“The Last of the Gaderene” by Mark Gatiss (2000) — Doctor Who

Synopsis

Something mysterious is happening with mysterious people mysteriously at a nearby abandoned airfield, which is the cover for an impending alien invasion. Already the aliens have taken possession of several Very Important People at the Defense Ministry to smooth other everything and are hunting for the Lost MacGuffin in order to begin the invasion. Fortunately someone was old friends with the Brigadier and knew just how to bypass security to contact him directly. The Brig, of course, sends the Doctor, after he gets back from a little side trip that has nothing to do with the main story, and soon everything turns into (pseudo) Zombie Apocalypse! with villagers getting implanted with alien embryos to control them to hold off the UNIT troops until the actual invasion begins. All is saved when a WW II Spitfire airplane dives into the teleportation beam and halts the invasion permanently.

Commentary

Oh, my god, not another aliens from a dying planet invasion of the Earth story. Is there some sign out in the middle of the Universe advertising Earth as a fully-equipped, quick “fixer-upper” home including 6 billion potential host creatures?

The story is a quite unremarkable tale: an alien invasion in a small hamlet which leads to the entire town being put under alien control. Sound familiar? It should. Its been in several Doctor Who episodes already, not to mention movies (“Invaders From Mars”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) and other TV shows (“The Invaders”). (There is a pattern here.)  There’s nothing here to make this story stand out from any of the rest.

And what is it with the sudden appearance of the Master in the middle of the story? From the dialog, it appears this takes place before his first appearance in the TV series, which is a major faux pas, since the Doctor was surprised to find out the Master was about and on Earth in ‘Terror of the Autons’. He really doesn’t serve any purpose here, nor does he act very smart: when dealing with desperate alien races who will do anything to survive, he should have expected to be betrayed by his employers, or maybe in his expansive ego he thinks they never will betray him. Certainly he’d betray them at any time if felt the need, so why can’t the Master ever think his employers would not do the same?

Summary

Mind Control:

  • Alien possession through implanted embryos. (Shades of Alien.)

 Bad Stuff:

  • Extraneous chapter of the Doctor off on another planet doing something that had no relation to the rest of the story. Was this thrown in just to pad the story out?
  • Extraneous use of the Master starting half-way into the story without any foreshadowing.
  • Aliens betraying the Master. Again. Doesn’t he ever learn, or at least have a backup escape plan?

 Good Stuff:

  • The Brigadier and UNIT finally find something that is vulnerable to bullets, although it does take bazooka rounds to finally finish it.
  • Welcome Private to your first tour with UNIT. If you keep listening to the other soldiers, you might make it to your second tour.

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