Production Code: 5Y
1 - 01/02/1982 18:55
2 - 02/02/1982 19:05
3 - 08/02/1982 18:55
4 - 09/02/1982 19:05
The TARDIS visits the planet Deva Loka, where Nyssa remains behind in the ship to recover from a mild mental disorientation while the Doctor, Tegan and Adric explore. Tegan falls asleep under some wind chimes and becomes possessed by an evil force, a Mara.
Also on Deva Loka is a survey team assessing the planet for colonisation, but three of their number have disappeared and the remainder - Sanders, his deputy Hindle and the scientist Todd - are encountering difficulties in their dealings with the outwardly primitive but telepathically gifted native people, the Kinda. Hindle becomes mentally unstable, but his mind is eventually cleared by a Kinda device called the Box of Jhana.
Aided by the Kinda, the Doctor ultimately succeeds in banishing the Mara - which manifests itself in the form of a giant snake - by trapping it in a circle of mirrors.
In the survey team's dome, Hindle turns his gun on the Doctor, Adric and Todd. Two of the silent male Kinda approach down the corridor, also aiming handguns at the trio. Todd argues that Hindle has no power to arrest them, but Hindle raves: 'You forget. I am now in command. I have the power of life and death over all of you!'
The Doctor, Sanders and Todd are locked in a cell with the Box of Jhana. Hindle, watching from a view screen in the dome's control room, orders the Doctor to open the Box, threatening to have him shot if he disobeys. Todd warns the Doctor that the Box could kill them, but he replies that the same could be said of Hindle. The Doctor's hands grasp the lid of the Box, and Todd screams in terror.
The Doctor realises that in order to thwart the Mara the Kinda's planned attack on the survey team's dome must be averted. He and Todd need the help of the wise old Kinda woman Panna to get them back to the dome through the forest. Todd runs into Panna's cave but finds the old woman sitting motionless. She calls the Doctor over. It appears that Panna is dead.
Todd tells the Doctor that Sanders intends to stay on Deva Loka but that it is a bit too green for her. As the Kinda arrive and look on, the Doctor bids farewell to Todd and follows his companions into the TARDIS, pausing on the threshold to note: 'I think paradise is a little too green for me, as well.'
Buddhist texts and symbolism (the wheel of life, the two Tegans story, character names).
Ursula LeGuin (The Word for World is Forest).
Alice (Aris) in Wonderland.
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
Celtic religion (matriarchal tribe with the reincarnation of priestesses).
Dr Strangelove (nuclear paranoia, the Doomsday Clock at 11:55).
Yeats' The Second Coming ('That's how things fall apart').
1930s psychiatry (Not We Not Me).
Greek myth (Pandora's box).
Heart of Darkness.
Apocalypse Now (soldiers going native, thus colonial stories like Sanders of the River).
Christianity (Edenic planet, 'Paradise is a bit too green', a quote from Abide With Me ('Change and decay in all around I see'), apples, snakes, etc).
Kate Bush (particularly Breathing).
The Doctor misquotes The Tempest.
It's also a subversion of the traditional Doctor Who base under siege stories via Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris (base infiltrated by benign but utterly demolishing alien intelligence).
Aris : "I am Aris! I have voice!"
Sanders : "Straight-down-the-line thinking, that's what this situation needs."
The Doctor : "An apple a day keeps the... Ah."
Karuna : "How many fathers do the "not we" have?"
The Doctor : "Well, on the whole, one!"
The Mara can only cross to reality through the dreaming of a solitary mind [one that isn't part of a collective mind like that of the Kinda]. The Mara can be contained between mirrors. The Kinda, aware that the Mara can reproduce itself, refer to it in the plural (Panna calls it 'he'.) Only women in the Kinda tribe speak. They employ a trickster to defuse conflict, are mutually telepathic, and follow a religion that embraces reincarnation. One of their devices is a box which removes aggressive impulses from the recipient. They play music on chimes based on the chromatic scale, and discourage individual dreaming. The Kinda have seven fathers.
Tegan, aged 3, didn't like ice cream.
Deva Loka, or S14 [probably a lost Earth colony as apples grow there; previously a part of the Sumaran Empire].
Well known British film star Richard Todd plays Sanders.
Nerys Hughes, better known for her starring roles in the BBC's The Liver Birds and The District Nurse, plays Todd.
Adrian Mills plays Aris - he later became a television presenter, including on the BBC's consumer programme That's Life.
Pop star Kate Bush wrote this story under a pseudonym. (She didn't.)
Playwright Tom Stoppard wrote this story under a pseudonym. (He didn't.)
Many camera wobbles.
Adric and Nyssa's draughts board is the wrong way round.
We never find out what's happened to Roberts and the other two missing crew [perhaps they joined the Kinda].
When Aris laughs, we see his fillings.
In episode four Tegan talks of Hindle as if she'd met him.
We'd mention the snake, but it's the reason why fanboys rate this story so little. If the Mara is a creature of false fears, then it's apt that its real form is a poor origami monster.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Peter Davison
Adric - Matthew Waterhouse
Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
Tegan - Janet Fielding
Anatta - Anna Wing
Anicca - Roger Milner
Aris - Adrian Mills
Dukkha - Jeffrey Stewart
Hindle - Simon Rouse
Karuna - Sarah Prince
Panna - Mary Morris
Sanders - Richard Todd
Todd - Nerys Hughes
Trickster - Lee Cornes
Director - Peter Grimwade