“Time and the Rani” is the next episode on the 12 Days of Doctors and the count up to 12th’s first Adventure. This episode is the 7th Doctor’s first adventure and our introduction to Sylvester McCoy. The episode is the first episode in Season 24.
“Time and the Rani” was directed by Andrew Morgan and written by Jane and Pip Baker…and they all do an awesome job! This isn’t the best story, but it is one of the best of the pilots, it is very entertaining to say the least. I’ll get into more details in the assessment.
The story begins with the Doctor’s TARDIS being attacked by the Rani’s TARDIS, which forces him to regenerate. The Rani than pretends to be the Doctor’s companion Mel and to manipulate him to achieve her goals. He is unaware of her identity because of her disguise and Mel is unaware of the Doctor’s regeneration because she was knocked out during the attack as well. From here the story unfolds as the Rani’s plans are set in motion and the politics between her minions the Tetraps and the colonized Lakertyans who are her willing and unwilling slaves.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
The Pros: The Alien Civilizations – The Aliens are awesome! The Lektrayan’s design is reptalian with long golden hair and they have a society ruled by a single ruler and his elite. There are also the Rani’s Tetraps who look like giant humanoid bats who have eyes on three sides. They are similar to orcs in that their goals are only for themselves and their species as seen by what happens to the Rani later.
The Rani – The Rani is a fantastic villain and is awesome! Her end goal is to create a universe that is logical by using the Brain (created from geniuses around the world and universe, she wants the Doctor’s mind in it too to solve the equation of how to make the Time Manipulator faster) on the Lektrayan Home World to create a Time Manipulator to shape time anywhere in the Universe. It is perfect, brilliant and so in character. In the end it is her lack of empathy that destroys her, in that her minions turn on her when they learn she intends to let them be destroyed on the planet and when the leader of the Lektrayan’s who has been a collaborator realizes what is at stake he makes the sacrifice to stop the rocket that would turn his planet into the Time Manipulator. Kate O’Mara is fantastic, and I hope the Rani returns in the newest series at some point. She is one of the best and most interesting of the Doctor’s enemies.
Mel – Mel is a great companion. She is spunky and doesn’t put up with crap from the Doctor…I can see why she leaves later. The 7th Doctor is detached and you see he functions like a chess master, even in this episode. Everyone is a tool, even if he treats said tools with respect. Mel is the counter to that, she is blunt and honest. Kind of like Donna was to the 10th Doctor.
The 7th Doctor / The Seventh Doctor – Sylvester McCoy is brilliant. His Doctor is like a wizard, both in his manipulation and in his strange turns of phrases. Such phrases like “Tom, Dick and Harriet.” etc. He is also empathetic too, even in his distance. I think he probably became the chess master because of the Rani manipulating him right when he had first regenerated. She did a number on him and him being so easily manipulated in the first two parts made her plan almost succeed, that probably gave this Doctor trust issues. I really like McCoy and his Doctor is a pleasure to watch. He is quite worthy of the title and a much needed change from Colin Baker and the 6th.
I would highly recommend this episode. Once again, a favorite episode, largely because of the Rani, the Doctor, Mel and the Tetraps and Lektrayans…an interesting species and villain really help to elevate any science fiction story. This story also really captures the sense of adventure and the characters feel human, you can empathize with them, and the ones you can’t are fascinating in their own right, both as a species and in the Rani’s case as a fantastic antagonist. This episode was worth it just to see her plan unfold.
My final score for this episode is 9.2 / 10.