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Entirely different mind transplant technologies and Chekhov’s waisted stinger

As the trial of our favourite Time Lord continues, the court is MST3K’d to the Doctor’s most recent adventure on the planet of Thoros Beta, a planet so mesmerizingly and distractingly coloured that he and Peri soon venture below ground instead. There, they encounter a sharp-toothed monster, but the first of many genetically manipulated creatures in this world, and learn that the population of Thoros Beta are at the economical despotic mercy of none other than Sil (of Vengeance on Varos fame) and his master Kiv.

Kiv is suffering from an overly expansive cerebellum and needs a brain transplant pronto, which is why they keep a mad scientist on payroll. Crozier—that’s the demented surgeon in question—has not only been scientifically enslaving people to work for Kiv, but has been working to perfect his ultimate creation: a device that allows him to transplant the mind of any living being into any other. And with Doc and Peri on Thoros Beta, it would seem he has two fresh subjects for his experiments.

Here's what we think of C145 Mindwarp (Trial of a Time Lord: Part Two)

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.0

Jim | @jimmythewho

2.3

Here's what we think of C145 Mindwarp (Trial of a Time Lord: Part Two)

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.0

Jim | @jimmythewho

2.3

Here's what you think 11 Responses to “C145 Mindwarp (Trial of a Time Lord: Part Two)”
  1. This is my first public review ever.

    I’ve been watching Doctor Who since I saw the first episode (An Unearthly Child) live on a Black & White TV in 1963, and quickly moved behind the sofa for the subsequent episodes. I avidly followed the adventures of William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker but stopped watching after that. I picked it up again with Matt Smith, and have since watched regularly from then.

    When I retired to the Philippines, I thought it was time for a catch up to watch every single episode from the beginning and I looked for an accompanying podcast, It didn’t take long to find Who Back When and you have been my constant, trusted and faithful companion for both Classic and New Who.

    Thanks, guys and gal, for a massively entertaining podcast over all these years.

    Here is my review of Mindwarp.

    IT’S GOT BRIAN BLESSED!

    Rating 5.0 out of 5.
    No, 10 out of 5.
    No, my final rating: IT’S GOT BRIAN BLESSED!

    Regards
    Lawrence

    PS I may possibly be your only listener whose home is in the caldera of an extinct (I hope) volcano.
    PPS IT’S GOT BRIAN BLESSED!

  2. Richie Blagg | @richiesexington

    Oh we finally ended the run of good stories. Something incredible to think when this one’s star guest is Brian Blessed. This was the story that stopped me watching who religiously as a kid

    It’s ok a story I guess but again the stop and start nature of the court setting for me stops the story getting going and ideas that could have been fleshed out never are.

    But the thing that grinds my gears is the worst exit of a companion in all of Who and I’m counting Katrina in that from Masterplan. How this was supposed to win people back to Who I have no idea it is just wank and with none of the gravitas given to Adric. Nothing wrong with a companion death done right. This wasn’t.

    I can’t give this more than 1.5 please let’s ignore Brian Blesseds make up

    Richie Von Sexington

  3. Ed Corbet

    The visual effect used in the opening gave the planet a unique feel. I think it worked better on the water than when they went ashore, but I appreciate the effort.

    I liked how Patrick Ryecart under-played Crozier rather than going full-on Mad scientist (a mere 0.5 Soldeeds). As Doctor Who villains tend to overplay it, I enjoy the occasional change of pace (I liked Phillip Madoc in The War Games for similar reasons) also, swigging his tea before starting CPR was a nice touch.

    They made the mistake they avoided in the last story, by making the cliff-hangers endanger the Doctor; we know he’s fine, he’s literally watching this flashback along with us. To maintain the surprises of whether the Doctor was faking working with the villains and what happened to Peri, they give Doc memory loss, but it felt contrived purely to maintain these mysteries; it’s not massively explained what the cause of it is.

    The Time Lord’s trial continues with another okay story. It’s slightly hurt by not having a proper ending as the trial framing-device is taking priority over the individual stories that comprise it (the Key to Time balanced it the other way and time will tell which is better (technically it already has, but I’m playing along)). I keep reminding myself there are technically still 6 episodes of this story left and things may make more sense then, although remembering nothing about it from watching as a kid does not fill me with encouragement

    2.3

  4. Peter Zunitch

    What do you get when you take a rather good story, add in some boring courtroom interruptions and turn your idol into a totally dislikable anti-hero? Why Judge Judy of course, but that’s beside the point, we’re talking about Mindwarp. All of the characters are beautifully realized by a well-rounded cast and the production is just amazing. Everything from the sets to the special effects makeup is just wonderful. The paintbox color manipulation is slightly overdone and blurry, but it’s a great first attempt at creating a totally alien world using color.
    There are unfortunately several downsides here. First, is the fact that Nabil Shaban isn’t in every single scene. Second is the fact that Brian Blessed isn’t in every scene. These two are just fabulous and it’s a missed opportunity that the writers couldn’t find a way to have the two interact more. The biggest error is the treatment of the doctor. At best he’s inconsistent, but in reality he’s just unlikable. Is he actually pretending? Was his personality manipulated? Is our perception of the events being manipulated? Was his mind altered by the machine? None of these work because there’s some scene somewhere that disproves each hypothesis. It’s a very annoying error in an otherwise great script. The fourth blunder is the abrupt and lackluster resolution. It leave so much to be desired. Finally, although Peri gets good screentime, they bleeped up another character departure. 2.5 times I’ve looked up “Sagacity” in the dictionary. Alright my hawkmen, Diiiiive!

  5. Steven from Canada | @SAndreyechen

    The Trial continues and it’s a clear drop in quality. While it’s not an awful story by any means it does feel disjointed.

    Part of the problem is the Doctor, while he’s meant to be out of character he isn’t far off from what he was like in the last season. The Doctor’s chemistry with Peri at the beginning however is also about as good as it ever has been.

    This story boasts an incredibly talented and diverse cast, the latter having been a relative rarity in the series thus far. Just too bad they were used in such a messy story.

    From a production standpoint things are not much better. I don’t usually dog on the effects but they clearly don’t live up to what the writer had in mind. The costumes seem somewhat culturally appropriative and really don’t work well together. On the other hand aliens are excellent as usual.

    But conspiracy builds in the court room! With an ending like that who knows how it will go. I just hope no one retcons it in a silly way…

    Overall this story earns 3.5 Brian Blessed Screams out of 5.

    Steven From Canada
    @SAndreyechen

  6. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    ‘And so they took it upon themselves to act like second-rate Gods!’

    Well this is a dark tale isn’t it? Philip Martin returns with the further adventures of Sil, with us visiting his home planet Thoros Beta with the atmosphere of Island of Dr Moreau/Dr Frankenstein thrown into the mix. The music helps with the creeping sense of dread. The set design is quite good and looks a bit different from the usual. The lighting is also a lot more moody than the level used in a lot of stories. And generally the trial scenes are less intrusive than the Mysterious Planet and actually serve more of a purpose.

    Brian Blessed. Do I need to say anymore about him? As always, he’s barmy but that fits the story so well. Patrick Ryecart as Crozier is also particularly good at the unhinged mad scientist. Christopher Ryan does well at creating a suitable boss of Sil in Kiv. Ryan of course plays the sontaran general in series 4, while Trevor Laird (Frax) plays Martha’s dad.

    Of course the question is whether what is shown is true or not. The Doctor seems to think not. Was it all a ploy? Or his mind being scrambled at the end of part one? Or is the Matrix lying? Maybe it’s all three.

    And that ending…oh my. The Timelords are good guys? Haha, no…

    It’s a marmite story but once again just like the spreadable yeast extract, I like it, Segment 3.6/5, Trial scenes 3.2/5

    ‘You…Killed…Peri…’

    Cheers

    Kieren

  7. GP Haynes | @FindingGspots (Insta & YouTube)

    Well, the trial continues. Just how do they get that footage? Floating invisible cameras?

    The trial scenes continue to be mundane, with any humour falling flat. Despite its reasonable production, the story is not particularly well paced, with some sections drawn out.

    Sil makes a welcome return and he has his moments, although he’s not quite as polished as he was in “VOV”.

    Brian Blessed gives an “OTT” portrayal ( as Leon is fond of saying ). Baker is solid as always, but Peri shows us in the final episode that she can actually act, with a chilling performance after the mind transfer.

    The standout for me in this serial is the music score. Atmospheric and moody, it’s brilliant, and is reminiscent of “ The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” radio series.

    Yep, I’m that nerd who has not only the BBC TV series, and all the books, but all 17 of the CDs from the radio series! This music wouldn’t be out of place in the first few years of the production.

    My research uncovers that they actually hired film composer Richard Hartley to do the score. What a fantastic job! Sadly the serial doesn’t live up to the quality of the music

    Overall it’s probably a below par serial, but some of the acting, dialogue and scenes are just so stupid, especially in the last 2 episodes, that it’s actually good ( unlike the previous episode )

    It’s enough that I’d probably watch it again………..one day

    Rating: 2.5 Brian Blessed Cave roars

  8. Neil | @neilandrozani & @neiljamesactor

    This mini is just going to be a series of observations! Here we GOOOO!

    The music is really good.
    Sil has turned from brown to green so now he looks less like a steaming turd.
    The Crozier performance is very odd – apparently the actor was completely baffled during filming.
    Brian Blessed is clearly insane.
    Nicola Bryant is fantastic in this one – her final scenes as Kiv are terrific. Even though she’s bald, she’s still stunning.
    The Doctor is a huge wanker.
    Some really nice humour in the 3rd part which is very welcome.
    The actor playing Tuza is God awful to say the least. How do these turnips get on national television?!!!
    Kiv screaming with disgust as he sees Sil is hilarious.
    Also hilarious is the character of Flax. I love how fed up he is with Brian Blessed’s inane shouting about death.
    Strong ending with the Doc being taken out of time and the Time Lords orchestrating everyone in the operating room being massacred.

    To sum up, despite some very good moments I ultimately find this a drag and can’t bear how much of a twat the Doc is to Peri. Much preferred The Mysterious Planet.
    Rating – 2.3

  9. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    – Brian Blessed. What a legend.
    – Sil is awesome. More of him please.
    – The sociopath scientist and the incredible brain transplant plot.
    – That dog dude. Naff death though. I wanted to see him chew someone’s face off.
    – Cruel meanie Doctor is back! Harrah.
    – *That* ending. Oh my goodness! Nooooooo!!!! Peri!!!!!

    Beefs:

    – Why was the Doctor being a baddie? Was his brain scrambled? Was he faking it? It wasn’t clear. As a tactic it really backfired. The baddies basically won.

    Rating: 2.8/5 – plus Brian Blessed bonus points = 7.8/5.

  10. Tanz Sixfingers | @tanz6fingers & @tanzsixfingers (insta)

    Greetings Leon and Jim!

    The setting of mindwarp reminds me a lot of Peladon, for some reason.
    I haven’t watched all of the Trial for many years, so I only remember some details about the ending. I was quite shocked when The Doctor failed to save Peri, for instance. And to think how everyone gives the Fifth Doctor a hard time about losing Adric! Between Peri dying and the Doctor losing his memories from the machine, I don’t know how much we are to believe or whether the information supplied by the Matrix actually has been tampered with and is false. If so, that must be the underlying plot of the Trial. Time will tell…
    I enjoyed seeing Sil back again; he is deliciously evil. He reminds me a lot of the Ferengi in the Star Trek universe.
    You have often said that you wanted Brian Blessed to appear on the show; well you finally got your wish! I am not familiar with him, but he certainly stole the scene every time he appeared. I can see why you like him.
    This serial also had a certain “Isle of Doctor Moreau” feel to it, with Dorf being transformed into a dog, and all the other experiments of Crozier. I had been hoping Doctor Who would do a variant on that work, and didn’t realise they already had. I know Timelash last season made a passing reference to it, giving H.G. Wells the inspiration, but I hadn’t realised there was a closer tie.
    If this is the end of Peri, I would say she never reached her full potential, and was mostly used to attract a different demographic.
    I like the Trial part of the show; I just hope the Doctor gets to jump into the Matrix with the Valeyard for some action, like he did with the Master in “The Deadly Assassin”! Although the Doctor is not acting like himself, I still enjoyed the story as it unfolded.
    I give this 3.0 transplanted brains out of 5

    Tanz Sixfingers

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