Story 007: The Sensorites

Two Sensorites and the Doctor

Two Sensorites and the Doctor

I have a confession: The Sensorites is my favorite story so far. It starts off kind of dark with the finding of some dead space people (they aren’t really dead), it has conspiracy (which I love), it has a strangely endearing race of creatures (the sensorites), and Susan doesn’t scream. In short, it has everything one could ask for.

For some reason the TARDIS enjoys setting the travelers down inside places. Like a tomb. And now a spaceship. What if the ship wasn’t there, would they have materialized in space? That’s not very promising or reassuring. But there in the spaceship are (gasp!) two dead humans. Don’t fret, they aren’t actually dead, just put to sleep by the presumably evil Sensorites. And at the end of the first episode an incredibly creepy-looking sensorite shows his face outside the space ship’s windshield. Incidentally, why, exactly, does a spaceship have a windshield? Is it so the pilots can see where they’re going? Are there really that many things in space one might collide with that radar or something couldn’t tell them about?

That sensorite, oddly enough, I don’t think looked like any of the others. By the intro to the next episode, he did, but i swear at the end of episode he is a different breed of sensorite. One that is a lot creepier. He looked like a deranged old man.

The Sensorite with their Sensing Disc

The Sensorites with their Sensing Disc

the sensorites are bald, except for some old man tufts, and they are afraid of loud noises and darkness. In that sense they’re a lot like my dog. Also, they are not capable of telling one another apart, except by the sash they where. I’m not sure what their issue was, I could tell them apart easily by which ones had beer bellies. HA!

Anyway, they can’t figure out why they’re dying, although after attention was paid to the water and Ian got sick, I knew what was up in about 2 seconds. The sensorites, in addition to being incredibly timid are also apparently not very smart. Despite their lack of intelligence, the sensorites can communicate by sending thoughts to one other, using some special sensing disc. We also learn that Susan is able to communicate telepathically, and does so with Barbara at some point.

I’m not sure the role telepathy will play as we learn more about the Doctor and Susan’s home, but she seemed to make the connection. And the Doctor didn’t seem surprised that she had the ability.

In the meantime, a suspicious chief of police attempts to thwart the elders’ plans to allow the doctor to help by purifying the water. He is suspicious of all humans because some had come before and tried to rob the planet of its resources. This was an interesting environmental message that may have missed the mark at the time. I’m not sure how environmental causes were doing in the early to mid sixties. Either way the chief of police, after realizing that the sensorites all look the same, kills the second elder, pretends to be the second elder and executes his plan. (Un)fortunately, he fails, as his story doesn’t match up and the humans realize he’s not the second elder. Once again, the brains are on the short side. They all have different body types and voices.

It turns out the water was being poisoned by some left over humans, although it was never made clear why they were trying to kill the sensorites, other than the craziness of their leader. And they were living in the sewers and therefore were never found because the sensorites are too afraid of the dark and the loud noise of the human’s shouts. But, no fear, the humans are caught, the water is cleaned, and the not-dead passengers on the space ship are allowed to leave.

While Susan is a bit lame when she’s hearing all of the sensorite thoughts at once, she pretty much abstains from screaming, which is nice. Also, it was a good return to her strangeness from the first story.

I enjoyed this one.

Some questions: Is telepathy typical of those from the Doctor’s planet? Do these abilities begin to play a more prominent role?


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About These Adventures

This blog exists to document my trip through over 30 seasons of the British science fiction television show Dr. Who. Prior to beginning, I had never seen a single episode of Dr. Who and will be learning the show's mythology and experiencing it all for the first time. I began sometime in July of 2009. Hopefully it doesn't take me over 30 years to reach the end.

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