Friday, July 16, 2010

"Flight Through Eternity"

Hello everyone, the Historian here, apologizing once again for last week. I am mostly recovered from my cold, thank you. At any rate, I'm here with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MiniSpoo and MisterMother for another Dalek-filled episode. Let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 5 June 1966. On the planet Aridius, the Dalek leader declares that they will follow the enemy craft, pursuing it through all eternity--to be EXTERMINATED!

On board the TARDIS, the crew are celebrating their escape from the Daleks. On the console, a machine begins to beep--it is a "Time Path Detector" that the Doctor had long ago constructed to survey the path the ship travels on. It has never shown anything before, but it means that something is following the ship through the timestream!

Sure enough, the Dalek time machine is only minutes behind the TARDIS. On board the Dalek machine, the evil creatures continues to track their enemy, calculating the landing destination using the time curve the ships are travelling on.

On the TARDIS, the Doctor is frustrated. He can't seem to shake the Daleks. They're still out in front, but for how long? The Doctor says they have about a twelve minute window when they land before they can take off again. They must hold on to their lead on the Daleks as best they can.

In 1966 New York city, a group of tourists is listening to a bored guide on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The guide and almost all of the tourists move around to the other side of the building leaving one tall young man, Morton Dill (from Alabama), looking out at the city. Behind him, a wheezing, groaning sound is heard and the TARDIS appears. Morton does a double take, and then a triple take as Barbara walks out and asks him for the year. Vicki then comes out and the two look at the city. Vicki recognizes it as "ancient New York"! The Doctor and Ian emerge, surprising Morton, who wonders how they can all fit in such a small box and he examines it. Ian pulls the Doctor aside, saying this is a bad place to meet the Daleks. Too small an area and too many innocents here. As the TARDIS will be ready to take off, the Doctor suggests they reembark. Morton is surprised. He tells them he's figured it out: they're motion picture actors and the TARDIS is like one of the small sheds he's seen in films that have large numbers of people coming out of them. But surely they should have police uniforms (like the Keystone Cops) and be on a chase? The Doctor agrees, yes, they are engaged in a chase! The door closes and Morton goes to get his camera, but the groaning noise starts and he turns around just in time to see the TARDIS disappear! He turns again and the Dalek time machine appears in the same place. A Dalek emerges, delighting Morton, who still assumes this is all for a film. The Dalek attempts to interrogate Morton, but the man is more amused than frightened. He finally tells the Dalek that the other "movie people" just left and the Dalek withdraws into its machine, which then disappears. Right after, the rest of the tourists and the guide return, only to find Morton pounding on the floor where the machines had stood, trying to find the trap door they must have disappeared down. The guide, seeing him as a lunatic, goes to find a cop.

On board the TARDIS, the Doctor has Ian and Barbara carry over a heavy piece of equipment he is hoping to use to fight the Daleks. But the device needs some work and they're out of time. The ship is landing again--the Doctor, fearful, says they must take off again as quickly as they can.

On board a sailing ship, the mate and captain confer. The ship is becalmed off the Azores. The captain goes below to check on his wife and child. On the other side of the ship, the TARDIS appears and Barbara and Ian emerge. Barbara is delighted; she loves ships. Ian tells her not to go far and reenters the TARDIS. Barbara goes to the rail...where she is caught by the mate who takes her for a stowaway! When the mate demands where she'd stowed away, she insists she just arrived--which he does not believe for a moment. Meanwhile, Vicki leaves the TARDIS and sees this altercation. She grabs a nearby cosh and sneaks towards Barbara and the mate...

Inside the TARDIS, Ian bemoans their luck. First they land on a skyscraper, now a ship! Neither of these are good places to have a showdown with the Daleks. What they need is space, he says. The Doctor, only half listening, tells him they are ready to take off and to go find the girls.

Outside, Vicki has crawled up to the upper deck above Barbara and the mate. She leans down and bashes the mate on the head with the cosh, freeing Barbara. But they hear someone else coming. Vicki hits him on the head as well--only to discover it is Ian! The two women manage to drag a semi-conscious Ian back to the TARDIS and the ship takes off just as the mate comes to. He stares in disbelief at the disappearing box and calls for the captain. He tells the captain about the stowaway and then tries to explain how she got away. Although the captain dismisses the mate's fears that the disappearing box could have anything to do with the "white Barbary terror," he does realize that the story could mean multiple stowaways and has the crew turn out to search the ship.

On board the Dalek ship, the evil creatures are preparing for landing. A search party to find the Doctor and company is organized.

On board the ship, the search has yielded nothing...until a crewman is confronted by a Dalek! Screaming of "the white terror of Barbary," the sailor backs away. Soon, all the sailors are running in terror, jumping over the side as more Daleks appear. The Daleks, meanwhile, are simply demanding information about the other time travellers and are unable to understand why the humans are simply running. Eventually, only the Daleks remain on the ship, which they search. Unable to find the Doctor and company, the Daleks make the assumption that the TARDIS has left. They return to their time machine and dematerialize. The ship is empty, riding the waves and the camera focuses in on its nameplate which reads "MARY CELESTE."

On board the TARDIS, Ian is recovering from his knock on the head. He tells Barbara that, before he was knocked out by Vicki, he'd seen that the ship was the Mary Celeste. Barbara is shocked by this news. The Doctor, meanwhile, has attempted to alter the time curve they are travelling on, but has been unable to lose the Dalek craft. And the TARDIS' lead is shrinking...from twelve minutes to only eight. The Daleks are catching up....!


And now, this week's transcript/paraphrase, typed by Ketina with some small editing by the Historian!

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

H: (as the Empire State guide) Now ah. Dat would be the ah comedy episode that ah you would get ah occasionally the ah comedy episode of the show.

S: Many accents died to bring us this episode.

R: I see you all is circus folk! I'm a carny myself.

H: It's a stock character. (Meaning Morton's comic southerner.)

s: To go along with the stock footage. That was the shortest longest episode ever. They did almost nothing but they filled it up with everything.

K: This has got to be my favorite episode of the Chase.

H: I think the episode was really funny.

S: Yes it is, but...

H: And tells us something about children in 1960's Britan. They knew the story of the Marie Celeste.

K: Or their parents did, and would explain it after watching the show. Family and show, and all that.

S: I liked the bit where the Dalek fell into the water and the top fell off. How DID the Dalek get to the upper deck?

M: The aliens that abducted the crew helped the Dalek up to the deck.

H: I read something a while ago about the inconsistency. That bit implies they can levitate (to get up stairs). But the next time we see Daleks do anything like that was about 6 years later and the Dalek had to use an anti-gravity disk.

Sc: I thought the Marie Celeste had the potential to be cool, but failed.

H: I thought it was meant to be comedy...

R: Ha ha that woman and baby her drowned was supposed to be comedy?

M: I would suspect the reason the Marie Celeste was used... when was this filmed?

H: 1966.

M: The legend of the Marie Celeste would have been pop culture of the time, given the Bermuda Triangle and UFO craze going on at the time.

R: Classic example of the literary expression "you must kill all of your darlings" was the lingering shot of the sewing machine. I saw just about every item from the legend.

H: I think the whole thing was going "see... see... it really is THE Marie Celeste."

Sc: The directing wasn't bad.

S: It's just they filled it up with SO MUCH stock footage.

Sc: It's a Terry nation script.

H: Full of the ascotted hand of Terry Nation. (This refers to the fact that in every photo I think I've ever seen of Nation, he's wearing a flamboyantly tied ascot. Basically, me being silly. --H)

S: The hand, arm, and bicep of Terry Nation. Thin rails of plot stuffed with connecting goo.

M: Those American sure are funny.

S: They had these moments, like on the ship and with the bumpkin. Oh, and the spinning disk (on the Dalek ship) was just goofy. Was that one of those things where you look away and get hypnotized.

M: I really enjoyed...

*Insert group doing "the Extermination of the Edmund Fitzgerald"*

M: As I was trying to say, I really enjoyed the casual hanging out feeling and atmosphere of the crew on the TARDIS. How it didn't feel scripted and actingy.

H: They're very comfortable.

M: And also "When I built it?!"

H: That's been the implication of the series, that he built the TARDIS.

K: Or just built the do-hicky in the TARDIS that he was referencing.

H: It was clear in the Peter Cushing movies (which are, of course, out of continuity) that the Doctor built his time machine.

M: My other observation was the Daleks are the "special class" of Daleks.

S: "AND ER.. UM... SEVEN?"

H: Either Spoo or Schmallturm made an observation a couple of weeks ago that this is the first story we see the Daleks acting like Daleks. This story changed the Daleks from the remorseless killing machines and more into characters. Some people feel it was to their detriment and it took a long time for them to bounce back from this. It was funny to see them convert the math - like English to Metric... Daleks to Earth measurements?

S: "NYUK... NYUK... NYUK..."

H: I liked that later in the episode the leader talks to the stupid Dalek and tells him to go with the search party.

R: I liked the bit where Uncle Alabama is talking to the Dalek and leans down and talks into the gun barrel.

H: No, he talks to the sucker stick, doesn't he?

K: I think he talks to the gun stick. At first he thinks it's a hand, and then later thinks it a microphone.

R: Because it looks like a microphone.

H: I actually quite like Peter Purves. [played the Alabama hick, among other roles that we'll see later]

S: How much is going on "under the skirt" with the Dalek casings?

H: What's going on is not really clear yet.

S: I would have loved a Dalek rolling out of the time machine onto the ship, a groan from the wood, and the Dalek dropping through the deck of the boat because it's so heavy.

M: They do load cargo onto those ships.

S: That would have been funny to see a bunch of Daleks falling through the deck.

H: That was a beautiful ship model. It was a funny episode, and a needed change of pace. It think it was more successful as a change of pace episode that previous ones like the Keys of Marinus.

Sc: I don't know about that.

H: They weren't in a jungle..

Sc: Or trying to cross a chasm for an entire episode.

R: It was really hard to to feel jaded about this. It does not age well. There were a number of notes that were really...

H: Of their time?

R: Yeah.

S: Hey MiniSpoo?

MS: Yeah?

S: Did you like it?

MS: Yeah.

S: What did you like?

MS: Everything.

H: What do the Daleks say?

MS: Exterminate! Exterminate! [Note from commentator - I remind you that MiniSpoo is 6 years old, and that was adorable.]

*the following all in Dalek voices*








Sc: I was surprised that the Daleks didn't mow everyone down (on the ship). That was the lameness. I was wondering, why?

H: I think it was because not only would that be terrible, but they didn't find any bodies on the Marie Celeste.

R: Daleks, while they're good at exterminating, they're not very good interrogators.

M: It was sort of comical. The Daleks were all like "we just want to talk" and everyone is jumping overboard.

S: Maybe firing the guns on a wooden ship wasn't a good idea? Would have set the boat on fire?

Sc: What was the monster?

H: The White Terror of Barbary.

K: You mean Barbara?

H: No, Barbary.

K: So the Daleks are white?

H: At least some of them. With blue bumps. The Peter Cushing films are in color. We'll see some of them in that later. (As a note, I've been unable to find any reference to a "white terror of Barbary." Did they mean pirates? We guessed that it was something Terry Nation just made up. Anyone know? --H)

M: Humorous concussions.

R: The Brits don't have a monopoly on that.

M: Cartoons.

Several people: And Star Trek!

R: The painted on deep recesses on the Dalek Time Machine door are the worst "bump mapping" effect ever. (Obviously, Ronelyn is making a joke here! --H)

H: But think about how much money they spent on this story, what with all the new sets each week, especially back in the 60s.

M: The Dalek time machine is a dishwasher box.

K: It's not much different than the 1960's Star Trek, really.

M: But the Dalek time machine could have been designed something cool, not necessarily expensive. And they just didn't.

S: Room enough to drive, and a couple of swirly disks. They could have introduced Dalek culture, and they didn't.

M: I compare it to the first arrival on Skaro, and it's just disappointing.

H: I think that opinions of this episode are varying a lot, but I don't think it was really bad.

K: I liked it. I think it's funny. There you go. :P


The Historian again and, for the record, I liked it too. It is a funny episode, though it may not have worked for everyone in the Project, I'll admit. Where will the TARDIS wind up next, and what will the Project think of it? We'll find out next week! Until then, I remain



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