As should happen, if the Doctor actually knows what’s going on, the travellers begin Season 2 by landing in London sometime in the mid-twentieth century. However, the TARDIS malfunctions again. The doors pop open and shrink everyone inside. This seems to be yet another bad design feature of the TARDIS. Is there a back-up lock? A deadbolt? A really strong magnet? One of those things where a bar is fit into two brackets like in castles in old movies? Nope. Just a fail-safe policy of shrinking the passengers.
Not knowing where they are, the travellers explore the new world. They seem unsure what has happened to them, despite the obvious clues: a giant Earthworm that looks a vaccuum hose, a huge box of matches. Eventually they figure it out, but by that time, Ian has been carried away because he was stupid enough to hide in the matchbox. Now, the true adventure begins as the tiny travellers have to make there way the long distance to the house.
The dark turn of the series that began in the last couple of stories in Season 1 continues here as we see more human-on-human violence. Some jerk of a special agent wants a scientist to lie on some report about a pesticide. In an environmentalist theme, the pesticide is so dangerous that it instantly kills all life that is of small stature (like our Heroes). The jerk kills the scientist. And then, to top it off, when another scientist shows up, he makes him help hide the body. Dark times, indeed!
To make a long story short, Barbara gets into the cottage with Ian and makes a bonehead move that isn’t too bad….but her reaction is ridiculous. She picks up a piece of wheat or whatever with the pesticide on it. Does she say anything so that someone with more intelligence than her could come up with something (like, find some water to wash her hands in, maybe?) she keeps it to herself and acts like a kid who ate the last cookie and is afraid of being found out. Suck it up, woman!
Susan and Doctor eventually arrive. The best part is when they set the cottage on fire to create a diversion. Their too small to be seen or heard and the people are outside. So they light a fire. Brilliant. Luckily, the police arrive and presumably give the evil-doer his comeuppance. By doing the landing procedure in reverse, the Doctor is able to return everyone to the full size and Barbara doesn’t die from the pesticide. That should have been washed off in the sink they used to escape. Incidentally, it was strange that the drain went into the yard. Wouldn’t all of thwater just go out into the yard? I don’t think my drain does that….
If it weren’t for Barbara’s brainless reaction to touching the pesticide, I would have really enjoyed this story. Instead I just enjoyed it at a normal level. Srhinking the cast was a clever twist that allowed them to add some nice touches such as Susan and the Doctor hiding in the drain overflow, the giant pesticide-riddled wheat, the dangerous journey. Best of all, the story was only 3 episodes long. There was no canyon jumping, there was no screaming, there was no filler. Wikipedia actually tells me there was an intended fourth episode featuring the telephone operator. I don’t know whose boring idea that was, but I’m glad they ditched it.
My professor on Monday night wore a Dalek t-shirt. I was jealous.
Dalek Invasion is next. I’m expecting great things.