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

Day 197: The Enemy of the World, Episode Five

Dear diary,

'Don't challenge me, Harriet Jones!', the Tenth Doctor spits at the Prime Minister in The Christmas Invasion, following her destruction of the fleeing Syxorax ship. 'I could bring down your government with a single word!' As it happens, it took his six words to ensure Harriet Jones' downfall, but its one of those stunning moments, those huge times when the Doctor proves why he doesn't need to carry weapons - the Doctor's skill is in using words to save the day.

Later in the Tenth Doctor's tenure, he is mocked by Davros for the way that he takes people and turns them into his weapons, and I think that The Enemy of the World is possibly the first time that we've actually seen this version of the Doctor in action. Our hero hasn't really done anything much in this story - he frolicked about in the ocean a bit in Episode One, before impersonating Slamander to get them out of a tight spot. Since then, he's mostly been swept along with the tide of the story, being forced into continuing his impersonation for the greater good.

I've praised the way that the Doctor in this story has stood up and questioned the way that he should just be expected to turn up and identify the differing sides of 'good' and 'evil' with no evidence, and now that he's gotten some he's started to operate in that way that - these days - we'd consider so very 'Doctor'. This entire episode is about people starting to question Salamander. We're seeing it out on the surface, with Bruce slowly coming round to the rebel way of thinking - the Doctor is pleased to find enough doubt in the man's mind to keep questioning his leader. There's also dissent in the ranks below ground, with Swan actively forcing Salamander to take him to the surface after he's discovered evidence of his own against this man he's trusted.

It's lovely to see these little parallels between two Doctors travelling 40 years apart, and it doesn't stop at the Doctor simply using words and questions to try and save the day: there's a lovely moment in Episode Four, when the Doctor is being pressured to pose as his double, and get close enough to kill the man. The Doctor announces that he'll expose Salamander, ruin him and have him arrested - but he refuses to be his executioner. A real line is drawn under this point today, when the Doctor takes a gun and hands it back to their captor. The Doctor doesn't need a weapon like this, and he thinks so little of him that he has no quibble about giving one away to a supposed enemy.

Today has given me an answer to one of my questions from yesterday's episode - yes, Salamander is the 'power behind the throne' for two of the zones, and simply looking to expand. I'm still somewhat in the dark, though, as to his exact reasons for keeping a group of people locked away underground. During his argument with Swan, he announces that he wants these people to inherit the Earth, but it's difficult to tell if this is just bluster and excuses to try and get out of the tricky situation he's found himself in.

What we do get confirmed is that these people under the ground are the source of Salamander's control over the volcano from Episode Two (and we also get told that there have been earthquakes caused at his command, too). I'm still not sure on the exact process, but I'm pleased to see that there's at least another chance that this technology might yet be adapted into that seen in The Moonbase - it's all tying together!

With only one episode to go, I'm not sure what I want to happen with Salamander. I'm determined that I don't want him simply assassinated - while that may be a fitting end to a story revolving around a dictator, it feels like it goes against the grain of the message here about weapons not being as black-and-white as you might think. I'm hoping we'll get a few more loose ends tied up as well, as I really want to love this story!

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