What’s It About
So that Nyssa can recover from severe headaches, the TARDIS crew stops on Deva Loka for rest. While there, however, Teagan encounters something evil that wants to be released.
What’s in the box? What’s in the box!?
“Kinda” is a return to the type of story that was told when Christopher H. Bidmead was script editor, which isn’t too surprising since he commissioned it. It is heavily influenced by religious mythology, particularly Buddhist concepts and Judeo-Christian origins. In evangelicalism, there is the idea that evangelism can be effective by studying a culture and learning what biblical parallels exist in that culture. In this way, “Kinda” is almost a type of Buddhist evangelism being offered through Judeo-Christian symbols. Deva Loka is a paradise world—Eden. Evil (the Mara) in its true form is a snake. When under Mara control, Teagan corrupts Aris by dropping apples on him (invoking both Eve offering fruit to Adam and, interestingly, Isaac Newton . . . is “Kinda” making a comment on knowledge?). Buddhist concepts are coded into character names (Dukkha, Karuna, Mara, to name a few) and places (Deva Loka). Cyclical time is a strong component in Buddhism. Teagan’s dream sequences in particular are symbolic of Buddhist philosophies. So, from a religious studies aspect, “Kinda” is a fascinating story, one that offers depth and endless analysis. Sadly, I haven’t studied Buddhism in-depth, and it has been years since I have taken a class on the religion (although next semester I am taking a class on Eastern religions, so I hope to revisit this story at that time).
But in addition to this, the production itself is quite good. While the survival suits are a dated design and the snake itself is of mixed result (although the special edition DVD has very good CGI to replace the snake), the set designs are excellent and the supporting cast is extremely good. Richard Todd as Sanders gives an amazing performance of a man going mad—not in the megalomaniacal way that we typically see on Doctor Who, but in the unpredictable, highly unstable way. He swings from pleasant to horrifying on a dime and makes it completely believable. I’m tempted to put Richard Todd in the same category as Kevin Stoney and Philip Madoc for great villainous actors in Doctor Who.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m watching many of the Peter Davison stories for the first time. I’ve seen “Snakedance” but I had not seen “Kinda.” This story was an absolute joy to watch, and it was hard to not watch it in a single sitting.