The Curse of Fenric
Ace: It’s like it’s some kind of a game and only you know the rules!
Story Code: C26.3.
Production Code: 7M.
Story Number: 154.
Countdown week: 2…
The final season of Classic Doctor Who and again like the previous stories, another “final” aspect to this story – the final Doctor Who historical (or rather, pseudohistorical). As a middle story in a trilogy about Ace, it’s also the middle of a trilogy about the 20th Century, (with the end-of-previous-century Victorian Science roots of the 20th Century featuring in the preceding story.) A story that spans more than that though really, from “the dawn of time” via “17 centuries ago” to the “end of the world” (another DW “end of the world” among many.)
From this span of centuries it draws upon Norse Myth (Ragnarok, the end of the world) – something the Nazis were apparently keen on, though in this WWII story only Soviets and some Brits feature, albeit Brit Commander Millington does seem quite keen on the Nazis (as well as Norse Myth). Previous DW stories are drawn upon too – mainly for the extremely effective depictions of the “Sea Vampires” – the rising-from-the-ocean of The Sea Devils, the tunnels of The Web of Fear. This is one of the most stylish DW stories, with great outdoor filming adding to its epic quality – a superb DW story.
Viking Runes are woven with the proto-computers of the British code-breakers. In a story about solving codes and puzzles and games – the “chess player” Doctor does actually play chess in this story: at least, sets a chess puzzle for Fenric who seems compelled to try to figure it out. Over the course of the story, Ace tries to figure out what the Doctor is playing at too – “You’ve always known, you just can’t be bothered to tell anyone! It’s like it’s some kind of a game and only you know the rules!”
Ace seems to be a chess piece of Fenric’s as the (perhaps over-complicated) endgame of the final half of the final episode plays out – however, it also seems that like the previous story, the Doctor has been guiding Ace towards some sort of catharsis. The next story – the final part of this trilogy, and also the final story of Classic Doctor Who.