Black Orchid

I’m often critical of stretching or padding out stories over more parts than necessary, and although the show has settled into a rhythm of four-part serials, it’s still nice to shake things up now and then.

Nyssa meets her doppleganger, Ann. What is it with Doctor Who and dopplegangers?

Nyssa meets her doppleganger, Ann. What is it with Doctor Who and dopplegangers?

This simple two-part story was presumably quite cheap to make, with minimal effects and an Earthly location. It’s something of a holiday for the characters, too, who get to let their hair down and relax. Consequently, none of them irritate or frustrate like they would in a threatening situation; not even Adric, who spends much of the story filling up on buffet food. And the Doctor gets to show how good he is at cricket.

It's not like clowns aren't scary enough without there being deranged murderers inside of them.

It’s not like clowns aren’t scary enough without there being deranged murderers inside of them.

If anything, the larking about takes up too much of the runtime, with the mutilated murdering botanist plot having to wrap itself up in record time. I was quite enjoying the Doctor getting arrested and no-one believing his story, but that lasts for all of three minutes before we’re back at the mansion and rescuing Nyssa from the roof. The orchid explanation is blurted out as a mere aside to the action.

A horribly disfigured George Cranleigh abducts Nyssa, thinking she is his former fiancée.

A horribly disfigured George Cranleigh abducts Nyssa, thinking she is his former fiancée.

The plot may be brisk, and reliant upon a series of coincidences, but it’s a fun diversion. Not every story has to be a world-ending drama – there’s a lot to be said for simple character pieces, and this was a tragic tale in its own little way.

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