Friday, March 18, 2011

"The Abandoned Planet"

Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Schmallturm, Spoo, MiniSpoo, Photobug and Cz. We're in the home stretch, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but this week it may have been the light from an oncoming train. Let's get to the summary.

Episode summary: First aired 22 January 1966. In the control room, the Doctor has finished wiring the new unit into the console. Still, he hesitates before testing it. "Well, come on. I thought you said that it was finished," says Sara. "Yes my dear, I've finished, but..." says the Doctor. "Oh come on, Doctor," says Steven. "We haven't got time for buts! This is our only hope!" "You realize, my boy, we're taking a terrible chance," says the old man. "Then you can save your breath," replies Steven. "We've got to try it!" The Doctor pauses a moment, turns away, grasps his lapels and says, "Very well. Pull the main switch!" Steven waits for a moment and then pulls the switch. The wheezing, groaning sound of the TARDIS taking off begins, but suddenly there is an explosion and the room fills with smoke...!

In the Dalek control room on the planet Kembel, the Dalek time machine materializes. The door opens and Mavic Chen emerges, clutching the Taranium which he presents to the Dalek Supreme who is waiting. "The mission has been completed successfully," he says. "With guile and cunning, I have been able to repossess the Taranium." Is he certain that it is the real core? "Of course," Chen replies. "I had it examined before we arrived here. It is ready to be fitted to the Time Destructor. I hope that the Daleks will not suffer any more setbacks which could upset the plans for our conquest of the universe." The Supreme tells Chen that the final pre-invasion meeting of the Galactic Council is waiting for him; Chen arrogantly says he'll go and address them...presently. He leaves. After a moment, the Supreme turns to another Dalek. The Dalek tells its leader that the core is being fitted into the Time Destructor. "Do we now deal with Mavic Chen?" it asks. "No," the Supreme answers. "His arrogance and greed have a further use for us. Alert the council to attend their final conference."

In the TARDIS control room, the Doctor and his friends have picked themselves up. The Doctor is examining the circuits of the control console. Fortunately, he says, there was no damage to the console itself, but the directional unit has been rendered useless. He holds it up so Sara and Steven can see that it is a blackened mess. The Doctor explains that the unit required more power than the TARDIS could provide. Thankfully, a safety feature made sure it was the directional unit burned out not the console itself. But that means the Doctor's plan to return to Kembel has failed. His companions frantic, the Doctor considers that their only option is to try to capture either the Monk's or the Daleks' machines. (Not knowing that both parties left before they did.) Before leaving, though, they decide to look on the scanner to see if any Egyptians are about...and are surprised to see the image of a jungle outside! "It might be Kembel," says the Doctor. "Do you know, that means that that directional unit must have burned itself out after we'd dematerialised!" He asks Steven to go get the impulse compass. The Doctor turns to Sara and tells her to have a little faith in the future! Sara tries to respond that it was the Doctor who had said they'd failed! But the old man will have none of it. "Oh come on, Doctor, you'll have to forgive her. After all, she hasn't known you very long," says Steven, trying not to laugh. The Doctor suggests they make a plan. He decides that they might be within walking distance of the Dalek city and he will go out and try to get his bearings. He leaves. Sara fumes, and Steven tells her to save it for the Daleks.

In the Galactic Council room, the remaining council (Malpha, Gearon, Sentreal, Beaus and Celation) wait angrily. Celation demands that Chen be removed. Beaus defends Chen, saying the Earthman had brought the Taranium. Celation responds that the Daleks will return the core. Then what do we need Chen for, Beaus asks. Exactly! says Celation and calls for a censure motion. The council members bang on the table in assent...but the Dalek Supreme appears and demands silence! It announces that Mavic Chen will address them. Chen walks in and begins. "Fellow delegates, even as you sit here, the great war force, assembled under the Daleks, is awaiting the final order to set out and conquer the universe!" But Beaus interrupts, asking why Chen is speaking for the Supreme. Chen attempts to ignore him and continues. "The final checks are being made. And in a very short time, that final order will be given!" But Celation breaks in: "Why is it that Mavic Chen is in possession of information denied to the rest of this Council?" Chen responds, "Although we are all equal partners with the Daleks on this great conquest... some of us are more equal than others." The other council members are furious, but Chen responds that "My contribution, of the emm of Taranium, is greater than all of yours put together. You have been dwarfed, dwarfed!" Beaus and Celation call for Chen's arrest, but Chen responds that they are "...nothing! Nothing!" "Your ambition condemns you, Mavic Chen," Celation declares, and the council members yell for death! Suddenly, Chen draws a blaster and shoots Beaus! Unnoticed, the Supreme slips out of the room as Chen turns to the delegates. "Before this conference began, the Dalek Supreme and I spoke together. This Council now is under my power. I will give the orders. You will obey them!"

In the jungle, Sara and Steven are looking for the Dalek city. Steven warns Sara to watch out for Varga plans, but she points out that she hasn't seen any. "Come to think about it, neither have I," says Steven. "I thought the Daleks scattered them all over Kembel." Are you sure we're on Kembel? asks Sara. Of course, says Steven. The Doctor took those readings...wait, where is he? The two look around and see the Doctor is gone.

In the council room, the delegates are still arguing. Chen continues to arrogantly claim precedence, saying that he alone was responsible for the recovery of the Time Destructor core. Suddenly, Malpha says, "There remains one question. Where is our co-ruler - the Dalek Supreme?" Chen is taken aback. He looks around a moment, but manages to regain his composure. "It is clear that he knows that I can run this council without his aid. Now, gentlemen, we come to the main discussion before this meeting. The apportioning of the government of the universe after the conquest. All of you will be allowed to oversee your own galaxies. BUT... all of you will be responsible to the Dalek Supreme... and me!" Just as he finishes, Daleks enter the room, pointing their weapons at all of the delegates. "There will be no more discussion," the Dalek says. "All representatives will come with us."

In the jungle, Steven and Sara are trying to use the compass to find both the Dalek city and the Doctor. Steven is worried that he may have been caught by the Daleks, but Sara is practical. If he has been caught, it's now up to them to stop the Dalek invasion. "Mavic Chen will have returned with the Taranium. That means the Daleks' plans will be ready to go ahead and we've got to stop them!" Steven argues that they can't just leave the Doctor, possibly wandering around the jungle, but Sara says, knowing him, he's probably already at the city. Steven grudgingly agrees and they move on. After a few minutes, he takes another reading from the compass and says they should continue on their bearing. Sara asks how the "power impulse compass" works, but Steven says they don't have time. But what if something happens to you, asks Sara. I'll have to know how to use it. "Oh, you are so cheerful, aren't you," responds Steven.

In the Dalek control room, the Supreme is told that the delegates are detained as ordered. "They will be destroyed at the same time as the headquarters, at the start of the conquest of the planet Earth," says the Supreme. "Commence invasion countdown!"

Steven and Sara look down at the landing pad, viewing the delegates' various space ships. They argue for a couple of minutes about the best way to enter the Dalek city, with Sara angered at Steven's attitude. They finally begin to walk towards the outskirts of the city.

Inside the city, Steven and Sara are surprised to one! They keep moving, but there is still not one Dalek in sight. Sara speculates that the Daleks might be making final plans for the invasion, but Steven says they should still be running into guards. He suggests that perhaps the Doctor has already been captured. "Steven, this could all be a trick," says Sara. "If they have caught the Doctor, then they could be waiting for us." "No," replies Steven. "If they've caught the Doctor, they won't worry about us. We've got to find him."

The two arrive in the Dalek control room, only to find it is also empty! Steven notices the abandoned time machine in the center of the room and Sara suggests using it to warn Earth. Steven objects that neither of them knows how to use it, but he has an idea. They can lock themselves inside the machine until the Daleks bring the Doctor to them. Sara, for some reason, thinks this plan could work. She finds the Dalek loudspeaker system. "This is Sara Kingdom of Space Security. Send the Doctor to the control room," she says, as Steven starts to try to figure out how to get into the time machine. They are both surprised to hear Mavic Chen's voice through the speaker. "Hello, Kingdom, Where are you?" Steven, believing Chen is still working with the Daleks, begins to talk to him.

In the small cell, crowded with delegates, Steven's voice comes through clearly. "Let us speak to the Doctor." Celation, ever suspicious, says, "Is this more treachery? Who are these people?" Chen tells them they are the ones who stole the Taranium. Why have they come back? asks Celation, as the representatives hold Chen back. "I DON'T KNOW!" says the Guardian of the Solar System desperately. "YOU MUST LET ME SPEAK TO THEM!" "NO!" says Celation. "Already you have betrayed us. This could be another trick." Again, Steven's voice is heard: "Mavic Chen! Let me speak to the Doctor."

Back in the control room, Sara is running out of patience. Suddenly, they hear a strange voice from the speaker. It is Celation. "Through the treachery of Chen we have been imprisoned," he tells them. Sara asks who they are, and Celation tells her they are the Galactic Council. Where are you? asks Steven. In a detention cell, replies Celation. Yes, but where? "We do not know!" the delegate answers. Steven moves to exit the room, saying they have to find this council. Sara wonders if this could be a trap, but Steven says, "No, I don't think so. Look, if there were any Daleks around, they'd be here by now. They must have gone. Maybe the Doctor's with the Council! Come on!" They leave.

In the cell, Celation threatens Chen. "Mavic Chen, if this is a further trick, we shall destroy you before they could destroy us." Chen, growing increasingly frantic, denies that it is a trick. Why have these people returned then? asks Gearon. "If you'd only think!" says Chen. "Is there no sense in the outer galaxies? It is clear that they have lost their leader - the one they call the Doctor. The girl has bought the young man here to look for him, but really she has come back out of loyalty to me - to ensure my safety as the Guardian as the Solar System." It is unclear whether he is grasping at straws or if he actually believes this.

Steven and Sara run through the city, looking for the detention area.

In the cell, Chen continues to pontificate. But what about the Daleks, asks Celation. "Once we are out of here, we can destroy the Daleks, Chen replies. "Between us, we muster a greater force than they do. We can form our own galactic council." Suddenly, there is the sound of running feet. After a moment, Sara and Steven burst into the room. Chen demands Sara release him, but Steven says no. Where is the Doctor? he asks. Celation replies that if "the Doctor" is Steven's leader, then he is not there. Steven yells, "Where is he?" Chen responds, just as frantically, "I don't know!" He demands to be released, but Steven says, "So that you can rejoin the Daleks? Not likely." "Absurd!" responds Celation. "The Daleks have betrayed us!" Why should they rejoin the Daleks? "If we let them out, there's just a chance that some of them could mobilise a force to defeat the Daleks," says Sara. The delegates agree. After a moment, Steven agrees. "But the Daleks have already left Kembel," Steven tells them. "It's probable that their invasion plans are already going ahead and the universe can be taken by surprise, because of your greed!" "Must you moralize?" sighs Chen. "Your only chance is to go back to your own people and warn them," continues Steven, ignoring Chen. Celation says they must destroy the Daleks! The delegates agree, loudly...except for Chen. Malpha says, "We agree to go and defend our galaxies and to organise a search for the Dalek invasion force." Steven lets the delegates out of the cell. As he leaves, Chen turns to Sara and says, "You are a sensible woman, Kingdom. I will see that you are justly rewarded." She just stares at him with hatred.

In the jungle, Steven and Sara watch as the delegates' ships begin to leave. Chen's ship is the last to leave. It begins to take off...and suddenly explodes! "Now he won't be able to get back to Earth and warn them," Sara says. "Let's hope that the others can mobilise fast enough," Steven replies. "There must be something we can do." "Yes - find the Doctor," says Sara, and they begin to move off into the jungle.

They move through the jungle. Suddenly, Steven hears something moving. He and Sara move into the undergrowth. After a moment, they see...a Dalek! It moves off further into the jungle. "We must follow it!" says Steven. "Quickly!"

A short distance later, they watch from cover as the Dalek enters an artificial-looking cave cut into a mountain. "Underground" says Sara. "Why didn't we think of that before." "Sara, it's possible the invasion hasn't started yet," says Steven. "Maybe the rest of the force are down there." "Or part of them," agrees Sara. "Yes, but that Dalek must know that the representatives got away," says Steven. "They might even know that we're on Kembel," says Sara. "The representatives gone and the Doctor disappeared - we're going to have to put them out of action ourselves," says Steven. Can we? asks Sara. "We've got to. Earth will still be invaded," says Steven. Suddenly, a voice rings out from behind them. "Certainly," says Mavic Chen. "Thanks to you." They spin around to see Chen covering them with a blaster. "Chen!" she says, shocked. "But you're dead!" "Not yet, my innocent one, though I'm delighted my pyrotechnic display impressed you," he replies. "No, I am alive and soon shall be master of the universe! Perhaps, Kingdom, you'd like to lead the way. I'm certain the Daleks will be delighted to see you." With no other choice, Sara and Steven make their way into the Dalek tunnel, followed by Mavic Chen, still holding his blaster on them....!


Ketina's Transcripty Thing

H: Historian
K: Ketina
Sc: Schmallturm
S: Spoo
MS: MiniSpoo
P: Photobug
C: Cz

H: [singing] Pad, pad, pad the script...

Sc: Yeah, pretty much.

H: Those walking through the jungle scenes were just padding after padding. I know some of the episodes didn't run long enough, but jeez.

S: Who was the writer?

H: Spooner.

S: Who was the idea from?

H: Nation. I'm not quite sure where you are going with this...

S: “Bloody hell, Terry. Billy didn't leave for 20 minutes and you had to put a bloody jungle in there.”

P: I am now waiting for this story arc to be over with.

H: I think we all are.

P: And I think we're waiting for them to destroy the Daleks!

Sc: I would say that not even the presence of Mavic Chen and the "Model UN", my favorite parts of this story-arc, were enough to save this episode.

S: Huge props to the reconstruction guys. Best pictures I've seen for a recon yet. Fantastic ones for the dialogue and Chen's movement.

H: I loved the animated Dalek at the end moving into the still to give it an illusion of depth. That was pretty cool.

Sc: There was a thing in the beginning where the Doctor was leaving with the compass, and then Steven and Sara were locked out. I don't know what happened there.

H: From my understanding, there's no indication in the script of why William Hartnell left the story suddenly like that. It may have been due to an issue he had with the John Wiles, the producer. I know there was a crew mini-strike caused by Hartnell screaming at his dresser. I suppose it's possible that William Hartnell basically walked out. Apparently a bunch of Steven's lines were scripted for the Doctor.

S: The “Impulse Compass” bit amused me. When Sara asked Steven how it worked it was back to “Well, first I have to explain what a lock is...”

P: It seemed to me that the “if something happened to you” explanation that Sara gave Steven was something not good.

H: You mean like she was threatening him?

P: It didn't make sense as a motivation for her character, but it came across that way.

H: And yeah, Chen just lost it. He went from being smart to sort of megalomaniac to just plain crazy. It was like his earlier scene in the episode on Earth where he was not even thinking... he's like “The Dalek Supreme is behind me, so everyone against the wall.”

S: He couldn't wait to get to the good part.... Kind of like us, actually.

C: I was happy when he died. But then he didn't.

S: That pretty much sums up the episode.

C: hissss [doing an impression of Celation]

H: I think the guy's name is Celation. The hissy snakey guy.

P: From the house of Slitherin.

C: Voldemort with zits all over him.

S: Which is better than Muppet cardboard tube guy. [I think that's Gearon. --H] He was like “And I was here too!”

C: He had one line. “Destroy!”

H: I have to wonder what that guy looked like when he moved.

P: I'm sure he moved like an Egyptian.

H: Lame resolution to the cliffhanger. Well, we burned out of a piece of equipment, but we're where we needed to be in the first place.

Sc: It was just an introduction of lameness that continued through the whole episode.

H: Normally this is the point where I say “ah Schmallturm, come wasn't that bad...” but this time you're right.

S: When was this episode broadcast?

H: January 1966.

S: This was a precedent for exploding control panels as circuit breakers.

P: What about Flash Gordon?

H: There might have been other stuff that did exploding panels, but not quite like in this story, no.

S: Are we really reaching for things to talk about here?

H: I don't think there's really much to say, unless we make more Mavic Chen jokes.

S: The “Billy Fluff” wasn't a fluff.

C: Which line?

S: When he's asking for one of the parts, and for once it seems to be the right name.

H: I think it was a Billy Fluff and Steven rescued the line. It's something that William Russell did for Hartnell did a lot as well.

P: Yeah, Steven saved him.

S: And the Dalek Surpreme has the line “Mavic Chen's greed is still useful to us.”

H: I think it was greed and arrogance.

S: Dalek Supreme still makes me think of Mexican food. RUN FOR THE BORDER! [Spoo and I later decided that the Dalek Supreme has seven layers of hate--held together by sour cream and refried beans. I'm well aware that people outside of North America may not get the joke, but I'm including it anyway. --H]

P: My usual comment.. no music.

K: We had music.

H: Just a couple of stings.

K: Walking through the Dalek building for hours. There was tons of music.

H: I don't remember any. I must have tuned it out.

S: Philip Glass in a bathroom kind of thing.

H: So Philip Glass then.

P: I guess padding really is the word for this episode.

H: Not enough happened to fill a full 25 minutes.

S: There would have been more, but the Daleks didn't have shoes to pound on the council room table.

Sc: There's a bit where they're wandering through the jungle, and Steven says to watch out for the deadly plants [Vargas], but then they never show up.

H: I have possible out of story and in-story explanations for that. In-story: It could be if the Daleks have left they've taken the Varga plants with them.

S: What?

K: That's what I thought.

H: Yep, that the best explanation. They do use the Varga plants as watch dogs and would want them for later. But, out-of-story explanation is that they didn't have to pay the actors to be in the suits.

K: So why mention them at all?

H: Because they were on Kembel and some fan was going to ask. Someone would have pointed it out.

S: The loyal viewer.

P: Another explanation, they arrived at the planet too early.. in the right place but at the wrong time. But it didn't turn out to be the case.

C: That would have made the plot much more interesting that it is.

Sc: Yes, that would require good writing too.

S: I agree because for the first 5 minutes they were on the planet I expected a time-travel story and never got one.

C: Hissssss

S: The sound was really bad. Or the sound direction was bad. Five times it sounded like one of the actors was speaking into the corner of the set.

H: I think the sound track was probably taken from multiple sources and it was a reconstruction technique to splice them together.

S: I don't think so. I know quite a bit about sound mixing, and that sounded like actors speaking into corners or away from microphones.

K: I think so with at least with the UN council because of the costumes.

S: Yes.

K: Reuse of the set from “The Daleks”. Was that just a reconstruction thing?

H: I don't know. It would have been the best source to get Dalek building pictures.

S: It was clever, whoever thought of it.

K: Except for the really bad matte painting from “The Daleks” that was used again.

P: There was Chen's great line to the council...

H: Mavic Chen has apparently read George Orwell. All delegates are equal, but some are more equal than others.

C: You can't be more equal! Euhhh math! [Cz has, apparently, not read Orwell...]

MS: I'd like to add something. Using two words. AWE and SOME. Awesome.

H: So you really liked it?

MS: [two thumbs up] I liked it.

S: So, apparently to really like this episode is not to pay attention to it.

H: So, next week we have the allegedly exciting conclusion to this story, thank goodness.

S: I have a “meta” plea. Looking ahead in the project, when is the next story by Terry Nation?

H: Next Doctor Who he wrote was in 1973. Outside of the realm of the Project.

S: I love you, and everything that you stand for.

P: It was weird how the music swelled right then too.


And there we have this week's episode. Again, sorry for the posting delay--these summaries are really knocking me out! It's only left for me to make the standard Loose Cannon Productions plug (the recon is wonderful!). Come back next week for the *whew* conclusion of the Dalek epic! Will Steven and Sara be able to stop the Dalek invasion? What will happen to Chen? Where is the Doctor, anyway? Find out next week! Until then, I remain



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