Number : Season 8, serial 3 of 5.
Which One : Beware Axons – bearing gifts.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton : John Levene
The Master : Roger Delgado
Corporal Bell : Fernanda Marlowe
Chinn : Peter Bathurst
Bill Filer : Paul Grist
George Hardiman : Donald Hewlett
Winser : David Savile
Captain Harker : Tim Pigott-Smith
The Minister : Kenneth Benda
Pigbin Josh : Derek Ware
Tech : Royston Farrell
Written By : Dave Martin & Bob Baker
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 13 March – 3 April 1971.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Axons crashland – on Earth offering gifts of unknown scientific wealth. The Doctor is suspicious, though and finds The Master imprisoned – in the Axonite spaceship. It seems the Axons are not what they seem – and have a “tangled” secret.
Whats good : New subtle take on the Earth-invasion piece. The Master. The Axon’s design and look – both of their forms (golden cherub and vine-monster). The Axonite ship exterior and interior; set design.
Whats bad : The ‘Chinn’ subplot.
Review With Spoilers : Claws Of Axos is the third serial season 8 – and features The Master and new monsters; The Axons.
The Axon spaceship crashlands on Earth and to the UNIT welcoming committee, appear friendly and benevolent – in a gold human/cherub-looking form.
They offer the humans “Axonite” – a substance which they claim, can mimic any substance that the humans want – and ask the humans to distribute it around the world.
The Doctor is suspicious and upon snooping around the Axonite ship, is captured and put in a prison cell; which already has an incarcerated Master.
The Master has used Earth, as a bargaining chip – to save his own neck; and the Axons (in their true vine-monster form) intend to literally suck all of the life – out of the planet, using the distributed Axonite gifts.
The Doctor and The Master, have another moment of teaming up; to use the Tardis to cast the Axons – into an infinite timeloop. In doing so, the duo make the Tardis flightworthy but it automatically returns to Earth; as soon as the task is done.
“…Obviously the Time Lords have programmed the TARDIS always to return to Earth. It seems that I’m some sort of galactic yo-yo!” The Doctor
Claws Of Axos, is the best of the ‘UNIT’ Earth invasion’-type stories. This is mainly due to the effective way the Axons try to “stealth” inflitrate; by bearing unusual gifts.
This allows the episode to build – a bit of tension and mystery, which then gives way to an action packed final third. As the Doctor and UNIT, attempt to fight off the Axons – in their true vine-monster form.
The Axon’s “false” look – is striking aswell, borrowing from the image of a cherub and a gold statue. It gives the subtle undertones of a god-like entity or a greek statue.
Reverted to their true form, the Axons take on a giant bulky monster form, covered in tentacles and vines; which can shoot deadly gas at their victims. It’s one of the better Who monster-getups – and the SFX dept must have at least, spent a bit of time on these get-ups.
Claws Of Axos also features the other staples of ‘Invasion Who’. A succession of inefficient humans and government ministers; who come into conflict with the Doctor and the Brigadier – and a powerstation location backdrop (in this case Kent’s – ‘Dungeness’ fill in).
The action scenes are well staged. Especially the jeep chase and the attack on the powerstation, by the Axons. It’s also interesting, seeing the Doctor and The Master team-up, to defeat the Axon threat. This shows what a usefully broad range – The Master character has; all-out villain and/or untrustworthy ally.
Claws Of Axos is the most purposeful invasion tale – in the Pertwee era; thanks to a fresh take on the invasion concept, some good SFX and a well designed monster; both of them.
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