Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo and MisterMother. Before we begin, an announcement: The TARDIS Project will be taking a short break for the next few weeks, but we will be back with a new episode on 21 May! (The wrapup for this story should be up in the intervening time, though.) I'm running a little late tonight, so, without further ado, let's get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 17 April 1965. In el Akir's palace, Barbara is forced to her knees in front of the Emir. He tells her that, for defying him, the only pleasure remaining to her is death. And that pleasure will be long in coming....El Akir ostentatiously counts out gold in his hand to pay his guards, but Barbara knocks the hand aside, scattering the gold! The guards, instead of pursuing her, grab for the money and she runs as el Akir screams for her to be taken! The guards run out and burst into the emir's seraglio (i.e., his harem) in pursuit where one of his concubines, Maimuna, stops them. When el Akir enters, she assures him that they have seen no escaped prisoner. El Akir offers a ruby ring to any of the women who help him find Barbara, but no one says anything. After he leaves, Barbara emerges from hiding. Maimuna tells her that they all hate el Akir; no one will give her away.
In the desert outside Lydda, Ian awakens. He has been tied to four stakes set in the ground. A bandit, Ibrahim, leans over him. The man mockingly demands Ian tell where he has hidden his money. When Ian is unable to bluff the man into untying him, Ibrahim takes a pot of honey and puts a small amount on Ian's hand and chest. Then the bandit spreads a line of honey from Ian to a nearby anthill. Ian, terrified, stares at the honey line, waiting for the ants to appear...
In Richard's castle at Jaffa, Leicester is accosting Vicki, accusing her of deception--based on both her masquerade as a boy and his general animosity to the Doctor. Thankfully, the Doctor comes to Vicki's rescue and the two argue. It is evident that Leicester's anger at the Doctor is now deep rooted. During this argument, Vicki realizes that it was Leicester who told Joanna of Richard's plans...and the king has silently entered the room and heard the whole thing. He tells Leicester to prepare the men as a fight seems to be necessary and the nobleman goes. Richard then tells the Doctor that he is restored to favor; it seems the king has known almost all along who the news had been brought by, but he needs good fighters and Leicester is one. Still, it would be prudent for the Doctor and Vicki to leave until Leicester's temper has cooled; Richard suggests they retire to Acre. To the Doctor, Richard reveals his great fear--fighting the Saracens for Jerusalem, but being unable to keep it. "Win the battle, lose the war," he says, worryingly. But he feels that, after all his toil, he must see Jerusalem. The Doctor assures him he will. As the two take their leave, the king stands, fingering his crucifix, wondering what to do. The Doctor tells Vicki what will happen: Richard will see Jerusalem from afar, but never capture or enter the city. But they cannot tell him--history must run its course. Now the two must get back to the ship, hoping Ian and Barbara will meet them there. As they quietly leave, Richard beseeches the Holy Sepulchre for help...
In the desert, the ants are beginning to move closer...
Back inside the seraglio, Barbara has discovered that Maimuna is Haroun's lost older daughter. She gives her new friend news of her family and Maimuna cries tears of joy; she feared her father would hate her now that she has been used by el Akir. No, Barbara says, he wishes to kill the emir for what he had done. Maimuna says there is no escape from here, but they will hide Barbara for as long as they can. Nearby, another woman, Fatima, watches the two of them.
Back and Jaffa, Leicester tells a soldier to follow the Doctor and Vicki as they leave. He believes that they are spies or worse--perhaps the Doctor is a devil and Vicki a witch!
Back in the desert, Ibrahim gloats as the ants almost reach Ian's hand. Ian whispers that there is gold in his boot and the bandit cuts the rope holding one leg and pulls the boot off, which is empty. No, Ian says, the other boot. When his other leg is cut free, Ian kicks out at Ibrahim and pulls his arm stakes out. He overpowers Ibrahim and demands to know where Lydda is. The bandit tells him it is within walking distance and offers to take him there. Ibrahim's brother has taken Ian's horse, unfortunately.
In the seraglio, one of the women listens at the door for guards while Maimuna and Barbara discuss escape possibilities. There is a balcony, but there are guards below. At the door, Fatima slips out...
Outside, Haroun has killed a guard and entered the palace.
El Akir is berating a guard when Fatima approaches to claim the ruby ring. She leads him back to the seraglio.
Outside the palace gates, Ian and Ibrahim discover the dead guard. Ibrahim tells Ian that he, too, hates el Akir and will help Ian put an end to him. Ian sends the bandit to steal some horses for their escape and then enters the palace.
In the seraglio, Fatima's absence has been noted and Maimuna has realized that she has betrayed them. El Akir bursts into the room, brandishing a sword. He threatens Maimuna, but does not realize that Haroun has crept up behind him...and Haroun thrusts his knife into the emir! The father and daughter are joyfully reunited as Fatima sees el Akir's body and screams! Before the guards rush in, Ian makes it inside and calls to Barbara. Ian and Haroun take care of the guards and then they all escape! Fatima stands in shock as the other women of the harem crowd around her to take their revenge...
Outside, Ibrahim has stolen the horses belonging to the guard. Ian and Barbara make their way back to the ship as Haroun, Maimuna and Ibrahim also escape.
A short way from the TARDIS, the Doctor and Vicki peer through the bushes, only to see a guard between them and the ship. They see Leicester emerge to talk to the guard and realize they were followed. Because of the direction the Doctor and Vicki took, Leicester is more convinced than ever that they are Saracen spies! The two try to sneak by; Vicki makes it past the guard, but the Doctor is caught! Vicki begins to go back, only to find that Barbara is waiting by the ship for her, cautioning her to be quiet. Back in the clearing, Leicester is surprised to see another night, Sir Ian of Jaffa, approach him and demand the honor of executing the Doctor because of the ambush at the beginning of this story. Leicester grants this and, when the Doctor asks for the last request to see the city of Jaffa one more time, Leicester grants that too. Sr Ian takes his prisoner into the bushes to bring him in sight of the city...and the two run to the ship, where the Doctor fumbles out the key and lets them all in. Leicester and his guards arrive just in time to see the box vanish with a horrible accopanying sound (Vworp! Vworp!). They agree to speak of this to no one, but all wonder at the torments poor Sir Ian must be in, to be trapped by devils!
Inside the ship, Ian is in torment, as the Doctor keeps throwing "knighthood" puns at him. Suddenly, something happens to the light and only the central column is lit. The four travellers stand still, seemingly unable to move.....
And now, Ketina's transcript!
H: I’m going to say something odd for me, but I found this last episode disappointing.
M: The episode was like “and here’s the bow” tying up the loose ends.
H: We didn’t see Saphadin or Saladin once.
Sc: They were on vacation this week
H: They didn't have to pay them this week. The one really nice this about was they found Haroun’s other daughter. It was nice that they tied that up. About the desert, William Russell objected to the ants scene. The hand you saw wasn’t his.
S: On ethical grounds?
H: On being covered in ants grounds.
M: But he didn’t object to being tied up.
H: Apparently he nearly walked out over it.
M: It was a sadistic scene.
H: And Ibrahim was twisted, yet funny too.
S: Ian’s entire story arc it was filler. It was a way for him to get from point A to B in a not very interesting way.
K: Dude, torture on Doctor Who.
R: And insects.. “Now master, now that I have you covered in honey and ants, guess what else we’re going to do?"
K: ARGH! (I have issues with insects, torture, and other stuff)
M: Leicester had this big long Shakespearian line about knights with sun on their shoulders and whatever big long glorious speech. And the king was all like “whatever, sounds good.”
H: One of the problems this story appears to have in the last 1/3 is it’s a victim of history. They couldn’t do anything else after a point because the marriage thing didn’t happen in history, Richard wouldn’t be able to hold Jerusalem. Des Preaux didn’t get released until after that. All of these things that were setup couldn’t be resolved within the period of the story that they had. The ending was disappointing, but I couldn’t see how they could have done anything about it. But The Doctor did have a line about history having to take its course.
S: You could have at least fit “there’s Jerusalem” instead of the Ian and the Ants business.
H: But that would have elongated the time even more. They would have been their for a month, and the characters need to be in peril. The needed to do something with Ian. The ants scene was for reasons to tension.
S: Monster of the week.
H: No monster, this is a historical. And they also introduced Ibrahim in that plot.
M: They had 3 different story lines going and had to resolve them all at the same time to get them back to the TARDIS.
H: That happens a lot.
K: That happened the very last story with the Zarbi, that they all gathered at the same place at the same time at the very end.
H: The actual end of the episode with Ian stepping out and talking to Leicester, that was a payoff for Ian’s plot.
S: Even though you knew it was going to happen. The moment he was knighted he was going to pull rank somewhere.
H: I loved Leicester – poor Sir Ian taken away by demons!
K: We shall never speak of this again.
S: You’d think that would happen more often in Doctor Who.
H: Well, it does. Heh.
M: I did have the feeling there was some subtext between Richard and Leicester, that Richard let him off because there was something going on between them.
S: In a Spartacus way, maybe.
H: He does give a good explanation. Leicester was one of his best swords.
M: But he was kind of fawning over him too.
H: I was bummed that we didn’t see any Joanna. But everyone was paid per episodes, so if there wasn’t enough for them to do they wouldn’t write them in to get paid.
S: At the very end, was the “my honor needs to be satisfied before yours” was the excuse to see the city part of the honor death thing?
H: Yes, Ian takes the Doctor through the bushes towards Jaffa, and that’s where the TARDIS is. And then, as they heard the TARDIS leaving Leicester runs over and is all “Demons!”
S: It was hard to tell in the reconstruction. It made me think of a later Doctor Who story where the Master shoves people into what looks like an Iron Maiden and it turns out to be his TARDIS. It was hard to see this episode without think of three or four other episodes from other eras.
H: It was just disappointing to me. I think of the three episodes that came earlier in the story, this one was disappointing.
M: I would have liked to have actually seen el Akir’s death scene. I think actually seeing that would have made it much better.
M: But the radio drama aspect of it lessoned it.
H: But we still didn’t get resolution for Saladin.
H: What did you think Sc?
Sc: It was meh. I didn’t really think much of it.
S: It felt like it needed to be one episode longer to resolve things.
H: But most of the things were left unresolved…
M: History left them unresolved
S: But they have the one character of any character in fiction who could explain that.
H: He did.
S: But he just explains it to Vicki why they couldn’t do anything with Richard.
H: The Doctor does explain it to Richard. It can be inferred from his "but could you hold it?" question. But people today don’t have the history knowledge to follow it.
*and once more, the “you are all wrong song” gets sung*
R: I have make an MP3 of that to put on line some day.
H: So, something that we have been discussing in previous weeks, and we touched on it plot wise here. One of the things we praised the most was David Whitiker's dialogue.
R: I think something happens to British writers when they get to write dialog for King Richard. It’s like they can hear the trumpets playing and smell the fields of wheat...
H: But in this episode Richard was very casual.
Sc: It was Leicester who had the flowery dialogue.
M: It made Richard more human that he didn’t have the Shakespearian dialog this time.
H: Richard was “I’m tired, I tried for one more peace. I’m burned out, I’m almost done.” I though the dialogue covered that well, as well as Julian Glover's performance. I liked, even though it was over the top, even Ibraham's dialog. It was well written at least.
Sc: I didn’t have a problem with him (Ibrahim). He was the wacky comedy.
S: I think he was too wacky for the rest of what was going on.
K: I don’t get why Ian trusted him at the end.
H: I don’t think Ian had much of a choice.
M: Mutual hatred.
H: Notice that everyone hates El Akir. Except for folks who can get something from him like Fatima. We didn’t even talk about the Harem.
S: When the Harem turned on their own.
M: Like harpies or furies.
H: It was obvious in the recon based on the stills that Fatima was going to betray them all. I wonder if in the real episode it would have been that obvious. But they had to use the stills that the had.
S: I felt like the harem taking her out at the end was very animalistic.
H: I might have felt different if we could have seen what they were actually doing to her.
K: Hair pulling, spitting. Female mud wrestling.
H: Remember, it is a children’s program.
Sc: Okay, I think we’ve said all we can about this episode.
Hello, the Historian here again, agreeing with Schmallturm. I'll be back to talk about this story more in the next week or two. If you want to form your own opinion, why not visit the Loose Cannon site and order a copy for yourself? Anyway, we'll see you back here on May 21st for the first episode of a new story! Until then, I remain
IN THREE WEEKS: "THE SPACE MUSEUM"