Full Circle

Chase - Posted on 09 June 2009


Okay this is more like it. Or rather it's not like anything on DW before. It's got a lot of color and lights, and a very cool looking jungle and lakes and forests in the background and young people doing things young people do: making mistakes mostly. It's just great.

The Tom Doctor admits he cannot fight Time Lords or rather that he did once and lost. Romana is called home and doesn't want to go...which means...we can probably guess however the angst for these two is welcome and they're not as all powerful as we've been lead to believe.

The story: Well, Andrew Smith, 18 yr old wrote it and...to be honest...the plot is really VERY similar to the inferior (but also enjoyable) SPACE: 1999 episode THE FULL CIRCLE. I kid you not. The Alphans find cavemen that...are really them somehow passed through a time warp. There are many differences but a great deal of similarities. The two stories even filmed, I think, in the exact same parks.

The monsters? Well, they appear onlly in the cliffhanger to ep1 and also pull the old man into the lake. They're not exactly sympathetic here and in the original a Marsh child female follows the Doc into the TARDIS and saxcrifices her life for him later but none of that now. The monster outfits are best seen far away and in mist or fog. Close up: they're rubbery and zip locked it seems. Still, they're a lot more effective monsters than the monstes of late (yeah, the Nimon, the Mandrel, the big ball sack, don't really cut it as monsters). That said, these things can't really hold a patch to the much older 1950s classic monster outift and movie classic CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, which they are reminiscent of.

What's good is the set up. The colony here looks like a colony with swimming, food finding, workers, and a lot more females among their numbers. There's also a great deal of...and I'm not complaining, just noticing, of...male flesh on display. A lot of skin of the males. That said, there's a lot of really good character actors playing the older guys and they've been in DW before in WAR GAMES, HORROR OF FANG ROCK, and others. And they're believeable at least in ep1 but I feel all the way through. The ship looks okay. The caves okay and the look is nothing like any of the old look of DW, Pertwee's colorful colors aside maybe...it certainly looks better than THE MUTANTS, THREE DOCTORS, and CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS combined.

It also sounds better than almost every DW story before it. The music, I believe done by  a new musician, is really much better than anything before and sounds really good on its own. And it has themes for charcters including the Outlers, Varsh, and especially Adric. Yes, Adric. AHh, yes, Adric. Truth is that Matthew's not bad in this episode. I did have a question about the dialog though---what does he mean by handles o nthe TARDIS doors not on the same level? The phone box itself and the handle on the phone box door? Not really important anyway.

The healing aspect of Adric is interesting. In the novel he is given a bit more background. Something about his parents dying in the fires when the ship crashed or something. Thing is this planet was supposed to be Gallifrey in the negative universe, and it was supposed to be anti matter but that was dropped thanks to the anti matter guff of PLANET OF EVIL, which I liked too. So does Adrc have Time Lord abilities? Certainly he seems to have some of their personality traits. And some intelligence. Not sure but he seems to want to save the man that is pulled into the lake. So he's somewhat heroic. And he wants to warn the others. Some of this story wise is a bit awkward: warn them about what exacxtly? Themistfall which they already know about? That they have come full circle? and just why does the decider pick that time...where he's in dire danger to say this to Adric? Is it that important to reveal the truth then and there as he's about to die? Did he have a pang of conscience about not revealing something that should ahve been revealed? And why change his mind then and there?

still none of that detracts from the enjoyment of the story. Waterhouse reminds us on the DVd of he and the actor who played Tylos. The actor who played Tylos came out as gay on daytime TV. He and Matthew used to go off together to ...uhm, watch DW repeats (HORNS OF NIMON or NIGTHMARE OF EDEN I think) or at least that's what Waterhouse says.

The extremely attractive guy who plays Adric's brother Varsh married Kate O'Mara, the Rani! It boggles the mind.

The story is off to a great start and is head and shoulders above LEISURE HIVE and MEGLOS already. And there's no reason why young people can't be in DW... 









The Doc's in trouble in the marsh and later in the starliner. I guess he's gone to help the Decider if he could or see what he could do to stop the problem but he really doens't have to get involved nor does he have to send K9 off to follow the marshmen. It's quite tragic that the marsh child follows the Doctor inside the starliner and the starliner people are not at all friendly. Some typical but funny Tom-isms: after the three stuffy deciders introduce themselves, he says, "And I"m the Doctor"  and "Why can't people just be nice to one another for once. I mean I"m not an alien and you don't want to drag me into a swamp." A beat and then, "You do."  I love how he just shakes up this entire culture. And they deserve it. There's some secret going on and at the time I should have expected some PLANET OF THE APES like revelation but I didn't. It's not unlike FACE OF EVIL or UNDERWORLD in this aspect.

There's a square purple paint spot where the Tardis was standing. Still, some of these outdoor shots, brief as they may be are some of the most well lit, beautiful outdoorsy scenes ever shot for the series. Despite the sound effects of something akin to a lift off the marshmen have taken the TARDIS into the cave, carrying it. Now it's been carried or taken before and the weight has never been an issue but it is here. And K9 is silly here, just getting his head knocked off iwthout defending himself. I HATE that the production team sees fit to get rid of him in these violent ways, just make him in the Tardis recharging if you have to. Up to the beheading point, he was really quite useful.

The violent antipathy between Varsh and Tylos (who was supposed to be tougher in the script...talk about going against type) was played down...way down to the point of non existance and truthfully it could have added something to this ep and others. The doors to the TARDIS don't seem to operate togethr, meaning interior and exterior. Adric slams one of the outer doors shut but enters the open interior doors. Why he did that? Panic over the spiders? Romana was still outside.

JNT was correct in not making the giant spiders of the original story. He'd seen a Blake's 7 ep (HARVET OF KARIOS or something) and rightly realized giant insects were not to be done correctly on tv yet, not by the BBC anyway. Instead, we get these smaller spider insects and while they are disturbing, if seen in a scene too long, they look really fake. Even so, Romana's fate in the  cliffhanger is pretty upsetting but why pick up a fruit/egg to hit the things with? And her earlier, "They're only spiders" is silly. They look menacing from the moment we see them and they should to her. I guess they were trying to emphazise the antagonism between teh Marshpeople, the Starliner people and the spiders...

another good ep, carried by Lalla at her best, Tom as his best, and the production and direction at their best, even with the young cast...if Doctor Who had gone on like this for ten more years, I would have watched it regularly and loved every moment of it. Romana, the Doctor, Adric and K9 made quite a watchable team and into trouble every minute and with interesting mysterious stories and new cultures to see in conflict...all that was needed was a bit more trips into history...this was just great and so promising for the future. Little did I know I should have enjoyed it while I could. It was all about to get ripped away from me and the audience to bcome something so different too fast.

for now, this ep stands as another strong one, entertaining and not yet too demanding but colorful, fast paced and very very watchable unlike LEISURE and MEGLOS and a lot of what was to follow (even some Davison stories were just...blah!). for me, this season is shaping up finally to be something of value and something different to DW before it.            


Faster paced, more colorful, better music, and a better story with three companions, yes FULL CIRCLE comes to an end. I'm not too sure about the evolution stuff going on and it is a bit confusing but the story is rather fast paced and entertaing. Tom looks like Tom again and his hair is curly, his nerve going on strong, his jokes funny and his out Doctor outrage at the experimentation on the marsh child just so very good. He also is keen on revealing the secrets of the starliner and even smiles when one of the Deciders realizes the marshmen can find a way back in once they're gone.

Varsh's death is sad, no getting over it really. Tylos also dies a hero. The scenes of the marshmen attacking could have been so much more violent and upsetting as they attack the inner chamber.

Another interesting thing is how Romana seems to be the Doctor's conscience at one moment. He is about to leave the starliner people to their fate but she is in front of him or to the side, telling him about millions and thousands of years of evolution going to waste and then and only then, just as he's about to leave them to their fate...and that would include alll the others , Adric, Keara, Login, etc...does he stop and teach them how to fly the ship. I like the scenes where the Doctror and Romana teach them, give them the book to read about the rest and hurridedly leave...excellent. JNT is making some great descions here....nixing a long scene of the Doc and Romana teaching the starliner people how to fly. He also stops, rightly so, an epilogue in the novel that would have had the starliner promptlly crashing again and having the evolution stuff happening again all over...a really stupid ending that JNT stopped. Hooray for JNT. No, really!

Adric is a great companion in this and his loyalty, his courage, his willingness to make mistakes and his comments...to the Doctor, "Sometimes,"  to the Doctor;s question, "Do you think it's right to loot other people';s property" is very funny. He has many of these moments so in a way he's the best of Leela's inexperience (and if he's partly somehow marshman her savagery) and the lower end of ROmana's intellegence (notice how he one ups her in smarts by suggesting they can just look out the door). Still, he seemed to close the door from the inside while trying to stop Tylos from shutting the inner doors...and then he accidentally starts the TARDIS away from Romana. I love Tom's "What is this Noah's ark?" comment when everyone comes out of the TARDIS and the short hop joke.

We also get to see a companion's bedroom, perhaps for the first time ever. We saw some bunks in some of the Hartnell eps and maybe Vicki's room or Barbara's or both but I can't recall it being so elaborately decorated. Of course either the posssessed Romana or the marshmen mostly wreck her room. It is clear to see Adric and the Doctor's warm touching care for Romana in a few short scenes.

We also see a BBC camera get between the Doc and Adric in the lab just as the marshmen break in...

There are those that say Varsh could have made a better companion. It's hard to argue with that but I doubt it. He's somewhat more in the traditional mold of companion and would have been more a hero. It might have been interesting if after Adric died, the Doctor somehow got Varsh as a comp instead of the wet Turlough...Richard Willis is nice to look at, did I say that? Anyway, you can see a lot more of  him in THE FEATHERED SERPENT but mind you, it was 1976 so he's a lot younger there and looks completely diffrent and acts with Partick Troughton.!!!

FULL CIRCLE is a resounding success and if DW could have stayed this way...instead of detriorating slowly over time...ahhh well...          

We learn from the DVD that ANdrew Smith submitted a story line where aliens hiding on Earth in the 1800s are cloning to try to get Rutans off their planet. They make the Sontarans and the Sontarans win the battle and then take over the planet! One of the battles is to take place on the Marie Celeste (THE CHASE had that happen already with the Daleks). We learn a lot of other things from the DVD text info also.  


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