Reviews & Ratings for
"Doctor Who" Planet of the Spiders: Part Four (1974)

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Fitting send off for Jon Pertwee's Doctor

9/10
Author: Christopher Evans from South Wales, UK
18 November 2014

Review of all 6 episodes:

This may not be the very best of the Pertwee era but it is an excellent story and a fitting finale for the Third incarnation of The Doctor. It is exciting, beautifully scripted and acted with poignant final scenes for Pertwee saying a sad farewell before regenerating into Tom Baker's 4th Doctor.

The story involves Mike Yates, convalescing in a Buddhist retreat and finding some of the others there are seemingly attempting to gain dangerous mental powers. He calls Sarah Jane in to help investigate. Meanwhile The Doctor and the Brigadier are investigating a psychic whose powers are beyond his own understanding and this power combines badly with the crystal from Metebelis 3 The Doctor shows him after it is returned to him by former companion Jo Grant. This psychic event causes a link to be made by huge, psychically powerful spiders on Metebelis 3 with the men in the Buddhist retreat. A spider joins with the leader of the group Lupton and causes him to steal the crystal.

The first episode is a very well scripted and interesting set up. The second episode is very entertaining but is a bit of a filler, containing a huge, slightly pointless but action packed chase sequence on numerous forms of transport. This second episode is great fun but does not really move the story forward at all. It could have been used more effectively to make sense of the coincidence that the different strands of the story happen to link up with Mike happening to be at the very place that people become psychically linked to Metebelis 3. The third and fourth episodes continue with the excellence in script and acting from the regular cast but are held back from greatness by the humans on Metebelis 3 who are a bit disappointing compared to the whole rest of the production which is superb. The spiders are not ground breaking but are scary and very well voiced, making them great monsters. Episodes 5 and 6 are superb and bring a tremendous climax to the story as well as a wonderful, moving end for Pertwee's Doctor.

The character Kan-Po Rimpoche, The Doctor's former mentor is brilliantly portrayed and a fascinating addition to the series lore. There is a great human character with special needs which is quite sensitively portrayed and who has very interesting character development. Lupton is well portrayed and Benton, the Brig, Sarah Jane and Mike are all on top form.

Best of all, Pertwee is terrific in his final story and especially his final episode. The character portrayal with him realising he has let his quest for knowledge cause death and danger is fabulous and well beyond the efforts to show 'the dark side' of the Doctor by Stephen Moffatt in 2010-14.

A great send off for the Third Doctor and an excellent addition to the series as a whole.

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