Timestamp #42: Fury from the Deep

Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
(6 episodes, s05e29-e34, 1968)

Timestamp 042 Fury from the Deep

 

The TARDIS arrives in the middle of the ocean, and thankfully it floats. Of course, any danger of drowning in a time machine is casually tossed aside by the Doctor endangering his companions by smearing anomalous sea foam in their faces. How reckless, since that foam is the precursor to the titular fury from the deep.

The pumping station, which moves gas from the platforms in the ocean to the mainland is experiencing both a spy problem and a flow problem. The flow just messes with monthly efficiency ratings and causes the station’s supervisor, Robson, to act like a petulant child. The spy lets an invasive seaweed-and-foam entity into the base to – yawn – take over the base and eventually – yawn – the world.

I tried to judge this serial based on its own merits rather than against the problems of the entire fifth series. They’ve been enjoyable, but this season’s theme of defending the base under siege combined with longer serial formats that could have been seriously slimmed down is getting really hard to ignore. This story was an okay break from the alien of the week formula, but it’s still clichéd.

On the upside, we get a chance for Victoria to directly save the day before taking her leave of the TARDIS. She finally breaks the tradition of companions getting terrible send-offs with Victoria having a strong role in the story and getting a family and home in the end. On the downside, where did all of this concern about Victoria feeling unsafe come from? Before now, she hasn’t voiced much of this concern aside from her incessant screaming.

Other positives include the first use of the sonic screwdriver, actually using the TARDIS and its resources in the middle of a serial, and the excellent use of two of the creepiest looking men I’ve ever seen for the station’s killer spies.

A major drawback was Robson. I seriously wanted to feed him to the seaweed-foam-monster and leave him there. He’s a terrible supervisor.

This story was decent enough, but the real high point (and low point) was saying goodbye to Victoria. I wasn’t happy with her sudden change of heart in this story, but I am happy with her final resolution. I’m also ready to be done with the base siege story format.

 

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Wheel in Space

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

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2 thoughts on “Timestamp #42: Fury from the Deep

  1. Well, unfortunately as you now know, The Wheel in Space is also a base under siege story. I totally agree with you about this season as a whole. I know that some people love it, but Season 5 retreads the same ground over and over again with only The Enemy of the World to break things up. I do feel like this is one of the stronger showings though with Oak and Quill being creepy as you mentioned and the Weed being a decent threat. I’ve always found possession to be one of the scarier science fiction concepts.

    I never had much time for Victoria either, although Deborah Watling was very cute and as a teenager I had a crush on her. I think that you’ll like our next companion a lot.

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