Posts Tagged ‘The Doctor’s Home

15
Jan
10

Story 017: The Time Meddler

Now this is more like it. A historical/educational story meets a science fiction story with great intrigue. The Time Meddler was a great story to end the season with. And at 4 episodes, it was just the right length. It gave us a proper introduction to Steven, some more “goodbye” to Ian and Barbara, we met someone else from the Doctor’s planet, and featured what I felt were good performances all the way around, especially from Vicki, with maybe the exception of the bumbling Vikings. Jules was right in his comments, this one was good.

A space helmet for a cow?

The TARDIS lands in Northumbria in 1066 days before the Viking invasion. Steven, refusing to admit that he has indeed been travelling through time and relative dimensions in space, seems like a great companion and complement to both the Doctor and Vicki. I like him much more than I ever liked Ian, although I suppose one story isn’t quite long enough to form a firm opinion of him. He is skeptical, but nonethless adventurous. He is very anxious to explore the modern-ish items that they find in the monastery. So much so that Vicki has to hold him back. He seems smart but not annoying, enthusiastic but not ridiculous, and skeptical and grumpy enough to keep the Doctor from getting out of control. He also seems to have beeter chemistry with Vicki. I wonder if that’s why we saw so much of Vicki and the Doctor together separate from Ian and Barbara….maybe she just didn’t mesh with them very well.

At any rate, the Doctor notes sadly at the beginning that he misses Ian and Barbara, even noting his loss of Susan. Vicki comforts him. It’s the kind of scene we should have had at the end of The Chase.

The Monk

We meet a monk who is looking suspiciously at the TARDIS, and we soon learn that he is the only monk living at a recently re-opened monastery near by. He’s the only one living there because he’s…..wait for it…..not actually a monk! He has things like phonographs and other more modern conveniences, which is all very intriguing. It turns out that he is also from the Doctor’s planet and he travels around (he can control his TARDIS) changing the past. His goal for this trip was to destroy the Viking fleet so that William the Conqueror could better be held at bay by Harold’s army. I suppose his intentions were noble enough, but as the Doctor told Barbara repeatedly, meddling with time can be disastrous. Even Vicki and Steven, both Earthlings, discuss the implications of changing time. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love time paradoxes and to see a potential paradox discussed in practical terms was good.

Of course, there are some instances of being taken prisoner and some escapes and a couple of battles. They were pretty typical Dr. Who fare. Although it was pretty funny that the Vikings were knocked out for seemingly hours after a blow from what looked like a piece of paneling. And the idea that the Doctor could convince the monk that his stick was a Winchester rifle was also a bit absurd. All that aside, however, getting inside the monk’s TARDIS was great. It was pretty much the same as the regular TARDIS, of course, lthough the Doctor marveled at the monk’s “Mark 4” model. HA! Multiple TARDIS models…..but going along with that is the implication that there are multiple travelers from the Doctor’s planet out there. All traveling around, apparently abiding by some rules, although the monk has chosen to disobey. The Doctor notes that monk’s time is about 50 years later than his own.

Vicki in the Monk's TARDIS

Some Questions: Why are they traveling? How many are out there? Was the planet destroyed so they left? Like Superman? Or when they travel is it like going on vacation? Except for the Doctor, whose TARDIS is broken? Is TARDISing like RVing?

In the end, the Doctor steals some device from the monk’s ship, stranding him in 1066 Northumbria. The device makes the TARDIS small on the inside, presumably the same size inside as outside. This is a brilliant move, although I’m not sure why the Doctor didn’t also steal the device he needs to be able to control the TARDIS or to camouflage his ship. Those would have been smart to steal. Now he’s going to have to continue with the broken TARDIS although, I suppose that’s all part of the adventure.

Tiny TARDIS

The story and season ended with sillhouettes of the three characters over an image of space. It didn’t have the thoughtful voice over of season 1, but the concluding story itself was far more satisfying than Reign of Terror, so the monologue wasn’t necessary. I think they ended with the best story of the season.

15
Sep
09

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?




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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