"'Resistance leads to violence.' 'And submission leads to slavery!'"
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There's an awful lot to like in The Dominators, for a lot of different reasons. For a start, the whole thing's underpinned by a nice debate about whether pacifism or violent resistance is the better response when evil comes a-calling. It's a theme which is as relevant today as it was when it was first aired, and it adds a bit of gravitas to what's often a hilarious adventure.
The Doctor playing dumb is a knockout, and he and Jamie ham their way through a very funny scene in the shuttle. It's obvious Pat and Frazer get on like a house on fire, and that translates into tons o' fun for the viewer. And ahhhhh! The Quarks! (They were meant to be adorable, right?) They sound like the Clangers and they look like that cute robot thing from A Grand Day Out. We want to take one home.
And there are lots of golden moments of the less-planned variety. The curtainesque costumes are good for a giggle, especially Zoe's - she has more trouble keeping her zip up than a prostate sufferer by a waterfall. The magnetic wall's pretty smirksome, too. We love Rabid Sadist Dominator and More Reasonable But Still Nasty Dominator: "'Destroy?' 'Nooooo [with weary patience]... investigate.'". We also love the completely loony plan to defeat the baddies by catching their evil device as they drop it in a hole. Bonkers.
The Doctor's a bit more interesting in this than he was in Tomb of the Cybermen, mostly because of the fun stupid stuff, but he still lacks, as Eric Cartman would say, authoritah. He seems more bamboozled by events than the other Doctors, and a lot more inclined to panic. We don't like it. Jamie's a great foil for him here, though, and so's Zoe, in a totally different way. The rest of the cast do a good job, too, with a special mention for the two Dominators, not to mention the guys in the Quark suits.
So, some serious stuff, some laughs and some great characters. It's a winner.
MORAL: Pacifism is for losers.
Good to see ye olde quarry featuring prominently.
We see the Doctor eating a sweetie from a paper bag. Jelly baby, perchance?
TAKE A LETTER, MISS JONES
How depressing that the writer couldn't think any further than the Council being all men with a female secretary.
THE BURDENS OF POWER
For the masters of ten galaxies, the Dominators seem awfully gloomy. (Those jacket things are probably giving them a headache.)
Really, Jamie, couldn't you have come up with a better plan than throwing a papier mache rock? It was pure luck that it didn't miss the Quark altogether and squash that poor Dulcis guy flat.
IF A JOB’S WORTH DOING
We see the Doctor start to dig the tunnel with his sonic screwdriver (yay!), but what the hell do they dig the rest of the tunnel with? And where's all the stuff they take out of the tunnel? But wait, there's more. Despite the time tick-tocking away, they take the time to finish off the tunnel walls all nice and smooth and create a dinky arched roof as well. Nice.
SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL
If we squinch our eyes shut and concentrate very hard, we can just about believe that the Dominator dropping the device down the hole doesn't see the Doctor poised with his catcher's mitt down below. (It must be pretty hard to bend in that outfit.) But how come he doesn't hear the Doctor yodelling at the top of his voice when he catches the thing?
SERVES YOU RIGHT
Interesting, isn't it, that the Doctor cheerfully slaughters the two Dominators? Sure, he saves the planet and they were Nasty Evil Dudes anyway, but you’d think he’d at least have looked a bit guilty.
Buy this Dr Who DVD: UK