'The Krotons' is a nice, but flawed little episode; the first script by well-known Doctor Who writer, Robert Holmes.
It’s not as lengthy as other Patrick Troughton episodes, or other multi-part Doctor Who episodes, rather; but a nice compact storyline; although, some of the techno-babble may go over the heads of some and cause a distraction.
Too, the fact that the Gonds are not really given much characterization or distinction in the time allotted, may cause confusion to some viewers.
However, as one who grew up with the Tom Baker era, loves the Colin Baker era, and admires the current era (with Russell T. Davies producing), 'The Krotons' moves quick enough for me as a serial, or episode.
The title villains are not as physically imposing as the Daleks or Cybermen, as they are almost reminiscent of a 1950’s B-movie robot design; although I wonder if we won’t be seeing a tougher and creepier version of the robots in the new series.
They even have their own tagline for those who don’t do their bidding: ‘You will be dispersed!’ (So the potential to expand on this villain is high, I think).
As for our story:
The Krotons need intelligent beings (or ‘high-brains’) to control their ship; the intelligent being which they monitor and test via a machine a Dynatrope.
For some time, the Krotons have been using the Gonds(a humanoid, Caucasian group of people, somewhat technologically knowledgable; and, seemingly with a high number of males in their poplulation) weeding out those intelligent ones for absorption.
Like a classic ‘Star Trek’ episode, the Krotons are worshipped by the Gonds, who haven’t really seen the Krotons before The Doctor and his companions arrive. The Dynatrope machine and the absorption are considered to be part of the Krotons’ deity-like powers.
Zoe (Wendy Padbury) and The Doctor (the aforementioned Patrick Troughton) pretty much are the heroes in this episode, as their high-intelligence is a match for what the Krotons are planning, (which is basically to power their ship and leave the world of the Gonds—at the expense of lives they need for that power).
Jamie (Frazer Hines) is regulated to the background, assisting the Gonds with their own internal struggles; some want to turn over The Doctor and Zoe to the Krotons so the robots will ‘possibly leave them in peace’ and others want to rely on the The Doctor to resolve the situation.
Zoe had my particular attention (and many other male viewers who have or will watch this episode) as her outfit this time around consists of a PVC jacket, miniskirt, and knee-high boots…
And this was considered a children’s program at the time!
Still, as sexy as Zoe was, it didn’t detract from her character (which is always a good thing when female characters can be intelligent and sexy).
Zoe was not only shown to be a bit smarter than The Doctor, but—as aforementioned—was one of the individuals who stop the Krotons’ plans.
It was said Zoe was one of ‘the screamers’ (something that many early female companions were regulated to doing; screaming and/or falling down and being captured) however, I didn’t recall any screaming (or falling down) in this episode; she held her own.
As she was captured (along with The Doctor) she combined her smarts with his to escape.
The relationship between Zoe and The Doctor almost reminded me of a ‘different’ version of the Peri(Nicola Bryant)/Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) relationship; and I wonder how it would have been if later episodes were just Zoe and ‘number two’?