The Doctor and Mel visit Iceworld and hunt for treasure with Sabalom Glitz.
Our story begins with the Doctor taking Mel and the TARDIS to Iceworld, a trading station on the planet Svartos. It’s run by an exiled criminal named Kane, whose body is so cold, anyone who touches him…dies!
Mel and the Doctor go to a little restaurant and reunite with “lovable” rogue Sabalom Glitz. He’s searching for hidden treasure on Iceworld that, if found, will pay off his massive debt. The Doctor and Mel want in on the hunt, as does the restaurant waitress, Ace, who’s from present day Earth but arrived by time storm. Yeah, a time storm. Sounds very random, but it’s a reference to Wizard of Oz, and we learn more about it later on.
The Doctor and Glitz go on the treasure hunt alone in Iceworld’s catacombs; the Doctor climbs over some railing and suddenly finds himself dangling off a cliff. Meanwhile, Ace and Mel bump into a dragon monster while evading Kane.
Ace and Mel run away from the dragon and Glitz saves the Doctor from falling to his doom.
The Doctor, Glitz, Ace, and Mel all reunite in a cave, where they find the dragon again, but it’s really a robot with a crystal (the so-called treasure) in its head. A hologram pops up to explain that Iceworld is really a giant space ship, and the key to its activation is the dragon’s crystal.
Kane gets ahold of the crystal after making Ace his hostage, and takes Iceworld to his home planet so he can finally get revenge on those responsible for his exile. However, he’s been away for so long, the planet no longer exists! Fed up with it all, he opens the window and allows light from the sun to melt his face off.
Glitz claims Iceworld as his own and Mel decides to stay with him. Ace joins the Doctor as her replacement, and off they go into the TARDIS to their next adventure.
When I first saw this serial, I felt it was very average, and fans seem to feel the same way – you never see this episode pop up in “Best of” lists, but you never see it in “Worst of” lists either. However, as I watch this serial for a second time, I find that it’s a hidden gem with a fun, adventurous tone.
Doctor Who, especially Classic Who, has a habit of having villains portrayed by outrageous, scenery chewing actors, and Kane definitely fits in the mold. I think the only thing in the actor’s mind as he said his lines were, “I am so evil. Man, look at how evil I am.” And that’s not a bad thing! Quite the opposite – he was the highlight of the serial, and all his scenes were delightful.
Ace, the final companion of the classic era, makes her debut in this episode, but the writer tries too hard to make her seem edgy and cool that she comes across like Scrappy-Doo. And what of poor Mel, who was quickly discarded like an old dishrag? Yeah, Sabalom Glitz is an entertaining guy to hang out with once in awhile, but for Mel to actually stay with him felt a little weird. Especially after hearing that he sold his previous crew into slavery!
At three episodes, this serial is a breeze to get through. Give it a chance, or if you’ve already seen it and felt it was average, give it another go.