Friday, December 17, 2010

"The Nightmare Begins"

Hello everyone, the Historian here. Before we begin, an important scheduling note: because of the holidays, the TARDIS Project will be taking the next two weeks off. We will return with our next episode on 7 January. Now that the housekeeping's out of the way, I was joined tonight by Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, Photobug and Cz for this first episode of a new story. I don't want to say too much, but I, for one, am pretty excited to finally see this one! Let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired on 13 November 1965. Steven lies on the divan, still moaning from his wound. Katarina is tending him as the Doctor works the TARDIS controls. He is clearly concerned; the poison from the wound is spreading throughout Steven's body. They will have to land to find help. Katarina, also concerned, notes a change in sound. The Doctor tells her that they are slowing down to land, but denies that they have reached Katarina's "Place of Perfection." (She is still convinced she is dead and being taken on a journey through the underworld.) He asks her to continue to tend Steven.

On the planet Kembel, two Space Security men are stopped in a clearing. One, Kert Gantry, has a broken leg; the other, Bret Vyon, is speaking into a radio transmitter, trying to call in to an Earth station. Both are dirty and disheveled; it is clear that they have been trying to survive for some time. There is no response from Earth and Gantry fears that if they can't get through, they are two dead men. "They" are out looking for the two agents. Maybe, says Vyon, but their message has to get through to Earth or the whole solar system is finished! He turns to the transmitter and tries again...

In the Earth Central Communications Room, a light blinks on a panel, ignored by the Technix, bald humanoids who seem to be doing standard tasks. A man and a woman, Roald and Lizan, enter. They discuss what to do that evening; Roald wants to watch some sports event, but Lizan wishes to go see the Guardian of the Solar System, a public official named Mavic Chen. Roald suggests they watch the news on a communications channel as a compromise. They are not expecting a report in from "Five Zero Alpha," the team on Kembel investigating the disappearance of Agent Marc Cory, for twenty minutes. As they speak, the light signifying a call from that team blinks, unheeded. The main screen comes on with the news, showing an asian man, Mavic Chen, talking to an interviewer before going on holiday. Apparently, he has just negotiated a difficult treaty and is going to take some time and get away from it all. Chen refuses to say where he is going, so as to avoid the press! This gets a laugh from the interviewer. Roald and Lizan discuss how nice it would be to just drift around the solar system, and what ship they'd use to do it. Meanwhile, the interview continues. Chen gives a speech talking about how peoples of the solar system should continue on the hard won path of peace. Roald, who's obviously heard the speech before, is a bit bored, whereas Lizan is enraptured by Chen's oratory. Just then, she thinks she notices a blinking light, but when she goes to look, it has gone out.

On Kembel, Vyon has given up trying to transmit for now. Gantry, increasingly nervous, believes that "they" are getting closer. Vyon tells him to shut up, but Gantry insist that they stop arguing and listen. They do, and even Vyon hears something in the jungle. He determines that the should move out, but Gantry insists on staying behind. With his broken leg, he will just slow Vyon down and the message must get through. Vyon still insists on taking Gantry, mentioning that he will avoid the Varga plants as he helps his colleague. One scratch, Gantry says, and you'll become one of them...maybe that's what happened to Cory...? The two continue to argue. Finally, Gantry pulls his gun and aims it at a shocked Vyon. "Get out!" he says. "Get out of here or I'll kill you now!" Shocked, Vyon slowly picks up the transmitter and begins to go. Gantry wishes him luck and waits until Vyon is out of sight. Then, he begins to move through the jungle, dragging his useless leg behind him, calling for "them" to come and get him. He walks into a clearing and stares straight at--A DALEK! Before he can fire his gun, the Dalek fires! Gantry falls to the floor, dead. A second Dalek glides up. "One man remains. Find and destroy him!" it says. "I obey," the other replies and they move into the jungle...

Bret Vyon stumbles through the forest. He avoids a Varga plant, but trips and drops the transmitter, which shatters on the ground. He stands, devastated, but just then hears a strange wheezing, groaning sound! He hides behind some undergrowth and watches as the TARDIS materializes. Vyon slowly approaches the box, but dives back under cover as he hears a hum. The doors open and the Doctor and Katarina exit. The Doctor tells the Trojan handmaiden that he will go and try to find help and be back as soon as possible. He asks her to go back inside and look after Steven. He tells her to push the control he showed her, the one that closes the doors. He can get in with his key, which he shows her as she does not know what a "key" is. Vyon watches as Katarina reenters the ship. The hum of the doors shutting is heard and the Doctor, satisfied, begins to explore. One he is out of eyeshot, Vyon approaches the TARDIS. He tries the door and discovers it is locked. He thinks for a moment, then moves off after the Doctor.

In the thick of the jungle, the Doctor spots the lights of a city in the distance. He is delighted, hopeful that he will be able to find some medicine and help for Steven there. Just then, he feels the barrel of a blaster in his back. Vyon tells him to turn around and stand still. Vyon demands the TARDIS key...or he will kill the Doctor!

In the TARDIS control room, Steven regains consciousness. Katarina tells him the Doctor will return soon with help. Steven, still confused, asks about Vicki, then recognizes Katarina as the Trojan who helped him against the soldier. Did the Doctor bring her on board? Yes, she says, they are all to make "the journey" together. Steven passes out again. Suddenly, the doors open and Bret Vyon enters. Katarina asks if the Doctor sent him and Vyon, although he is clearly shocked at the size of the control room answers yes, the old man sent him. He looks around, astounded. Katarina asks if he has come to cure Steven's sickness, and Vyon responds that she must use the switch to close the doors first. She does so as Bret looks around. He's never seen a ship like this and he asks if Katarina knows how to fly it. She tells him that only the Doctor knows how it works as it is his "temple." He starts to flip a few random switches, but Katarina demands he help Steven. Yes, yes, Vyon replies, but they must get to Earth first! He says he explained that to the old ma--er, the Doctor. Vyon flips another switch, accidentally turning on the scanner. Katarina, who believes this to be a journey to the afterlife, says that they have left Earth, to which Vyon replies that that means they can go back. Steven, meanwhile, has awoken again and is secretly watching Vyon. He glances towards the scanner and sees the Doctor making his way back to the ship, but he is too weak to do anything. Vyon again asks Katarina if she has any idea how to work the ship, but she replies, how could she know? "The old man said this was no ordinary ship... and he was right," muses Bret.

Outside, the Doctor is almost amused that the strange young man had used violence against him. "You don't know what you've let yourself in for," he laughs, then laughs again as he sees Vyon has left the TARDIS key in the lock! "Well now, if it's brain, or brawn rather, versus brain, heh, heh, I've got you beaten from the start, young man!" He laughs again.

Inside, Bret is bent over the controls, trying to fathom them. Unseen, Steven has managed to stagger over with a spanner in his hand...and he clubs Vyon on the back of the head! As Katarina calls to him, shocked, both Steven and the Space Security man fall to the floor of the control room.

Still outside, the Doctor hears a rumbling noise and looks up to see a spaceship flying overhead. Wondering whether it might be connected to the "violent young man" or to the city, he enters the TARDIS.

In the Dalek city, a Dalek reports to the Dalek Supreme that space vessel 1-11 is in a landing circuit. The Dalek Supreme asks if all is prepared and the lesser Dalek answers in the affirmative.

In the control room, Bret Vyon regains consciousness. He is sitting in a chair, unable to move. An amused Doctor tells him it is a new invention: "I call it the magnetic chair. It has a force field strong enough to restrain a herd of elephants, so I wouldn't waste your energy trying to escape, hmm? You will stay there until I direct otherwise." He turns to check on Katarina, who is tending a once again unconscious Steven. He tells her he has found a city where he hopes to find help. He takes Katarina a small distance away and speaks to her in a quieter tone so Vyon will not be able to hear. He asks whether the young man has said anything, but Katarina says no. Hmm, says the Doctor, I shall have to cross-examine him when I get back. He tells Katarina that she will be quite safe; Vyon will be unable to move until a small button on the back of the chair is pressed. He laughs as Bret glares, and makes his way out the doors.

In the jungle, the Doctor, avoiding a Varga plant, comes across a skeleton dressed in a torn and dirty uniform. Curious, he also sees a recording device and picks it up. Still intrigued, he continues on his way.

On the landing pad outside the city, the spaceship "1-11" lands.

In the reception area immediately adjacent to the landing pad, the Supreme and another Dalek await the ship's passenger. The Doctor, who has made his way to the outskirts of the city, sees the two creatures and steps back into some cover. "Daleks!" he says, horrified.

In the control room, a still immobilized Bret Vyon asks what is wrong with Steven, who is clearly doing worse. Katarina ignores the agent at first, but then answers that the Doctor says there is poison in Steven's blood. Vyon tells her that he has some tablets in a pouch at his belt that will cure the young man. "But you're an enemy," says a confused Katarina. Besides, the Doctor's gone to find help. He won't find any on this planet, Vyon assures her, so why not try the tablets? "I hate to see anyone die through stupidity," he tells her. At first confused, Katarina finally assents, though she is unsure what a "tablet" is until Bret identifies them for her. At his instruction, she places two pills in Steven's mouth, where they will disintegrate. Then he should be all right. Katarina hopes that Vyon is right; she fears the Doctor will be angry with her for disobeying his orders. "If Steven, or whatever his name is, recovers, you'll be forgiven," says Bret, then sees a Dalek approaching the TARDIS on the scanner. "No..." he whispers...

In the city, the Doctor is still in hiding, watching the Daleks. The Supreme welcomes the Daleks' new ally--it is Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System! "I am honoured to be here," he says. "And to be part of your plan to conquer Earth and all the planets in the solar system!" The Daleks lead Chen into their city as the Doctor, horrified, runs away towards the TARDIS.

The Doctor runs through the jungle, approaching the TARDIS. He stops to catch his breath and hides as he senses movement. The Doctor is horrified as he sees three Daleks emerge from the jungle and begin to surround the waiting TARDIS....


Due to health issues, this week's transcript was begun by Ketina but quickly taken over by Schamallturm. So it'll probably be a lot more "paraphrasey" than usual. As always, some editing was done by the Historian.

H: Historian
K: Ketina
R: Ronelyn
Sc: Schmallturm
S: Spoo
P: Photobug
C: Cz

Sc: I sense the hand of Terry Nation in this slow and verbose episode.
S: My favorite part, the "walla" for the jungle was awesome. Very convincing jungle sounds.
H: Thank the Australian sensors for the actual footage we saw this week. We have a bunch of censored clips that the Australians thought were too scary for kids that
survived. But the scene in the communications room was TOO LONG.
S: I really felt like I was in a 1960's living room deciding what to watch on TV. Only, in the future!
H: "And hey, what about that T-16 space hopper? Doesn't it go AHHH!!" But the rest of it wasn't that bad.

[This is where Ketina was forced to hand the keyboard over to Schmallturm]

Sc: How do the Daleks travel through the jungle anyway? They're doing this Viet Cong thing stalking humans through the underbrush.
H: I don't think they ever say. We can assume they have adapted themselves like in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth."
H: I thought that the scenes with Bret Vyon and Kert Gantry were tense, liked the scenes in the TARDIS, liked that the Doctor found Marc Corey's message spool
which ties it back into the end of "Mission to the Unknown"...
H: We had the apparent surprise [Well, I knew about it beforehand... --H] of the Daleks' new ally being Mavic Chen."
S: Dun Dun Dunnnnnnn!!!
H: Caucasian actor Kevin Stoney in heavy Asian makeup. I think we can call him "oriental," even though that should describe a rug, not a person.
[Spoo makes a derisive reference to the Numoidian aliens in the first Star Wars prequel. --H]
H: It's interesting in the context of the time, perhaps, because the thought might have been that Asian people would be in control in the future, due to their growth.
Sc: Kind of an new yellow peril with red china.
K: Bret and Kert I swear at one point the subtitle said "Bert and Kert."
S: What's her name, Katarina was unnecessary.
K: She was adorable. Her purpose was for the Doctor to call someone "my child."
S: They had to spend time explaining to her what a key was. She's useless.
H: She still believes that she's dead and they're traveling to the underworld. It's interesting but she is ultimately...
S: ...Useless.
K: ...Adorable.
H: She is a new kind of companion because she is from the past, rather than the future or the present, so...
S: Her pastness is "generic alienness." You could have an alien in her place and it would ask the same questions. Her role is to be in awe.
K: If she thought they were dead why did she care about Steven?
C: Because she wants him to make it to the afterlife alive.
R: To stay alive so we can be together in death.
Sc: Their guns were backwards and it always looked like they were pointing them at themselves.
S: That's what happens when you have toilet paper tube-based technology.
K: Not enough Daleks. They only had 2 scenes.
J: Three, I think...
K: the Daleks never have allies. And what's with the Guardian of the Solar System hading it over to the Daleks?
P: Often people with black and white logic will do things like that. Maybe he thinks that the way to peace is to not have people to make war?
K: Is he supposed to look Asian?
S: Yes, we talked about that.
H: I thought it moved well, except for the interminable communications room scene, which was only there to show that they were ignoring the call for help and to introduce Mavic Chen.
K: I thought those people were flirting, and that we were being introduced to new characters. [i.e. Roald and Lizan. --H]
H: That scene felt so slow that it infected the rest of the episode.
K: I found them [the communication people] amusing, frustrating but amusing. When the phone is going off it should ring, not blink!
P: There were other people in the room according to the pictures...
H: Those pictures could be composites as telesnaps don't exist for the episode.
R: I thought the bald guys were androids.
H: Any last words for this week? Spoo?
C: 2 minutes of plot. That's what we got.
H: Photobug?
P: Maybe a slow start means a good story, but this had a slow start. Also the costuming of the Asian leader is not very good.
H: Well, we'll see how he looks when he moves, when we watch a full episode next time. Ketina?
K: This is our 5th Terry Nation story, I think. Out of the 4 we've seen so far, "Dalek Invasion of Earth" was very good, "The Daleks" was ok, "Keys of Marinus" was horrible, and "The Chase" was hot and cold.
H: To be fair, I think "Marinus" was more hot and cold than horrible...
K: I'm wondering if this one will be hot and cold as well.
H: Ronelyn?
R: I liked the return of a Deep Space James Bond. I thought Nick Courtney did a good job.
[Many cheers from the Historian and Ketina for good old Nicholas Courtney and his first appearance on Doctor Who!]
K: Three tablets rapid!
R: There was only one billy fluff, which was classic! Brain and brawn and brain!
H: Cz?
C: After the Daleks showed up, I mentally read all the subtitles in a Dalek voice.
H: Schmallturm?
Sc: How will the Daleks get into the TARDIS, with the little bump in the doorway? Is there some kind of handicap access? [NOTE: JOKE.]
H: So, in three weeks we'll see a moving episode, one of the three that survive. I'm still really excited about this story and am really looking forward to seeing where it goes.
S: I'm looking forward to seeing this story go. [Meaning, he wants to see it actually get started with more plot, I think... --H]


And there we have the first episode in our new, epic story! As usual, the reconstruction came to us courtesy of Loose Cannon Productions (plug plug!), who have done a fantastic job thus far. We didn't mention the small bits of CG, like Dalek lights and (I don't think this survived from the original) the landing of the spaceship. And, as a quick reminder, we'll be watching the next episode on 7 January, so watch for us! Have a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year's and we'll see you in 2011! Until then, I remain



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