I will be perfectly frank from the outset, "Mark of the Rani" is a mediocre episode. It is not good - but it is certainly not bad. It just seems to be a routine serial which is rather lacking in true excitement, but does hold in store some surprises. So, I suppose that I ought to begin by looking at the positives.
As usual, Colin Baker has turned in a good performance. By now, the Doctor has become quite humane and caring. It is somewhat sad to see the prickly edge gone from the Sixth Doctor, but I do understand that a story ark had been implemented and slowly but surely the viewer would come to love the newest incarnation of the Doctor. Also, Nicola Bryant continues to become a more enjoyable companion. Opinion rage about Peri as a companion considering she wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer and acting as a blundering, bumbling companion. However, here Peri is a given a chance to act a bit more intellectual and seems to have more purpose than just being the Doctor's companion.
In addition, "Mark of the Rani" provides another opportunity for audiences to see the Master (played here by Anthony Ainley). To those unfamiliar with the show, the Master can be summed as being the Doctor's arch-enemy (or perhaps the Doctor's very own Professor Moriarty?). Ainley was the forth actor to take on the role of the Master, a character who debuted during the tenure of the Third Doctor. Ainley is the longest-running actor to take on the role appearing with the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors. In this particular episode, the Master truly exudes a menacing persona, and in some scenes he is genuinely creepy. It was also nice to see all of the characters running around in the early 1800's, since the historical settings add an interesting flare to the show. "Mark of the Rani" was filmed on location at an authentic recreation of a small 1800's mining town.
|"Can two renegade Time Lords share a TARDIS|
without driving each other crazy?"
So, what is one bad mark against a tenure which has been until now rather free from fault. Sure, nothing is perfect, but "Mark of the Rani" does slip in the show's quality. But, what if that one bad mark suddenly became two...?
Coming Next Time: "The Two Doctors"