Episode A12, first broadcast in the USA 19th January 1998
malfunctioning Implant leads to trouble...
the fourth episode of Earth: Final Conflict, delivered
the chilling warning that the CVIs implanted into Taelon
servants are all liable to degenerate. In Sandoval's Run
we witness the results of this, as Da'an's right hand man
collapses when his CVI fails. Dr Bellman uses a revolutionary
technique known as the anti-cybervirus to treat him, in the hope
that he can be re-implanted. But the dying Sandoval, now
relieved of the imperative to serve the aliens, goes on the run.
He tracks down his wife Dee Dee, who he had committed to a
psychiatric institute, and wishes to make his peace with her.
Meanwhile the Taelons have ordered his termination.
Just when Earth: Final Conflict seemed to be heading
into something of a rut, along comes a terrific instalment that
delivers a wealth of surprises. Besides some sparkling writing,
the episode's greatest asset is Von Flores who, relieved of the
shackles of playing the faithful Companion servant, lets loose
his emotions as the desperate Sandoval.
Equally rewarding is the fact that another layer of the show's
ongoing story arc is revealed. One of the most trusted of the
Taelon servants, Sandoval possesses secrets that are unknown to
Boone - and he reveals that the relationship between the
Companions and Humans is symbiotic. Without each other, both
races will die. Given that Doors and the resistance are working
towards driving the Taelons from the planet, Boone could be left
with a very interesting dilemma. (9/10)
By David Richardson
The Mind of Evil
BBC Home Video
Price: £16.99. Out now
plan that came to nothing
in BBC Video's recent extravaganza of Doctor Who
averageness, The Mind of Evil is a disappointingly
listless piece of work.
The blame falls mainly on the story - or rather, two stories
jemmied awkwardly together. One involves a riot at Stangmoor
prison, where a revolutionary process removes evil impulses from
serious offenders, the other concerns a world peace conference
in London. In a public relations coup waiting to happen, a nerve
gas missile is simultaneously being ferried about with minimal
escort (naturally). Delgado's marvellous Master provides the
slender link, hijacking the missile with the help of the inmates
to aim at the peace conference.
The conference looks promising for a while but vanishes in
episode three, overtaken by the dreary prison shenanigans -
capture, escape, capture, not-one-but-two lengthy riots, that
sort of thing. Lacking the dramatic hook to sustain its six (is
it really that few?) episodes, the workaday script just ambles
to a deus ex machina conclusion which features the
first-ever instance of someone being run over by a stationary
The problems are compounded by a magnificent lack of
credibility. The Keller machine is initially presented as 'a
box' which 'stores negative impulses'. No one questions how or
why, much less debating the process's dubious morality. The
creature within kills by amplifying its victims' fears, yet one
man is found covered in scratches, another with a lungful of
water. The thing then begins to teleport about the place...
somehow. The story becomes farcical when it posits that a bunch
of thugs can ambush a missile convoy and operate the launcher
while keeping the prison outwardly running smoothly. There must
have been a particularly witless load of visitors and callers
Thankfully the cast salvages a great deal. Roger Delgado in
particular keeps his performance tightly reined in while clearly
enjoying out-acting Pertwee.
Despite the quality of the performances and sporadic realism,
The Mind of Evil never gets it together. (5/10)
By Peter Griffiths