Hello everyone, the Historian here. Tonight I was joined by Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MisterMother, Photobug and Cz for another Dalek-flavored episode! I apologize for the lateness of the post; the discussion and summary took a bit longer than I'd expected. But we're here now, so, without further ado, let's get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 4 December 1965. 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...!
Kirksen demands to know where the Spar ship is heading. When Bret tells him Earth, the convict demands a course correction. He wants the ship to return to the planet Kembel! Although the others try to tell him that Kembel would be worse than Desperus, he refuses to listen. When warned that the Daleks are on Kembel, Kirksen (who obviously has no idea what "Daleks" are) responds, "No, whoever the Daleks are, they'll help me."
Back on Kembel, the Dalek pursuit ship reports in. They have repaired their ship and are ready to continue pursuit of the Earth ship. A Dalek reports to the Supreme that the Spar ship is heading for Earth. The Supreme orders Mavic Chen (who is back on Earth) be contacted through a secret communication channel with orders to recover the Taranium and "exterminate the creatures who took it." It then orders the pursuit ship back to base...but, after cutting the communications switch, orders that the pursuit ship be destroyed. "We will not tolerate mistakes!"
On the Spar, the stand-off continues. Bret and Steven pretend to make course changes as Kirksen keeps a hold of Katarina. But Kirksen isn't fooled. Steven tries to rush him, but Kirksen pulls Katarina back through the open inner door into the airlock and closes the inner door. Realizing that Katarina will be killed if they try to rush the door, the Doctor turns on the intercom and tries to talk to Kirksen. He threatens to open the outer door if Kirksen doesn't release Katarina, but Kirksen calls his bluff--if the outer door opens, he'll open the inner one before he dies and kill them all! Bret cuts off the audio, saying that further talk is pointless; he believes that Kirksen won't kill his hostage. Steven, incensed, runs to the airlock door and calls Kirksen an animal, but the convict just hurts Katarina more. Finally, the Doctor can take no more and orders Bret to really change course for Kembel. After some argument from Bret, and more threats from Kirksen, they begin to alter course. But Katarina, inside the airlock, wrenches her hand free from Kirksen's grasp and reaches towards the switches.... "Not that one!" yells Steven. "Katarina!" But it is too late--she has touched the button that opens the outer door and she and Kirksen are swept out into space! Steven, Bret and the Doctor stand in stunned silence. Steven wonders if she pressed the wrong button, but the Doctor believes she knew what she was doing--she wanted to save the lives of the other three. "I hope she's reached her Place of Perfection," he says. "Yes, but not that way," replies Steven sadly. "She didn't understand. She couldn't understand. She wanted to save our lives. And perhaps the lives of all the other beings of the Solar System. I hope she's found her Perfection." says the Doctor. "Oh, how I shall always remember her... as one of the Daughters of the Gods. Yes, as one of the Daughters of the Gods!"
In space, the bodies of Katarina and Kirksen float away, leaving both each other and the ship behind...
On Kembel, Trantis confronts the Supreme, angry that the Time Destructor core has not been recovered. He accuses the Supreme of placing too much trust in Mavic Chen. The Daleks have offered Chen more power than he had ever dreamed of; he will recover the core. Chen has been given private instructions, but the Supreme refuses to disclose them to Trantis. Although Trantis, as the representative of one of the largest galaxies, demands to know more, the Supreme refuses. Trantis retreats as the Supreme advances threateningly. "If anything tries to stop us we will destroy it," it says, adding, "Nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of our plan to conquer the Universe!"
The Spar ship is nearing Earth and Bret is worried. As this was Chen's ship, they can't land at the main landing area. He decides to land at an Experimental Plant outside Central City where he has a friend who should be able to help them.
On Earth, Mavic Chen is in his office. He is being shown a computerized projection of the "traitor," Bret Vyon, by Lizan (the security communications woman from episode one). The other traitors have yet to be identified. Also in attendance is Karlton, the chief of security and Chen's right-hand man. Pretending to know considerably less than he does, Chen allows Lizan to brief him on both Vyon and Gantry's mission to Kembel. He is impressed with her command of data. He tells her that all Security agents must be called back to Earth to search. If the traitors aren't found in the landing zone, Central City should be cordoned off. As she turns to go, Chen stops her and adds that, when caught, they must be killed on sight! After Lizan leaves, Chen confronts Karlton, telling him his agents are getting too good! Karlton tells him that Cory had gone off on his own without telling anyone and Vyon and Gantry had to search for him. It won't happen again, as now all missions must be cleared through him. It is obvious from this conversation that Karlton is involved in all of Chen's plans with the Daleks.
On the Spar, Bret announces that they do not have strong enough "drive force" to land properly. Steven worries about crashing, as they have a valuable cargo. The Taranium, Bret surmises. Yes, and the Doctor, Steven replies, which amuses the Doctor to no end. He tells them not to worry about him--protect the Taranium!
In his office, Chen fumes to Karlton about the loss of the Taranium core. It is the only reason he has been allowed on the Dalek council. Karlton tries to sooth him, assuring Chen that it will be returned soon. It has to be, hisses Chen. He must rule the Universe beside the Daleks! Surely Trantis is ahead of you, says Karlton, but Chen dismisses the other ambassador. Trantis has too self-importance and the Daleks don't like him, Chen says. The Daleks only want an excuse to get rid of Trantis...and Chen has a plan that may give them that excuse. Then Mavic Chen will be next in line! "And I will be there, behind you," says Karlton, softly. Of course, replies Chen. Of course, echoes Karlton...Chen asks Karlton about the deployment of Security forces to capture the "traitors." Karlton tells him that he is using regular Security men, rather than Special Forces, although they will be led by an officer named "Kingdom." Chen is delighted. "Kingdom!" he says. "Ruthless, hard, efficient! And, er, does exactly as ordered." Just then, a communicator buzzes. Karlton lifts the receiver and listens. He tells the person on the other end to carry out "Emergency Plan D," and then tells Chen that the "traitors" have arrived, but not at the landing area--they have crash landed at the Experimental Plant.
Bret, the Doctor and Steven sneak their way through the Experimental Plant. They move on, narrowing avoiding a Technix worker.
Kingdom has arrived at Chen's office. She is a tall young woman with shoulder-length dark hair in a well-fitting Space Security Service uniform. She appears to be completely without emotion as Chen begins to brief her. She has been informed of the identity of the "traitors": "Bret Vyon and two strangers. They look as though they could come from Earth, but are oddly dressed. None of them can leave the plant." She plans on capturing them herself, but Chen stops her before she can leave. "There is something you have to know," he says...
The Doctor and Steven are growing increasingly impatient as they and Bret wait in an office for Bret's friend, Daxter. Bret assures them that Daxter is the one man who can help them, though the Doctor counters that there must be hundreds of people looking for them by now! Bret agrees that they must be wanted men by now; Chen will know about Vyon's mission to Kembel. "Has it occurred to you, by any chance, that we might have deliberately walked into an ambush? Mmm? Hmm!" says the Doctor. Bret is adamant that Daxter is the one man who will believe their story. "What story?" asks a voice from the doorway. A middle-aged man, Daxter, is standing there.
"So you will understand that it's absolutely essential that this emm of Taranium is returned to me," says Chen as he finishes briefing Kingdom. She assents and leaves. Karlton is amused that Kingdom actually believed the story Chen told her. For a second, Karlton says, he thought Chen was actually going to tell her about the Daleks! "Oh come!" replies Chen. "We need that Taranium back, but we can't allow any more people to know the plan." Karlton responds that he was watching Kingdom closely; she never doubted Chen's story for a moment. Chen smiles. "A heroic war cry to apparent peaceful ends is one of the greatest weapons a politician has."
In his office, Daxter is shocked at the story he has been told. But the Doctor confirms that Chen "gave a rather pompous speech of self-satisfaction and handed over the core of the Time Destructor to the Daleks." But why, asks Daxter. A lust for "universal power," replies the Doctor. Steven says no matter how incredible it sounds, they must do something to stop Chen and the Daleks. Quite so, says the Doctor, but he and Steven must also return to Kembel. They need to recover "something of unique value," which we know is the TARDIS. But Daxter quickly asks, "You didn't leave the Taranium there?" No, Steven replies, the Doctor has it. Daxter immediately suggests a plan to go to the Security buildings and alert the other planets, but before they can leave, the Doctor shouts, "No!" He has realized something is wrong and rounds on Daxter. "What price is Mavic Chen paying you for your treachery, hmm?" he demands. The Doctor has realized that Daxter referred to "Taranium," but no one ever mentioned what the Time Destructor core was made of! Daxter, growing frantic as he sees even Bret becoming suspicious, tries to convince them that one of them must have mentioned Taranium! But Bret, furious at the betrayal by his friend and realizing how much danger Daxter has put them in, has pulled his gun and shoots Daxter down. The Doctor is appalled. "You brainless idiot! How many times have I told you about taking lives?" he says. "We have other ways and means of dealing with evil doers." And now, since they had gotten no information from Daxter, they will not know who they can trust!
On Kembel, the Supreme awaits a report from Earth. Trantis also waits a short distance away. One of the Daleks leaves its console and reports to the Supreme that a message has arrived from Mavic Chen. He has "almost recaptured" the core and will return to Kembel in two Earth days. Although the report did not say if they fugitives had been "exterminated," Chen does report that it is believed that they are from the tenth galaxy--which is led by Trantis! The ambassador angrily declares this to be a lie and a plot by Mavic Chen to discredit him. The Supreme declares that they will discover the truth when Chen returns, by which time the core will be recovered and the thieves exterminated!
Bret, desperate, suggests that he somehow make his way into the Security building and send out the warning signal. Asked how he proposes to do that, Bret suggests he might be able to bluff his way in, saying that it's worth a try and no one else has thought of anything! Realizing this is true, the Doctor says they'll have to try Bret's scheme. But before they can leave, the door slides open, revealing Kingdom! "Sara!" says Bret in surprise. She acknowledges him, but when he says she's just the person they need, she replies, "I doubt that," and draws her gun. "Which of you has the Taranium?" she asks. Suddenly, Bret starts forward towards her. "Run for it!" he calls. Steven and the Doctor manage to push past Sara Kingdom, but she covers Bret with her weapon. She refuses to listen to him. "Give me the Taranium!" she says. Bret is shocked; he believes she too is part of the conspiracy. "You too?" he says, despairingly. He tries to reach for his gun, but Sara shoots him down without a thought! She searches his body, but fails to find the core. She exits the room.
In the corridor, Sara calls for one of her officers, Borkar. When he arrives she tells him that two of the fugitives have escaped and all exits to the Plant must be guarded. Borkar looks into the room and is shocked to see Bret Vyon, who he recognizes, dead on the floor. "Yes, he's dead." affirms Sara with no emotion. "The others must be killed as well. They will be shot on sight." As Borker leaves, she calls after him, remembering that one of them must hold the Taranium, "But aim for the head...!"
Cz's Recorded Transcription...Thingy.
H: Ok uh, well, that was death with more death and death on top.
S: There was a body count in this one.
K: It was only 4 but, it was the most gruesome.
S: The self sacrifice thing [Of Katarina. --H] kind outta left field and set a tone.
R: Assuming it was self sacrifice.
H: It’s honestly not clear.
R: This is a women who did not know how keys work.
S: But she found out how doors work! … Once.
H: This is the first major character death like this.
R: And it hit the Doctor really hard for... 4 minutes. “Yeaah.. remember... what was I up to?”
K: I didn’t understand the whole, “Daughter of gods”?
P: Cause she was a priestess?
H: Yeah. It’s poetic.
M: He convey trying to convey that he was upset.
S: “Oh the poor simple primitive is probably off in a better place and if she understood that she was dead she’d be happy cause she’d go to that place that we know doesn’t exist.”
M: Hartnell went so far over the top that he fell down into the ditch... with those lines...
S: OVER THE TOP?!?!
Sc: It’s a Terry Nation episode there’s no way to deliver...
H: I didn’t think it was over the top, but I was also prepared for it...so..
K: I was just disappointed that Steven didn’t kind of... mourn more.
H: It’s possible that it’s hitting him.. but again, he doesn’t have time since he’s trying to steer the ship.
Sc: I’m not getting a feeling for Steven as a character, at all.
K: Nick Cortney's character I think was so very prominent in most of the scenes Steven was in, and then his death was like WOW. I expected him to be around for much longer.
H: The floating in space thing [Of Katarina and Kirksen's bodies] by the way is a reconstruction of what actually happened.
S: A little bit intense for a kids show.
H: There's actually an interesting story connected with both this and a later episode in this story where they showed weightlessness in space. Stanley Kubrick, who was in England making 2001, saw them and had one of his production assistants call the Doctor Who office and asked how they achieved the look of weightlessness. And, if you watch 2001, you can see that the effects are done in basically the same way...with a bigger studio and a lot more money. So once again Doctor who is on the, believe it or not, cutting edge of special effects.
M: I was getting an "Open the pod bay doors, Hal" feel from it, so that doesn't surprise me.
S: But not music.
H: BA BA BUUMM!
H: Spoo is a very, very bad man. There was an entire scene that Spoo, in his mind moved from him to Schmallturm and Schmallturm to me, turned into a porn movie.
S: OH come on. That was not subtext that was just TEXT.
H: It was Mavic Chen and the head of security. [Karlton.]
R: Mavic Chen's eyebrows and head of securities forehead THROBBING.
S: The reconstruction didn’t help because there were flicking back and forth between a picture of each of them.
H: Some of the dialogue and the delivery did feel in retrospect, I’m sure not at the time at all, but a little suggestive.
S: It just came together in a perfect storm. His make up. The switch back and fourth, and the delivery and then the music stings...
R: The Music stings where it’s like “Dear Solar System and Administrative Forum... I never thought it would happen the me...DUNDUNDUM.”
Sc: Really it was the suggestive pauses.
H: And of course Sarah Kingdom is “Hard ruthless and excepts orders without question.” And speaking of Sarah we have the return of Jean Marsh to Doctor Who who we last saw as Joanna in the Crusaders. So we have once again a real “Actress” on the show.
H: All terry nation scripts seem to have one scene that stops dead for a minute. Luckily for this episode when we hit that we has something to distract us.
R: And the sound track editor is going “Oh for gods sake let something happen! Look here I’ll give you the music and everything!”
K: Who is the guy with the things on his face?
S: Melty face dude.
K: He totally looked like he’d been in a bad radiation accident.
H: He's on of the guys that was in mission to the unknown that I swear wasn’t in the previous episode. I think he’s actually pointy teeth guy. [Yes, Trantis was "Pointy-Teeth Guy" in a previous "Master Plan" episode, but he was "Face Melty Guy" in "Mission to the Unknown." I'm not sure why the recon used what seemed to be a MttU picture; see below for my theory. --H]
K: But he didn’t have things on his face.
H: I think it was one of those things where it’s like” Wait what was the costume again?”
R: I don’t think there has bee anybody in the history of ever that has worked with the Daleks who has not as some point say “Yeah well, they think they’re all that, but.. I’m pretty sure I can manipulate them into doing what I want.”
H: That’s true,but this is the first time we’ve actually seen the Daleks trying to work with someone.
P: How many Dalek stories have there been at this point?
K: Four, I think.
P: There haven't been more?
H: The first one, "Invasion of Earth," "The Chase" and this one. Yeah, four.
P: Oh yeah; I guess "The Chase" just felt long enough to be more than one story.
S: The director needed to, like, get some quiet on the sound stage or something because.. uh.. I.. I don’t know why they where all shouting. I get emotion and like getting worked up in panic and what have you. Even Billy was getting into it.
K: They’re upset because Kataria died.
H: Sure, ok.
M: There was one little moment that I found very funny which was the status report. “Oh yes, Mavic Chen is -almost- done getting the taranium. When will he be done? In two days.” How many times have you said or heard “ Yes I’m almost done. I’ll be done in two days.”
H: Oh did you guys like the CG Daleks? [In the recon.]
- room agreement that they were good -
K: I love how the Dalek goes by squid face guy [Trantis] and nods to him like... “Who are you?”
H: Any last words?
Sc: The little subtitle things said that Mavic Chen was sitting at a rotating desk. I totally wanted to see that.
M: Didn’t fall asleep, major improvement.
K: Wow that was violent. Stuck me in the beginning with Kataria and then at the end with Bret.
P: I was surprised we didn’t see more scenes being cut by the Australian censors.
Sc: I agree with Ketina that it was violent. Felt somehow more violent then what we’ve been seeing for a while. Also I felt that Bret was gonna get it when he shot the other guy.
R: Enough with the screaming for gods sakes. Just screaming with screaming and more screaming on top. You know... Mommy and daddy where fighting the whole episode. “I”M TELLING YOU I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE TARANIUM”
S: Needed more bald dude. [Karlton, who Spoo really liked, for very silly reasons.] No really, It was violent and it was good pacing. Brisk little episode.
Cz: Space is really loud and high pitched in the future.
H: I think that’s suppose to be the space ship engines?
R: The theremin has a lower setting!
H: I thought it was a very effective episode. It got ride of a character they realised very early wasn’t working. Which apparently they knew as soon as the early script stage because one of the firs things they filmed of her was her floating away. Which is just bizarre. And I thought the death of Daxter showed how desperate Bret was. The end was very effective and moving the plot along which is very nice. And we continue to see the unfolding of Mavic Chen's evil plan
R: Even while we see the the unfolding of Mavic Chen's sweet romance.
H: On that note lets call it for this week. Thanks everybody and we’ll see you next week for an actual episode,not a Reconstruction. Moving images!
Whew! Sorry about how late this is! Between the writing of the summary and Cz's new transcription process, it's taking a long time to write/edit/post these things. Which leads me to ask: Do you guys like the more complete transcriptions from recordings (with the caveat that posting may take a lot longer or be delayed), or would you rather we return to Ketina's method of half-transcribing, half-paraphrasing, typing as people actually speak (and having posts almost always come out on time on Friday nights/Saturday mornings)? Let us know in the comments!! And, as always, here's a plug for Loose Cannon Productions, who provide the fantastic reconstructions that allow us to actually see these missing episodes. Check 'em out!
And until next week, I remain
NEXT EPISODE: "COUNTER PLOT"