Overdue Who Review: City of Death

Season 17, 1979, 4 parts, Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)

On Earth, 400 million years ago, an alien (Jagaroth) ship explodes. In modern day (1979) Paris, the Doctor and Romana experience time echoes because a nearby a scientist is working on a time machine for Count Scarlioni. After meeting with a punch-happy Inspector Duggan who is investigating art thieves, the Time Lords meet and confront Scarlioni, who reveals he is Scaroth, the only survivor of the exploding ship, and he intends to go back in time and prevent the accident that destroyed his race.

The Doctor discovers six Mona Lisa paintings in Scarlioni’s possession, so he travels back in time to visit his old friend Leonardo Da Vinci, but instead encounters Scaroth from that time period. Scaroth has commissioned Da Vinci to create multiple paintings to finance his time travel machine. In the climax, the Time Lords face off against Scaroth 400 MYA and Duggan punches him in the face, allowing the ship to explode and start the development of life on Earth.

Not a bad episode, though this episode spends a lot of time watching the Time Lords running back and forth on the streets of Paris, impeding the drama. The scientist really overdoes whatever accent he’s trying to pull off. I recognized Scarlioni as Donovan from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, known to some as Julian Glover, and a nice surprise cameo by John Cleese, which I just spoiled

Next up: The Creature from the Pit