Hello everyone, the Historian here, continuing my attempts to catch up to what the Project is actually watching. I'm only three episodes behind now, so I have hopes! I'm still going to be doing the truncated summaries, which are actually working well enough that I'm thinking of sticking with this format--which is closer to what we started with anyway. What do you, the readers at home, think?
So, on 17 June, 2011, I was joined by Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Photobug and Cz, when we watched the last episode in this story. So, without further ado, let's get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 26 March 1966. The Doctor and Dodo look at the wreckage of the shuttle. Dodo wonders what they should do now, the Doctor replies that they will have to wait until the next party lands. "But what if they don't come? What if they decide to find another planet?" asks Dodo in a panic. "Well, in that case we shall just have to stay here," says the Doctor...!
Back on the Ark, the Monoids wonder why contact with 2 was cut off. One of them, 4, quietly begins to question 1's leadership. Back on the planet, the Doctor and Dodo explain the situation aboard the Ark to the Refusian, but the Doctor tells him that the Guardians are not always better than the Monoids. But some of them wouldn't mind doing better, insists Dodo. In the security kitchen, Steven and his friends look through a window and see the Monoids rushing around in preparation to leave the Ark. Steven is forming a plan, but needs to gain the help of the collaborator, Maharis. Meanwhile, the Monoids are preparing the drawers that contain the entire miniature Monoid population for transport to Refusis. Steven and his friends manage to trick Maharis into helping them escape the security kitchen just as the Monoids leave in all the remaining shuttles. As they leave, 1 tells his crony 3 that the bomb in the statue will destroy the Ark in twelve hours. The humans, not knowing where it is, begin the search for the bomb. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Dodo have overhear 1 down on the planet revealing the location of the bomb. The Doctor enters one of the empty shuttles and sends a message to Steven on the Ark. The Doctor then sends the Refusian back to the Ark on the shuttle. The Doctor and Dodo are then captured and taken to 1 as the Refusian arrives back on the ship. 1 begins to interrogate the Doctor, to no avail. Just then, 4 comes in and declares that 1's leadership to be incompetent and the lines between the Monoid factions are drawn. Steven sends a few humans back to Refusis II to help the Doctor while he leads the others to "deal with the bomb." On the planet, a firefight begins between the two Monoid factions, killing many of them. The two humans avoid the fight and run to the castle to rescue the Doctor and Dodo. On the Ark, the Refusian effortlessly lifts the giant statue (the head of which contains the bomb) and takes it to the launching bay. It is ejected into space where it explodes. Later, on the Ark, the Doctor, his friends, some of the surviving Monoids, the Guardians and the Refusian wrap things up. The Doctor reminds each side that they'd used the others as servants or slaves, and the Refusian says that everyone must make a new life together. The Doctor, Steven and Dodo enter the TARDIS and depart.
A little later, the TARDIS is getting ready to land. Both Steven and Dodo have changed their clothes. The Doctor sneezes and fades away, although his voice can still be heard. When Steven calls to him, he fades back in and then out again. Dodo and Steven wonder if this sudden invisibility has something to do with the Refusians. "You're wrong!" says the Doctor. "This is something far more serious. We're in grave danger. This is some form of attack....!"
Cz: Welcome all! *fist raised in the air*
H: So, that certainly was the final episode of a story, wasn’t it?
H: Complete with a “deus ex Refusica”
P: Oh, I got it. Huh! *yet, he still has a confused look on his face*
R: I have to say, although the body suits for the Monoids make them look like they are walking around in full diapers, the face makeup is still really impressive. I found myself fixated that the eyes are looking around.
H: So, I have a question about the Monoids and their physiology. We see a Monoid putting down a clean food bone, yet they have no mouths whatsoever.
Sc: Just don’t ask.
Cz: Don’t go there.
P: Their eyes are bigger than their stomach.
Cz: Told you not to go there.
H: So, a lot of stuff did happen in this episode. It just wasn’t all the gripping.
R: What do you mean? Pods took off, landed. The statue floated. Kinda.
P: The statue kind of… fell… out the airlock.
R: I know what we’re thinking, and there was a lot in this episode that was kind of pitiful. But there was also a lot that was actually impressive.
H: Care to elaborate?
R: First of all, the near shot of the pod taking off with the small Monoid in the background. That was really good forced perspective. It took me a second to realize how they were doing it. The running gun battle between the monoid sides... not all of it was great, but it was still impressive given that it was on a small sound stage.
Sc: It was more of a waddling gun battle.
H: A bit that was really great was at the end, when the Doctor and the humans walked up, and the Monoid (#4) saw the carnage and was disgusted, and just threw down his gun.
P: There was some good use of creative videography. There were a lot more off the floor angles, no just shots at eye level angles.
R: The plotting and the dialog were pretty feeble. “I’m the evil guy! Anybody think I’m going to make it to the end of the fourth act?”
P: I didn’t see that. I thought the Monoids were going to get forced back on the ship and the bomb was going to take them out.
Sc: I don’t think it was bad in terms of the writing. I felt that the ending didn’t have much suspense.
P: There’s a point that was missed in the story as it closed, there are still 100,000 Monoids in little trays.
H: There are still millions of humans in little trays too.
P: So, the dejected look because they killed everyone wasn’t accurate.
H: He could just be disgusted by the battle.
P: But the implication was that the Monoids were wiped out, which isn’t exactly what happened. Where were the cans of Monoids that when down with the first shuttle?
R: I assume they are still on board one of the drop pods.
K: Or they were brought into the castle.
R: If this had been modern Doctor Who, the Monoids and the humans would have had to unite against the invisible energy beings who wanted to enslave them all.
Sc: That would have been a more interesting plot.
H: The Refusian felt like the magic that will get them out of their situation.
R: “My name is MacGuffin.”
H: There was a small error that crept into the script. The security kitchen lady said that they left earth 700 years before. They actually left earth hundreds of hundreds of years before. It was just 700 years since the Doctor’s last visit.
Cz: They lost all their histories. They don’t remember.
H: They remember the Doctor’s visit as a legend.
P: And they have a visual record of it.
Sc: Did they explain how these kitchen slave humans were able to fly the landers?
R: “It’s simple to do. Even a doddering old man like me can do it. He he he.”
P: I’m seriously concerned about what the planet will become. If there’s any inkling of strife between the humans and the Refusians, we’re talking about a very serious religion here at that point.
H: As in worshiping the Refusians?
P: As in, “do what I say or I kill you.” Any character flaw of the Refusians will result in a fairly strong religion.
K: Or fascist dictatorship.
H: Another issue is, of course, the humans are bringing a full ecosystem with them. But that’s not something that Doctor Who in 1966 would even consider.
R: Yeah, there’s this crappy alien ecosystem. We made it better.
P: By 3-M.
R: Come to that, I was kind of surprised the Refusians didn’t look at those things and were like “Ah, heat guns. How quaint!” Snap snap, look sticks!
H: That would have been a Star Trek episode.
R: They could tear a drop ship apart with their bare hands and lift giant statues. They could have destroyed the guns or just taken them away.
H: A bog standard, soon to come, Star Trek episode.
K: Doctor Who, not Star Trek!
H: Exactly! So, I have to be honest, I don’t have much more to say. Final thoughts?
Cz: I’m glad to see the ending. Because usually I don’t care how it ends, but this one was cool. Boring, but cool.
K: How could it be boring and cool?
Cz: It was boring, but it was cool to see the end of something. It had a plot that I followed correctly instead of wrongly.
Sc: Before you can live on Refusus, you must do one thing: Put on some pants! Please!
P: The story of the ship, at least, should have been explored. They left the ship and what’s next with that?
K: It just hangs around in orbit?
R: Eventually it gets turned into a hotel, and then a museum, then a low budget theater, and then eventually torn down for new condos.
R: “No, this is something more sinister. It’s an attack.” Just like that shirt that Steven is wearing at the end.
H: That’s next week’s story.
R: Oh, I’ll have more to say about that, I’m sure.
P: Dodo’s hat is no better either.
K: It’s better than the outfit that she had on before.
Sc: Dodo improved. Steven going downhill, definitely.
K: I think the shadow thing we saw last week wasn’t supposed to be the Refusian guy. I saw it again this week way over to the side when he was supposed to be in the chair. I think it was just part of the set. Oh, and the planet… looking forward to the new human ecosystem to get rid of all that cottonwood fluff!
P: Again, no music.
R: There were music effects “wroom wroom wroom.”
H: So, this story is really two stories smooshed into one. I felt like, because it’s two episodes followed by two episodes, there wasn’t much story to fit in either part. I felt like the first half the characters were more developed. I remember the names of the humans in the first half, and I don’t remember any of the kitchen slaves.
Cz: There was 17, 77, 64…
H: Yes, yes, yes. But my point still stands. And like Ketina, I am very much looking forward to the next story.
Whew! I have finally made it to the end of this story! The wrapup post will probably be one of my shorter ones, and I will continue to try to catch up as quickly as possible. (A warning: the summaries for the next story might be considerably shorter, so you might want to check out the episode transcripts!) Until then, I remain
NEXT TIME: "THE CELESTIAL TOYROOM"