Friday, July 30, 2010

"The Death of Doctor Who"

Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MisterMother and Photobug--no MiniSpoo this week, alas--with the next episode in our Dalek Chase! The TARDIS has landed on the planet Mechanus, so lets get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 19 June 1965. On the ship, the door of the capsule opens as the Daleks talk about their success and superiority. A figure emerges from the capsule--it is a (not very good) replica of the Doctor, who repeats his orders: He will infiltrate the TARDIS crew and kill. Infiltrate and kill....!

The TARDIS crew, minus Vicki, emerges into a weird jungle on the planet Mechanus, filled with moving and apparently carnivorous mushrooms. It is night. The creatures begin to close in on the travellers until a light suddenly appears from above, creating a lighted "corridor" through the jungle. The fungi shy away from the light. Although they wonder what caused the light, the Doctor and company, carrying the Doctor's anti-Dalek device, decide not to question their luck yet and move out.

Meanwhile, the Dalek ship has landed and the Daleks begin to disembark. The First Dalek informs his subordinates that on Mechanus all forms of life should be treated as hostile. The Daleks begin to organize searches for the travellers as well as ensuring that the Robot Doctor is ready to infiltrate. It moves out, along with a few Daleks for escort. After the Daleks leave, Vicki sneaks off the Dalek ship.

In the jungle, the Doctor goes ahead while Ian and Barbara lag behind for a few moments. As they pass on, the Robot Doctor begins to follow them...

Vicki stumbles through the jungle, almost falling prey to a fungus. She manages to free herself and stumbles on...

The others have arrived at the end of the light corridor--a cave, which is empty. Exploring, Barbara finds a strange metal rod. The others surmise that it could be a weapon. The Doctor takes it and tests it near the cave mouth. But instead of firing, when the Doctor operates it the end of the rod lights up. It seems to be a device to keep the fungi away! Barbara realizes that with the light rod and the Doctor's device, they should be able to pick the Daleks off easily from the cave mouth! She grabs it and pretends to fire away! But the Doctor tells them that his device can't be used safely in an enclosed space without endangering themselves. Barbara realizes that this means if the Daleks follow them to the cave, the travellers will be trapped! Ian suggests they "put the lights out" to keep the Daleks from finding the corridor. They begin to search for the light's source.

Meanwhile, Vicki has discovered the TARDIS, but runs afoul of the fungus "guarding" it. She runs and finds herself on the lighted path.

In the cave, the three have found a box that must be the light source. Ian manages to pry it up and they turn off the lights.

As the lights go out, Vicki is attacked by a fungus and screams!

Back in the cave, the three hear the screams. Barbara realizes who it must be, but cannot get a word in edgewise as the Doctor and Ian rush out, telling her to stay behind and watch the device. As they leave, the Robot Doctor emerges from hiding, seeing his chance...

In the jungle, the Daleks are also feeling the effects of the sudden darkness and begin to be attacked by the fungi. They simply kill the attackers.

Ian and the Doctor find Vicki lying on the ground, unconscious. Ian makes the logical leap that she must have stowed away on the Dalek ship--which means the Daleks have arrived. Ian picks up Vicki and they begin to return to the cave.

Back at the cave, the Robot Doctor enters, surprising Barbara. It tells her that Ian is dead--or perhaps not. Barbara should follow him, perhaps she can help! She and the false Doctor leave the cave.

The Doctor and Ian, carrying Vicki, arrive back at the cave. They discover Barbara is missing. Ian goes to just outside the cave to look for her while the Doctor tends Vicki. She wakes up and, mistaking the Doctor for his robot double, falls back in terror. This confuses the Doctor utterly. Ian rushes in and Vicki realizes this must be the real Doctor. She tells them of the Daleks' robot duplicate and they realize that it must have enticed Barbara into leaving. The three rush out to look for her.

Elsewhere in the jungle, Barbara and "the Doctor" continue to search for Ian's body. Just then, Ian's call comes through the jungle and Barbara realizes he must be all right. In joy, she turns to "the Doctor," only to have the robot attack her! Ian manages to arrive in the nick of time to throw the robot off her! He quickly explains the situation and they go to find Vicki and the real Doctor.

Elsewhere, Vicki has become separated from the Doctor, giving the robot a chance. By the time Ian and Barbara appear, there are two Doctors confronting the three friends! In the altercation, the robot manages to convince them that it is the real Doctor and Ian stands ready to kill the Doctor! But the robot makes a slip--it calls Vicki "Susan"--and Barbara yells to Ian to change his target! Finally, it comes down to Doctor versus robot. The Doctor, after a furious fight, imitates a Dalek voice, telling the robot to halt. It does and the Doctor is able to reach in and pull a bunch of wires out of it. The robot falls, useless.

The Daleks have located the TARDIS. They destroy the fungus "guarding" it. There is no sign of the humans and contact with the robot has been lost. The decision is made to wait until daylight to make a full search of the jungle.

Back at the cave, Ian sits in the entrance on guard. Vicki and Barbara are asleep inside and Ian suggests the Doctor does the same. Things don't look good, but perhaps when day comes they'll be able to come up with something. The Doctor lies down next to Barbara and falls asleep. Ian, too, nods off. After they are all asleep, a strange, camera-like probe descends from the ceiling and seems to look at them all. It retracts and disappears.

The day begins and the Doctor awakens and goes to the cave mouth. He stops in surprise and wakes Ian. The two look up and see, now visible in the daylight, a beautiful, futuristic city on large stilts in the distance! The Doctor calls to the others and they are all amazed; in the dark, they'd had no idea the city was even there! The Doctor realizes that they must make for the city. Barbara picks up the device and they make ready to leave the cave...when Vicki and Ian see a line of Daleks making their way straight towards them! They retreat back into the cave. Going over their options, they come up with no good ones. In desperation, Ian suggests the Doctor try to bluff the Daleks into believing he is their robot, but Vicki and Barbara dismiss this as crazy. The Doctor, unknown to the rest, decides to try this and slips out of the cave. The Daleks realize the subterfuge at once and fire!

Outside, the Daleks ready themselves to attack in formation--to attack and destroy! Destroy and rejoice!

The Doctor, having barely managed to evade the Dalek fire, dives back into the cave. Realizing he has no other options, the Doctor tells the other three to get against the far wall and begins to set up his device in the center of the cave, hoping it won't kill them as well as the Daleks. Just as he is about to turn it on, one of the cave walls snaps open, revealing a giant geodesic thing, round and covered with triangular panels! It calls itself a Mechanoid, in a strange electronic voice, and tells them to enter. Hearing the Daleks coming, Ian suggests they go. The Doctor grabs his device and the four of them enter through the Mechanoid's door....!


Ketina's Krazy...something starting with "k" that means "transcript"

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

H: An alien jungle! Hey, it must be a Terry Nation Script.
M: Twas brillig in the slithy toves, did gire and gimble in the wabe.
S: I like the Daleks who announced that everything should be treated as hostile. By that right, they should have spent the next 18 minutes shooting everything in sight.
H: And they kept getting caught by the mushroom things. (Referring to one of Ian's early lines) So, living fungi are opposed to non-living fungi?
M: And all they wanted were hugs.
R: So it was the planet of the Giving Trees?
H: I liked this episode. It was nice to have action adventure after two comedy episodes.
S: Even after mano-y-mano, coot-on-coot.
H: He (the actor playing the robot) was a FOOT TALLER than William Hartnell.
M: It was octo-y-octo.
Sc: I could suspend my disbelief and believe that the robot looked like the doctor.
M: It was better than the Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee fight in The Two Towers, anyway.
H: I liked the way that the Doctor did a Dalek voice to confuse the robot and then pull his wires out.
S: That was unclear and lame. I couldn't figure out what happened and the fight was suddenly over.
H: I like that William Hartnell was just saying the lines off camera when the robot was "speaking." Their production didn't even allow for pre-recording and playback.
M: So how did they do the scene where they were actually talking to each other with close ups? Did Hartnell run around?
H: No, they probably stopped the camera.
S: But we know they had a second camera. We SAW it in the background.
P: And stage hand "Bob" didn't get credited for his arm there in the jungle.
R: His hand slowly went out, picked up something, and slowly when back.
M: How many times did our heroes pass the Dalek time machine?
H: It was dark!
P: But the city itself didn't have any lights at night?
H: We'll probably find out more about the city next week. And hey, a weird futuristic city in the middle of wilderness! Must be a Terry Nation script!
Sc: I'll try to remember by ascot next week in honor of Terry Nation.
R: But bow ties are cool.
K: Wrong Doctor.
S: So the fungi. Why?
M: They had the costumes? There was a high school production of Jabberwocky they borrowed them from?
H: I actually thought the fungi costumes looked pretty neat.
S: They shriveled down when they died, which was cool.
P: You could see the interference from the camera where they put the see-through cloth to increase the effect.
H: I thought they did a good use of using a tiny stage. The Lime Grove studios weren't too much larger than the room we're in right now!
P: And Daleks can nod.
H: I loved the scene where the two Daleks are alone, eyestalks so close as to almost be touching. I kept thinking "KISS HIM! KISS HIM NOW!" [Note: JOKE. --H]
S: Barbara's freak out...
M: Marvelous!
H: She truly went commando.
S: Taking the alien cigarette lighter going "pkew pkew.. pkew pkew.."
H: It was pretty awesome. And the Doctor robot was surprisingly effective in his "infiltrate" plan.
S: Until he got to the "kill" part. Infiltrate check. Kill, not so much.
S: And then the doctor reached out and unravelled him.
R: And, speaking of sticks, I'm always amused by the Doctor's idea of discretion. He steps out to the wonder fungus and pokes it with his stick Then Chesterton pokes one and the Doctor pulls him away and says "No, don't touch it dear boy, discretion is the better part of valor!"
P: And they could have been the intelligent life on the planet. "We saw you land. Welcome to our.. ow! You hit me!"
S: I counted 4 instances of abandoning the MacGuffin. Until the doctor had the presence in mind to remind them to pickup the thingamabob. And that's where he lost me, getting all technical.
*group devolves into "Thingamabob" song to Doctor Who theme*
Sc: The Doctor finally gets ready to use it, and then (sound of the cave wall opening)--slide!
S:"Hello! You can call me Deux Machina."
P: "I am Mechanoid 867-5309."
M: I think the TARDIS crew are exhausted from all of the chasing around. And that the Daleks created the robot so perfectly like the Doctor that he was feeble at fighting as well.
P: Ian should have stood up to stay awake.
H: Something else I learned this week. We chuckle when we hear the jazzy music.
S: It's what they could afford.
H: Sort of. It's because they had a budget for each entire story, and it's sometimes what they could afford. So they could either pay a composer to make spacey music, or use something from the archives. Thus the archived jazz.
P: What was never explained, why was there a corridor of light there, and who turned it on?
H: We'll probably find out next week.
R: (As Mechanoid, referring to earlier joke about it looking like a 20 sided die that apparently didn't make it into the transcript) Our Mechanoid god has infinite sides. He can roll infinate numbers!
*Discussion about 12 sided mechanoids*
S: But the Mechanoid voice was very hard to understand.
R: It was a little confusing when the Daleks started singing their round of destruction. I found it hard to make some of it out.
H: Which brings us right back to the beginning!
M: They were playing some strange Dalek word game.


I think Spoo pretty much summed up the Project feeling in that last line! As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed it and I think the Project did too. As usual, it's possible we all enjoyed it more after discussing it out. At any rate, next week, our questions about the city and the strange, geodesic Mechanoids will be answered in this story's stunning conclusion! Until then, I remain



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