Friday, June 18, 2010

"The Final Phase"

Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MiniSpoo, MisterMother and Photobug, bringing you the...conclusion of this current adventure in the Space Museum on the planet Xeros. Yeah. Let's, um, get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 15 May 1965. Lobos leads Ian to a sliding door and Ian demands that Lobos and the guard enter in front of him. There is a whirring noise in front of him and Ian stares in horror at what he sees. "Doctor..." he gasps.... The Doctor is trapped in a device, standing stock still as if he is dead--or a museum exhibit! Lobos, after prodding, tells Ian that the Doctor has entered the "second phase" part of the process, he's as good as dead. Threatening the governor and the guard with his gun, Ian demands that Lobos reverse the process and bring the Doctor back to life. Although he says it is impossible, that it has never been done before, Lobos starts to reverse the freezing. He has no idea how long this will take, no matter how many times Ian asks.

Back at the Xeron hideout, Tor, Sita and Vicki are finishing handing weapons out to the Xeron rebels. Tor sends most of his force to the Molok barracks to take out the majority of the guards. Vicki, however, decides she must return to the museum to try and find her friends. Tor, at first, does not want to let her go--what if she's captured?--but eventually relents, sending Sita with her.

Some Molok guards have retrieved the cutting equipment and are beginning to attempt to cut into the TARDIS, which still stands outside the museum doors. The guard commander appears and, realizing that something is fishy when the guards reveal that the ship had been deserted when they'd arrived, takes all but one of them to the governor's office to get some answers. The lone guard stands...guard.

Inside the museum, the gas is still everywhere. Barbara regains consciousness and helps Dako up. The two of them continue to struggle towards the doors.

Back at the governor's office, Lobos continues to work while Ian continues to wave his ray gun around. Lobos tells Ian that the Doctor's temperature, which had been below freezing, should be back to normal. Of course, Lobos still believes the Doctor should be dead, regardless of temperature, but the Doctor gasps and Ian helps him out of the machine and into a chair. He claims to be suffering from an attack of rheumatism, which always happens when he gets cold. Even frozen, though, his brain was working perfectly--he was alive, but immobile! Lobos is shocked and the Doctor jokingly threatens to show him what it's like...but the Doctor's conscience, thankfully, will not allow it. Just outside the freezing room, though, the guard commander and his company arrive. Ian wonders if they've changed the future, but the Doctor is not sure; after all, the governor would have no problems putting them both back into the machine and freezing them, would he? Just then, the guards enter and disarm Ian, as Lobos agrees that no, he would have no problems doing so.

Outside the museum, the guard tenses as he hears someone approaching the doors. Inside, Barbara and Dako drag themselves closer to the doors.

In the governor's office, Lobos and the commander is interrogating the poor guard who Ian captured. He is placed under arrest...but Lobos is unable to contact the barracks, so the guard gets a reprieve so he may accompany the commander to assist the guard outside the museum in capturing Barbara and Dako. After the two leave, Lobos returns to the preparation room, where Ian and the Doctor are being held, and gloats to them that their friends are about to be captured.

Barbara and Dako stumble out of the museum, right into the gun sights of the guard...but Sita and Vicki arrive just in time! The reunion is joyful, both for the travellers and the Xerons. Vicki and Barbara compare notes, realizing Ian must have been captured. Wondering where they might be, Sita suggests the governor's office. Of course they wouldn't want to go there....but that is precisely where they will go, says the guard commander, appearing and shooting Sita down! Dako is clubbed unconscious and the commander grabs one of the ray guns, demanding to know where Vicki got it. She won't say, so he and the guard with him take Vicki and Barbara away.

Back at the office, the governor has discovered he cannot contact the barracks or the armory. The commander has sent his soldier off to find out what is wrong.

In the preparation room, Barbara and Vicki have joined Ian and the Doctor as prisoners. They spend time discussing whether they have changed their histories so as not to end up as exhibits. Barbara observes that they had gone on four different ways, but ended up the same place. Vicki points out that a successful revolution will close the museum, and no museum=no exhibits, right? The Doctor agrees that changing other people's histories might affect their own.

Outside the museum, the revolution is proceeding as Tor and his followers attack and overpower the guards. Tor revives Dako who tells him that Vicki and Barbara have been taken to the governor's office. Tor leads his people to the office to free them.

Back at the office, the guard sent to the armory has finally called in, telling Lobos and the commander that all the weapons have been taken. Lobos grabs a briefcase and begins packing papers, telling the commander that they can flee on the governor's ship. He tells the commander to kill the aliens...but Tor and his followers arrive before the commander can carry his orders out. They shoot both Moloks down and the TARDIS crew is freed!

Later, the Xerons have begun to dismantle the museum. Vicki stands with Tor while Ian and Barbara wait outside the TARDIS. The Doctor emerges from the ship, showing the teachers a small component that he said caused the problem. It got stuck, which caused them to slip the time track. When it clicked into place, they "arrived." Barbara and Ian enter the TARDIS and the Doctor moves off to talk to Tor and collect Vicki. He tells Tor not to reject everything in the museum, not to turn his back on science. Just then, Ian and Barbara return, asking the Doctor what the new machine in the TARDIS is. He tells them it is something from the museum, a "Space and Time Visualiser." He will show them what it does later! Goodbyes are said, Vicki takes her leave of Tor, and the TARDIS departs Xeros.

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!!


And here's our discussion, transcribed and paraphrased by Ketina, with some editing by the Historian. (There were some technical difficulties, so this week will have more paraphrasing and editing than usual.)

H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
Sc = Schmallturm
S = Spoo
M = MisterMother
P = Photobug

H: This week, "The Final Phase." Thank goodness. Although there were some parts of this episode that didn’t completely suck, mostly surrounding Hartnell, once again proving that he’s an essential part of the equation.

M: Worst paralysis gas ever

H: Yeah, I know. What the heck?

R: "Oh, I think I’m all right. I was paralyzed for about ahalf hour now, but I’m all better now."

M: I was getting a Barbara “the cougar” vibe from that scene. [He was making a joke about Barbara and teen-aged Dako being alone all that time. --H]

P: Did anybody notice what happened to the second gun that Ian had?

S: Straight up continuity error

H: I assumed that he put it down on a table somewhere.

P: With the enemies all around?

M: There were gun continuity errors everywhere.

S: Funniest mook death ever! [Meaning the guard who Tor shoots towards the end of the episode. --H] He’s shot, he drops one thing, he grabs his spleen, he emotes with one arm, and then finally looks surprised when he belly flops. I almost coughed up a lung from belly laughing.

P: Or a spleen

H: I loved when the guard in the preparation room gets ordered to rush Ian. He moves forward, Ian brandishes the gun and he backs away, hands in the air... It was almost Benny Hill-esque.

M: Their costumes were just so bad that no matter what they did it was silly. And I think the Doctor was doing his best to disarm Ian. He was doing everything he could to hang off of Ian’s weapon arm.

S: Lots of “Yoda-Who” today. [Referring to William Hartnell's crazy laughing, etc., ala Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back." --H]

H: Amazingly enough though, he wasn’t the one with the fluff. It was Barbara this week.

S: And the garrison commander.

H: These big doughy guys verses teenagers. Oh, but did you notice that they said the men and the women. So there are female Xerons.

Sc: Yeah, they're just not A/V club members, so they don't show up.

[Many jokes about Xerons and their eyebrows.]

M; How cool is it that they had weirding modules on Vicki's scream mode. [Referring to the ray guns. --H]

H: How clear was it that they were so "serious" about this script that they just called the guns "Ray guns." [H sighs]

R: I loved the moment where the guard outside the museum sniffed at the door and was like "no, not paralyzed."

H: I thought he was listening.

P: No, he sniffed.

R: I also loved Ian's "How long is this going to take?" "We don't know, again, no one has ever DONE THIS BEFORE."

R: "We're slowly warming him up. Soon he will begin to smell." "Yes, I can feel his body temperature. He does seem to be warm again." "Of course, he's still dead."

M: This was one of the hardest ones not to "mSt3k."

H: Even I had a hard time not doing it. But it did have a really cool cliffhanger. The Daleks have a time machine!

R: Our greatest enemy is back in time in space. What, this episode was so bad you weren't going to detect him?

H: I think it meant that they left the planet Xerox... Xeros, and the Daleks could track them again.

M: I think it was in flux with two timelines the entire time until the Doctor found the thing that was stuck in the TARDIS. [Ok, this is really a paraphrase. What M was trying to say is his theory is that the little stuck device didn't become unstuck until towards the end of the story when history/fate had been changed. Because things were in flux, the Daleks couldn't even detect them. I don't buy it, as I say below, but I think that's what MM was going for. Let me know in the comments if I got it wrong! --H]

H: I think they skipped the time track, but it became unstuck as soon as they could interact with things again.

K: I agree with The Historian, I think they were unstuck once they could interact with stuff.

M: They were unstuck, but they were still in flux. They were still in danger of becoming museum exhibits.

H: It was so terrible... there were all these cool ideas, grafted onto such a terrible story. And that was the tragic thing about The Space Museum.

M: It maps so well with what later writers have done with Doctor Who regarding the idea that some places in time can be changed and other ones can't. Assuming they ever even looked at this episode.

H: The tragic thing is that this story survived, but ones like "The Myth Makers" didn't. Sad, short sighted BBC.

[discussion about film archiving... BCC shortsightedness in the '70s, etc.]

P: THe dialog was very constructed. I have a line, now this is your line, now I have a like again.

H: Especially with the Moloks, and anything with the commander. It felt very staged.

P: Shakesperian-like.

H: More community theater. Episodes like The Crusades were very Shakepearan.

P: There was no life and death feel. Actors with guns were standing right next to prisoners. The only time I saw actual real action was when the guy grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger.

K: There was that awesome bit when the guy skidded toward Ian and nearly slid into the gun. Didn't get why Ian didn't just shoot him.

P: What's up with no one watching behind them, especially when holding a gun.

K: Ian proved in the first episode of this story that he didn't know how to handle a gun.

H: Alas, great ideas, crap story.


I just want to add one more thing this week: We didn't ask MiniSpoo (at six years old, the only one of us close to the original target audience) what he thought during the discussion, but it's worth noting that he was pretty riveted to the screen the whole time (after dancing around a bit during the theme tune). Afterwards, his only comment was "that was strange." Yes it was, MiniSpoo. It sure was. But he did seem to enjoy it...

And next week, the Daleks return...with a time machine of their own?! Can't wait! Until then, I remain



No comments: