Magic Bullet Productions

28 Stupid Things about “The Mind of Evil”
(And 22 Cool Ones)
(But we're not telling you which is which)
(We're expecting you to work that out for yourselves)

By Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore

Previously published in Celestial Toyroom issue 503

1. The heavy emphasis given to the sole CCTV camera outside Stangmoor Prison, with the Doctor waving and gurning to it, gives one a real nostalgia rush for the days when electronic surveillance was a novelty.

2. Barnham is the one hundred and thirteenth subject of the Keller process. That's ominous.

3. The machine was originally to have featured manifestations of greenish fluid, as the criminal's negative impulses are given physical form. It's a shame they didn't go with this idea, as it would have created a thematic link with the greenish mutagenic fluid seen in Houghton's "Inferno".

4. OneHellOfACoincidenceWatch One: The Doctor decides to investigate the Keller Machine. Meanwhile UNIT are providing security for the World Peace Conference and transporting a deadly nerve-gas missile. All of these disparate things are going to come together over the course of six episodes.

5. Continuitywatch: the governor says that the Keller Machine was installed "nearly a year ago", meaning that, allowing time for the Master to get to Switzerland and build the machine, it's been at least a year since "Terror of the Autons".

6. It's not directly explained where the Master gets his money from, but presumably marketing the Keller Machine to HM Prison Service would be a lucrative proposition.

7. It's really nice to see Chinese people given actual personalities and culture, as opposed to simply being portrayed as boring 'sinister and/or sexy Orientals' as in so much telefantasy of the period. And a side acknowledgement that there isn't a single 'Chinese' language.

8. In the case of Linwood's death from his fear of rats, the scratches on his body could have been self-inflicted. However, we then get Kettering dying with water in his lungs, which suggests that in fact, Linwood's fear somehow summoned the rats out of thin air to attack him.

9. It also begs the question of why the Doctor doesn't emerge from the Episode One cliffhanger wearing a literal smoking jacket.

10. And when Senator Alcott is killed by, of all things, a bloody dragon, you've really got to wonder. How the hell do you develop a phobia of one of those?

11. Barry Letts has attempted to retcon this by claiming that the dragon is a symbol of the Senator's actual fear, Chinese Communism. Two things wrong with that: first, a dragon is a lousy symbol of Chinese Communism, since the Communists spent quite a lot of time trying to discourage Chinese folk beliefs, and, second, it is quite clearly a Western dragon-- Chinese dragons are skinny snaky beasts with no wings.

12. It's a shame that the serial goes down this path, because it takes what's actually an interesting and sinister idea (people being literally killed by their own minds), and drags it into completely ludicrous territory.

13. The Doctor says he's been a scientist for "several thousand--" If the last word is "years", then he is probably using the standards of the planet Mercury, with its 88-day year.

14. This is also the first time D-notices are mentioned in Doctor Who.

15. The connection is immediately made between the Master's "attractive" Chinese assistant, and Chin Lee. Because it's such a logical idea that a captain in the Chinese army and a diplomatic aide would also work as the assistant of a Swiss scientist.

16. At that, drawing the connection (and the Doctor later telling the Brigadier to find "that Chinese girl") rather implies there's only one Chinese "girl" in the entirety of Europe at that point.

17. In Episode Three, Chin Lee's explanation of her connection with Keller indicates that she wasn't actually his assistant, but was invited along to observe the experiments at Stangmoor in an official capacity. Which makes the governor's assumption that she was his assistant completely bizarre.

18. The story's position is apparently that if you have too much evil, you become a criminal, but too little, and you become an idiot.

19. The Chinese delegate dies, and UNIT, rather than just getting on with what at that moment is a routine murder investigation, immediately send no less a person than Captain Yates, who presumably has other duties, to physically fetch the Doctor back from Stangmoor Prison. Why?

20. And the Doctor agrees to go, rather than saying, "Yates, you idiot, I'm the scientific adviser, I'm far better off investigating something scientific than hanging around peace conferences".

21. The Master actually seems to be fitting in much better on Earth than the Doctor is, moonlighting for the Post Office, following Newcastle United (judging by his scarf), reading the Financial Times, and acquiring a Rolls Royce with chauffeur. None of this poncing about in fantasy vehicles and claiming he knew Sir Walter Raleigh for him.

22. Hokkien is a Chinese dialect of what linguists term the Quanzhang Division, found mainly in southern China and Taiwan, but, due to the migration of Hokkien-speakers from southern Fujian Province, is also one of the most common dialects among overseas Chinese in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar and the USA. That's your cultural trivia ration for the day.

23. A lot of fans make a fuss about the Doctor implying a friendship with Mao Zedong. However, considering that the Doctor has palled around with the likes of Nero, Napoleon, Nelson, Kublai Khan, and possibly even Genghis Khan, this seems a bit of a silly thing to complain about.

24. It's sort of a nice touch that both the Brigadier and Senator Alcott are unfamiliar enough with Chinese culture that they continually refer to Chin Lee and Fu Peng by their full names, rather than Captain Chin and Delegate Fu.

25. It's a bit more problematic that the Doctor insists on referring to Captain Chin as Captain Chin Lee, as he should really know better.

26. Since Jo can't see the fire that menaces the Doctor in the Episode One cliffhanger, how come the Doctor, the Brigadier and Fu Peng can all see Senator Alcott's dragon?

27. Jo Grant, in the draft script, was envisioned as a much more assertive, military type, who uses martial arts during the prison-riot sequence. There's an alt-universe somewhere in which the Pertwee Era was less Quatermass and more The Avengers.

28. "You and I, Mailer, are going to create a great deal of Havoc in this place", says the Master, unwittingly providing a metatextual pun.

29. Midway through Episode Three, the Chinese just disappear from the plot; one waits and waits for the twist which somehow ties them in with the Master's plan to steal the missile, and it never comes.

30. This serial marks the first appearance of a Dalek since "The War Games", and the only time Pertwee personally encounters a Cyberman within his era.

31. It also marks a return appearance for the Zarbi. So they do get a chance to become a recurring monster, after all.

32. The Master says to the mind parasite, "I brought you here." Suggesting that, as the Doctor stole the Master's dematerialisation circuit in "Terror of the Autons", he was rather expecting the Auton Invasion would fail, and had brought along the mind parasite as a backup.

33. The implication in the story is that the Master learned about the nerve-gas missile through wire-tapping UNIT. How, then, does he acquire a handsome slide of it to show Mailer?

34. OneHellOfACoincidenceWatch Two: the convoy with the UNIT troops escorting the rocket is going to pass within a few miles of Stangmoor Prison. Ya don't say.

35. The Keller machine is a cylindrical, domed object with two translucent bubbles emanating out of the top. And once you've thought about that, you cannot unsee it. 

36. Barnham is innocent and childlike, but does wind up knocking out a convict as he tries to defend the Doctor and Jo, and the Doctor has to subdue him with Aikido.

37. The hastily-penned explanation for the involvement of servicemen with the theft of the missile actually raises a more knotty problem: if the Master has "hired mercenaries in fake uniforms", why does he bother with using the convicts at Stangmoor Prison to hijack the convoy?

38. "It's rather like making a film, isn't it, sir?" says Major Cosworth. The Brigadier's look suggests that his next line will be, "don't get too metatextual, Major, it's only a TV serial."

39. The Doctor refuses to help the Master stop the Keller Machine (which has already killed a number of innocent people, and could go on to kill anyone it comes across), until the Master directly threatens Jo Grant. Doesn't say much for the Doctor's general compassion for all humanity, does it?

40. "I discharged myself. I'm all right now. I've just got a bit of a sore head". Benton needs to stop doing that, he'll go blind.

41. The Doctor and the Master work together in "Terror of the Autons", "The Mind of Evil", "The Claws of Axos", "Frontier in Space", "The Deadly Assassin" (although inadvertently for the Doctor), Logopolis, "Time-Flight" "The Mark of the Rani" (albeit at gunpoint), "Utopia", "The End of Time", "The Magician's Apprentice", "The Witch's Familiar", "The Lie of the Land" and "World Enough and Time"; the Master pretends to help the Doctor in "Castrovalva"; the Master offers to work with the Doctor in "Colony in Space", "The Five Doctors" and "Death in Heaven"; and the Doctor offers to work with the Master in "Survival", "Last of the Time Lords" and "The Doctor Falls". There, that's a comprehensive list for you.

42. There's an attempt to imply a connection between the Doctor and the Master, as there is between the Doctor and the Great Intelligence in "The Web of Fear". However, in "The Web of Fear", the parallel proposes that the Doctor is also a dangerous, unearthly and alien being, whereas the connection in "The Mind of Evil" suggests that he's a bit of an egocentric prat.

43. Consider, as you watch the cross-fade from the Doctor to the Master, that the Master may well be thinking, "in forty-three years' time I'm going to turn into a woman and kiss you."

44. The Doctor's anecdote about the Tower of London suggests that, firstly, he does spend a lot of time there (see not only "The Day of the Doctor", but Hartnell's anecdote in "The Sensorites" about being locked up by Henry VIII) and, secondly, he does seem to have a habit of antagonising Queen Elizabeth I.

45. At the start of Episode Six, we see a UNIT soldier gun down a prisoner at point-blank range, without shouting a warning or giving him the opportunity to surrender. What a complete bastard.

46. And the fact that a sequence of the prisoners surrendering en masse, which was filmed, was cut, just implies that UNIT have a shoot-to-kill policy regarding prisoners.

47. Presumably the explanation for the pretty floral pattern on the steps of UNIT Mobile HQ is that it's based on a civilian caravan, purchased secondhand, to save money.

48. So... the Master, after escaping from the Doctor at the end of "Terror of the Autons", goes to Switzerland carrying a pre-acquired mind parasite under his arm, comes back to England, meets Chin Lee, installs the mind parasite in Stangmoor, waits almost a year, then uses Chin Lee to murder various foreign diplomats at a peace conference, learns about the nerve-gas rocket, and decides to go back to Stangmoor Prison, and use the prisoners to steal the nerve-gas rocket and turn the Earth into a postapocalyptic wasteland which he can then "take over". Somehow this strikes him as a more intelligent move than just carrying on doing whatever it was got him the money to be living the Rolls-Royce lifestyle.

49. In Episode Six, if you look closely, the hangar blows up, but the rocket doesn't.

50. Timothy Combe, the director, was not invited back to Doctor Who, due to having gone over-budget. While the result of this overspending is undoubtedly impressive, it's a shame it wasn't used on a better script.

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