Review [Doctor Who]: "The Visitation"

19×4. The Visitation
Writer: Eric Saward
Director: Peter Grimwade
Script Editor: Antony Root
Producer: John Nathan-Turner

Synopsis: The TARDIS materializes in England in 1666, where Terileptils have established themselves in a small village, using control bracelets and an android that resembles the Grim Reaper to manipulate the residents for their own purposes. As escaped criminals from a violent society, they plan to wipe out Earth’s population and claim its resources as their own.

Review: “The Visitation” is perhaps most noteworthy for further exploring the contentiousness, inexperience, and occasional mistakes of this TARDIS crew. Davison’s Doctor is proving to be a bit irritable at times and sometimes struggles to control the situation – he is forced to leave Adric and Tegan behind at one point when menaced by the Tereleptils’ android, and the final fight with the Tereleptils results in the Great Fire of London breaking out. While the Tereleptils are certainly dangerous and had to be stopped, it’s also clear that they come from a pretty brutal culture, and the Doctor and Nyssa both show noticeable regret at their rather gruesome demise (they are trapped in the fire). Meanwhile, Adric is noticeably frustrated when he feels as if he can’t contribute much and gets himself captured. On the other hand, the Doctor’s light-hearted reaction when someone points out that they’re partly responsible for the fire seems inappropriate – not that I expected him to intervene, but a more sober “we can’t change history” response would have been more appropriate. Still, this is a solid entry that makes good use of the setting, and Richard Mace – the thief who gets reluctantly drafted into helping the Doctor -proves to be an entertaining guest character.

Rating: *** (out of four)

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