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It all begins rather harmless: UNIT, the UN's investigative unit for
abnormal occurences, is called in to investigate a series of abnormal
power outages in an experimental nuclear power plant inside of some caves
- and as it is, UNIT's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney)
brings along scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) and scientific advisor
Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), who has a nack for uncovering problem's far
beyond UNIT's scope. And really, soon a dinosaur is discovered deep down
in the caves, as well as a primeval race of intelligent lizards, the
Silurians, just ending their hibernation - which took them several million
years. And now it seems the Silurians want to retake the world from the
apes (as which they still see the humans).
What really makes the Silurians dangerous though is that Doctor Quinn
(Fulton Mackay), the power plant's head scientist, has actually made a
deal with the Silurians to transfer electricity to them (hence the outages
in the plant) in exchange for wisdom - which is pretty much a deal with
the devil, and one Quinn doesn't survive for too long.
Eventually, the Doctor makes it down to Silurian HQ, where he strikes a
deal with the Silurian leader to negotiate peace between humans and
Silurians - but the Silurian leader is soon afterwards killed by his
fiercest opponent among the Silurians, who rather wants to send the humans
the plague than negotiate, and so he infects his prisoner, the power
plant's security chief Baker (Norman Jones) and sets him free - which
means soon enough, the entire power plant is threatened by the plague, and
thanks to a politician, permanent undersecretary Masters (Geoffrey
Palmer), the plague arrives in London in no time.
Of course, Doctor Who wouldn't be the man that he is if he wouldn't
find a cure for the plague pretty much on the spot - and just before the
Silurians kidnap him too - which at least saves earth from an epidemic.
But then the Silurians force the Doctor to take control of the power plant
to give them a massive power transfer - an opportunity the Doctor uses to
overload the reactor past critical point and chase the Silurians off (and
back into their hibernation quarters) and thus save earth - though he
almost doesn't live to tell the tale.
Until the very end, the Doctor believes a deal can be struck with the
Silurians, maybe if they are brought out of hibernation again one at a
time ... but the Brigadier opts for a more pragmatic approach: To just
blow up the Silurians' hibernation quarters.
Doctor Who and the Silurians does not at all feature an
uninteresting story, and especially the genocide at the end is a bit of a
shocker, but the story is let down by several factors: Firstly, the whole
thing, running for seven episodes or almost 3 hours is a bit too long,
secondly the rubber suits of the Silurians look unconvincing and also a
bit silly, and finally, as a whole the story does lack action and many of
the more interesting plot elements (like the London plague) are not
exploited to the fullest. That's now not to say that Doctor Who and the
Silurians is a total failure, besides an intelligent plot it does
feature fully fleshed out characters and a very capable cast - it just
would have profited from a bit of tightening, storywise.