Monday, June 10, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: Vengeance On Varos

Doctor Who: 
Vengeance On Varos  
By Philip Martin

DOCTOR: My death will prevent Varos from ever progressing out of the reach of extortion of such as the Galatron Mining Company. Our deaths will send any hope for this planet back into the pit of fear and misery, which has for so long been the lot of its people.
SIL: Pull the lever! Stretch them out of this life!
DOCTOR: Wait! I came to this planet because I needed a new source of energy supply. My Tardis depends for its function upon a rare and precious mineral of Varos. Zeiton-7. I can show you new prosperity.
SIL: Destroy them now!

The Doctor is trying to repair the TARDIS when all of a sudden it just stops moving.  The Doctor realizes what the problem is and the TARDIS transitional elements have stopped producing orbital energy and they need to get Zeiton – 7 to fix it.  The Doctor has accepted defeat and resound to his fate of living life out in the TARDIS going nowhere.   The TARDIS all of a sudden shows a bit of life and The Doctor hopes it has enough power to get them to Varos which is the only place to get Zeiton – 7.

The TARDIS lands in the Punishment Dome just in time to save Jondar from execution.  It appears that The Doctor and Peri have now become involved in the local politics on Varos.   The slimy sales person Sil from the Galatron Mining Corporation has been taking advantage of Varos for years over the Zeiton – 7 ore.  It appears that The Doctor’s appearance and intervention has caused him some grief as the governor is starting to think about a way to take control of the ore.  Sil will not let this happen as he will do anything to keep the ore and the high profits for the company.

Vengeance on Varos is the one story that the BBC pointed the fingers at as the story that was to violent and demanded that the production crew make amends while putting the show on hiatus.  If you actually watch Vengeance on Varos it actually isn’t all that violent at all.  Yes there were a few scenes that could be deemed questionable like the guards falling in the acid pit while in a struggle with The Doctor but stuff like that has happened before. In The Seeds of Doon Gabriel Chase tried pulling the Doctor into the giant compost crusher while the Doctor was trying to save him thus ended up with him getting shredded to bits.  Stuff like that has happened in Doctor Who before and the BBC just had a hair across its ass and was just looking for an excuse to put the show away.

In fact Vengeance on Varos is a pretty good story that is a satire of everyday life.  You have the couple where one is totally obedient to the government and will do whatever her brainwashed logic will tell her to do because the government told her it was right and then you have the disgruntled worker who is fed up with the way things are and is looking for a change.  You can easily fit this couple into everyday life as everyone knows someone who is like that.  Plus you have the invention of reality TV.  That’s right Varos entertained their populace with TV from the Punishment Dome with the inhabitants fighting for their lives. Kind of like a deadly version of Survival where you win by literally surviving the traps.

Vengeance on Varos is a pretty good story in which they tried something different and for the most part it worked pretty well. I liked how Colin Baker was a bit more grounded and not overly the top as he was in the previous two stories.  You can now see he has the role of The Doctor as he wants it to be and he has the confidence in the role to portray him extremely well and is now the Sixth Doctor we all know and love. 

Varos also gives us Sil. He is a slug like alien that is extremely bloodthirsty and greedy.  He would sell his mother for a profit and then turn that profit into more of a gain.  I always found him annoying and not one of my favorite villains in the show.  I just find the way he talks to be like listening to finger nails on a chalkboard.  Varos also has Jason Connery in it also. He is the son of Sean Connery and his claim to fame was being the second Robin in Robin of Sherwood. 

Vengeance on Varos  is a clever story that is more a dig at governments and big business and makes for a nice story to watch from time to time from the Sixth Doctor’s era.
Grade B +

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