Not bad. Not bad at all.
Having written about the six preceding episodes, I don’t feel I have much to add. The story was an interesting—and to me, uneven—mix of action, spy-fi, and intrigue. It didn’t feel as tight as The Silurians, despite sharing an author; to be fair, however, Malcolm Hulke was brought in partway through. I think the shift between three writers is probably the biggest problem with this story. As no one writer had complete control in shaping the vision of the story, it was a collision of styles and voices.
That said, the underlying story is good. I wouldn’t mind more stories in Doctor Who that attempt to do what this one and The Silurians did.
- Malcolm Hulke proved with The Silurians he has a strong grasp of character, and that strength is still in play here. The leads interact well. Professor Cornish is a strong leader, concerned for his astronauts above all else; General Carrington is wonderfully portrayed as a man with strong beliefs acting out of a genuine, yet flawed, concern for the planet. Even Reegan is a fascinating, fully fleshed-out thug. He could have easily been a cliché, but he has his own motives for the aliens. The characters really help this story along when it loses its pace.
- As mentioned before, the story itself is good. I look forward to seeing how it was novelized and whether it was tightened up any in book form.
- Once more, the pace was uneven. There were some good action scenes and side-by-side with some rather dull mission control sequences. Perhaps this story, if it had a little more lead time (something that I’m sure was virtually impossible) and could have gone through another draft, probably would have ironed out some of the kinks.
Final Verdict: While I would say that The Ambassadors of Death is, for me, the weakest of the season seven stories, I wish to emphasize that I feel, in no way, that this is a bad story. So far, with only one story left (which I shall be writing about as a whole rather than episodically), season seven has been a successful revitalization of Doctor Who.