Friday, January 21, 2011

"Devil's Planet"

Hello everyone and welcome back to the TARDIS Project! Hopefully, we're back on a regular-ish schedule for the near future, otherwise we'll never make it through this story! Anyway, this week I was joined by Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MiniSpoo, MisterMother, Photobug and Cz. (Whew!) We're watching this reconstructed episode, as always, thanks to the fine folks at Loose Cannon Productions--order their recons, they're great! But enough of this, let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 27 November 1965. Bret says that the alarms must mean that the Doctor'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...

Just then, Bret and Steven notice the outer door of the airlock has been left open. Steven goes to close it, but sees the Doctor running towards the ship! The countdown is stopped as the Doctor stumbles aboard, clutching the box containing the Taranium core. He yells to Bret to take off quickly, and they do, leaving the Dalek pursuers behind.

But back on Kembel, the ship is being tracked by the Daleks! The Supreme Dalek orders that it not be destroyed. Instead, they will ready the "Randomiser" and use it on the ship. The Supreme declares that the intruders must be caught alive!

On the Spar ship, the Doctor and company are relieved to be away. The Doctor reveals that the Daleks' plans are utterly useless without what he has in the box. He tells them that the Daleks plan to conquer the universe with the help of allies from the outer galaxies--starting with Earth and the Solar System! Bret asks about Mavic Chen, and the Doctor shocks the Space Security Officer by revealing that the Guardian is one of the Daleks' allies! By sacrificing the Solar System, Chen hopes to gain even more power! Therefore, they must get back to Earth before Chen does. Katarina is confused; they have left Earth, how can they go back? (She still believes that they are moving through the afterlife.) The Doctor tries to explain, but simply confuses her (and the viewers) more. Bret takes Steven aside and asks her why Katarina is so...clueless. Steven airily answers, "Oh, it's quite all right - she helped us in Troy. She doesn't really understand." He's amused to have confused Bret even further. Steven picks up the box and looks at it curiously. The Doctor reiterates that without what is inside, the Daleks won't be able to do anything. He stops Steven from opening it, saying what's inside would destroy their eyes. It is a full emm of Taranium! Bret is astonished; the mineral can only be found on Uranus and must have taken years to mine. Fifty years, confirms the Doctor, and Mavic Chen has given it to the Daleks to use in their evil Time Destructor!

On Kembel, the Supreme is confronting Zephon, accusing the plant creature of being responsible for the theft of the core. Zephon tries to blame the Dalek security, which let the intruders get too close, but Mavic Chen counters that if Zephon hadn't been so arrogant, and had joined Chen in the council chamber, he wouldn't have been captured. Zephon says he believes that the intruders came from the Solar System, but Chen quickly asks if he has any direct evidence of this. "Did they speak and tell you so?" No, says Zephon. Then how do you know? asks Chen. "How was it the intruders knew that the Taranium was here and that it was to be handed over, if they did not come from the Solar System? None of the others knew what it was that representative Mavic Chen was bringing here!" Zephon says. The Supreme rounds on Chen, asking what he has to say about this. Chen replies that the accusation is absurd--why would he have taken the fifty years to mine for the core if he was going to have it stolen? Zephon replies that perhaps Chen wanted to use the core for himself, to obtain power. But Chen counters that only the Daleks know how to use the Time Destructor, without which the core would be useless. Zephon, rather desperately, tells the Supreme that he had no previous knowledge of the core! But you did know about the intruders? says the Supreme. Yes, we all did, replies the increasingly desperate Zephon. The Supreme declares that Zephon is guilty of negligence in this case. In a huff, Zephon prepares to leave and threatens to take the representatives of two other Galaxies with him. But the other ambassadors have edged away from him as he turns to go. Daleks block his path and begin to close in. The Supreme gives the command: EXECUTE! Zephon crumples to the floor. Ignoring the scene, the Supreme turns to the Dalek tracking the ship. The Dalek tells its superior that the ship is nearing the planet Desperus. The Supreme commands that pursuit ships be readied and to stand by with the Randomiser.

In the Spar ship, the travellers have found some eye protection and are looking at the exposed Taranium core. The Doctor closes the container and Steven asks what they're going to do with the core now that they've got it. Nothing for the moment, says the Doctor. But the Daleks have the most dangerous weapon ever devised, says Steven. But we have the Taranium, replies the Doctor. "...By doing nothing, we do everything. Do I make myself clear?" He laughs, but Steven is still confused. The Doctor huffily says he asks too many questions, unlike Katarina, who just "looks and learns." He then confounds Steven by asking Bret if there is a tape player aboard. It turns out there is one built into the control console. The Doctor wants to listen to the tape he found by the skeleton in the jungle. The Doctor calls Katarina over to show her "another wonder." Steven is dubious; the Daleks wouldn't just leave a tape with their plans on it lying around. The Doctor explains he found it near a humanoid skeleton, and Bret immediately deduces they must have been the remains of Marc Cory, the agent he had been sent to find. But he'd searched the jungle several times...the Doctor dismisses the talk angrily and demands to hear the tape. "This is Marc Cory, Special Security Agent, reporting from the planet Kembel. The Daleks are planning the complete destruction of our galaxy. Together with powers of the outer galaxies, a war force is being assembled and..." The tape ends. Even though Marc didn't make it through to deliver the message, the Doctor and his friends must! "The Daleks will stop at anything... to prevent us!" misspeaks the Doctor.

On Kembel, the tracker shows the Spar ship to be at its closest point to Desperus. The Supreme commands the Randomiser be turned on.

In the ship, Bret and the Doctor are discussing who they would be able to trust with their information on Earth. Suddenly, the ship lurches to the side! Katarina asks what is happening and the Doctor replies that...they seem to be changing course. Bret realizes that the steering controls are locked and won't respond and they're picking up speed! The Doctor notes that they seem to be entering the gravitational pull of a planet...and Bret is horrified to see that it is Desperus, the prison planet! There are no guards; felons are simply left on the planet to fend for themselves. The Doctor says they must land softly, but Bret says the ship is out of control!

On Kembel, the Dalek reports success. The Supreme orders that the remote control be switched on, bringing the Spar ship under Dalek control. The descent velocity of the ship is reduced to ensure a soft landing and pursuit ships are readied to pick up the ship on Desperus. Mavic Chen watches this, impressed. The Supreme finds it strange that the intruders took Chen's vessel--perhaps they were from Earth? My vessel was the last to arrive and would be the easiest to prepare for take-off, responds Chen. Still, just in case, Chen offers to return to Earth to make sure the intruders--if they did come from there--will be dealt with. The Supreme has a ship, looking enough like the Spar to not arouse suspicion, be prepared and Chen makes ready to leave, saying, "Good. We don't want any more mistakes."

In the ship, the crew realizes that they have slowed down. The three men realize that this can only mean one thing: the Daleks have taken control and are allowing them to land safely before coming after them again.

In a cave on Desperus, three bearded, scruffy men fight over a knife. The leader, Bors, reclaims his knife (and, thus, his leadership and the two women in the corner). He sends one of the others, Garge, out on guard, while the other, Kirksen, remains inside. As Garge stands outside, he hears the scream of creatures flying above him. Back in the cave, both Bors and the pathetic Kirksen hear the sound of the Spar ship landing. Garge reenters, reporting that the landing craft definitely isn't a prison ship. It looks like it has landed in the swamp. Kirksen realizes they could use the ship to get away, but Bors snaps that it might have crash landed. Still, says Kirksen, Bors can kill the crew with his knife! Bors says they must get there right away; others might have seen the ship go down. He and Garge leave carrying torches. Kirksen, angry, follows after. Outside, the screams from the flying creatures are still heard.

In the ship, Katarina stands in the airlock, looking out over the planet. Bret and Steven are working to repair the ship. Luckily, Bret says, regulations demand that all ships carry replacement parts. The Doctor goes over to where Katarina is staring out into the night and she points out three lights making their way towards the ship. The Doctor, realizing that whoever is coming will be desperate and dangerous, says they must repair the ship quickly and get away. He then notices the marshy ground below them and gets an idea...

Back on Kembel, the Supreme receives a report that the Spar ship's landing location has been pinpointed. It orders the pursuit ships into action.

The three convicts approach an area near the ship. Kirksen is all for a quick attack, but Bors demands caution; this area of the marsh can be "tricky." He tells the other two to put out their torches. What about the "screamers?" asks Kirksen fearfully. Bors dismisses the creatures as bats. "Bats? Bats with those wings and that beak?" replies Kirksen. "Oh, now follow us or go back to the cave," says Bors. He and Garge move towards the ship, but Kirksen indecisively stays where he is...and a "screamer" swoops down to attack him! Kirksen runs off into the night...

In the airlock, Katarina looks down the ladder, worryingly calling to the Doctor to hurry up. In the control room, Bret and Steven continue their repairs. The Doctor, out of breath, reenters the ship. He asks Bret where the ship's "Catic outlet" is and Bret indicates a panel. The Doctor calls Katarina over and unravels a long coil of wire, which he plus into the outlet. He then points to a switch and tells the Trojan girl to pull it when he tells her to. Then he begins to unroll the wire and heads for the airlock. He throws the loose end down so it lands on the marshy ground. The Doctor laughs. "That should repel any boarders!" he says, and reenters the ship.

Bors and Garge carefully make their way towards the ship...

Inside, Katarina catches a bit of movement heading their way. The Doctor tells her to stand by at the switch...

The two convicts reach the area with the ladder...

And the Doctor cries, "Now!" Katarina throws the switch...and the water on the ground is electrified! Bors and Garge yell and fall unconscious!

Steven and Bret, finally realizing something is going on, come to hear what the noise was all about. The Doctor explains that he and Katarina have repelled borders while they fixed the ship. But, says Bret, Catic power isn't strong enough to kill anyone. The Doctor replies, "But, of course not. But it will knock them unconscious. Now, just you remember, young man, I have no desire to kill anyone!" He then sends Bret and Steven back to their repairs, saying he wants to get off this planet quickly. After they leave, he and Katarina, believing their trap has done its work, begin to retrieve the coil of wire. As they work, Katarina says, You show me so many strange mysteries. With you I know I'm safe." And he replies, "I hope so, my dear, I hope so." Just then, a spaceship roars overhead--a Dalek ship! The Doctor runs into the ship, saying they must take off immediately! Just then, Steven finishes the last repair and Bret begins the take-off countdown. A light flashes and Bret asks the Doctor if he closed the outer airlock door. The Doctor apologizes, saying he's not used to this kind of craft. He operates a switch at the console to close the door. Power builds and the ship slowly takes off, leaving the Dalek ships (which have made bad landings) behind! Next stop--Earth! The Doctor sends Katarina to double check that the inner door is secure. He turns to Bret and begins to speak, but is cut off as Katarina screams! Kirksen, who snuck aboard the ship when the door was open, has burst through into the cabin! He holds Katarina in a headlock with one hand and has Bors' knife in the other....!


This week's transcript was recorded by Cz, who began the transcription. Midway through, she had to drop out and things were finished by Ronelyn. As always, I've done some clean-up.

H: Historian
K: Ketina
R: Ronelyn
Sc: Schmallturm
S: Spoo
MS: MiniSpoo
M: MisterMother
P: Photobug
C: Cz

H: Welcome back everyone from our week off. "Devil's Planet," wont you? Anyone want to start us off?
H: Let me clarify, we made these jokes before recording, they’re talking about the destruction of the Zephon, the alien plant ambassador.
S: The delicious destruction.
H: So we got closure from last week with his whole, “I’m obviously better then you are” thing.
S: So now we’ve thrown politics squarely over or left shoulder and now it’s just a routine chase episode.
R: I did kinda think the debate sequence there was about motivational and meaningful as the ones from Star Wars Episodes 1 2 and 3. “I don’t have any excuse at all for this! that’s what makes me innocent!” And Mavic Chen goes “Well I don’t really have any excuse either but... it would be ridiculous to think that I was responsible because I’m to obvious.” And the Daleks go “YOU VEGETABLE PERSON.” “Yes?” “YOU ARE MORE ANNOYING.” -ZAP- Kinda like.. Okay...
S: Pretty much “Lets hurry up and get space ships and chase and...”
H: We don’t know what Mavic Chen's plot is, and he used this all as an excuse to get back to Earth.
P: He managed to eliminate one of the enemy and get back to earth.
H: He managed to get rid of one of his rivals anyway.
R: I was really amused by that “Since it’s been clearly established I am above suspicion, in order to remain above suspicion, I’m going to go do something slightly suspicious but I assure you it’s for very good non-suspicious reasons. “
P: And Secretive.
R: When they started talking him and his secrets I started thinking.. Yes.. his Ancient.. Chinese secrets.
H: Ohh... anyone under 30 will not get that joke.
R: It’s not a problem; look it up on Youtube.
M: I was intrigued know what the randomizer would do and then when it did what I expected it to do, it was kinda dumb.
S: So it really wasn’t random then was it?
K: No.

P: When it moved form still to full motion my brain just went.. “ WOAH” [NOTE: In the middle of the episode was a few minutes of actual footage. The transition from still to moving pictures back to still was very well done. --H]
H: Ketina actually gasped.
K: Well I wasn’t expecting it.
H: Well yeah. When I first started watching recons I would do that every time.
K: I thought most of the live action scenes were due to violence.
H: I have no idea. Maybe it was a clip from another show like “Blue Peter”.
R: [in Aussie accent] “We here in Australia are very much against the shaking of actors. That kinda violence is bad for the youth.”
K: Well yeah, cause a lot of them are from the Australian censors.
R: I was sitting there thinking “Wow the reason these tableaus are so boring is because there’s nothing moving” And then I’m thinking “ Ok, they’re having a dramatic tableau between a guy in a suit that you can’t see [Zephon], and man in so much facial make that he’s obviously about to die of asphyxiation [Chen] a Dalek.
H: Having watched a lot of Dalek episodes now, in these static scenes the Daleks always seem to be moving slightly. So there’s some movement. I mean that might not have helped...
K: So, they’re escaping form the planet, they get sucked into the prison planet's gravity. They’re gonna crash, the Daleks stop them using whatever, they land, they fix the ship, they take off... and... something happens to Katarina?
H: The Doctor accidentally left the inner airlock door open. Bret secured it. They took the alarm off the stairs, so Kirksen climbed the stairs. So the inner door opened and he grabbed Katarina.
S: After the Doctor sends the one person with no cultural or technological context to check on the door. “Hey you, who still thinks we’re traveling to heaven, please go and check on that thing that you don’t know how to operate and make sure it’s operating correctly.”
Sc: Katarina is like the DM’s girlfriend’s character.
-much laughter-
Sc: Sorta tags along with them and...
R: [as the DM's girlfriend, I guess...] "It’s called role-playing! She’s like, from a pre-technological society! She doesn’t know about any of this stuff!"
Sc: It’s one of those characters the player maybe thought would be cool in the game, but can’t really figure out how to...
F: Eventually she’s gonna catch a mercy laser beam and everyone will go NOOOokay, let’s get on with life.
H: She’s a sweet character.
F: Yeah, the idea is fine.
S: Yes, like a puppy.
H: We’re obviously intended to care about her.
P: So, wait. She’s just a kid!
H: Right, you missed that. She’s a handmaiden from ancient Troy, so she doesn’t understand anything. She helped Steven and VickI figured out she could save Katerina’s life by sending her to help Steven get to the TARDIS so Vicki could stay behind. Quite literally, the Doctor’s had to explain to her what a KEY was and how it worked.
P: But if you were to stand back and look, her point in the show is to be the kid in the show. Even Scooby Doo had a kid.
H: Good point. Remember back in the Time Meddler, there was no present day companion. You had one companion from the far future and another from the FAR future. And we’re back to that with Bret, who’s from the far FAR future, even further than Steven. That leaves nobody to ask the Doctor questions.
K: And Vicki was only sorta filling that role.
S: She would answer her own questions!
H: And make pets out of Zarbi and...
K: Vicki is...while not a moron...
R: Woefully inadequate to present circumstances.
H: Which leads to the question, given how well Steven and Vicki worked together, do we still need that interaction?
P: Yes. I argue you do, because you need fresh eyes to make statements about the obvious.
K: You do need someone to set up the technobabble. Maybe not a key, but...the audience doesn’t know what a frabblescambler is, but the Doctor could explain that to Katarina.
M: And if she wasn’t there, it’d be a bit of a sausage fest.
R: She she’s the bit o’ fun?
H: Well, *ahem* Doctor Who did historically have a bit o’ fun for the dads.
S: Yeah, but Steven didn’t have any big scenes in this one!
Sc: Moving on, how ‘bout the Cave Dwellers?
H: I was just thinking, “When will Bors say he must make FIRE?”
K: Those were incredibly hairy men.
Sc: “Oooh, you have a knife! I only have a primitive weapon. Guess I have to do what you say!”
R: Yeah, just a primitive weapon...and everyone else!
P: You’ve got a wooden spear. I think you can take the guy with the knife!
K: I was confused. Since he has the knife he controls the guards? Wouldn’t the guards have guns?
Sc: He commands the guards. These are the guards he picked for the cave, not prison guards. They just dump them on the planet and take off.
M: Very Lord of the Flies.
S: Or Intergalactic Australia. “We don’t want you here! Go that way! Crash.”
H: Actually Australia did have guards. It’s more like Devil’s Island: the Devil Planet!
K: And the little harem there?
R: Yeah, I was a bit surprised that the kind of women who wind up sentenced to THE HELL PLANET were all compliant and willowy. I’d expect the kind of woman who’d be there yelling “I have the knife! You wanna touch me? No, we’re gonna settle this RIGHT NOW!”
S: Well, how do we know the gender of Bors?
-general laughter-
H: The beard?
Sp: Yeah, but how do we know?
R: Yeah, with names like Bors and Krrrogaaarh or-
M: Garge?
R: Yeah, Garge. They’re not real gender-specific. And...Garge? Talk about a kid doomed from birth!
S: think we’ve extracted all the fun from this episode.
M: I fell asleep.
S: I thought you closed your eyes to get the whole “radio play” aspect of it.
M: No. That was my excuse, but...
R: I do have to say I was disappointed that, what’sisname, Niles Berstrom, Space Detective-
H: Marc Corey?
R: Yeah, “interplanetary man of mystery.” That his story ended with “Hey! You know that thing you figured out all of? I figured out part of it but died.”
R: It was just tragic because he was cool and he had such a tragic death, and I really wanted the Doctor to get something useful from the tape.
H: I actually kind of enjoyed that sense of futility.
M: I got a bit of that, but that’s another point. The lead-up: If only there was a way to listen to this. Oh, how convenient!
H: Cool! Put on some AC-DC now!
Sp: Oh, crap! We waited too long and it’s turned into a copy of Best Of Queen! We should have played it sooner!
P: What was that, eight-track?
R: Mavic Chen only rolls with quadrophonic sound!
M: We should comment on that fantastic Billy moment, though...
H: Which one?
M: Aha! Ooohoo! Eehee! Hohoho! Just this series of coot noises he made!
K: Yes, he really got his “coot” on in this one.
H: And he hasn’t made so many fluffs in one episode for ages too!
P: Yeah, this is a good drinking episode.
H: He was definitely ill by this time probably knew it, but was hiding it.
R: Oh, and apparently the sound the Most Advanced Ship Ever makes is the sound of a police whistle RIGHT in your ear!
H: Cz, you haven’t said anything. What did you think?
Cz: Uuuuhrgh...too boring to think...
M: Yeah, it was a nice nap.
S: Wow, two counts of damning with faint damn...
Sc: Yeah, I’m baffled by the Daleks’ plan: We’ll make them crash on this planet, then we’ll go there and- oh, they repaired it and took off! How could we have foreseen that? Wouldn’t the Daleks just make them crash again?
-awkward silence and mumbled excuses-
P: Well, that’s true.
S: You can take the taranium out of the randomizer but you can’t take the randomizer out of the plot.
Sc: Oh, some sort of Uranus joke’s in order, too.
H: Yes, the taranium came from Uranus, yes.
Sc: And took fifty years to mine it, too!
S: And the Plant Ambassador came from the planet Terrarium.
H: Photobug? Any closing comments?
P: Uuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhummm-
S: Thankyew.
P: Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.
MS: I would like to see that again.
H: Okay, so that’s one vote in favor.
K: So, what, twelve episodes in this one and we’re three into it?
H: But that means we’re halfway through the desert of Terry Nation scripted episodes.
R: Wait, he shot some improv episodes?
P: Wait, I remembered my comment. He left his TARDIS? What?
H: Apparently he didn’t think they could get safely back to it.
P: But he had the key, right?
H: Yes, and it was locked.
R: And he has it LoJacked.
S: Yes. With Taranium. MmmmmmWOWmmmmWOWmmmmWOWmmmm... Well, it’s over there somewhere, but now I’m blind.
R: Don’t worry about the incredible radiation.
P: Yes, we have visors.
H: Well, it was slow, but I had fun. Mainly because I know where it’s going and you guys don’t.
H: No, just saying I know what’s coming.
S: This part of the audience is unstuck in time!
H: So, slow, but I still had fun with it for scenes like the “fried asparagus.”
K: Hey, where was “teeth guy?”
H: In the background with the other ambassadors.
R: But they were all angry, so he wasn’t smiling.


And that's kind of where we...ended. Although Ketina had one more thought to add that we missed. She wanted it mentioned that the episode ended with an awesome, epic scream from Katarina (since Ketina used to keep track of those kinds of things). Say what you will about Katarina's usefulness in the TARDIS crew, Adrienne Hill's scream is fantastic!

Anyway, we will be back next week with the next episode in our Dalek epic. Until then, I remain



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