Little Hodcombe, 1984. The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough arrive in a small English village, looking forward to spending some time with Tegan’s grandfather. They soon discover that all is not well – Tegan’s grandfather is missing and the locals are reenacting dangerous war games from 1643. With the past mixed up with the present, can the Doctor stop the games before an evil entity hidden in the village church awakens?
WHAT WE THOUGHT
The Malus, an alien that’s purely evil, needs the civil war re-enactments to become authentic so it can feed off the psychic energy of dying and embattled men and fully revive. Not if the Doctor can derail things, of course. Things get weird when 1984 gets linked to 1643, the year “a parliamentary force and a regiment for the king destroyed each other and the village.” Ghosts and psychic projections appear, including a youth named Will Chandler, played to perfection by Keith Jayne. Turns out that troopers weren’t the only thing to come to Little Hodcombe. “Malus comes,” he says. “He only makes fighting worse. He makes’em hate more.”
“The Awakening” is a nice tribute to the classic Pertwee story “The Daemons” and it does work on many levels. I myself am not a fan of the character of Will, but I know many others liked him and even wish he joined the Doctor on his travels. The plot itself is fine, though a little unclear at times. The Malus is surprisingly effective for an immobile head, and most of the other characters in this story are engaging. Not exactly memorable, but certainly a nice little refreshment.
The DVD comes with commentaries, featurettes and deleted scenes. The BBC continues to supply the classic Who fix for those Americans that grew up with the Doctor via PBS. However, we’re left wanting to see something that allows the full body of the show to come to life. What will it takes to get complete Doctor sets? Hell, cut a deal with Netflix and work something out. We need more WHO! As a sidenote, I do have to say that the A/V Quality for the Peter Davison years is improving.