2 out of 3 found this review helpful.
A really interesting story. I like the idea of these "Doctor-light" tales a lot, actually, and of course this works well for the theme of a manipulative Seventh Doctor. Loved the setup of the isolated house and Ace and Hex wandering around, becoming introduced to our lovely old couple, only to find that things aren't right in a number of key areas. The Bomb really does go off and the effects are terrifying. I think this stuff, along with the calm yet portentous intonations of the radio announcements, would scare anyone who grew up as a child of the Cold War. The fear isn't as prevalent among today's generation, but the notion of nuclear destruction is actually just as terrifying as it always was.
The structure of the tale is a little unusual. Episodes one and two set up the scenario and the mystery, and bring a deepening sense of dread and impending disaster. Episode three takes us back to how everything got started, and it's the most Doctor-heavy part of the story. Because the Doctor is wandering around, putting plans into action and visiting a host of people all over the world to set up his plan, it feels like a final episode. Only Ace and Hex are still trapped, and it's up to them to resolve the situation in the real final part, since the Doctor isn't actually around!
Which brings me to the climax. Now, I agree that altruism is a wonderful thing, but I don't really feel that it's what makes us human. Obviously Morris was trying to make a point here, and to be fair it is congruent with the slant of a great deal of Doctor Who, but I think he's kind of on shaky ground. How would, say, a devotee of Ayn Rand have resolved the story? "No sympathy for Randians! They're not really human", I hear someone shouting and banging the table. Still, isn't it interesting that Moloch probably acted more human than the Doctor himself did in this story? At least he came back for his children!
I'm also not really clear on how the Doctor knew the Elder Gods would pass into the bodies of Albert and peggy and thus into his "pocket dimension". Couldn't they have checked their future in just about anyone? I've got no problem with the idea of a Doctor manipulating things from the sidelines, but I take issue with him being granted impossibly perceptive abilities or near-omnipotence whenever the script calls for it to happen, and Protect and Survive is a little bit guilty.
Still, the ideas behind this were so intriguing and the setup so engrossing that I can't give Protect and Survive less than an 8.