Doctor Who: The Face of Evil (Story #89)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Introduces Leela, interesting story

Gets a little long at the end


Her name was Leela…she was a killer…

The Doctor (Tom Baker) has arrives on the jungle planet where he meets an exiled girl named Leela (Louise Jameson).  The Doctor learns that Leela’s people the Sevateem worship someone called Xoanon and are at war with a group called the Tesh.  The Doctor learns that the Sevateem consider him the “Evil One” and finds a strange giant statue of his face.  What is Xoanon and who are the Sevateem and Tesh?

Doctor Who:  The Face of Evil aired during the fourteenth season of Doctor Who and was the first episode to introduce the Doctor’s new companion Leela.  It aired in four episodes from January 1, 1977 to January 22, 1977.  It followed Doctor Who:  The Deadly Assassin and has been collected in The Tom Baker Years as Story #89.


It really captured my blank stare.

Doctor Who:  The Face of Evil was a good Doctor Who series.  The story is pretty dense with the Doctor trying to figure out Xoanon and discovering that he accidentally created the problem of Xoanon by interfering with the Mordee Expedition.  Xoanon is revealed to be the computer that the Doctor accidentally imprinted himself on and the Sevateem were the survey team and the Tesh were the technicians.

The episode seems a little more advanced than other Doctor Who episodes and looks quite good.  It does get a bit bogged down by the end of the story and the story gets a bit stagnant with the Tesh and Xoanon.  The idea of a computer going crazy is always fun and with the limited budget, the show did a decent job at least making it look interesting and the computer trying to determine who or what it is also is creepy.


Andy Warhol computer, get out of my mind!!!

I like Leela as a companion.  She’s a lot different than the Doctor’s previous companions.  She savage, willing to kill, and the “muscle” to the Doctor’s mental.  Companions like Sarah Jane and Jo never had this mindset and even the guys that occasionally travelled with the Doctor never were much of a threat (and Leela’s fighting is better than Jon Pertwee’s kung fu Doctor).  Plus it was a strange contrast to see the Doctor with his scarf and coat and Leela with her leather outfit on future adventures.

Doctor Who:  The Face of Evil is a better than average Doctor Who episodes and fans of the series should make an effort to see it just for the Leela aspect.  In addition to Leela, the episodes are actually kind of fun and deeper than most episodes.  Doctor Who:  The Face of Evil was followed by Doctor Who:  The Robots of Death.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Deadly Assassin (Story #89)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Robots of Death (Story #90)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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