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Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (Story 88)
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Gallifrey. Planet of the Time Lords. The Doctor has finally come home, but not by choice. Summoned by a vision from the Matrix, he is drawn into a web of political intrigue and assassination. Nothing is quite what it seems, anin the shadows lurks his oldest and deadliest enemy.]]>
Fans will find a wealth of supplemental material on the conception and execution of Assassin on the DVD; Baker, producer Phillip Hinchcliffe, and costar Bernard Horsfeld (the formidable Chancellor Goth) provide a lively commentary track, and all three return for "The Matrix Revisited," a half-hour making-of featurette that traces the serial's inception from Sladen's departure through the controversy sparked over its violent fight scenes. The "Gallifreyan Candidate" featurette is a sluggish comparison of Assassin with its inspiration, The Manchurian Candidate, while "The Frighten Factor" utilizes a vast number of clips from all 10 Doctors' adventures to discuss the scarier aspects of the show. There's also the by-now standard subtitle production notes, photo gallery, and Radio Times listing in PDF format; the Easter Egg-savvy will find BBC 1's preview for Deadly Assassin, which followed the final episode of Hand of Fear. --Paul Gaita
Top Customer Reviews
Many things make this story stand out from the others-- the Doctor has no companion; the journey to his homeworld for the first time since "The War Games"; the colorful High Council costumes; the unusual method by which the Doctor gets out of his death sentence; a decrepit and decaying foe from the past...
But even with these things, what will strike today's viewers the most is that this story contains the first ever mention of a virtual world called THE MATRIX, some 20+ years before it was shamelessly ripped off for a movie.
I wasn't bothered by the controversial "drowning" incident as much as by the unresolved plot holes that dot the story like singularities. I won't bother the reader with excruciating details, but they'll be easy enough to find. However, this story shines on its own just for being different and is a real treasure.
This is where Tom Baker gets his wish-- to appear in a story with no companions-- and as a result he is surrounded by them the rest of his scarfbearing days. He also gets to narrate, which he doesn't do again until "Shada".
I would recommend this story to anyone wanting to know more about the Doctor's homeworld. Of course, no single story contains everything you might need to know, so I would also recommend "The Invasion of Time" as a companion piece.
"Assassin" has a lot of unusual qualities. In addition to the solo appearance of the Doc, it is an unusually physical and violent episode, and also sheds some light on the society of the Time Lords and on Doctor's (delinquent) youth on Galifrey.
In this episode, the Master has passed his twelfth and supposedly final regeneration, and is now basically a disgusting animated cadaver. He lures the Doctor back home by planting a vision in his mind of the assassination of the Lord President of Galifrey, but when the Doctor returns to foil the plot, he not only fails but becomes the prime suspect. Scheduled for execution ("Vaporization without representation is tyranny!") he has just twenty-four hours to expose not only the real assassin but discover who is pulling his strings.
Much of the episode takes place in a disturbing 'dream reality' in which the Doctor battles Garth, the Master's homidical power-grasping flunky, who stupidly believes serving the Master will lead to something other than a horrible death. The dream reality is more of a nightmare: part swamp, part quarry, part fog, and all ugly.Read more ›
So begins the only story where the Doctor is without a companion. After seeing the assassination of the president in a precognitive vision, in which he is the assassin, the Doctor lands on Gallifrey and is ordered arrested by Castellan Spandrell. He leaves a note warning them of the assassination, eludes the bumbling Chancellery guards, led by the [fool] Hildred and tries to stop the killing to no avail.
The Doctor buys time by invoking Article 17 of the constitution, in which he announces his candidacy for the presidency. He has the Castellan, an open-minded Time Lord who is a "simple seeker of the truth," as an ally. He tells the Doctor: "I believe you are going to be executed for it [the assassination]"
His old teacher, the jurist Cardinal Borusa, defends the Doctor's use of Article 17 against Chancellor Goth, who as interim leader, wants the Doctor executed. He says to Goth, "All presidents are faced with difficult decisions. It is by their decisions that they are judged." It's when the shrunken body of the PR announcer's soundman is found in the camera that the Doctor recognizes the Master's trademark method of killing.
The latter part of Episode 2 and all of Episode 3 are spent in a dreamland of the Matrix, where the Doctor battles an unknown adversary--the Master's champion. He carries on, saying, "I deny this reality. The reality is a computation matrix.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great story. Includes the scenes where the Doctor nearly gets killed. Features the Doctor's arch nemesis 'The Master' another renegade time lord. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Harold Hamilton
The Collection is growing!!!!! Thank you for having this awesome story!Published 10 months ago by VictorSlim3D
This episode from the 4th Doctors run is very important to collectors and just a great fun show overall. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Pulpman
One Disc containing 4 Episodes and Special Features
Special Features include:
The Matrix Revisited;
The Gallifreyan Candidate;
The... Read more