There’s molecular movement!
For anyone keeping track at home, with Victor Pemberton’s “Fury from the Deep” (Story Production Code RR), the Doctor and his companions have now spent five straight stories (thirty episodes total) on Earth, at various times in that planet’s history, an unprecedented run. Not until the Third Doctor is stranded on Earth by the as-yet-unknown Time Lords (and by BBC budgets) will the Doctor rack up quite so many frequent flyer miles in the general vicinity of London. What’s more, the TARDIS displays an increasing tendency towards the sea, this time materializing above the waves close to the North Sea coastline. The TARDIS can float, at least, which is more than can be said for the story’s plot.
To be fair, the story moves along with some pace, though it’s not the fare one has come to expect from Doctor Who. Indeed, the Doctor barely figures in the first four episodes, which are given over instead to the intramural power struggle between a grizzled old rig hand and a fancy college educated technocrat whose wife just happens to have sprouted weed tentacles from her wrist. While Robson, the vet, and Harris, the know-it-all, fight, the Doctor dithers about until Victoria is finally (and inevitably) captured, spurring him to action. Throw in a meddling Dutchman appointed by the multi-national organization overseeing the gas extraction, a Laurel-and-Hardy-esque pair of villains named Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill, an overactive foam machine, and lots of helicopters flying to and fro, and you’ve got “Fury from the Deep” in a nutshell.
“Fury from the Deep” shows Doctor Who in a rut, with another isolated base (this time a set of gas drilling rigs in the North Sea) under attack from another enemy that can control minds and generate copious amounts of foam. Only this time, unlike the Great Intelligence and the Yeti, the foe has no intelligence of its own. Because it’s seaweed. Evil seaweed. Six episodes of evil seaweed.