You Could Read My Mind
Episode A15, first broadcast in the USA 16th February 1998
into high gear...
commonality (the 'link' all the aliens share that allows them to
commune directly with each other) has been invaded, and Da'an
and Zo'or are determined to find out by whom. The obvious
suspect is the recently arrived Katya Pitrenko, a Russian
psychic appearing at a nearby conference who is able to read
thoughts, soon telling Boone she knows his secret and that he is
in grave danger.
At last, the
persistence of regular viewers is rewarded with this intriguing
episode which opens up more questions, but also has some at
least partial answers about the Taelon purpose. What is good to
see is the recurrence of some old foes. Corr, the man Sandoval
hired to kill Boone's wife, makes a reappearance (although he
doesn't receive his just desserts for this crime, which is a
shame), and Zo'or, revelling in his new position as Companion to
the UN, looks to have an agenda of his own to take care of,
which may not be in the best interests of the Taelons or humans.
There is also more background revealed about Ma'el's first
contact mission to Earth, as shown in The Secret of
It is good to
see Earth: Final Conflict finally starting to move
forward through its story arc; the character interplay,
especially that between Da'an and Boone is developing
particularly well. Drama, mystery and intrigue at its best.
Hopefully, this show won't go the way of The X-Files where
there are hints but never any explanation of what is actually
going on. (9/10)
Horror of Fang Rock
BBC Home Video
Price: £11.99. Out 6th July
isolated lighthouse plays home to one of the series' triumphs
On paper The
Horror of Fang Rock appears to be an ideal strategy for a
fiasco. Observe: four episodes hastily written to replace
another script, with a premise foisted upon the writer by the
production team. Set completely in a lighthouse, so the director
additionally has to contend with limited and problematic curved
sets. What's more, regulars Tom Baker and Louise Jameson
reportedly disliked both the script and each other.
That's what it
looks like on paper.
The fact that
Fang Rock is a near-masterpiece is undoubtedly down to the
raw talent and knuckle-down determination of all involved.
Terrance Dicks' script isn't world-shattering, but he takes the
turn-of-the-century lighthouse scenario and milks the inherent
isolation and claustrophobia for all they're worth. He wisely
also gives his marooned characters a juicy backstory involving
insider information and sets them at each other's throats, while
the spectacularly aloof Doctor (Tom Baker in foul temper) grants
their squabbling no concession in his fight against a
director Paddy Russell shoots with great economy, lending the
story its confidence and moodiness by refusing to once
compromise its integrity. The acting throughout is of a high
standard, with experienced performers elevating their roles
above cliche. Louise Jameson has expressed disappointment with
the insipid way Leela was originally written, but the on-screen
result - whoever we have to thank for it - is one of her
isn't perfect, of course. The action starts to become cramped in
the latter episodes, as the script marks time before the climax
and auxiliary characters are picked off more to liven things up
than anything else. The effects are passable at best (the Rutan
alien) and risible at worst (an Airfix ship striking the rocks).
of Fang Rock is further evidence of Doctor Who's
time-honoured ability to produce magic in the face of dramatic
limitations and production difficulties. It plays to the series'
strengths of character, and is crafted by people who cared. It
succeeds beyond expectation. (9/10)