Mark of the Rani

rani

Writers: Pip & Jane Baker

Director: Sarah Hellings

Producer: John Nathan-Turner

No. of Episodes: 2 (note: this season was the first to have 45-minute episodes, like today’s version.)

Season: 22, ep. 3 (5 and 6)

Companion: Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant)

Summary: In Industrial Revolution-era Britain, the Doctor and Peri are investigating a time distortion.  In so doing, they meet The Rani, a rogue Time Lady who is conducting experiments on Luddites using a chemical that leaves a blemish on the neck and inhibits sleep, making them more savage. The Master is also there as well, and he is the one who has caused the time distortion.  When he finds The Rani, the Master decides the enemy of his enemy is his friend and forms an uneasy alliance with her.

Review: While season 22 wasn’t all that great, it does have a few gems.  And this is one of them.  Kate O’ Mara is excellent as The Rani.  She is a delightfully hammy mad scientist, and I love her dry wit.  I wish the Rani had shown up more often, as she was such a great foe.  The Master and The Rani are great together, and their bickering is the best part of the story.

The Doctor is truly at his best here.  Yes, there’s the bickering with him and Peri, but by this point, it’s handled the way it should be.

My only real gripe is the sole cliffhanger. It’s really one of the worst I’ve seen. It feels as if they were thinking “We have to create peril some way. I know, let’s do something with the slightest bit of dread!”.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Continuity: The Rani would appear again in “Time and the Rani”. Although both the Rani and Peri mention the Master’s apparent demise in “Planet of Fire”, we’re not told how he escaped.

Trivia: This is the final classic story to be directed by a woman.  This would not happen again until the New Who story “Blink”.  Kate O’Mara also played Caress Morrell in Dynasty and Alexis Colby’s sister as well.  She played Laura Wilde in Howard’s Way and played alongside Colin Baker in The Brothers.

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