Doctor Who: The Krotons
(4 episodes, s06e19-e22, 1968-1969)
The run of entertaining serials had to come to an end sometime, I suppose.
This one opens with a young man and woman being selected to be the companions of the Krotons. When they emerge on the other side of the door they entered in the Learning Hall, the man is vaporized and the woman is saved by the Doctor and his companions. When they visit the city to tell the people what they witnessed, they get greeted by spears and fisticuffs, which excites Jamie to no end because he’s spent most of his time on the TARDIS waiting to punch someone.
The planet was the site of a war with the Krotons that nearly destroyed the Gonds and ruined the landscape. The Krotons have been hiding in their organic ship (the Dynatrope) and haven’t been seen since, but demand the top students as companions. As it turns out, they’ve been using the mental energy of these excelling academics to recharge their systems, which the Doctor and Zoe discover after being accidentally selected by the Krotons.
Thing is, the Dynatrope is already dying without the energy from the Doctor and Zoe. Downside: The resulting explosion will devastate the city and surrounding area. Jamie escapes the Dynatrope and goes to work helping to create sulfuric acid. Zoe pours a bottle into the tank that the Krotons are using for survival, and Jamie pours a large quantity over the Dynatrope. The Gonds are free and the Krotons are dead.
I really like the subtle competition between Zoe and the Doctor. I don’t like the HADS (Hostile Action Detection System) as much, although it could explain the supposed indestructibility of the craft.
Once the story’s mystery unwrapped, it’s a basic run-and-gun base under siege with the twist of a primitive uprising. It had promise, but this one was just boring.
Rating: 2/5 – “Mm? What’s that, my boy?”
UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.
5 thoughts on “Timestamp #47: The Krotons”
It’s so weird, Robert Holmes, the writer of this serial, will grow to become synonymous with “Doctor Who” throughout the 70’s and is regarded as the best or one of the best writers that the show ever had. Director David Maloney is also considered one of the great directors of the show. Yet, for some reason this just seems stale. Assistant script editor Terrence Dicks claims that in these days that the producer and script editor used to spend all their time in the BBC bar, only lurching out to make necessary decisions on the show and going back in. I have no idea how true that is, but it’s the only way that I can explain why when such good talent is on an episode that it doesn’t gel.
That being said, my real issue with the story is that Krotons need to drain the mental energy from intelligent beings to survive, but by culling those “high brains” they make the Gonds dumber and dumber with each generation. With that in mind, I kind of excuse the actions of the Gonds in this story as they’ve been bread for stupidity. I do really love the interplay with Zoe and the Doctor that you mention though.
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