Episode 8: The Reign of Terror
Companions: Barbara, Ian, Susan
Written by Dennis Spooner
Directed by Henric Hirsch and John Gorrie
A Land of Fear
Guests of Madame Guillotine
A Change of Identity
The Tyrant of France
A Bargain of Necessity
Prisoners of Conciergerie
(Missing #4 and #5)
The Doctor and his companions land on Earth, believing the year to be 1963. The TARDIS has actually landed in early 18th Century France under the leadership of Robespierre and his Reign of Terror.
This was the last episode of Doctor Who’s historic first season. The episode is very suspenseful and is a great way to cap off an interesting season. The suspense comes into play as Barbara, Susan, and Ian are captured in the earliest part of the story-arc. They are sent to the jails to either face death or a lifetime of imprisonment. Unfortunately, the girls do play into the damsel in distress mentality but the characters still strive to maintain a strength despite their situations.
The Doctor continues to be amusing as his situations turn into situations in which his clever nature naturally allows him to escape any danger. It’s amusing that his companions face terror, death, and sickness and the Doctor finds an opportunity to go shopping for new clothes. It’s sad that the psychic paper trick had not been introduced into the show as it would be very interesting to see how the Doctor could have used it to his advantage.
Overall, it’s a fun storyline to watch. The new animated scenes included with this new DVD set allows the viewer to experience what the episode could have been if the two missing installments had been found.
The Reign of Terror is one of the Doctor’s favorite periods in Earth’s history.