K9: "News of my regeneration has been greatly exaggerated."
An episode that looks like no other.
Partly this is because of the scenes in which K9 faces-off against a giant robot called Pain-Maker. Partly this is because Darius wears a suit. And partly this is because - horrors - this episode features lots of funky captions whooshing in and out of the frame, with full sound effects.
Y'know, I usually don't like that. For me it breaks the fourth wall by bypassing the programme itself and setting up a more direct link between the the programme-makers and me. In fact, above Freddie is already breaking the fourth wall, as he introduces the episode only to get freeze-framed for the above lines of text to behave like 3D objects and tell us who he is.
However K9 is already so weak as a series that any sign of life and enthusiasm is a welcome one. Hence, the non-linear narrative - another conceit that I usually despair of - here I welcome with open arms and encouragement. Here boy, you can do it, come on… come on… good metal dog!
And this episode is packed with other such reasons to be hopeful. The team get to function as just that - a team - as they dress up and try to mount a con job on the villain. Darius is actually written as a bit of a good guy, albeit without the crippling fear of clowns that he demonstrated in Dream-Eaters, even though two of the robots here are the same clowns.
When Jorjie tries to pass herself off as an adult, she impressively resembles her absent mum.
Despite the early promise of mellow piano music, it is all a bit noisy, and not so easy to connect with as a result.
Quite why the director tries so hard to conceal Thorne's identity is a bit of a mystery in a series which features him as the villain every week, but okay. When our heroes learn that Thorne has been setting them up, they're amazed, despite his having tried it before in Lost Library Of Ukko.
Of greater concern is his plan to blow up the K9 unit, without anyone warning him that this will release the Black Hunger virus to devastate the world. While communicating back to base, K9 still flashes his mouth, even when pointlessly telling them to "Sh!"
There's a nice scene at the end with the characters recalling the events of K9's regeneration in the eponymous episode one. This show has always had the look of wanting to build-in some longer running storylines, and Thorne's final scene here with Lomax is reminiscent of Drake's final throwing down the gauntlet to June back in the aforementioned Black Hunger instalment.
That perrenial question remains though - will they remember any of this next week? Or will their memories fall victim to a different kind of 'destructortainment'?
K9: "You are the gladiators? But you're just a couple of clowns!"