“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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