Friday, June 25, 2010

"The Executioners"

Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with a somewhat reduced TARDIS Project crew of Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm and MisterMother. It's the first episode of a brand new story, so, without further ado, let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 22 May 1965. Far away, on a crater-filled planet, the TARDIS' departure is being monitored--by the Daleks! The ship is again travelling in time and space and the Daleks will track it down using their own time machine! Then they will have their revenge on their greatest enemy--he will be EXTERMINATED! EXTERMINATED!!

The TARDIS flies through the Time-Space Vortex. Inside, the Doctor is trying to get the machine he'd salvaged from the Space Museum to work as Vicki stands watching and whistling. Annoyed, the Doctor tells her to go away. She enters the living quarters and finds Ian reading a "Space Monsters" science fiction book. He, too, tells her to not bother him. She goes to find Barbara, who is more than willing to talk as she sews some material, but Vicki accidently knocks a cup of liquid onto it.

Just then, a loud noise from the control room brings Ian, Barbara and Vicki running. The noise is coming from the odd machine, a "Time and Space Visualiser." The Doctor begins to explain what it does, confusing Ian terribly, but Vicki clarifies: essentially, it can pick up light waves to view anything in history. She mentions that when she left Earth, scientists were trying to develop a machine to read the light waves and she is delighted that this is one of those machines! The Doctor invites Ian to choose a time and place in history and he chooses 1863, Pennsylvania, the US. The Doctor takes a card with that information and puts it into the machine. The screen clears to reveal Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address! Delighted, Barbara chooses a card: Elizabeth I has Sir Walter Raleigh bring her William Shakespeare, who she enjoins to write a play about "Falstaff in Love." Raleigh suggests Shakespeare try the story of Hamlet, but the playwright isn't so sure...Now, it's Vicki's turn and she picks what, for her, is ancient history--a 1965 Beatles performance of "Ticket to Ride!" As the picture starts to go, Barbara tries to adjust it and cuts it off, to the dismay of everyone else. (Even the Doctor was getting into the music!) Vicki is amazed; she'd been to the memorial to the group in Liverpool, but she'd never realized they played classical music!

Just then, the TARDIS lands in what appears to be the middle of the desert. The Doctor checks the vitals and declares that the atmosphere is safe. Going outside, they are surprised by the heat until the Doctor points up and observes that there are two suns. It looks like the planet's rotation is rapid; night, when it comes, will come quickly. The landscape looks deserted, but Vicki wants to explore--there could be anything over the next dune! Excited, she runs off. Ian starts to go after her, but the Doctor stops him and gives him a small device, a "TARDIS magnet," which will enable him to find the ship again. He then runs after Vicki.

The two run across the landscape, noticing strange, craggy things that look like people. On the top of a dune, Vicki trips, then notices a small pool of oily liquid on the sand. It smells awful, as she points out to Ian when he runs up. Vicki notices it looks like there is a trail of the liquid leading off and suggests they follow it. Amused, Ian agrees and the two walk off. They don't see an octopus-like tentacle emerge out of the sand where they had just been...

Just outside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Barbara are lying in the sunlight. The Doctor sings happily, but he is drowned out by a noise coming from the ship; it seems the Time and Space Visualiser got left on. Barbara enters the ship to turn it off, but stops when she sees what the monitor is showing: Daleks! She calls for the Doctor.

On the monitor, the Supreme Dalek receives the report that the enemy timeship, TARDIS, has arrived on the planet Aridius. The assassination group will be sent in the Daleks' new time machine to intercept and EXTERMINATE them! The Dalek group enters their time ship...which is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!

The Doctor is horrified; the Visualiser only shows what has happened in the past--for all they know, the Daleks are already on the planet! They must find Ian and Vicki and leave immediately!

Vicki and Ian have reached the end of the trail of liquid. Realizing they should get back, the two continue to talk as the suns go down and the darkness grows around them. Ian discovers a ring stuck into the sand and the two debate whether he should pull it or not. They decide to, and Ian manages to pull a key-like object out of the sand, but nothing seems to happen and he throws it away. They get up and begin to leave, but realize a hole has opened in the ground! Vicki immediately goes to explore, discovering there are steps leading down...

Barbara and the Doctor are out searching for the other two, but there's no sign of them. To make matters worse, they cannot agree which direction is the way back to the TARDIS.

Vicki and Ian have descended into the pit, discovering a large, echoey chamber. They cautiously move forward, not seeing a tentacled arm closing the door overhead. They turn around to see a strange, octopoid creature standing behind them!

Above, sand is blowing everywhere as Barbara and the Doctor try to make their way through the storm. They collapse, taking shelter as best they can. The next morning, the two pick themselves up out of the sand, to discover, to Barbara's horror, that the storm has changed the entire landscape of the desert, obliterating all trace of any footsteps or dunes...and the TARDIS, which must be buried somewhere. The Doctor searches his pocket for the TARDIS magnet, but remembers he'd given it to Ian. Suddenly, he yells to Barbara to get down! He's seen something out in the desert!

Straining from the effort to free itself, a Dalek emerges from the desert sand.....!


Ketina's discussion transcript/paraphrase

H: Historian
K: Ketina
R: Ronelyn
Sc: Schmallturm
MM: MisterMother

Sc: Well, this is the first time we’ve really seen the Daleks act like Daleks.

H: Yes, this is the first official “Exterminate” as a battle cry. Soon we will be able to take many drinks. [Editor: drinking game reference, we won’t really being doing that. Probably.]

Sc: My other thought is that this is another case where there would be no plot if the characters had two brain cells to rub together. They seemed more childlike and clueless this time.

M: I thought the time scope was great. We saw them playing with the super science and they were enjoying it and having fun.

H: I thought it was cool that Vicki’s historical period was the current period of time for when the episode aired.

M: And the Doctor did get the machine working.

Sc: He was in full on deranged coot mode in this episode.

M: But a coot that knows stuff.

H: There were some great lines. “No, not that bad noise, the other bad noise.”

M: It was ominous, but highly entertaining.

R: And there was SPACE LINCOLN.

H: It didn’t look anything like Gettysburg.

M: I loved the repeating landscapes. Where they were supposed to be far away from the TARDIS that looked exactly like where they just were next to the TARDIS.

H: I thought they did the transitions well, between the location filming and studio filming, however.

M: I just thought it was chuckle worthy. They may have done it on purpose. The irony that the place they were at looking exactly like before, yet they said it looked completely different.

H: Daleks' Time machine, scary?

M: The revolving Daleks scene was amusing.

H: It was obvious that they only had 4 Dalek casings, but they did a good job using them to convey the element that the Dalek time machine was also bigger on the inside than the outside.

R: I was amused by the way they gave the report. “On no, wait for the doctor to be watching before you say something important.”

M: The voice actors for the Daleks clearly had a blast saying the work TARDIS.

Sc: My thinking is that the Daleks have been driven insane by being continually thwarted by the doctor. And now they’re obsessed with him.

H: They clearly have a better idea now that the Doctor is their real enemy. And a real threat. Before he was just this guy who showed up.

Sc: Actually, they specifically the TARDIS and our enemies.

R: The enemy is Barbara and those two clowns who travel around with her, and the kid.

K: And they certainly can’t tell the difference between Vicki and Susan.

R: *Dalek voice* “Didn’t the kid have different colored hair last time?”

M: They said that their enemies had "delayed" their conquest of Earth. The Daleks were clearly defeated last time. But they'd never admit that.

R: *Dalek voice* “It was a draw, okay!”

M: I noticed Ian and his stripy shirt with the open collar, posing reading the book. He’s looking very stylish.

H: His gotten cooler. In the first episode he was all “Susan turn that noise off” and now he’s all “hep”.

Sc: This is the first time we’ve seen him out of a jacket or historical outfit.

H: No tie. That’s for sure. In a few more episodes he might be wearing a 60’s era medallion or something.

R: ”You know what you are Doctor? A square that’s what you are.”

H: I must say that this episode was refreshing after The Space Museum.

Sc: Something HAPPENED.

R: If they had Lincoln in the Space Museum, that would have been something.

H: Something I liked about the episode’s construction is that you have what seems to be this wild digression at the start with the visualizer, and what does this have to do with the Daleks? But the Daleks show up in the visualizer and it pulls everything together. Good job by Terry Nation...assuming Terry Nation actually wrote those scenes and they weren't actually written by the story editor.

M: And that’s why they included Shakespeare. He didn’t actually write anything either.

*Debate ensues regarding who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays.*

K: We seem to like to talk about Shakespeare in Doctor Who reviews don’t we? I have to type that word a lot.

M: You don’t have to include the digression about Shakespeare. That was all Historian “baiting”

H: Did you know that historian baiting was a popular sport in Elizabethan time. No, not really.

M: Or if it was, nobody recorded it with a Time and Space Visualizer.

H: It was cool to see the Beatles. I‘m glad we have the video taped copy of this episode and got to see that.

K: I thought both the tentacle monster at the end, which I usually mock, and the coughing creepy Dalek coming up out of the sand were both really cool.

H: And the Doctor and Barbara being buried in the sand storm also looked great.

R: I liked the bit with Ian and Vicki hanging out and you actually see night fall.

H: Yes, and very quickly, just like the Doctor said it would. And the conversation with Vicki was interesting. A castle? Was it a ruin, or an actual castle in her backyard?

M: And she was so nonchalant about finding the ring and the opening in the sand. They’ve seen enough crazy stuff that they could be casual about it.

R: On the negative side, we did suffer from more of the sudden assaults from the soundtrack. It was like a homeless guy at a bus stop. It runs up the characters and then wanders off.

H: That’s called a “sting.”

R: When the Doctor and Barbara are running through the desert, and it was all “dun dun” and then it cuts to the big wind blowing noise. It was just jarring.

H: I don’t have a problem with this, but I get that you did.

R: On the positive side, it’s stopped being less stagey. The POV shot from the TARDIS door level when the Doctor is describing the planet, and he reaches directly towards the camera. It’s much more experimental.

M: They’ve learned the language of the camera now and are not restricted to the language of the stage.

R: Okay, maybe more playful than experimental.

H: I think playful really summons up a lot of this episode.

M: It was story boarded instead of set designed.

R: I liked it.

H: Hopefully the rest of the story will live up to the potential of the first episode.

M: Hopefully now that we’ve left The Space Museum behind we’ve also left the sudden plot death syndrome behind as well.

H: Well, Terry Nation did also write the Keys of Marinus. Nooo!

Sc: You know happened. The Queen probably called up and said “I really liked those Daleks. Let’s have some more of those fellows.”


And that's basically it for this week! This chase through time and space has gotten off to a fun, breezy and (dare I say it?) exciting start. I can't wait for the Project to gather and watch the next episode! But, until then, I remain



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