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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Doctor Who: Enlightenment: Part Three starts as Turlough (Mark
Strickson) is saved from endless floating in space by another Eternal
ship called The Buccaneer piloted by Captain Wrack (Lynda Baron). Back
on the SS Shadow & Captain Striker (Keith Barron) receives an
invitation from Captain Wrack to join her & her crew for a party,
Captain Striker declines but the Doctor (Peter Davison) & Tegan (Janet
Fielding) want to rescue Turlough so accept. Once there it becomes
clear to the Doctor that Capatin Wrack is the saboteur & plans to
destroy the SS Shadow next in order to make sure her ship the Buccaneer
wins the race...
Episode 19 from season 20 this originally aired here in the UK during March 1983 & is the third episode from the third & final story from the Guardian Trilogy. So far across all three episodes I have enjoyed Enlightenment, there's been some nice ideas, a bit of originality & the plot has continued to develop & move forward across all three episodes. First of all I should say that the reason for Turlough seemingly tyring to commit suicide at the end of Part Two is never made clear, once the Doctor & Tegan meet up with him again they don't even bother to ask! Here in Part Three the pantomime villain Captain Wrack & her camp pirates are introduced, actress Lynda Baron really plays her over-the-top including a scene at the end of this episode when she breaks the unofficial rule of television & looks straight at the camera, gives a little evil 'nothing can stop me now' type speech & then begins to laugh even though there is no-one else in the room. Real pantomime stuff & I half expected an audience to shout back 'it's behind you' or some such phrase. However I quite liked how she played it to be fair, female villains in Doctor Who are as rare as hen's teeth anyway so why shouldn't she have some fun with it? Having said that breaking the 'fourth wall' & speaking directly to the audience is not appropriate for a drama & it does come off as a bit camp & silly. I also notice in this episode that Turlough is trapped inside an airlock with a hole in the center that leads to outer space when the vacuum shield is off, well you know if the room had no seal & was indeed exposed to space all the air inside the room would be sucked out & Turlough would die because he wouldn't be able to breathe. Also the force of the air being sucked out & the vacuum of space would have made Turlough pretty much explode as the pressure would have sucked him through the tiny grate holes & the whole sequence of him trapped in that room exposed to the vacuum of space just didn't work for me, one of the few things in the entire story so far that hasn't in fact. Having said that it's still all good fun & despite one or two questionable plot points I am enjoying Enlightenment.
Here in this episode we get to see this airlock with a bizarre huge flashing 'Vacuum Shield Off' sign above the door which just looks plain daft, I guess it's there just to point out to the audience in no uncertain terms that the vacuum shield is off! The Doctor changes the stick of Celery he has had since Castrovalva (1982) for a stick of Celery he finds at Captain Wrack's party for no apparent reason. The end of this episode also sees Tegan 'frozen' in time yet she's pretty wobbly & during the scene where she is first frozen her eyes are clearly open yet in the next scene her eyes are shut which she wouldn't have been able to do if she indeed had been frozen in time, right? The effects continue to be alright although the opening scene of Turlough being rescued looks poor due to some bad perspective & weak optical effects.
Enlightenment: Part Three is a lot of fun, the story has developed across all three episodes so far & despite the usual questionable plot point or the odd poor effect this is a lot of fun & great entertainment.
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