very original, and has an unusual plot for a Doctor Who story. But there is one piece that is directly copied - the idea of invisible monsters created from a person's id is exactly what happened in that brilliant film The Forbidden Planet (You know, that one with Robby the Robot that was on TV a few months back).

This item appeared in TSV 2 (September 1987).

Index nodes: The Face of Evil