Hello everyone, the Historian here. We've gone from a full house last week to a small group this week, with only Ketina, Ronelyn and Schmallturm joining me as we get back to the plot of this Dalek story. Eight episodes down, four to go...Let's get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 1 January 1966. On Kembel, a Dalek reports to its superior. The Time Destructor is ready for testing. All circuits are operational and the Taranium core has been fitted.
In the Dalek control room, delegates Trantis, Celation and Mavic Chen discuss the current situation. Trantis is relieved that the story that his people had stolen the core has been discredited. Celation notes that the theives are from Earth. Only two of them, says Chen, quickly, "And they are under the influence of some creature from another galaxy." Trantis notes that the third one looked he was from Earth, but Chen replies, "That's only a disguise. The Daleks know of him. He is some kind of time and space traveller." Celation says that his people have yet to "conquer the dimension of time," and Trantis also admits that his people's experiments have yet to succeed. "Only the Daleks know how to break the time barrier," he says. Celation wonders where the "other creature" (the Doctor) came from, but Chen replies that it doesn't matter. They have the core and the Time Destructor is ready. Indeed, on the other side of the room, the Dalek Supreme is giving orders for the Destructor to be programmed for testing. When a Dalek mentions that they need a test subject, the Supreme says, "The subject has been selected." Its eyestalk turns to focus on Trantis...
In the TARDIS control room, the Doctor, Sara and Steven are staring at an instrument panel. A small light is flashing. The instrument tells them they are being followed, but, to Sara's consternation, not by who. It must be the Daleks, says Steven. The Doctor, while admonishing his young friend for making a hasty judgment, admits he's probably right. But how could they have tested the Taranium core so quickly. Sara says they must return to Kembel. "We must," she says. "We've got to destroy the Daleks' invasion fleet."
Celation and Chen stand in a room, watching another room through a large window. In the other room, Trantis has been secured, awaiting the Time Destructor test. Celation wonders why the Daleks have chosen to use Trantis for the test; Chen replies, with a smile that it was Trantis' choice. "He was so eager to make a contribution to the Time Destructor that they've let him make one. His life." Elsewhere in the room, the Supreme orders the test to begin. "Are the other two creatures to be present at the destruction?" asks its subordinate. Yes, says the Supreme. "Their greed for power is so great that they can be trusted." It orders the machine to be activated. The device begins to pulse as Trantis tries to draw away. He cowers in abject fear as the machine...just continues to pulse with some light. Celation says the Time Destructor does not work; that's impossible, says Chen. A Dalek reports that the actual mechanism is functioning, the fault is with the Taranium. The Supreme rounds on a clearly terrified Chen. It accuses him of lying to them, but Chen insists he has given them real Taranium. Suddenly, he realizes: "It was the old man, that time-traveller. He must have changed it." But you said he had given you the Taranium core, says Celation. Chen snaps that he knows, but he didn't actually check. The Daleks should have checked it before they fitted the core into the machine, he adds. The Supreme orders a message be sent to Skaro and a Dalek time craft dispatched. It orders the two delegates to remain there, but Celation successfully argues that he has had nothing to do with the situation and is allowed to leave. As for Trantis, the unwitting, unsuccessful test subject? Exterminate him, says the Supreme. Chen watches in horror as a terrified Trantis is gunned down by a Dalek.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor has been unable to shake off the pursuing time machine. He decides to land to see if he can lose it.
On the cricket pitch at Lords, a match between England and Australia is being played. Narrated by two commentators, the match is going badly for England when...a Police Telephone Box appears on the pitch! This could be disasterous for England--if the box isn't cleared off, they won't have time to score the runs they need! Suddenly, the Police Box starts making a funny noise...and disappears. So England still has time to get their runs...
In the control room, there is some discussion of what was going on and where precisely they had been. Regardless, the Doctor's plan hasn't worked; the other craft is still following and getting closer...
A Dalek time machine materializes in the Dalek control room on Kembel. A Dalek emerges from it to report to the Supreme. It orders that the position of the enemy craft be pinpointed on the space-time scope. The Supreme then turns to Chen and orders him to go with the task force and aid them in recovering the Taranium core. Chen responds, "Of course, I shall do everything in my power." The Supreme says, "If you fail, or if we find that you have deceived us, you will suffer the same fate as the time-travellers - annihilation!"
The TARDIS materializes on a planet filled with active volcanoes. In the control room, the three friends look at the scanner. Realizing the area might be dangerous, the Doctor suggests they take off soon. But Sara notices that the light on the tracking indicator has stopped. This means, the Doctor realizes, that the pursuing craft has caught up with them and landed out there!
Out on the planet's surface, what looks like a rock materializes...and out of a door in it emerges...the Meddling Monk!
The TARDIS crew has gone out to the surface of the planet to explore. The sooner they find out who's following them, the Doctor says, the better. Steven sits down on a boulder and immediately leaps up. "Hey, this is hot!" he says. The Doctor, amused, tells him that this is a new planet and is still cooling down. As Sara and Steven walk away to explore, the Doctor ponders about who might be following them. "Yes, I think there is an explanation, but unlikely. Possible, very possible."
The Monk, meanwhile, is back at the Doctor's TARDIS. He uses some kind of futuristic tools and appears to be working on the lock...
Still searching, the Doctor finally stands on top of a rock and calls out, "Don't you think we should meet and talk it over, hmm?" Steven asks the Doctor who they're waiting for, but he just tells his friend to wait and see. "Oh come on," Steven says. "Tell us, otherwise you'll say you were right whoever we meet." The Doctor tells Steven to have patience. Sara yelps at the two of them to look! On a rock ledge above the three, the Monk stands with a large rock, ready to throw it down at them! The Doctor tells him to stop being silly and put the rock down and the Monk does. The two banter back and forth a bit; the Doctor congratulates the Monk on his escape from 1066. 1066? asks Sara, and Steven tells her he'll explain later. Finally, the Doctor tries to get back down to the point. "And you returned here for one obvious reason, did you not?" "I'm afraid so, Doctor." says the Monk. "Revenge is a strange thing, isn't it?" The Doctor asks if the Monk has had any plans, and the Monk tells him they've already been carried out. "Doctor, you remember you left me in 1066? Now I've marooned you on the planet Tigus, look." He begins to laugh and is joined by the Doctor and, after a moment, Steven and Sara. Then, realizing they have nothing to laugh about, everyone but the Monk stops. "Well, goodbye, Doctor." says the Monk. "Perhaps I'll come back one day and rescue you." He disappears behind the ridge. Hey, wait, calls Steven. But the Doctor says, "Don't waste your breath, young man. The most important thing is, is to find out what he's done to the TARDIS."
Back at the TARDIS, the Doctor discovers he can't open the door! "He probably used some kind of ray," muses the Doctor. (Out of sight, the Monk watches, chuckling to himself.) Steven begins to try to pick the lock, but the Doctor tells him that would be no use. Both Sara and Steven say at least they're trying to do something, but the Doctor tells them he is doing something too--using his brain! He takes his ring from his finger. He angles the beam of light from the sun through his ring and onto the lock and, after a moment, he drops the now hot ring. Sara tries to open the door, but it doesn't budge. "It hasn't worked," she says. The Doctor, picking up his ring tells her to wait a moment...and then unlocks the door with his key. Sara pushes the door open. Steven tells the Doctor he's a genius, to which the Doctor replies, "Yes - I know, my boy, I know." The three pile into the ship and, a minute later, the TARDIS dematerializes. The Monk, absolutely furious, comes out of hiding. "Oh, no, no," he says. "Don't think I'm going to leave it at this. You haven't heard the last of me, Doctor. You haven't heard the last of me!"
In the control room, Steven is saying, "If you ask me, we haven't heard the last of that monk." The Doctor agrees, and Sara adds that next time they will be ready for him! Quite so, says the Doctor, and asks Steven to watch the instrument to let them know the moment the Monk's ship begins to follow them. But Steven first asks the Doctor to explain how he opened the door. "Oh, that's all very simple, dear boy," the Doctor replies. "You see, the sun in that particular galaxy has very unusual powers. I merely reflected its powers through that ring." Sara asks if the ring is special in some way, and the Doctor says, "Yes, it has certain properties." The special power of the light and properties of the ring allowed him to break through the Monk's interference. But when Steven asks what the "properties" of the ring are, the Doctor refuses to answer and tells him to go check the instrument.
On Kembel, the Supreme is told that the task force is ready to be sent through time. A countdown begins: Ninety-nine, Ninety-eight... A Dalek reports that the time craft has been located. "Space-time bearing: planet Earth, London, 1966." The Dalek task force will use a locator beam to go directly to the enemy craft. Ninety-seven, ninety-six...
The TARDIS has materialized in Trafalger Square at midnight, 1 January 1966! (Where have we seen that date before in this post? Hmm...) On the scanner, people are seen celebrating the coming of the New Year. Steven says that the Doctor won't be able to make his repairs here and the Doctor agrees. Sara wonders what kind of celebration might be happening. The Doctor doesn't know, but..listen! They hear the bells of London pealing.
Back on Kembel, the countdown continues. Twenty-two, Twenty-one, Twenty, Ninetee, Eighteen...
In the control room, the Doctor is still trying to figure out what is going on outside. It's certainly Earth, he says. As far as he can recall, he's seen a celebration like this once before...after the Relief of Mafeking.
On Kembel, the countdown as reached an end! Three, Two, One, Zero! The Dalek machine disappears, en route to meet the enemy ship--wherever they are! The Supreme announces, "Report to Skaro. Our time machine is now in pursuit. Nothing can match Dalek technology! The universe shall be ours! Conquest is assured!" Around him, Dalek voices ring out, all with one word: "CONQUEST! CONQUEST! CONQUEST...!"
Whew! I included the link about Mafeking since, when Hartnell said the line, Schmallturm and I chuckled, but everyone else looked kind of baffled. I know explaining a joke sometimes kills it, but... And, to remind those who might have forgotten, here's a link to our wrapup of the Meddling Monk's first appearance. (It's worth pointing out that the Monk's last line to the Doctor in this episode almost perfectly echoes the Doctor's last line to the Monk in the episode "Checkmate!")
Ketina's Transcripty Thingy
H: So, we're back to the actual story.
R: We are?
H: Well, more than we were last week. So, I guess the big fake out this week was “who's following the Doctor” but the Daleks' time machine wasn't ready yet.
Sc: They could have gone back in time and then followed the Doctor...
Sc: There was a lot of potential time paradox stuff there.
H: So I thought that was a really clever bit of story telling.
Sc: I thought how they escaped from the Monk's trap was lame. It was just a Deus Ex Machina.
H: Yeah, it was like magic. They've alluded to the ring's "special magical powers" before, but never this bad.
R: [As Hartnell] "It was given to me by a Scotsman named “MacGuffin.”
R: I was impressed by how much better the scene chewing was between the Doctor and the Monk, than it was between Chen and the Daleks.
Sc: I thought it was the opposite, actually.
H: I liked them both, really. I didn't really mind the scene chewing with Chen. Although in the audio he sounds silly, I would have been interested to see how Celation moved. He sounded all snakey, and when we did see him walking in during and earlier episode it looked like he was walking under water.
Sc: I liked the "Evil Model U.N." [i.e. the delegates] It's been my favorite part of this story. But it's been getting smaller as Chen has been picking them off one by one.
R: “I didn't even want to be part of this evil club anyway!”
H: Although Chen, apparently when he saw Trantis get it, he was just horrified. Which doesn't fit with his whole ruthless “I'll get them all” thing from previous episodes. But maybe he didn't expect the Daleks to be so ruthless.
R: There was very little “ruth” at all.
K: I like Celation's eyes.
H: Those were cool.
K: But I hate Trantis's face.
H: Well, you won't have to worry about it anymore.
R: “You're failure has cost you your life!”
H: “Failure? What??”
K: Was that teeth guy? What happened to his face?
H: That was the way he looked in the recon to “Mission to the Unknown.” I don't know if that's a recon issue [that they used the MitU version, rather than the one in the existing DMP episode], or if they kept changing his makeup around.
H: So, Dennis Spooner brings back his creation the Meddling Monk. It was a great reveal, him walking out from behind the rock.
K: Why aren't they burning on volcano planet?
H: Because it's magic?
Sc: It wasn't that hot.
H: Hot enough that Steven couldn't sit down.
R: Pants hot, but not shoes hot.
H: When you get right down to it, the Doctor left the Monk stranded but okay. The Monk was going to leave the Doctor stranded and probably soon dead.
R: The difference is the Doctor is a jerk and the Monk is a murderous jerk.
H: *laughs* I guess the other tease here is that we saw the Destructor and saw them start it up, but we still don't know what it does. Quantum Mechanics stuff? Who knows.
Sc: The cricket match was just filling up space. I assume they got real announcers for that?
H: In the credits the announcer characters were given names so they were portrayed by someone else. No idea if they were still real announcers or not. I loved the line “so and so is checking the statistics to find out if this has ever happened before.” At least it was enjoyable filler.
Sc: Unlike painful Terry Nation filler.
H: Well, it wasn't “an ordeal” if you know what I mean.
K: Oh god, a cricket match in the middle of the Daleks! Thals playing cricket!
R: And suddenly a silvery spaceship lands at Lords, and an alien comes out and says “Author Philip Deodat?”
H: One of Douglas Adams' first submissions to Doctor Who was “Doctor Who and the Krikketmen,” which, of course, he later recycled into part of Life, the Universe and Everything. Perhaps he was watching this one at home as a youth and it gave him ideas.
Sc: That did have kind of a Douglas Adams feel to it.
H: And New Years 1966! Very exciting. I wonder if the stills they used in the recon were actually from that New Years.
R: I wondered that about the cricket match as well.
H: Some of the film would had to have been re-filmed, like the cricket player walking up the the TARDIS. I wonder if it was basically stock footage they found. And speaking of stock footage, good use of previously used stock footage with the “Inferno” credits being used for the recon. [For the Volcano eruptions on Tigus.] I knew I'd seen that before when it came on the screen, but it took me a second to recognize it!
K: Except “Inferno” was in colour.
H: Well, yeah. Oh, and I remember during “The Chase” a couple of folks were disappointed that the Dalek time ship looked like a box. This time they redesigned it so that it sort of looks interesting. I wonder if the maths challenged Dalek will be back?
R: “WHY DO WE STILL HAVE THIS GUY?”
H: “UH... SEVEN?”
Sc: “HE'S MY SISTER'S KID.”
R: “THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE”
Sc: “YOU DON'T KNOW MY SISTER.”
K: I thought he died. Got dumped off a boat in the Chase, didn't he?
Sc: Is this the first time we've had Daleks unleashed in 1966? Because I assume the Daleks are going to show up at the New Years party. [Since that's where the TARDIS is and the Daleks are homing in on them.]
H: I don't know, he said, being evasive.
Sc: Well, that's what I'm looking forward to.
K: Sara Kingdom is way lamer than she was before.
Sc: She didn't do much.
H: Well, neither did Steven, except for almost getting his pants burned and his little banter with the Monk.
Sc: I liked it, but nothing much happened. Other than discovering the substitution of the Taranium Uranus stuff.
R: It was okay. Like I said, I kind of thought that the alien Madagascar hissing cockroach [Celation] got old fast. And the guy who ate the chopsticks the wrong way [Trantis] just looked kind of glum in the room with the Time Destructor.
H: That was probably just the recon. They mentioned in a caption that he basically loses it.
R: It was not exactly.. nothing much happened. But I did like the Monk's acting. Good byplay between them.
K: I was surprised to see the Monk return. I didn't know he was in more than one store. I still want to think he's the Master.
H: No, no! We've had this discussion before! *laughs* But it sounds like the big reveal “is the Daleks or isn't it?” really worked for you then.
R: Uh huh.
K: Well, at least it was better than last week. Easier to follow anyway. Wasn't eagerly waiting for it to end.
H: I would agree that not a lot happened this week. But I was happy to see the return of Dennis Spooner because his words are just so fun to listen to. Nothing happened, but it was still a lot of fun. With the Doctor and the Monk, and Mavic Chen snarking. It had a little sparkle in the dialogue.
R: Although as you said, on the whole Dennis Spooner's writing moves, there was one moment where Chen went “Doctor Evil”... “Well, he DID say that he wanted to contribute to the test.”
H: I liked that...
R: “With his life!”
H: Yeah, okay, I'll agree with you there.
R: That was the difference that makes the difference.
H: I didn't say he was subtle. I just said he was fun.
K: It so reminds me of “The Chase.”
H: Funny that.
K: But we've seen Dalek stories so far that weren't like “The Chase.”
H: This is the fourth Dalek story. “The Chase” did very well, so I'm not surprised that they're reusing the format.
K: Although thank goodness they're adding this glue plot.
R: Rather than just “Run!”
K: “When I say run...”
H: No, not yet! Not for another few months. Heck, we still have another month of Daleks left to go.
K: You were the one who wanted to do this one week at a time.
H: Who am I to argue with the mother-in-law of the BBC managing director in 1965. She wanted more Daleks, and here we get a 12 part story about them!
And there we have it for this week! It only remains for me to give the standard plug for the amazing work of Loose Cannon Productions (order recons! They're great!) and to let everyone know that next week's post might be a little later than usual (A little later, even, than this one!) Still, with a month more to go in the story, I'm looking forward to it; the Daleks haven't quite worn out their welcome yet! Until then, I remain
NEXT WEEK: "GOLDEN DEATH"