Companions: The Doctor, Jo Grant, Brigadier, Captain Mike Yates, Sergeant Benton.
Monsters/Villains: The Master, Kronos, Minotaur.
Brief Synopsis: The Master goes all the way to Atlantis to unleash and harness a powerful being known as Kronos.
Here we are at the end of Season 9. It's been a fantastic one, but what of the Season Finale? We're back in Atlantis, but it doesn't bare the slightest resemblance to how it appeared in The Underwater Menace just 5 years prior. Penned by Robert Sloman and Barry Letts, The Time Monster is not one of the most loved, or highly thought of stories; this is most likely due to it lacking a memorable design element. The "monster" of this piece spends most of the story waiting in the wings, the location and studio work for the Newton Institute are pretty good, but not particularly memorable, the odd camera work and poor design of Atlantis really pull down the production as a whole and the less said about the one-off, washing up bowl interior TARDIS redesign the better.
|The Master's assistants Stuart and and Ruth.|
|Delgado at his best.|
|The Doctor makes a Time Flow Analogue.|
|The Doctor makes a similar device in The Lodger.|
We don't see much of the titular Time Monster itself, and when we do, you can see the stings in an entirely literal sense. The design is impressive but badly presented and sadly underused.
|Ingrid Pitt as Atlantian Queen Galleia.|
The story boasts a couple of impressive guest stars, Ingrid Pitt (Hammer Horror Starlet) as queen of Atlantis, Galleia. And the second but easier to miss is Dave Prowse who plays the minotaur, famed for another unrecognisable role, as the body of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films.
|Dave Prowse as the Minotaur.|
The denouement of the story is impressive, but the stakes aren't entirely clear. The Master finally manages to release Kronos thus destroying Atlantis, and escapes with his and the Doctor's TARDISes and Jo Grant. He seems to have finally won. He's bested the Doctor, with Kronos in his control the Master could dominate the universe and he holds all the cards. The Doctor threatens to Time-Ram the Master, which would destroy them both and stop Kronos. But the Doctor can't do it, he can't kill Jo. In the Master's eyes the Doctor's compassion and pity are his weakness. It is Jo who takes the impetus and activates Time-Ram. This is a huge moment for the role of the companion. When the Doctor's values, which we cherish and respect so much, stop him from doing what he must it is Jo who steps up and saves the universe.
Thankful for it's freedom, Kronos saves the Doctor and Jo and at the Doctor's behest the Master as well. The Doctor and Jo are returned but the Master escapes, his ex-assistants Ruth and Stuart manage to free the Brig and UNIT and return Benton to his correct age. After all this impressive high octane stuff, the story fizzles out at the end with a naked Sergeant Benton asking "Can anyone tell me what exactly is going on?"
|A Nude Benton.|
My answer: "No, I really can't." There are some wonderful moments in this story, some parts I really love but it's let down on too many points to ignore. Roger Delgado rules as the Master, but the story isn't well produced, ultimately it just doesn't feel like a season finale.
But it is, which means we've reached the end of Season Nine. The season in which we saw the long awaited return of the Daleks. We took a trip to Peladon and met the Ice Warriors once more. We caught up with the Master twice, we discovered the Silurians' brothers: the Sea Devils, saw the oppressed Solonians freed from the tyranny of the evil Marshal and colonial Earth and finally, returned to Atlantis. My favourite story in this season has to be The Curse of Peladon. I don't really have a least favourite, if I had to pick one it would be this story, The Time Monster. Out of a possible 50 points I scored Season Nine 37/50. Giving it an average score of 74/100 putting Season Nine in second place overall thus far, after Season 7. It was a really strong season with great monsters, ambitious plots, and thought provoking themes. It didn't quite have the consistency of Season 7 but it certainly earns it's number 2 slot so far.
Join me next time for a new season, an anniversary special, and the return of some familiar faces in The Three Doctors.