Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep (s05e06, pts. 1 – 6)

2 out of 5

Directed by: Hugh David

At some point, Doctor Who settled in to having six parts per episode, which often resulted in something current era streaming TV viewers are quite familiar with: stretching material out to much longer than is necessary.

Fury from the Deep probably needed to be half its length.  There are huge stretches of painfully obvious filler, where we spend time with characters going from A to B and then back to A, or waggling our eyebrows over an obvious plot “twist” that isn’t “revealed” until three parts later, or a goddamned interminable sequence in which the Doctor gigglingly flies a helicopter.  What’s more difficult to judge, given that it’s only in a ‘reconstructed’ form (stills, audio), is whether the action is as unimpressive as it sounds.  But given that the creature was mostly soapy water, and that the minimal clips that exist seem like they’re doing their best to capture reactions and not the action itself, I’m going to go with my gut and guess that these sequences were probably pretty lame, and indicative of filler-ness as well.

But we get an acceptable setup, with the TARDIS landing on a beach, and the Doc’s inspection of some nearby pipes having him and the companions sequestered in the main hub of a research facility of sorts, which is experiencing some problems – they suspect the Doc of sabotage – with communicating with some of their satellite facilities, and dropping pressure in their pipes.  What exactly gives the facility the authority to imprison folks seems kind of vague, but writer Victor Pemberton sketches out a good hierarchy of order-barking bossman and scientist underlings at the rig, the latter of which are curious to hear out the Doctor’s thoughts and observations on what may be going on.  Director Hugh David would seem to get good performances out of everyone, and there’s an ominous “something” in the pipes that, while kept in the background, is pretty intriguing.

Until it turns out to be soapy water which wants to take over the world.  Also, let’s write Victoria as the most useless version of her usual damsel-y uselessness, going to the extent to weaponize her frightened screams.  Yeah, I’d leave the show, too, if that’s all you gave me to do.

Again, I think there was a kinda quirky plant-zombie story here, had it been compressed down quite a bit, but once the general concept is revealed, there’s a lot of time wasted watching soap bubbles and witnessing people getting mind-controlled.  Dudley Simpson seemed cued in to the quirk, delivering a boppy score which is pretty great throughout.