Kinda (Doctor Who)

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118[1]Kinda
Doctor Who serial
Kinda.jpg
Trapped in a circle of mirrors, the Mara reveals its true form.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Christopher Bailey
Director Peter Grimwade
Script editor Eric Saward
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Peter Howell
Production code 5Y
Series Season 19
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 1 February–9 February 1982
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Four to Doomsday The Visitation

Kinda is the third serial of the 19th season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four twice-weekly parts from 1 February to 9 February 1982.

Plot[edit]

An Earth colonisation survey expedition to the beautiful jungle planet Deva Loka is being depleted as members of the survey disappear one by one. Four have now gone, leaving the remainder in state of deep stress. The leader, Sanders, relies on bombast and rules; while his deputy, Hindle, is evidently close to breaking point. Only the scientific officer, Todd, seems to deal with the situation with equanimity. She does not see the native people, the Kinda, as a threat, but rather respects their culture and is intrigued by their power of telepathy. The social structure is also curious in that women seem dominant and are the only ones with the power of voice. The humans are holding two silent males hostage for "observation". Todd believes they are more advanced than they first appear, as they possess necklaces representative of the double helix of DNA, indicating a more advanced civilisation.

Elsewhere in the jungle, the TARDIS crew are also under stress, especially Nyssa of Traken, who has collapsed from exhaustion. The Fifth Doctor constructs a delta wave augmenter to enable her to rest in the TARDIS while he and Adric venture deeper into the jungle. They soon find an automated total survival suit (TSS) system, which activates and marches them to the Dome, the colonists' base. Sanders is a welcoming but gruff presence, further undermining Hindle at regular intervals. At this point, Sanders decides to venture out into the jungle in the TSS, leaving the highly-strung Hindle in charge. His will is enforced by means of the two Kinda hostages, who have forged a telepathic link with him believing their souls to have been captured in his mirror. The Doctor, Todd, and Adric are immediately placed under arrest as Hindle now evinces megalomania.

Tegan faces a more metaphysical crisis. She has fallen asleep near the euphonious and soporific Windchimes, unaware of the danger of the dreaming of an unshared mind (one not engaged in telepathic activity with another humanoid). Her mind opens in a black void where she undergoes provocation and terror from a series of nightmarish characters, one of which taunts her: “You will agree to being me, sooner or later, this side of madness or the other". The spectres are a manifestation of the Mara, an evil being of the subconscious that longs for corporeal reality. Mentally tortured, she eventually agrees to become the Mara and a snake symbol passes to her own arm. When her mind returns to her body, she is possessed by the Mara. In a scene reminiscent of the Book of Genesis, she passes the snake symbol to the first Kinda she finds, a young man named Aris, who is the brother of one of the Kinda in the Dome. He too is transformed by evil and now finds the power of voice.

Back at the Dome, Hindle has conceived a bizarre and immolatory plan to destroy the jungle, which he views as a threat. Adric plays along with this delusion. Hindle’s world soon starts to fall apart when first Adric 'betrays' him and then Sanders defies expectation and returns from the jungle. However, Sanders is radically different from the martinet in earlier episodes. Panna, an aged female mystic of the tribe, presented him with a strange wooden box (the 'Box of Jhana') which when opened has cleared his mind and left him a more contented and enlightened person. When Hindle continues to claim authority over the Dome, Sanders plays along accommodatingly with his deputy's megalomania - "As you like. You know best." He still has the box and shows it to Hindle, who makes the Doctor open it.

The Doctor and Todd see beyond the toy inside and instead share a vision from Panna and her young ward, Karuna, who invites them to cave. The shock of the situation (accompanied by strange phenomena) allows the Doctor and Todd to slip away into the jungle where they encounter Aris dominating a group of Kinda and seemingly fulfilling a tribal prophecy that "When the Not-We come, one will arise from among We, a male with Voice who must be obeyed." Karuna soon finds the Doctor and Todd and takes them to meet Panna in the cave from the vision, with the wise woman realising the danger of the situation now Aris has voice. She places them in a trance like state and reveals that the Mara has gained dominion on Deva Loka. The Great Wheel, which turns as civilisations rise and fall has turned again and the hour is near when chaos will reign, instigated by the Mara. The vision she shares is Panna’s last act: when it is finished, she is dead.

In the Kinda world, multiple fathers are shared by children, just as multiple memories are held, and, at Panna's death, her life experience transfers to Karuna. She urges Todd and the Doctor to return to the Dome to prevent Aris leading an attack on it, which will increase the chaos and hasten the collapse of the Kinda civilisation.

Back at the Dome, Hindle, Sanders, and Adric remain in a state of unreality, with the former becoming ever more demented and unbalanced, and infantile. Sanders continues to humour him, even to the point of talking Adric out of an initial escape attempt. Adric eventually succeeds in escaping, and attempts to pilot the TSS but is soon confronted by Aris and the Kinda. He panics, and Aris is wounded by the machine (which responds to the mental impulses of the operator) and the Kinda scatter.

The Doctor and Todd find an emotionally wrecked and sleeping Tegan near the Windchimes and conclude that she was the path of the Mara back into this world. They then find Adric and the party heads back to the Dome where Hindle has now completed the laying of explosives, which will incinerate the jungle and the Dome itself: the ultimate self-defence. Hindle is tricked into opening the Box of Jhana, and the visions therein restores his mental balance as with Sanders previously. The two enslaved Kinda are freed when the mirror entrapping them is shattered. The Doctor then realises the only method of combating the Mara - the one thing evil cannot face is itself, so he organizes the construction of a large circle of mirrors (actually reflective solar panels) in a jungle clearing. Aris is trapped within it and the snake on his arm breaks free, whereupon he is pulled from the circle. The Mara swells to giant proportions but then is banished back from the corporeal world to the Dark Places of the Inside.

With the threat of the Mara dissipated, and the personnel of the Dome back to more balanced selves, the Doctor, Adric, and an exhausted Tegan decide to leave (as does Todd, who decides 'it's all a bit green'). When they reach the TARDIS, Nyssa greets them, fully recovered.

Continuity[edit]

The Mara features again in the next season's serial Snakedance.

Production[edit]

The working title for this story was The Kinda. This was the first story to feature Eric Saward as script editor. In the ancient language Sanskrit, "Deva Loka" means "Celestial Region".[citation needed]

Nyssa makes only brief appearances at the start of episode 1, and at the end of 4, because the script had largely been developed at a time when only two companions for the Doctor were envisioned. When it was known a third companion would also be present, rather than write Nyssa into the entire storyline it was decided she would remain in the TARDIS throughout and be absent through most of the narrative. To account for this absence, Nyssa was scripted to collapse at the end of the previous story, Four to Doomsday. In this story, she remains in the TARDIS, resting. Sarah Sutton's contract was amended to account for this two-episode absence.[2]

This serial marks the first appearance for actor Jonny Lee Miller, who plays an uncredited Kinda child.[citation needed]

Themes and analysis[edit]

Writer Christopher Bailey based this story heavily on Buddhist philosophy. He used many Buddhist words and ideas in writing Kinda; most of the Kinda and dream-sequence characters have names with Buddhist meanings, including Mara (temptation — also personified as a demon), Dukkha (pain), Panna (wisdom), Karuna (compassion), Anicca (impermanence) and Anatta (egolessness). Additionally, Jhana (also spelt Jana in the scripts) refers to meditation.

This serial was examined closely in the 1983 media studies volume Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text by John Tulloch and Manuel Alvarado. This was the first major scholarly work dedicated to Doctor Who. Tulloch and Alvarado compare Kinda with Ursula K. Le Guin's 1976 novel The Word for World is Forest, which shares several themes with Kinda and may have been a template for its story. The Unfolding Text also examines the way "Kinda" incorporates Buddhist and Christian symbols and themes, as well as elements from the writings of Carl Jung.[3]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Part One" 1 February 1982 (1982-02-01) 24:50 8.4
"Part Two" 2 February 1982 (1982-02-02) 24:58 9.4
"Part Three" 8 February 1982 (1982-02-08) 24:17 8.5
"Part Four" 9 February 1982 (1982-02-09) 24:28 8.9
[2][4][5]

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping gave the serial a positive review in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), writing, "One of the best Doctor Who stories ever, astonishingly directed and written as a theatrical piece brimming with allusions and parallels. It's also got a direct and unsilly performance from Simon Rouse, and a thoughtful one from Nerys Hughes."[6] In The Television Companion (1998), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker praised the dream sequences, the "intelligence and sophistication" of the script and direction, as well as the main cast. They felt that these outweighed the more negative aspects, such as a plot that could be hard to follow and the unconvincing alien environment and snake.[7] In 2012, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times called Kinda "an imperfect gem", with some production shortcomings in an otherwise worthwhile story. He praised the guest cast and the "unusually adult psychodrama".[8] The A.V. Club reviewer Christopher Bahn said that the strength of the serial was "the way it behaves like an experimental stage-theater piece", with the highlight being Tegan's dream sequences. However, he felt that a problem was that the TARDIS crew was "kind of sidelined ... and rather passive", with the Doctor merely reacting to events.[9] DVD Talk's Justin Felix gave Kinda three and a half out of five stars, describing it as fun and interesting, though with its fair share of poor special effects.[10] Ian Berriman of SFX gave the serial a positive review, highlighting its adult tone and the strong female roles.[11]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Kinda
Series Target novelisations
Release number 84
Writer Terrance Dicks
Publisher Target Books
ISBN 0-426-19529-9
Release date 15 March 1984

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in December 1983.

In 1997, the novel was also issued by BBC Audio as an audio book, read by Peter Davison.

Home media[edit]

Kinda was released on VHS in October 1994 with a cover illustration by Colin Howard. This story was released on DVD on 7 March 2011, along with the sequel Snakedance in a special-edition box-set entitled Mara Tales. This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in Issue 93 on 25 July 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 119. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, Shannon (7 August 2007). "Kinda". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Tulloch, John; and Alvarado, Manuel (1983). Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-21480-4. 
  4. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (31 March 2007). "Kinda". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  5. ^ "Kinda". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  6. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Kinda". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  7. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed. ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  8. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (18 January 2012). "Doctor Who: Kinda". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Bahn, Christopher (30 October 2011). "Kinda". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Felix, Justin (1 May 2011). "Doctor Who: Kinda". DVD Talk. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Berriman, Ian (4 March 2011). "Doctor Who: Mara Tales - DVD review". SFX. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]