Match of the Day

Roots: Boucher's Blake's 7 episode 'Death-Watch'. There are references to Greek mythology (the Minotaur and the labyrinth), Freud, and On the Waterfront ("You could have been somebody. She could have been a contender.").

Goofs: What is the significance of the TARDIS's odd materialization?

Dialogue Disasters: "Scuffwit."

"Eat blast and die screaming you murderous scum!"

Dialogue Triumphs: Leela reminds the Doctor, "You have also said: when in doubt hit it with something heavy."

"To tell someone's lying by the sound of their voice is a rare and remarkable talent. Obviously it's not one of your talents, but it would be difficult to find fault with the ambition."

Leela says, "Confident talk is usually pointless in my experience. I have known it used to persuade fools to smile at their own destruction."

"It is a sure sign of stupidity when people think that the end of the world as they know it is the end of the world as everyone knows it."

The Doctor cheerfully tells a policeman, "It's my experience that threats are more effective if they're quiet. You'd be amazed how threatening a whisper can sound. That whole snarling thing lacks punch somehow."

Continuity: When he was at the Academy, the Doctor skipped the class on transdimensional locus attraction dynamics in favour of the theory and practice of yo-yos and juggling for beginners. He has never been the getaway driver in an actual jailbreak before, and quite enjoys the experience. He knows very little about microwave technology. He discovers that he is uncomfortable with prolonged weightlessness. He dislikes not being in control of his situation.

Leela carries a combat pouch on her belt, containing a whetstone, blood-staunch patch, energy chew-stick, painkilling herbs, and a hair comb. Following the Doctor's teachings, she has given up her charms. She still can't read properly yet. She breaks Jarvis' elbow. Leela always keeps her promises, because unlike Shamans, warriors are bound by their word, even to people they dislike. Whilst at Aerospace Main, she disguises herself as cleaner, donning disposal coveralls. Her warrior trainer told her that there is a dangerous difference between being confident and being sure. He told her that when captured she should ask herself the questions am I wounded, where am I being held, and can I escape? He also told her that people who talk too much never listen enough, as well as "fear opens your eyes: panic closes your mind". Either her trainer or her father told her, "never hurry to your death; you might want to change your mind before you get there." Leela used to trap sunbirds in a clearing beyond the village.

The TARDIS has transdimensional flux relay indicators on the console. The Doctor blames the TARDIS's knack of bringing him to familiar troublesome situations on the options analysis switching loops being clogged with partially rejected parallels. There are talking books in the TARDIS library.

Links: The Face of Evil (there are references to Sevateem, Horda, and Tesh). There is a reference to Storm Mines (The Robots of Death, Corpse Marker). The Doctor mentions Daleks. He wonders why the idea of reversing the polarity feels familiar to him, a reference to the catchphrase "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" attributed to the Third Doctor but only ever uttered in The Sea Devils and The Five Doctors.

Location: Sumana, date unknown.

Future History: Sumana is presumably an Earth colony. The planet is located within the Geewin system and has more than one moon. The Geewin system is named after the ice and stone-ringed gas giant Geewin. The Luna-Uni, the Space Force training college, is located on the first moon. Piran is the largest known planetary satellite and orbits the planet Geewin, but is largely regarded as a frozen, featureless curiosity. Dreen is another of Geewin's moons. The three Big Wheel Colonies are space stations located in the same system, and include Barlon. Sumana has cats, mice, dogs, and dovetailed plovers [presumably brought accidentally or deliberately from Earth]. The society on Sumana is based around the Dueling system, and governed by the Rules of Attack. The Senior Umpire is the supreme authority in the Court of Attack. The Dreamdome is the largest dueling arena on Sumana. The Prime Division consists of the richest, most successful duellists. Runners are the main mode of personal transport on Sumana, models including the Mythmotor Repro. Aerospace Main is the main spaceport on Sumana. Tree-berry wine and vine-flower wine are drinks on Sumana. The Lady Hakai is one of the richest people in the system. The Hakai Corporation runs the Hakai Orbital Transfer Station. The Sumanans have the technology to create androids that convincingly resemble humans. Sea hunter is a traditional occupation on Sumana; sea hunters are given the nickname "Driftkillers". Lecea seed is a very valuable type of grain. Freeze-dried driftfeeder is apparently another food source.

The Bottom Line: 'If there is a fight it will have to be a fight to the death or none of us will get out of this alive.' Boucher's learning curve continues, his fourth novel for BBC books reading much more like a novel than an adaptation of a television script. The plot is deceptively sparse, but acts a framework for some excellent characterisation, especially of both the Doctor and Leela.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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