Doctor Who – The Face of Evil

Doctor Who Story 089 – The Face of Evil

Neeva shoots Xoanon
Source: The Tardis Data Core.

Who Wrote It: Chris Boucher

What’s It About: The Doctor encounters the Tribe of Sevateem, which accuses him of being The Evil One and master of The Tesh. As he finagles his way in and out of captivity—aided by a young female warrior named Leela—he discovers that the true evil may have sprung from actions he took a long time ago.

The Face of Evil is full of great ideas, but it is let down by its production. The pacing of the story drags quite a bit. The sound effect for the guns is grating. The story itself doesn’t quite come together. But again, the ideas are wonderful.

The basic story is that The Doctor, some time ago, helped an exploration team. In doing so, he hooked himself to the computer. While he saved the expedition, he left a part of his brain pattern in the computer. With two dual personalities housed in the same system, the computer eventually went insane. It performed eugenics experiments on the humans, crafting two societies that reflected its insanity. The Doctor has now arrived on the planet some decades later and finds the two societies at war, evil invisible creatures (in reality, telepathic projections from the computer) stalking the jungle, and the computer worshipped as a god. There are hints of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Zardoz here. These are great ideas, and it is a shame that the story doesn’t quite come together. The Sevateem are interesting, but The Tesh are dull. I would have liked to see the ideas of religion explored more in the story; Neeva (the Sevateem priest) was a strong force in the opening episodes but faded into the background until the climax. I would have liked to see more of his journey and less running through corridors, shooting cringe-worthy guns. The politics of The Sevateem could have been better developed. And again, The Tesh could use a revamp. This story could have been much better than it was, but instead it moves from interesting scenes to boring ones, and it is a struggle to watch. That said, it has a few things it does well, and if you can focus on the concepts without being distracted by the flaws, it can be a lot of fun.

I guess I should talk about Leela. In the past, I never cared for her character. I didn’t dislike her; I was just indifferent. For some reason, I really took to her character this time around. I think I had, in the past, dismissed her character as a cheap attempt at titillation. Her outfit has long been acknowledged as “for the dads.” But this time around I noticed how well Louise Jameson brought the character to life. I’ll be interested to see if my opinion of the character continues to evolve as I re-watch her stories.

My Rating: 2.5/5

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