Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 6/21/16 5:24 pm
3 out of 3 found this review helpful.
I sat somewhere towards the beginning of episode three wondering how on earth I could get away with remaining credible after my profligacy in giving out 10/10's on Timescales.
The Highland mystique, as popular consensus holds, is gorgeous and oozing with charm - from a string of wonderfully characterised and performed roles to the superb set design. Douglas Camfield not only tells so much through the camera, but the use of film and video appears seamless (a real rarity for myself!) whilst the entire piece bombs along at a superlative pace. I believe one of the documentaries cited TOTZ as originally a six-parter, not that the cut in length is deleterious, far from it.
The Zygons impress, as does their ship, and whilst the monstrous Skarasen fails to keep in with the immersively realistic feel, its used sparingly and isn't totally without merit (some fun stop motion and use of dog skull amusingly Drashigesque). Sarah is playful, warm and amiable; Harry is given some juicy 'possession' material to sink his teeth into; Tom Baker is on peak form, an early vigour coalescing with a behind the scenes team better prepared to tailor the serial's facets around him.
So why, at the conclusion of episode four, did I fall short of giving TOTZ a perfect 10?
Unfortunately, the plot in episode four tackles the Zygons before the Skarasen, as if in an Indiana Jones film our protagonist was to tackle the antagonist at the start of act three, and 'the muscle' for the grand finale! In addition to the jarring nature of a stop-start conclusion, the Zygons are anti-climatically finished, before a trip to the Thames (incredibly poor sfx by the standards of the preceding three episodes). To wrap up - we're left with one of, if not the, most shoddily handled companion departures in Who history.
A perfect two episodes, shaky (by comparison) third and even shakier fourth - that said, still a story well above average and worthy of real praise for all aspects of the serial.