The Doctor Who episode The Deadly Assassin offered another glimpse of the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey, and a return for the Master after the death of the actor, Roger Delgado, who had played him. The Master appears as a degenerating figure, at the end of his final regeneration. And the Matrix, a database of history and time lord consciousnesses, is introduced, in ways that will be echoed and repeated in the later sequence of episodes The Trial of a Time Lord, which I’ve blogged about previously. The episode introduces us to a number of aspects of time lord society, including the fact that they have cardinals, a title echoing the organization of the Catholic Church on Earth. The Doctor has been lured into a trap, but manages to figure out what is going on. He famously secures his release from imprisonment by appealing to Article 17 and putting himself forward as a candidate for president.
Among other details that are interesting from the perspective of the newer series, reference is made to the limit of 12 regenerations, after which there is “no postponement of death” (although in The Keeper of Traken we see the Master find a way of stealing more). Rassilon’s role as founder of their society, and the Eye of Harmony as a black hole which provides the time lords with the power needed to travel through time, are a focus.
The discussion of truth is also interesting. Cardinal Berussa had been the Doctor’s teacher at the academy, and had said that only in mathematics is truth found. He now discusses how to spin events for the overall good of society, including turning a villain into a hero if necessary.
I’ve already blogged about the next episode, “The Face of Evil,” a couple of years ago, because of its very famous and interesting treatment of religious themes.