Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Mothership Who Reviews: Kinda by Jeff Zyra

Who Reviews: Kinda

By Christopher Bailey
Reviewed by Jeff Zyra
Broadcast 1st February 1982

“You can't mend people, can you!? You can't mend people!”

The TARDIS materializes on the planet Deva Loka where there is a small human expedition that is based in a dome and investigating if the lush jungle planet is suitable for colonization.   The Doctor sets up a delta wave augmenter that will help Nyssa recover from a mild mental disorientation.  In the meantime while Nyssa is recovering The Doctor, Adric and Nyssa begin to explore the area.   The travellers come upon a clearing that has a large group of hanging crystals that look and act just like wind chimes. The Doctor is amazed at the construction and believes there is intelligent life on this planet.  Tegan finds a spot to relax and ends up falling asleep. 

While Tegan is sleeping Adric and The Doctor find an empty Total Survival suit that gets activated and leads them back to the base where they are sort of welcomed by Saunders and Todd under a lot of suspicion but not by the scientist Hindle.  After much scrutiny The Doctor gets that suspicious feeling that something is not quite what it seems especially when Saunders decides to explore more of the jungle and leaves the very unstable Todd in charge.  Todd is unhinged and on the verge of a breakdown and is extremely paranoid to the extent of locking Hindle and The Doctor in the cage and proclaiming he has the power of life and death over him.

But all is not well with Tegan either.  It appears she is being manipulated by The Mara inside her mind or in a void like area.  The Mara wants to be Tegan who gets bombarded with mind games and eventually agrees to The Mara’s terms.  The Mara is now free to extract its revenge on Kinda people and once again the universe. So it’s up to The Doctor and Hindle with the help of the Old Lady and the Kinda people to make sure the Mara are trapped forever. 

“You can't mend people, can you!? You can't mend people!” was probably one of the best lines ever in Doctor Who.  Just look at what it says mend people.  In fact the whole story deals with mending people and their mental state. From the dark natures of Tegan’s mind to the dark nature Aris and of course the fragile state of mind that Hindle was displaying. Kinda was the type of story that tried different things and worked really well.  In fact it’s the type of story that showed us what can happen when the show did everything right.   That is probably why it was purchased by the National Film Archive. 

Kinda is one of the best stories during the 5th Doctor’s era and also boasts some fine performances.  Heck even Mathew Waterhouse wasn’t as annoying and is actually quite good. Peter Davison now quite at ease in the role as The Doctor gives one of his best performances of the season and in fact of his tenure.  Simon Rouse as Hindle gives a really good performance and Hindle is one of the more insanely interesting characters ever.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the main villain of the story and that is the snake like Mara.  In fact they are a giant snake that takes over your persona by manipulating your brain and allow the darker side to take over.  The Mara I found to be a creepy villain.  Especially the scenes inside Tegan’s mind which I found to be pretty dark for Doctor.  I loved the way Janet Fielding played the evil Mara possessed Tegan.  She was awesome in Kinda and gave us one of the best performances by a companion during the Davison era. It just added to the freakiness of the Mara and gave them human form while using one of The Doctor’s companions against him.

While Kinda was such a dynamic and strongly written story it did have, well, it has the dumbest looking snake in sci – fi. Yes I know it was 1982 and thankfully the DVD has the option to use a CGI snake but it does look funny.   It does make for a funny moment but, hey, it doesn’t really detract from a story that was quite different for Doctor Who at the time. 

Grade A

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