Reviews & Ratings for
"Doctor Who" Terror of the Autons: Episode Two (1971)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Excuse me officer, could I see your warrant card?" Good second episode.

7/10
Author: Paul Andrews (poolandrews@hotmail.com) from UK
27 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons: Part 2 (shown as 'Episode Two' on screen during the opening credits) starts as the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) decides to follow up on a lead about a travelling circus in the hope that he might find the missing Professor Phillips (George Burgess), instead he finds a lot of trouble as he tied up & threatened. Meanwhile the Master (Roger Delgado) reveals to the hypnotised Rex Farrel (Michael Wisher) that it is all part of his plan to eliminate the Doctor so he can continue his plan to destroy the human race...

Episode 2 from season 8 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during January 1971, produced & directed by Barry Letts this is a classic story that's pretty good. The script by Robert Holmes contains some creepy moments & ideas, the evil & ugly looking living plastic doll which comes to life & kills Farrel Sr. is a particularly memorable highlight in this episode. Then there's the famous scene in which the black inflatable plastic chair smoothers McDermott to death & the cool cliffhanger to this episode as the Doctor removes the policeman's face mask to reveal a blank mannequin face. Of course this is when Doctor Who wasn't a comedy pantomime & actually tried to be creepy, scary & frightening, I could definitely understand the evil doll giving a few kids some nightmares! This story is moving along at a nice pace but there are also scenes which let it down a bit, how did the Doctor know there was a bomb in the box that Jo was trying to open? Hell, he was upstairs & out of sight when he yelled out for her not to open it so how did he know? Even if he did realise she was under the Master's hypnotic control why would he automatically think there's a bomb in the box? Then there's the scene when Jo cracks what looks like a red vase over a guy's head at point blank range & knocks him out cold, yeah right because a little tap on the head from a few millimetre's distance with a vase would knock a man out wouldn't it? It's still good scary fun that's enjoyable to watch though.

Here we get more poor CSO effects, the shot of Jo in the telephone or Mrs. Farrel 'standing' in a kitchen for instance with a clearly super imposed backgrounds just look terrible & is so distracting it's untrue, in fact they look sort of surreal & unfortunately it's a process the show would use a lot over the following few years. Still the evil doll thing is great, very ugly & pretty creepy as well & he actually gets to murder someone, that's right cold blooded murder in Doctor Who. The scene as someone is smothered by a living black plastic chair is sort of odd, it feels a bit daft but is in itself still a bit eerie. The Doctor gets to visit the circus in this one, complete with big top & performing elephants!

Terror of the Autons: Part 2 is slightly better than Part 1 as more happens & it's got killer plastic chairs & evil dolls in it, what more do you want?

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Master of Thrills

10/10
Author: Christopher Evans from South Wales, UK
25 September 2014

Review of all 4 episodes:

The most notable aspect of this story is the arrival of The Master as an arch nemesis for The Doctor. This fellow renegade Time Lord is like Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes, an equally brilliant, intelligent regular adversary who is a bit like 'the other side of the same coin' with The Doctor. The idea of this character and the performance by Roger Delgado is absolutely fantastic. Even in this first story with the character though they do not get it perfectly right as he seems to change allegiances too quickly and easily without a fully satisfying reason. This is a minor quibble though and overall The Master and his plan to bring back to Nestenes, and their ability to turn plastic items into deadly living plastic Autons to attack humanity, provides terrific entertainment.

There is a level of terror and horror in this adventure, similar to its similar predecessor Spearhead From Space. Attacks by an inflatable chair, a telephone wire, plastic daffodils and especially a creepy child's doll are sinister and thrilling, creating some very memorable 'hide behind the sofa' moments that have lived in the minds of viewers ever since. Also the Auton dummies disguised as people have some great moments. In particular there is a great, spectacular stunt when an Auton is knocked down and falls dramatically, careering down a huge slope, apparently to its death, only to just get straight back up.

The regulars do well although it is sad that the character of The Doctor's 'assistant' Liz Shaw is replaced. Her replacement character Jo Grant goes on to be an endearing character but Liz Shaw was the better companion for The Doctor in my opinion.

The story is not perfect but the essence of it and the great new villain added to top class thrills, excellent acting and dialogue in general and good amounts of action make this a classic.

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