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15 July 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 196: The Enemy of the World, Episode Four

Dear diary,

One of the things that I really enjoy about listening to these soundtracks, as opposed to watching reckons or anything like that, is that all the stories are directed in whichever way my brain chooses. The first episode of The Enemy of the World was all fast cutting and action packed, like a modern summer blockbuster. Today's has swung in a completely different direction - it's all gone very film noir in my head, with hints of German expressionism.

I don't think I've ever been as visually connected to one of those soundtracks as I was during the first half of this episode, with the security forges closing in on the Doctor, Kent, and the others. It was like my head was mapping out exactly how I'd direct the scene if it were to be re-made, complete with angled cameras, and shots of our heroes on the run, silhouetted against the alleyway as the guards closed in. It really helped to draw me right in, in a way that only scenes in The Macra Terror came close to doing. Listening to the soundtrack as I walked across a sunny park could have helped to dissipate the tension somewhat, but all of that seemed to just melt away, and I was caught up in Salamander's world.

However, I'm starting to feel a bit lost with it all. The first couple of episodes seemed to imply that this world was made up of several different zones, all with their own leader, and that Salamander was simply an individual, looking to seize control of the world. Now, though, it's all very much being played as Salamander already being in control of the entire planet, pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

He has leaders killed and swapped for others at his own whim, everyone fears his wrath and they all seem to approach him for advice. Am I to assume that he only controls the Central European Zone, and the Australasia Zone? These are the only two that we've seen so far - is he simply looking to expand his empire to cover all the other zones? (Actually, while I'm at it, how many 'zones' do we think there are? I'd imagine there must be a 'Western European Zone' and a 'North American Zone'… Is there a 'Soviet Zone'?)

It was while I was busy musing about all this, and trying to pin-point exactly who Salamander is supposed to be that we get another shock reveal - he's hailed as the saviour of another group of people, who are all trapped deep underground, living in fear of a devastating nuclear war, which Salamander tells them is still raging up on the surface of the planet! Talk about a sudden twist! Am I to assume that there was a war (or at least a strong possibility of a war, like the Cold War at its height)? Salamander is clearly keeping these people locked away for some reason (and he refuses to take them to the surface, where they would discover the truth), so this spins the story off in an interesting new direction for the last third.

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