Reviewed By: adamelijah
Review Date: 8/6/15 10:53 pm
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The Daleks and The Sensorities, both were alien races who were the focus of a story in Season One. In many ways, the Sensorites are the antithesis of the Daleks: peaceful, trusting, and mostly benign. The Sensorites are not a threat to our heroes because they want to conquer or hurt them, but because they're afraid of being hurt. They are afraid of the dark and are hurt by loud noises (including the Doctor raising his voice.") In fact the evil Sensorite threatened another by promising to put him in a dark room and filling it with noise.
They arm themselves with powerful weapons to maintain peace and protect their very vulnerable sensibilities, not to make war, but still that means it falls to our heroes to convince them of their good intentions and avoid misunderstanding.
Unfortunately, the problem is the evil Sensorite drives much of the action, and he's not very good at coming up with evil plans. In fact, his most successful evil plan (replacing the nation's Second in Command with himself by putting on his sash) actually was inspired by a suggestion made by one of the humans. A classic example of one of his evil plans is that he plans to stop Ian from getting the antidote to poisoned water by intercepting it and Susan thwarts this evil plan by going to the lab and getting more antidote.
Our heroes aren't beyond some bizarre fails in judgment. In Episode 1, the Sensorites remove the lock from the TARDIS with the Doctor and crew standing less than twenty feet away, and thus they can't get into the TARDIS and are stuck. And then in Episode 5, the Doctor suggests having the villain appointed to office (not knowing he's the villain) for no good reason other than the fact he was a Sensorite and in the room. In addition, the episodes in the Sensephere are very dull looking even by Season 1 standards. The first episode really dragged. And the last episode features some dodgy directing, particularly in the climatic scene.
What works about the story? The TARDIS crew are great together. This team is wonderful when together with great interactions. There are some great moments between Susan and the Doctor with Susan showing some signs of trying to assert independence and coming of age and the Doctor's resistance to her making a decision he disagrees with.
The story was hurt by Barbara staying on the spaceship (for some unknown reason in-story. In real life, it was so Jacqueline Hill could take her vacation) but the Doctor really carries the story at several points, particularly with Ian ill in the fourth episode. I will say that, given this, the end of the story with the Doctor threatening to put them off the TARDIS is really awkward, but that's the only part.
The second episode has some eerie moments as Ian confronts the Sensorites. Doctor Who also asserted itself as an educational show in the middle episodes, with the Doctor demonstrating how to uncover the source of contaminated water and providing insight into the scientific method.
Susan also offered some clues to their home world, and these are pretty rare. And I do like some of the concepts of the Sensorites, but it's a pity that they were so dim-witted.