Doctor Who – The Masque of Mandragora

Doctor Who Story 086 – The Masque of Mandragora

Duke Giuliano totally looks like the Tenth Doctor
Duke Giuliano totally looks like the Tenth Doctor

Who Wrote It: Louis Marks

What’s It About: The Doctor and Sarah accidentally transport Helix Energy to 15th century energy. While there, they become embroiled in court intrigue, but soon discover that the Helix Energy has deadly plans that could change the course of human history.

In the past I have enjoyed this story a great deal. And while there is still much to appreciate, the pace of the story was slower than I preferred. Perhaps this was due to watching it so soon after The Seeds of Doom.

But the story does strengths. The setting looks great (Portmerion has such a wonderful look to it), the costumes are amazing, and Heironymous is an interesting villain. The Helix Energy is an interesting concept, but I feel like it was nothing more than a poor-man’s Great Intelligence. I was never invested enough in the story to care about the threat. I guess I would say that the Helix Energy concept wasn’t fleshed out enough to make it feel threatening. I think I would have found the story far more interesting if Heironymous was merely the leader of a secret society of a lost pagan cult that hoped to undermine the power of the church or destabilize Giuliano’s duchy. I think there are so many fascinating ways this story could have been straight historical; the monster sort of lets it down.

But all these thoughts aside, Masque of Mandragora is a well-produced story. The performances are good, the story looks great, and everyone involved seems to be having fun. At various times in the past, I have enjoyed this story, but it didn’t do much for me this time.

My Rating: 3/5

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – The Masque of Mandragora

  1. The first classic Doctor Who novelization I read was Masque of Mandragora, and I quite liked it. Sorry it didn’t have the magic for you the 2nd (or 3rd?) time around.

    1. It was probably the 7th or 8th time around. When I was in college I had, probably, five or six Doctor Who video tapes. Masque was one of them. I’m beginning to wonder if I just burned myself out on it.

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