Hello everyone, the Historian here and we are back from the holiday break! Well, sort of. Due to a personal commitment of some Project personnel, we'll be skipping next week and will return again on 21 January. After that, things will hopefully settle back into the regular schedule. That being said, we had a full house tonight, as I was joined by Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MiniSpoo, MisterMother and Cz. And we have a slight change in the posting roster tonight, as Cz has tried recording our discussion and is attempting to transcribe it as I type. Hopefully, it'll be somewhat intelligible. We'll find out in a little while, but before then, let's get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired on 20 November 1965. The Doctor runs through the Kembel jungle, approaching the TARDIS. He stops to catch his breath and hides as he senses movement. The Doctor is horrified as he sees two Daleks emerge from the jungle and begin to surround the waiting TARDIS...
The lead Dalek tells the other to inform the Dalek Supreme that they have discovered another intruder craft has been located. The Doctor, worried, retreats further into the trees. The Daleks receive word from the Supreme: they are to initiate Operation Inferno!
In the conference room inside the Dalek city, Mavic Chen sits in his place, writing. A Dalek enters, followed by one of the other delegates. It is Zephon, a plant-like being dressed in a large, black cloak which conceals all but his leaf-covered hands and feet. They introduce themselves to each other and Chen, pointing at the papers on his desk, says he has been reading the records of previous meetings. The Daleks have developed an interesting plan, he says. Zephon quickly retorts that those of the other galaxies (like himself) made great contributions as well. Of course, Chen says, smiling. "But you must admit the Daleks have a... a genius for war." Zephon agrees, but wonders that Chen, the Guardian of the Solar System, would join the alliance against it. Chen replies that he is the Guardian of the Solar System, "But that is nothing more than a part, however influential, of one galaxy. Would you be satisfied with just a part of a galaxy?" Zephon, who is not amused, replies that the Solar System has great influence outside its direct sphere. Surely by pitting himself against that influence, Chen has become a traitor? Chen laughs and turns the question around: with so many trying to topple Zephon, is he really a true representative for his galaxy? Zephon responds that he is all-powerful in his galaxy and Chen replies that Zephon obviously doesn't understand the conflicting powers within the Solar System. He then suggests they discuss this during a walk outside. Zephon attempts to continue the conversation, but Chen insists they leave the building. Perhaps he thinks that they are being overheard?
In fact, they have been, as a Dalek reports to the Supreme, saying that Chen should be watched. His ambitions may outweigh his usefulness. The Supreme replies, "When he has served his purpose, he, like the others, will be eliminated! No power in this universe can stop the Daleks!"
In the jungle, Katarina is waiting with a newly conscious Steven. She tells him the Doctor will be back soon, but he is still weak and confused. She tells him that they had to leave "the temple" because "the evil ones" came. Evil ones? Steven asks. "He called them Daleks," she replies. Steven is horrified. Daleks? Here? Suddenly, the Doctor walks through the undergrowth and calls to her. He asks what the two of them are doing outside and Katarina tells him that Bret told her they must leave the ship to get away from the evil ones. The Doctor replies that the Daleks are indeed evil, but he doesn't know who Bret is. Katarina explains that he is "the ruffian" who the Doctor had kept in the magnetic chair, but he helped Steven and her. He told them to flee from the Temple. Yes, says the Doctor, he couldn't have known that they were perfectly safe from the Daleks inside the TARDIS. Katarina tells him that Bret is the one who gave Steven an anti-toxin, and the Doctor reflects he might have misjudged the young man. He turns to Steven. "Well, young man, you'd better pull yourself together. We've got some work to do."
In the jungle, Bret watches from cover as the Dalek patrol initiate Operation Inferno. They are equipped with flame throwers in place of the normal plungers. Bret runs, horrified, as the Daleks begin to burn down the jungle!
The Doctor and Katarina are supporting Steven as the three walk slowly through the jungle. Bret emerges from the undergrowth and tells them the Daleks are burning the jungle. The Doctor wants to go straight back to the TARDIS, but Steven believes the Daleks are using the fire to herd them back to the ship to trap them. The two continue to argue, with Katarina jumping in to support either side. Finally, Bret breaks in and tells them to stop arguing. He claims that all that matters is him getting away to warn Earth. The Doctor replies, "Yes, and you will have to do far more than that! If the Daleks are doing something drastic, then we have to stop the Daleks!"
The Daleks continue to destroy the jungle.
Now the Doctor and Bret are arguing. "Now just listen, listen, listen!" says the Doctor. "Think back for the moment. Just think back! If the Daleks are going to attack Earth, as you seem to fear, then you must tell Earth to look back in the history of the year 2157, and that the Daleks are going to attack again. History will show how to deal with them." Bret replies, "Who cares about history?" much to the Doctor's annoyance. Suddenly, Steven breaks in to tell them the flames are getting nearer! The Doctor suggests they flee towards the Dalek city--the last place the Daleks would look for them. Bret, though doubtful, follows the travellers.
In a courtyard in the city, Mavic Chen and Zephon look out at the flaming jungle. Chen mentions that it is almost time for the meeting. Zephon tells Chen that he seems to be trying a bit too hard to be a model delegate. Could it be that he is afraid of the Daleks? When Chen suggests such a conversation and attitude might be dangerous, given where they are, Zephon scoffs. "The Daleks needed me," he says. "Without my help, they would never have got the co-operation of the masters of Celation and Beaus. We are on equal terms." This time, it is Chen who is amused. He walks behind a statue that looks like the bars of a cage and replies, "Perhaps I'm one of those who knows my place." Zephon, not understanding, tells Chen to go ahead to the conference, he will join them later. They will not, after all, start without him. Chen leaves the arrogant plant man.
The delegates, minus Zephon, gather in the conference room. The Supreme, noticing the plant man's absence, tells a subordinate Dalek that Zephon's usefulness is over.
The four travellers reach a rise overlooking the Dalek city. Steven is amazed at the spaceships on the landing pad, much more advanced than in his time. Bret is even more amazed by one of them--he recognizes it as Mavic Chen's ship! What could it possibly be doing there? The Doctor and Steven, being practical, ask Bret if he can fly the Earth ship. He answers yes, and they tell him that, obviously, they must hijack it to get back to Earth. Bret is still shocked at the idea that the Guardian of the Solar System could be on Kembel...! They quietly make their way into the city.
As they make their way through the outskirts of the city, the Doctor sees Zephon walking down a corridor towards them. They ambush the plant man and knock him out.
In the conference room, the Supreme is getting impatient. He sends some Daleks to search the city for Zephon.
Steven and Bret have tied Zephon up. Steven is a bit horrified by the creatures appearance, but the Doctor immediately realizes it must be one of the delegates! He has a plan. They must find out more about the Daleks' plans, so he will attend the conference, using Zephon's cloak as a disguise! Meanwhile, Bret, Steven and Katarina must enter and take control of Chen's ship. He takes Bret aside and gives him the recording spool (Marc Cory's recording, see "Mission to the Unknown") that he'd found in the jungle. He tells Bret to give him some time to attend the conference and get back to Chen's ship. How long? Bret asks. The Doctor tells him to use his judgement, but "If, of course, you hear any kind of uproar, then you'll have to get into the spaceship and go off without me." Bret doesn't like the idea of leaving the Doctor behind, but the old man replies that the Earth must be warned about the Daleks--and Chen. "You're a very brave man," Bret says. "Rubbish, rubbish, my boy!" the Doctor replies. "I'm only doing what has to be done."
The Daleks continue to search the city for Zephon. The disguised Doctor appears and the Daleks escort "Zephon" to the conference. Out of sight, Steven, Katarina and Bret watch. Bret is impressed at the Doctor's bravery, but Katarina worries that the "strange ones" might hurt him. Steven says he hopes not, and the three move off towards the Earth ship.
In the conference room, the delegate Trantis (a humanoid with frighteningly sharp teeth) derisively thanks "Zephon" for finally condescending to join them. The Supreme commands "Zephon" to take his place, but the Doctor pauses, unsure of where to go. Amused, Chen calls to "Zephon" to take the place next to him. The Doctor, being careful that neither his face nor his hands can be seen, takes his seat. The Supreme announces that the "Time Destructor" has finally been completed, and then announces that Mavic Chen will address the conference. Chen tells the delegates that, as the newest member, he is happy to provide an important component: the core of the Time Destructor. It is a box containing a "full emm" of an element of Taranium, the rarest mineral in the universe. It can only be found on a dead planet in the Solar System, he says, and without it, the Time Destructor is useless! "All the plans made here could not succeed," he adds. "I, Mavic Chen, give you the core of the time destructor!"
Outside, Zephon has regained consciousness and is trying to free himself from the vines used to tie him up. He spots an alarm and tries to move towards it...
Inside Mavic Chen's "Spar" ship, two bald-headed Technix are standing near a bank of controls. Suddenly, Bret bursts in, followed by Steven and Katarina. He brandishes a pistol and tells the Technix to get away from the controls. He then tells the others to tie the Technix up while he moves to the controls.
Zephon edges closer to the alarm...
In the Spar Ship, the three have dumped the Technix out onto the ground near the landing area. Bret assures Katarina that they'll be all right. Hopefully, the Daleks won't be patrolling that area--for the Doctor's sake!
Zephon reaches the alarm on the wall and manages to press it! Alarm bells begin to ring throughout the city!
In the Spar Ship, the three hear the alarm and look at each other, horrified. Has the Doctor been discovered?
In the conference room, the delegates are in a panic! The Daleks are attempting to keep order and track down the cause of the alarm, but the delegates run to exit the room. In the confusion, the Doctor grabs the Taranium core and runs towards the exit...only to be met by the hideous Zephon, now revealed as a creature with what looks like leafy seaweed instead of a face! The Doctor runs off towards another exit as Zephon calls out, "That's him! Stop him! Stop the creature! Stop the creature!"
In the Spar, Bret begins to operate some of the controls. We must leave, he tells the others, but Steven says they can't leave the Doctor. Katarina begins to pray that the "strange creatures" might not capture the Doctor. Bret says that the alarms must mean he's been caught and they have to go. When Steven tries to stop him from operating the controls, Bret knocks him to the floor. Katarina cries, "Stop! You can't leave him! He can't reach the place of perfection!" "He won't!" Bret replies. "We're going without him!" And the Space Security man turns back to the controls as the ship begins to power up....
Cz's Crazy Transcript!
J: Ok, so are we up to speed?
S: Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed.
Sc: So my comments were: The model UN is taking a strange turn this year... I was expecting them to rip the hands and feet off the plant dude (Zephon --H] and tie them onto the Doctor to complete his disguise. And I was making comments about the Daleks going to a propane grill this year and preferring hickory and so on. I thought it was a very silly episode.
S: I had a hard time following Mavic Chen 'cause I couldn't hear him over the sound of him CHEWING the scenery. OH MY GOD.
K: Comparatively I didn't think he was that bad.
M: He just has presence for once, you're just not used to that.
M: I noticed that Hartnell was practicing touchy feely acting in this episode an awful lot.
H: “My boy, are you alright?” -touches knee-
R: And Steven was sort of reclining.
M: I'm sure the acting coach told him to establish a closer connection with his acting partners or something.
S: Not that close, too close! Oh god.
K: Steven was up, and the Doctor was like "Get up boy, you can walk!" And then he was like, "You shouldn't walk so fast!"
H: One of the big sense memories that kids had at the time was Daleks with flame throwers and how awesome that was. [Or so I've read! --H] It's a bit silly, but the idea with Daleks with flame throwers is awesome.
S: The idea of Daleks with flame throwers is awesome. The visual of them taking 15 minutes to burn down papier mache palm trees.. eehhh....
H: And it would have been nice if they had tried to make the film studio set look a little more like the regular studio set, instead of having a few plastic plants and a back drop.
R: The one bright side was, there was a moment where I was about to say out loud "Aaannnd, stock footage." And instead everyone was like "Oh man, the woods are on fire" And I was like "Oh thank god."
K: I liked the glow on their faces.
R: And I actually like Chen because I'm not really sure what his plan is, I mean he seems to have... his whole thing about "So you really don't realise that the Daleks are about to serve you up like a salad, do you...? Well, you just wait there and have a great day, me... I'm gonna go suck up."
S: “I'm indispensable, they could not execute their plan without this thing from the universe. Here's this thing from the universe without which I would be dispensable.”
R: I mean, he seems to have some further plan. He's certainly working an angle.
M: He clearly clued into the fact that [the Doctor disguised as the] plant guy was an impostor right away.
H: It's very obvious that was an impostor because plant guy couldn't bend.
M: Chen is the only one who is not an idiot obviously.
K: But, I've gotta say, pointy teeth [Trantis was his name. --H] guy was AWESOME!
H: I think all of the delegates looked really good.
K: The costumes were very good.
H: That's what I mean.
R: I liked the guy in the space suit, with the elongated head, because you could sorta see a face through the mask but not clearly.
S: So interpretive dance dude, so we can get him outta the way and not talk about him again. From a distance his costume looked awesome because I was like, “Ok he's moving really dorky trying to separate him self the the aliens, but wait maybe his costume is weighted because the gravity on his world is screwed up... well actually that's really cool, now we can see it close up, oh this is dumb.”
M: I thought it was great to see delegates, ruthless rules of distance worlds, as soon as they hear there's an intruder they're like, "UWAAAHAAA!!~" -run-
H: You remember what Chen said to Zephon. People are always trying to over throw these guys. By the way, interesting point: The delegates at this episode are slightly different there the ones in "Mission to the Unknown".
M: “Where did we leave the Styrofoam head?”
K: Or they found pointy teeth guy, found how awesome he was, and used him.
M: True fact, those are his actual teeth. [NOTE: NOT True Fact. --H]
H: You'll note, he took over for icicle on his face guy from "MttU."
S: Something I need help with. Strategically here, is it better for these guy to have been in the TARDIS all along, or to leave it, or to go back to it? I kept getting conflicting messages about the relative safety of the TARDIS while surrounded by Dalek.
H: Bret doesn't know anything about the TARDIS, so he got them out of it somehow. Steven was unconscious, so he couldn't say "We'll be safer in here."
S: I though he knew that the TARDIS was a space ship.
H: He knows that, but he doesn't know that when the doors are closed ain't no way the Daleks are getting in. They didn't go back because of the belief the Daleks were using the flame to drive them back and there would be a patrol waiting for them.
M: And the Doctor will use any excuse to explore a Dalek city.
S: Well yes.
H: Also, we finally have a date for "The Dalek Invasion of Earth": 2157.
K: So this happens like 800 years after the invasion of Earth?
H: This happens In the year 4000.
K: So 2000 years after.
H: The Doctor says “Look back in your history and you'll know how to defeat them.” And Bret says “Ohh, who cares about history”, and the Doctor just looks at him.
R: “Yeah this wasn't one of those good eras that I like to visit a lot.”
M: Well I did notice that they seem to have sorted out the difference between a solar system a galaxy and a universe finally.
R: Kind of.
M: Cause the last time we say this council they seemed a bit unclear.
R: They seem to be aware that a solar system is at least somewhat smaller then a galaxy.
K: Apparently, this solar system, which ever one it is is really important.
H: Oh, it's our solar system.
Sc: The solar system.
F: You know, the one with all the dead planets.
H: The way I interpret it is uninhabited planets.
S: So they took the Taranium from Uranus!
- insert lots of Uranus jokes-
Sc: Oh I liked the bald dudes on Chen's space ship, sorta staring at the control panel.
H: According to the camera scripts, the bald guys are called Technix. Spoo had the theory that they might be androids or something.
K: It was the incomprehensible.. “I dunno why the panels aren't working.” -shrug-
M: Cool displays.
H: Major props to the designer.
K: The sets, the freaky huge chairs. Yeah. And it was cool the aliens all applauded freaky weird like.
H: Lets be honest here, it was nice to see aliens instead of people with bumps on their forehead. Zephon was really neat.
S: Plant dude was cool, he had personality, motives.
H: Had to stand like this. -tree pose-
M: Clearly they enlisted the help of a physical theater consultant.
S: The physical theater consultant probably was bumpy magnets on spandex guy.
Sc: There was that women from the moth people.
H: Yes, Roselyn de Winter, as far as I know wasn't involved in this.
S: Bret did have a point. The Doctor was really brave. The instant he saw Daleks his was thinking terms of like "We've got the stop them!" Even though he split the party! He just leaped into action.
Sc:So if this is in the future... don't the Daleks know about the Doctor by now?
H: They didn't recognise the TARDIS...
K: They might just not looked in their library...
H: It's also possible there was less of a continuity.... People got together and tried to figure out the history and they never quite got it.
- much confusing continuity time travel discussion-
H: Cz, do you have anything to add?
Cz: All I remember is having to watch aliens walk slowly for way too long.
S: Well at least we get to see them. I mean, that was this episode’s asset and flaw. With these other reconstructions you can hand wave away a lot way, "I'm sure the visual for this was really cool." and this.. there was no forgiveness.
S: This actually was pretty decent. You know... Chen's occasional chewiness. .and the terminal flame throwing scene. But, I though it was pretty good.
H: MiniSpoo, what did you think of the episode?
MS: Awesome. All I gotta say.
K: -whisper- Pointy teeth guy. Pointy teeth guuuuy.
MS: I also liked the pointy teeth guy. Also, I can't believe it took them like 40 seconds to burn down those paper trees. It's like their first time working with them and they don't know how to use full power.
R: YOUR RUNNING THE MIXTURE TOO RICH.
Sc: CLICK IT AGAIN.
S: CLICK IT AGAIN.
Sc: NO WAIT GET MATCHES.
R: IF YOU POINT IT AT ME AGAIN I WILL JUST TURN IT OFF.
S: NO NO, THERE ARE FUMES. IF YOU RESTART IT WILL MAKE A LARGE FIRE BALL.
R: THIS IS WHY WE CAN NEVER HAVE ANYTHING NICE.
S: I SWEAR I WILL PUT THIS ON YOUTUBE IF YOU SCREW THIS UP.
- much more Dalek talk and laughter-
H: Does anyone have anything final to say?
K: Pointy teeth guy.
H: Pointy Teeth guy, alright.
M: I think I probably liked it more then everyone else, cause I didn't think it was bad...
S: The silly was not bad, just silly. It picked up by the middle of the episode. It's goodness.
H: MiniSpoo, do you have anything final to say?
MS: WHERE SHALL WE PUT THIS? MMM. MMM. WHERE? OH. FSSPT. THAT'S BETTER. PSSTBT. AHR. MELTING. MELTING. -melts under the table- -thump- I'M OK. -thumbs-up rises from the below the table-
H: I think MS was having the fire accidentally turn on the other Dalek. Ronelyn?
R: The one amusing scene that hasn't been called out yet was the "room with a view moment" where Chen was sitting there writing, by the way, What the heck kind of a grip on the pen was that? "I have the arthritis very bad so I have the grip the pencil in a way that makes no sense. But the thing that I noticed the the “room with the view moment” where the Dalek comes down the hall like... "Well hello darling. should I .. oh.. well.. I suppose I should go." "Yes well I suppose you better had." And the other guy [Zephon] comes down like.. "Woaaaaahhhh. Too much Benadryl. " But after that it picked up pretty nicely and I liked actually Chen and his all thing of sorta “Yeah see, I'm a tool of the Daleks because I know that I want to live past the end of this and you guys are sorta, well... dumb.”
H: I'll say that it did start rather slow but I think it's a slow build. It's such a long story I feel that they can afford a little bit of a slow burn. We'll see if it pays off in the coming weeks. By the way, thank you Australian censors for giving us all the clips we'll see in the upcoming recon episodes! OK that's it for this week, see you all in two weeks!
Well, it wound up taking a while, but I think Cz's "record the discussion and type up a transcript from it" worked out pretty well. The discussion is more complete than we sometimes get. (Not that Ketina doesn't do a great job too!) What do you guys think?
(By the way, I hope everyone saw our traditional Christmas message?)
Tonight's episode, by the way, came from the Lost in Time DVD set of "orphaned" episodes. Here's a link to the UK version, and here's the Region 1 set. As always, we recommend picking it up and following along with us!
So, that's it for this week, we'll be back in two weeks. Until then, I remain
IN TWO WEEKS: "DEVIL'S PLANET"