Hello all, the Historian here. Before we begin, an announcement: The TARDIS Project will be taking a break next week, returning on 18 June for the final part of the allegedly exciting story! Returning to this week, tonight Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MiniSpoo and MisterMother joined me in watching an...episode of Doctor Who. Ahem. Let's, uh, get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 8 May 1965. Guards step up as Lobos tells them to take the Doctor to "the preparation room." The guards free the Doctor from the chair and lift him to his feet. The Doctor is not laughing now....
Outside, the museum, Morok guards wave some Xeron youths away from the TARDIS, which the Moroks have brought from its landing spot. Inside, Ian, Barbara and Vicki watch in consternation. They are unsure what to do--what will change the course of the future and what will lead them back to the display cases? Some noise outside makes them look again. A commander walks up and berates the guards who have not been able to open the ship. Lobos arrives...and berates the commander for the same reason. The commander asks if any aliens have been captured and Lobos says that one has (the others hear this inside), but three are still at large. He orders the museum to be fully searched.
Inside, the three hear the noise outside stop. Behind them, a Morok guard appears and tells them to stand where they are. They don't know what to do, but Ian starts to advance on the guard. His idea is two-fold: if the guard fires, it could change history, but (on the other hand) he doesn't really think the guard will fire. After all, the guard's orders must have been clear, to take the prisoners alive, not dead...Ian continues to advance and the guard just doesn't know what to do. The two fight and Vicki and Barbara try in vain to open the front doors to escape. Outside, hearing the scuffle, Lobos tells his guards to do the same thing! Then Vicki and Barbara run off into the museum in different directions as Ian continues to struggle with the guard. Other guards enter from outside and capture him. Lobos tells them to take Ian to his office. Once they get Ian outside, however, he throws both of the guards off and manages to get away.
Barbara runs into what seems to be a dark storeroom, realizing Vicki is not running behind her. Hearing pursuit, she hides behind some boxes and a Morok guard misses finding her after a less than thorough search. He closes the door behind him...and Barbara discovers that he has locked it as well.
Vicki, wandering in a hallway, is grabbed from behind by the three Xeron rebels. After beginning to convince her of their friendliness, Dako is sent to find Barbara.
Outside, Lobos berates the guards for letting Ian get away. A short while later, Ian, hidden behind the TARDIS, distracts the lone guard and wrestles his gun away from him. The guard tells Ian that the Doctor has been taken to the preparation room. But once the "process" starts, it's impossible to stop, although it takes hours. Ian demands to be taken there and, cowed, the guard obeys.
In his office, Lobos has received a directive from Morok telling him that sparing the Xeron youths might have been a miscalculation. He is also frustrated that the "aliens" have yet to be caught. He orders that Zaphra gas be pumped through the museum; this gas will paralyze the women if they do not leave the museum.
Barbara is continuing to try to open the door, with no success. She gives up. Sometime later, she is awakened by the noise of someone coming and hides. It is Dako. He calls her by name, surprising her.
Meanwhile, Vicki, Tor and Sita begin to make their way to the Xeron hideout.
Barbara asks why she should believe that the Xerons are friends and Dako begins to tell the story of his world: This is his planet. The ones in uniforms, the Moroks, who invaded without warning. Xeron had been a peaceful, technologically advanced planet, but their weapons were inferior to the invaders. Barbara, convinced, agrees to go with him to the hideout, but as they leave, the gas begins to fill the corridors...
In the hideout, Tor continues telling the story to Vicki. The Moroks destroyed everything and killed everyone except the children. The children are used as a labor force, taken off the planet (now a museum) when they were old enough. Sita adds that they have vowed to drive the Moroks off Xeron. But, Tor adds, they are without weapons. Vicki is astounded that, in all this time, they've managed to not organize any better than this! After prodding, she admits that she and her friends had come to Xeron by accident. Sita opines that Barbara and Dako must have been captured, it's been too long since they were expected. Vicki continues to prod the two Xerons about their lack of real revolution, but the Xerons again talk about how, at best, they have one or two ray guns. The Morok armory is behind a locked door that they cannot breach, protected by an "electronic brain" which asks a series of questions and can tell when they are answered untruthfully. Vicki suggests they take her to the armory door. Sita asks why she is so interested in their revolution and Vicki, thoughtfully, replies that perhaps a revolution could help change the future...
Ian and the guard have arrived outside the building containing the preparation room. The guard suggests that they wait until fewer people are around inside, but Ian is not sure. Hearing someone coming, Ian hides behind a pillar, making sure the gun is still pointed at the guard. It is the Morok commander, who accosts the guard for leaving his post. The guard concocts a story about being summoned by the governor, which seems to go over well. He also asks, hesitantly, whether the other aliens have been caught and the commander tells him about the Zaphra gas. The commander leaves and Ian comes back out of hiding saying the guard was right and they will wait.
In the armory, Tor and Sita knock out the guard and show Vicki how the lock works: you break a light beam in front of the door and the computer (sitting in the middle of the room) asks questions such as rank, authorization, etc. And, using its lie detection circuits, it is able to tell if you answer incorrectly. Vicki, thinking for a moment, decides to see what she can do and, with some assistance, takes the cover off the computer.
In his office, Lobos receives a report that no one has emerged from the museum. He replies that the aliens should emerge soon. But inside, Barbara and Dako succumb to the gas and fall to the floor.
Back in the armory, Vicki finishes her work and replaces the cover. She breaks the light beam and, when asked what her name is, answers "Vicki." When asked the purpose for the weapon requisition, she smiles and says, "Revolution!" The computer accepts those answers and the door opens! Vicki reveals that she didn't change the questions or the lie detection, she just made the condition that she had to tell the truth, regardless of how she answered the questions. Sita and Tor begin to grab every weapon they have to arm their people.
In the governor's office, Lobos is surprised to see a guard and Ian walk in, Ian hiding the gun. He quickly pulls it on the governor and demands to see the Doctor. Lobos tells Ian that it's too late to help the Doctor, but Ian still demands to see him. Lobos leads him 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....!
Whew. The Historian here. Wow, that was even more tedious to write up than it was to watch. Wow. Lots of stuff happened, very little of it of real interest...and very little of the acting was worth mentioning. At least not in a good way. But I'm getting ahead of myself....here's Ketina's transcript/paraphrase of our discussion:
Sc: The governor had some kind of speech impediment
S: He was just trying to talk while his mouth was full… of scenery!
H: Actually, I think he had a non-standard British accent, and they wanted him to speak with a different accent. [Note: I was talking about the BBC dictum that major characters in serials were apparently required to speak with "standard" accents, rather than regional ones. Lobos' actor definitely had some problems with this. --H]
M: That didn’t stop them from having the guard speak with a cockney accent.
H: Yeah, but that was a minor role. Anyway, my thought, it’s “Michael Caine as the governor” and “Eddie Izzard as James Mason as the commander.”
M: Now I think we know where the Heat Miser came from. [Referring to the Morok's widows peak wigs. --H]
H: I never new Boba Fett had such large eyebrows! (one of the “kids” was played by Jeremy Bulloch)
Sc: Are there more young ones [Xerons] coming along? How long have they been occupying this planet? [i.e., if the Moloks have been there for so long, but they killed all but the kids, where do the new Xerons come from? --H]
H: They said, when they get to a certain age they get shipped off planet.
K: But they all belong to the chess club, which is good since there are no girls on the planet. [I think this is a joke that doesn't quite get itself across here; let's say that the Xerons did not come across as "cool dudes." --H]
H: I noticed they replaced the store bought tennis shoes with something black. Probably spray painted them. I noticed Barbara had the line “Maybe we should do something.”
R: Which was then buried under more dialogue.
H: But at least Vicki actually does something.
S: Hey, I’m on an alien planet, I don’t know how time works, I’m fighting for my life, let’s start a war!
H: Having chaos might let them change the timeline...
Sc: At least something was happening. That was the only good part.
H: I thought they did a good job with the Orac looking prop on the door for the lock. The electronic brain that Vicki hacked.
S: All those wigs didn’t cost anything. They just exploded some owls.
M: They seem to be from a mono-gendered galaxy; we didn't see any female Xerons or Moloks.
H: I don’t want to see the Molok women.
S: “You get an owl! And ou get an owl!”
M: [Without women] It’s like gremlins and their wigs start spitting out spawn.
S: I can’t imagine a 7-month old kid with those Xeron eyebrows.
H: The acting was so terrible.
M: Ian had a good line.
H: Yeah, Ian, Barbara, Vicki and Jeremy Bulloch. That was about it. [And Bulloch is questionable, acting-wise. --H]
Sc: The dialogue was just so bad.
H: I think William Hartnell picked a good time to take a vacation.
M: And now we know how important he is.
H: I think the regulars did a good job, considering what they had to work with.
M: Yeah, but Hartnell can take nothing and make it entertaining.
S: Hartnell went on vacation, but he was kind enough to leave a fluff behind.
M: The wonderful badly flubbed line that was immediately followed by the line “is that clear?” Replace that thing you breath with the stuff that’s another thing.
H:MiniSpoo, did you like the episode?
H: Said without elaboration and then he walked away.
S: That’s pretty much the best response to this episode.
M: Well, Ian did have a good fight scene.
H: Knight of Jaffa!
K: As fight scenes go, we’ve seen both better and worse so far on Doctor Who.
R: It was still better than most of Kirk’s.
H: Except the music. Actually, there was very little music.
R: At one point Barbara was locked up in a room with the soundtrack.
H: At one point her hair suffers.
R: She was trapped in the room like “This is JUST PERFECT” and her hair sold it!
S: Maybe her hair was just jealous of all the other hair in the episode.
K: There was the fantastic “Why didn’t you bring the cutters!” line
S: We figured you could just eat through the scenery, sir!
H: Why didn’t they search The Doctor for the key?
K: So, paralyzing gas… yet they kept saying “They’ll leave the building soon.”
H: That make sense in the context of the episode. They said the gas paralyzes after a certain amount of time, and it would drive them out because they would be trying to get away from it.
K: But why would they assume that they’d be able to escape before getting paralyzed.
M: And the Morlok are clearly all extremely nearsighted. Barbara hid behind a box. Ian hid 3 feet behind the TARDIS.
Sc: I liked the bit where they were all standing there talking and the guy was just standing there listening while aiming a gun at them.
H: It was the Daleks all over again. But I did like the bit where Ian walks up to the guy with the gun and totally intimidates him. There were moments that showed promise, but then they lead nowhere.
S: I was hoping it was promising to end.
H: Fair enough.
M: Even so, we all still love Doctor Who. Just not THIS story.
And there we have it. Join us next time for the (thank goodness) last episode of this story. Until then, I remain
IN TWO WEEKS: "THE FINAL PHASE"