Doctor Who: Five Hundred Eyes

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

They get to the Oasis and find Tegana but Barbara doesn’t believe his story and it gets her into trouble. While Marco Polo has enough of the Doctor and attacks him. They save him by explaining condensation.

Recap:

The water’s run out and Marco’s wondering where Tegana is because he sent him to the oasis to get water. He thinks Tegana’s got lost and they’ve managed to move the caravan forward a bit but this is probably it for them if they don’t get water soon.
Ian says it’ll be hot again soon and they should get started but Marco says they should stay where they are. Barbara notes that the Doctor and Susan are still in the TARDIS but Ian says to let them sleep.
The Doctor wakes up and realises condensation has gathered inside on the walls of the TARDIS. So he gets Susan to collect water from the walls.
The Doctor takes the water to Marco but he’s angry because he thinks the Doctor has been keeping water from them. I think he attacks the Doctor because a lot of shouting happens. Ian gets him to stop and they then explain condensation to him. He makes the Doctor drink the water first in case it’s poisoned.
They manage to reach the oasis because of the TARDIS water and they find Tegana. He says he had to wait for some bandits to leave and he heard they were going to the north.
Marco wants to leave the oasis because it’ll be dangerous to stay. Barbara walks off still suspicious of Tegana and Tegana tries to convince Marco he shouldn’t trust them because of their story with the water.
The doctor thinks he’ll have the TARDIS fixed soon but Marco’s making them move on and he doesn’t like all the rushing about.
Barbara doesn’t believe Tegana’s story of the bandits because it was so cold last night and it’s unlikely they’d want to be out in it. I think bandits would brave the cold for whatever they’ve got planned.
Ian decides to ask Tegana because he thinks he’s going to be truthful about betraying them apparently. He asks how many bandits there were and why didn’t they light a fire. Tegana doesn’t really answer.
Marco tells the Doctor when they leave the oasis the TARDIS will be locked and the key handed over to him. The Doctor tells him he doesn’t realise he’s talking to a man of superior intellect. Well if you’re so smart why haven’t you outsmarted him yet.
Then it’s back to Marco’s voice over telling us about the journey. They’re going to a temple.
They arrive at Tun-Huang and talk about the cave of five hundred eyes where a load of evil men lived. Susan wants to know more and Ping promises to tell her later.
The doctor hopes to get on with some work now that they’ve stopped. Ian points out he doesn’t have a key but the Doctor says he’s made another.
Barbara wants to talk to Ian about Tegana but he blows her off so he can listen to Ping’s story about Aladdin. She goes on for a while and it’s not very interesting. I’d prefer they get on with the plot instead of dragging it out like this.
Then Ian decides that what this episode needs is a vocabulary lesson and a bit of a history lesson because it wasn’t going slow enough as it was. Then the cave of five hundred eyes is mentioned again and I’m beginning to think we’re never going to get to this cave.
But then Tegana goes to the caves to visit a man called Malik to get news about their plan. He is taken to another man who tells him he failed at Lop to meet their man but the other part of the plan is going well. They’ve gathered an army and it’s marching to another city. He tells them about the TARDIS and they plan to capture it and kill every one. Malik has noticed a woman in the outer cave.
The woman is Barbara who has followed Tegana so of course she gets kidnapped.
Back at the caravan and Marco is angry that Barbara is gone and that she‘s allowed to wander alone. I’d call him sexist but she does get kidnapped every time she goes off on her own. He tells the Doctor to stay where he is and no one else is to move while he goes to look for her. I get the impression he’s regretting keeping them. All they’ve done is cause him trouble.
Back in the cave of five hundred eyes the men holding Barbara are gambling and laughing menacingly. Not sure why they needed to show us that. It’s not like we’ve forgotten Barbara has been captured.
Susan and Ping think they might know where Barbara is because she was very interested in the cave of five hundred eyes and try to convince the Doctor that’s where she’d go. They think she’d go by herself because Marco and Ian would probably try to stop her.
The doctor catches Chenchu listening to them so he asks the man where the cave is. Susan insists on going with him but he’s determined to go alone because he’d get so far by himself. He’d get distracted by something shiny and forget about Barbara or decide he doesn’t to rescue her after all. But he relents quite quickly and lets Susan and Ping come with him. Chenchu tells them they can’t go at night because they won’t come back alive but the Doctor ignores him.
At the cave and Susan is frightened of the eyes. The Doctor looks at the carvings and says it’s quartz. Susan reminds him he’s meant to be looking for Barbara and not admiring the carvings.
The man the Doctor questioned has gone off to Tegana and tells him he told the doctor where to go.
The Doctor’s had enough of looking because he says he’s got enough work to do in the TARDIS. They find something of Barbara’s and all begin shouting for her. Susan then finds a statue and starts screaming because we didn’t have enough screaming this episode when Barbara got captured. It’s a bit of a weak cliffhanger compared to Tegana pouring away the water last episode.

Thoughts:

This episode was way too slow with not a lot to keep me interested. Ping’s story dragged and there were lots of moments where nobody said anything but I’m sure they were doing something so it would have been better as the original video. This episode really felt like a history lesson. I know it’s meant to be educational but it’s so forced. The only bit they managed to make entertaining was when Marco attacked the Doctor for keeping water to himself and the only way to save him was to explain condensation.
The singing sands managed to hold up without the Doctor but this episode wouldn’t have. He’s the most entertaining part and he doesn’t get to be mean enough. I like that he gets distracted and has to be reminded of what they’re doing.
I continue to dislike Ian but he didn’t have enough to do this episode to be really annoying so that’s a plus. Barbara gets captured again but at least it’s because she’s active in the story (following Tegana to the cave and doing her own investigating) instead of just because she’s a woman.
I like Susan and Ping’s friendship. Susan’s a bit of a trouble maker and tries to scare Ping but she’s gotten wise to it by now.
I have a feeling this is going to really be dragged out and they’re going to tour all the educational places in the desert they can think of. It might not be so bad but half the time the audio is bad and I’m not sure what they’re saying.
This cliffhanger seems to be the weakest so far. Barbara has been captured but the immediate threat is Susan screaming and that’s the moment you’re left with. It’s not making me want to watch the next episode.
Previous Doctor Who: Singing Sands                                            Next Doctor Who: The Wall of Lies

Doctor Who: The Singing Sands

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

The caravan travels through the desert but a sandstorm stops Tegana from escaping and soon the water supplies run low.

Thoughts:

It’s been three days since Marco polo has taken charge of the TARDIS. He’s enduring the Doctor who’s doing his best to be difficult and rude but we don’t get to see any of that just hear about it in Marco’s voice over.
They’re crossing the Gobi desert and Ian asks Marco about the water. Marco says they have enough but lots of people die crossing the Gobi desert because of lack of water.
Ian and Marco then play chess and in the past they’d use a word instead of checkmate that means the king is dead.
Elsewhere Barbara reassures Susan that they’ll get the TARDIS back. Susan wants to be among the stars and worries that the Doctor’s sulking but Barbara says he’s feeling defenseless because someone he considers a primitive has taken his advanced tech.
They talk about the Doctor knowing everything and Barbara mentions that then he’d be able to take them home. Susan doesn’t want to say goodbye to them and hopes it won’t be soon.
In her tent with Ping Susan comments on how it’s peaceful in the desert and she’s never seen the moon rise. So Ping promises to call her when it does.
Back in the other tent Barbara says the desert is very beautiful but Marco tell her not to be fooled because it’s still very dangerous.
Ping wakes Susan up and they go outside to look at the sky. They see Tegana and Susan wants to follow him for some reason. I guess the plot is calling her.
At the stables Marco comments on the horses being restless because they can sense there’s a sandstorm on the way. There’s the reason for Susan following Tegana so they can all get stuck in the storm.
Somewhere out in the desert Susan’s had enough of following Tegana and wants to go back but Ping doesn’t and asks Susan who’s afraid now. That’s the reasoning Susan used to get Ping to go follow Tegana with her.
It gets hot and they decide to go back but not before they get caught in the sandstorm. They argue about if they should stay where they are or try to get back to the caravan.
Barbara wakes up and Ian tells her what’s happening with the sandstorm. It’s very loud and it kind of sounds like laughing. Apparently people hear voices in the storm and that’s why it’s called the singing sands.
They notice Tegana’s gone but decide they can’t help him. Then they discover the girls are gone and Barbara wants to go outside to look for them but Ian and Marco stop her.
I think they sound an alarm or something so the girls can hear them but it’s really poor audio and I’m struggling to hear anything.
The storm stops and Marco says they won’t leave until they find the girls. Then the girls turn up with Tegana and they say they went for a walk. Marco’s angry they didn’t ask first.
Tegana found them and he says he was also on a walk but he told the guards he was going. Marco gets annoyed and says that the guards are to inform him if anyone else tries to leave the camp. So there goes Tegana’s plans for escaping before the poisoned water is found.
The doctor is still asleep and has managed to sleep through everything happening.
The next day and Marco’s worried because they had to stop for the day due to the storm and so they’ve wasted one days worth of water which could be fatal in the desert.
Back to Marco’s voice over and progress is going well.
Susan doesn’t believe that Tegana went for a walk but Ping thinks he’s telling the truth. I guess she’s more trusting.
In another tent Tegana asks about Marco’s journal and he says he writes it because it interests him.
They find out the water is poisoned and Marco blames the water on bandits. He’s never had it happen to him but other caravans have. They get weak from lack of water and the bandits attack.
They look at their options and Marco decides they’re going to an oasis that’s not nearby but it’s closer than the end of the desert. He’s worried that if they go back to Lop the bandits that he thinks poisoned the water will attack.
Tegana refuses to go with them. He’s going to return to Lop but Marco says he’s coming with them because he’s responsible for Tegana.
Later in his voice over Marco has started to doubt his decision. They’ve been making less and less progress each day because of lack of water.
The caravan has stopped because the heat of the day is too much with no water. Marco says now that the worst of the sun is over they’re going to start traveling again soon.
The doctor complains about lack of water and this is the first we’ve seen him this episode. They now have no more until they reach the oasis.
Tegana says he will go to the oasis and bring back water. He tells them to wait for him where they are but Marco says they will continue to push on towards the oasis.
The doctor collapses in the heat and Barbara asks if they can put him in the TARDIS so he’ll be more comfortable. Marco says yes and Susan can go with the Doctor but Ian and Barbara will stay with him. They have no water left and they’re counting on Tegana.
Meanwhile Tegana is at the oasis with water and taunting Marco about his lack of water by pouring the water he has away.
This episode actually managed to keep up the momentum of the last episode and not drag things out with endless talking. I didn’t expect them to get to the problem of the poisoned water so quickly.
The Doctor is noticeably absent and I’m assuming that’s more to do with William Hartnell needing rest or something than a choice by the writers. He only turns up at the end and quickly faints. I like the idea of him taking every opportunity to insult Marco Polo though and slow him down. I just wish I got to see it.
I’m not clear on why Susan wanted to follow Tegana (there were parts I couldn’t hear very well) but it just seems like a way to get her stranded out in the storm.
I like the ending of Tegana being their only hope and he’s pouring their water away. It’s another very good cliffhanger.

Previous Doctor Who: The Roof of the World                                    Next Doctor Who: Five Hundred Eyes

Doctor Who: The Roof of the World

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

The giant footprint turns out to be a giant let down because it was made by a normal guy but we get excitement in the form of the TARDIS breaking down and they get saved by Marco Polo who has a secret agenda.

Thoughts:

The next few episodes are all lost episodes so I only have sound to go on.
They’re still in the Himalayas and looking at the giant footprint. Ian thinks the footprint might be perfectly ordinary and not giant. So there ends the mystery of the giant footprint.
The doctor’s feeling grumpy and says he can’t look at it without his glasses. They’re several thousand feet above sea level and he doesn’t like this place. So he goes back inside.
Ian and Barbara speculate on if they are really on Earth or not and where they could be. It turns out they’re in the Himalayas.
The doctor comes out of the TARDIS which has broken not surprising considering last episode. The lights have all gone out and so has the heating.
Ian decides to go find fuel. I’m not sure what he thinks the TARDIS runs on. I guess he wants wood to build a fire or something but he makes it sound like it’s fuel for the TARDIS and I like picturing him trying to use wood to fuel it. Barbara goes with him so she cna get into trouble and he has some one to save.
Susan stays to help the doctor and he’s in a really bad mood.
They don’t get far before Barbara’s out of breath so has a little sit down while Ian carries on. This is so she can be put in danger. She sees an animal and Ian comes running. He’s skeptical but she points out all the footprints.
The Doctor has found the faulty piece of the TARDIS and says it’ll take a long time to fix. They’ve got to get down to a lower altitude so they don’t freeze. But surely it’s got to be a bit warmer in the TARDIS and it is shelter from wind and snow and everything else.
Barbara says there are strange animals on the mountain. The doctor gets impatient and asks what she saw. Ian says the footprints looked like from a fur boot.
Susan spots a man dressed in fur watching them. He runs and they try to follow to see if he’ll help them or lead them to shelter.
They find him and Ian says they’re travelers who are lost and asks if they can give them shelter.
One man decides they are evil spirits that have take human form and they should be destroyed. Ian tries to reason with them.
Another man, who turns out to be Marco Polo, says he won’t let anyone hurt them on the authority of the Kublai Khan. He tells them to come down the mountain to his caravan and reveals the Doctor has mountain sickness.
They get to the tents and Ping Cho serves them tea. Barbara gives some exposition. Marco Polo is European and the Kublai Khan is a Mongol leader.
Marco introduces them to the warlord Tegana who you can already tell will be the villain for this serial.
The doctor thanks Marco for saving their lives and asks when and where they are.
Marco wants to know how long they’ve been traveling if they don’t know that. The year is 1289 and they are on the roof of the world (Himalayas).
Later in Ping’s tent she asks Susan where she’s from but Susan doesn’t know how to describe it. Use describing words like shapes and colours. She’s not that stupid I’m sure she’ll get an idea. Susan probably can’t describe it because the writers haven’t come up with it yet. So she asks about Ping.
Ping’s going to Shang-tu to get married to an important 75 year old man. Ping’s sixteen which is the same age as Susan so she’s horrified.
In another tent Tegana tells Marco he should have killed the travelers because they’re different. They have a carriage that has no wheels and is not large enough to carry four people but he saw them exit it.
Marco Polo takes them back up the mountain to visit the TARDIS. Marco asks about how the TARDIS moves and Ian says it flies through the air.
Tegana takes this as a sign of their evilness but Marco says he’s seen Buddhists make things fly through the air and asks if they are Buddhists. He wants to see inside but only the Doctor has a key and Marco Didn’t let him come. Ian also says only the Doctor can fly it.
Marco makes a plan to use sleds to get it down the mountain.
Ping is making the Doctor food when they all come back. She explains that Tegana is an emissary for an Enemy of the Kublai Khan. They have decided to make peace.
The Doctor’s happy Marco is bringing the TARDIS down the mountain because then he can get to work fixing it as soon as possible. He doesn’t want to hold them up.
Marco says he can’t let them inside because it would upset the Mongols who still believe them to be evil spirits. And that the Doctor is a sorcerer who is harmless outside of the TARDIS.
The doctor has a reasonable moment and agrees that none of them will enter the TARDIS until Lop where the caravan will be stopping for a few days. They are in an area where they need to travel fast because it’s not safe.
Later Marco narrates over a map of their journey. He says his plan has worked and he wants to see their reaction to something he’s going to do.
They’re in Lop and filling up on supplies to travel across the Gobi dessert. Marco has a seal that gets him anything he wants from places that the Kublai Khan controls.
Ian comes in to tell the Doctor that the TARDIS is set up in the courtyard so the Doctor gets up to go do work but the guards stop him. The doctor’s not happy. Barbara says they should hear Marco out.
Marco starts talking about his life. He was young when he arrived at the Khan’s court. He’s traveled a lot but the Khan’s refused to let him go home. So he’s going to offer the TARDIS in exchange for his freedom.
This sets the doctor off. Marco says he’ll take care of them and get them back to Venice where the Doctor can build another TARDIS.
Ian tries to explain that Venice doesn’t have what they need. Marco then says they’ll see their home again it might just take a bit longer. They can go by sea instead of flying. But Marco wants to see his home again and that trumps anything else.
The Doctor says it’s not his problem and Marco says he’s making it his problem. In amongst all this Barbara says she can guarantee Marco he’ll see his home again so I’m assuming it’s historical record he does. I don’t know much about Marco Polo.
Ian says they won’t be able to use the TARDIS without the Doctor but Marco says the Buddhists will be able to figure it out. He has a lot of faith in the Buddhists. They must ahve really impressed him.
The Doctor starts laughing and keeps muttering ‘go by sea’. Susan asks what he’s going to do but the Doctor has no idea. I really like this scene because the Doctor is so up and down.
Somewhere outside Tegana has just brought poison and plans to put it in Marco’s water stores. The caravan will set out across the Gobi dessert and when they are all dead he’ll steal the thing of magic and it’ll take down the Kublai Khan.
This is quite a good starting episode. It sets up all the characters and the conflicts nicely. There’s enough here for a good few episodes but I have a feeling it’s all going to get stretched out until it becomes tedious like with the Daleks. I’m skeptical that they can keep it interesting for as many episodes as they have dedicated to it.
I like Marco Polo and that he doesn’t care that he’s screwing over other people. He’s presented as a nice guy and he saves them but then betrays them.
They’ve brought Barbara down to new levels of stupid. She thinks she’s seeing an animal standing on two feet when it’s just a man dressed in furs. She’s redeemed a bit by knowing about Marco Polo’s history but it’s not enough.
The Doctor was almost too annoying to be entertaining. He spends most of the episode being grumpy for no reason ( I guess he just doesn’t like mountains) and then all of a sudden being happy. It’s tough to keep up with his mood shifts.
I hope the momentum of this episode keeps up and everyone gets poisoned soon.
Previous Doctor Who: The Brink of Disaster                                           Next Doctor Who: The Singing Sands

Doctor Who: The Brink of Disaster

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

Everyone does what they did last episode which is wander around confused and nothing makes any sense.

Thoughts:

It turns out it’s Ian strangling the Doctor and it doesn’t last long because he makes a strange noise and faints. Barbara comes in and the Doctor accuses them of trying to take over the ship and he thinks Ian’s play acting and he hasn’t really fainted. I know the acting is bad but he shouldn’t point it out.

Susan sides with the Doctor but that doesn’t last long because Barbara points why it can’t be them and she’s not so sure anymore. This feels like a repeat of the last episode.

Ian wakes up enough to shout ‘don’t touch it’ before fainting again. He’s referring to the console.

The Doctor decides he’s had enough and he’s putting them off the ship. But Barbara points out he can’t open the doors which is quite important when your plan is to throw them out.

The doctor’s not letting this stop him though. He tells them to get out even though Ian can’t get up let alone walk.

The fault locater goes off and apparently everything is faulty which the doctor says is impossible.

Then Ian tries to strangle Barbara and the Doctor just stands there and watches. Ian stops for some reason and the Doctor announces the ship is on the point of disintegration. A strong force is at work so it can’t be them and now he trusts them again.

Then Barbara says they’ve had time taken from them but now it’s been given back because time is running out. I don’t even know how that’s relevant to anything and when did they have time taken away. When has anyone mentioned time?

Then there’s a lot more talk about the power source of the TARDIS and I’m sure at this point none of it means anything. They say the power wants to escape.

The doctor gets a bit melodramatic ‘can it be possible this is the end’ and they only have 10 minutes left. At least someone knows what’s going on. I feel like I’ve missed a scene.

They realise you can touch the console as long as you touch the side where the scanner switch is.

Barbara thinks every thing’s a clue but the doctor says his machine can’t think. But it does have a defense mechanism so maybe it can think as a machine. He says there are lots of computers that make up the TARDIS.

He wants to know what would make the power want to escape. Maybe a very strong magnetic force. Up until this point they’ve been trying to keep the science on track but this is getting the basics really wrong. Magnets work on metal not insubstantial power. Unless they are using the word magnetic to mean attraction. Which is unnecessarily confusing things.

The doctor tells Barbara and Susan to stand by the doors and tell them what they see when the doors open. He then confides in Ian there’s no hope and they’ve only got five minutes left.

Outside there’s nothing but space.

They then deduce that the scanner shows a good picture when it’s safe to go out and a bad picture when it’s not safe.

The doctor makes a massive leap (I would say of logic but I don’t think logic has come anywhere near this episode) and decides that it would take the force of an entire solar system to attract the power of the TARDIS so they’re at the beginning of a new solar system. He then stands in front of the camera and monologues about energy and atoms and what happens at the beginning.

Ian wants to know where the Doctor asked the TARDIS to take them after Skaro. He used the fast return switch. They find it on the console and discover it’s been stuck this whole time. They take off the cover and find the spring is stuck. The doctor then gives an unneeded explanation of how it’s bad but doesn’t explain any of the other events.

Susan points out how awful he’s been to Ian and Barbara. He tells Barbara she was right and they owe her their lives but she walks off.

He tells Ian he underestimated her and thinks they should all start over again.

The doctor finds Barbara and tells her they’ve landed somewhere very cold. She points out he said some awful things. Why didn’t they have this conversation in the previous scene?

The Doctor doesn’t apologise just acknowledges what he did must have affected her very much but she wanted to prove him wrong and that’s what saved them. I think he’s trying to say what he did turned out for the best.

They get to the control room and Susan’s outside playing in the snow. They go outside and find a footprint that Susan thinks must belong to a giant.

This was a terrible episode. Nothing was explained. They say the fainting was about electric shocks but what caused Susan to stab the furniture or people to try and strangle each other.

A lot of what happened last episode got repeated and everything else felt like it was being stretched for time. Maybe they should have let it be one episode. Especially if the problem is stuck button. That was very anti climatic and if anything else had made sense and it didn’t feel like they were wasting my time I might have found it funny. As it is I don’t know what they were trying to do with this episode. I have a feeling the entire thing was a set up for the Doctor to talk to the camera about solar systems.

Previous Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction                                        Next Doctor Who: The Roof of the World

Doctor Who: The Rescue

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

The trip through the caves proves to be pointless and the Thalls remember how to fight.

Thoughts:

Ian is somehow still hanging on to the Thall dangling from the rope. He calls for help but the Thall refuses to be helpful and cuts the rope falling to his death. The acting is really bad as they pretend Ian is struggling to hold on.

Then we’re back to the Doctor and Susan who have been cuffed to a wall. The Doctor’s trying to reason with the Daleks or shame them. He wants to know why they have to destroy and why can’t they use their brains. Well they are using their brains. I think it takes a lot of intelligence to radiate a planet.

Back in the caves and they’ve reached a dead end. The Thalls want to give up but Ian thinks they should go back and find another way forward. They’re running out of light so they turn the torches off to preserve them for when they’re moving. There’s a light coming from somewhere and Ian finds the city.

In the forest and Alladon is convinced the Doctor has been captured and concludes that now is the time to attack. His speech isn’t very long or interesting and that’s probably for the best because we don’t need any more monologuing.

The Doctor’s trying to stall the Daleks by promising to show them how to build their own machines so they won’t be trapped but they decide they don’t need the Doctor and will be able to figure out the TARDIS on their own.

Then their machine that detects vibrations tells them the Thalls are in the city. They’re lucky there’s no other life on the planet or that machine would be useless.

Ian’s group is sneaking around and a Dalek conveniently stops near them to say that the Thalls have entered the city

Back with the Daleks and they see Ian smash a camera so they realise they’ve got to act now.

Ian’s group meets Alladon. The Thall’s big plan has been to enter the city and split up into groups and wander around until they find the Doctor with no idea where they are going.

They hear a message that all the Daleks should report to level 10 and luckily they are near but then the Daleks start to seal the doors one at a time. They manage to get through though.

They are really bad at sneaking around. They really should have been seen. Especially when they start attacking the Daleks.

Ian finds the Doctor and Susan and releases them. Barbara’s big moment is to throw a rock at a Dalek and run so they can ambush it.

The rest of the fight is just as hilarious. With Thalls dropping down from the ceiling and popping up here and there taking Daleks out silently. They’re quite good for people who don’t know how to fight.

They knock out the power source (not really sure how it happens they just declare it has) and one of the Daleks begs the Doctor to not let them die but he doesn’t know how to save them.

Susan says the Thalls have got everything they want now because they can use the Dalek’s tech to produce more food. The Thall she’s talking to says he wishes it could have happened another way. I guess the message is violence should be a last resort because quite a few Thalls died and thankfully they don’t bring up pacifism again.

The Thalls want the Doctor to stay and help rebuild to be their adviser. He says he was a pioneer amongst his own people but now his truth is in the stars. Maybe he’ll visit their grandchildren to see how they’ve got on.

Barbara says goodbye to a Thall and I think he was meant to be her love interest but they didn’t spend enough time on that if that’s what they were going for.

The TARDIS dematerializes and they all get knocked out. So another episode ends on a cliffhanger but at least being knocked out means they’re finally getting some rest.

This was another good episode where stuff happened and I wasn’t bored. The only thing is going through the caves was pointless. The doctor got into the city and took out the defenses then the Thalls went in.

There was no reason for Ian’s group to go through the swamp and the caves because they meet up with Alladon in the city and nothing would haves changed if they’d gone in with him. The only difference is two Thalls got killed in the process.

They could have made the story a lot tighter if they’d cut the expedition episode. Then we wouldn’t have had the awful pacifism discussion and the cave stuff.

Despite that this was a good serial. The Daleks have changed a lot in power level but you get to see where their ideology comes from. They fear being attacked by others so they attack first.

I hope the Doctor does go back to see their descendent’s and everything’s not like he thought it would be (because it’s Doctor Who and that’s what happens). I’m guessing this is Skaro but I’m not sure they gave the planet a name in the episode.

Previous Doctor Who: The Ordeal                                                           Next Doctor Who: The Edge of Disaster

Doctor Who: The Ordeal

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

Ian, Barbara and some Thalls are trying to make their way through the caves in the mountains while the Doctor is having fun sabotaging the Daleks. And no one talks about pacifism.

Thoughts:

One of the Thall has just been dragged under the water by a mutated creature. All that’s left is swirling water and one of the Thalls gets scared. We’ll call him the cowardly Thall because I can’t remember his name.

While on the edge of the city Susan, the Doctor, Alladon and his love interest are making a map and coming up with a plan to distract the Daleks. They say they’ve got speed on their side but they’re still missing the fact they’ve got no weapons.

In the city and the Daleks think it will take 23 days to assemble the neutron bomb so they’re going to find another way to spread radiation.

Ian’s group has got to the mountains and they’ve found caves. Barbara and a Thall are exploring but it only leads them to a dead end. But Barbara has a competent moment and can hear water so they find a passage. The Thall ties a rope to himself and goes through finding a hole.

Instead of backing out and going to get the others he decides to descend with only Barbara to hold the rope. She wraps it round a large rock and then under her foot.

It goes well for a little while but I guess he’s too heavy because her foot slips and he goes crashing to the ground.

Ian turns up and takes control. The Thall only cares if Barbara is okay, even though he’s the one who’s just fallen quite a distance, because a woman is so delicate falling over is worse.

On the outskirts of the city they’re using light reflection to stop the Daleks from being able to get pictures of them. The Doctor then says very sinisterly says “we’ll show them a thing or two.” He’s enjoying this way too much.

In the caves and the cowardly Thall from earlier wants to go back because he’s only just realised going deeper into the caves means you’re going further in. He wants to abandon the others and tell everyone they’re dead so they don’t have to face the Daleks. He’s sure that if they carry on they’re probably going to get killed anyway. But the other Thall isn’t so sure.

They have a little fight and cause a cave-in so they can’t go back anyway. The cowardly Thall gets knocked out and the other Thall lies to Ian saying he saved him from the rocks.

The Daleks are trying to get around the light reflection by tracking vibrations instead. If they could do that I don’t why they weren’t doing both.

The Doctor, Susan and Alladon have made it into the city and begin sabotaging the Dalek’s technology. They remove a cover form a panel and the Doctor smashes the contents. He then sends Alladon back to the other Thalls who are distracting the Daleks to make sure they move around so they don’t get caught.

The doctor shorts the circuit and gets caught up in his own brilliance telling Susan what a few simple tools and a superior mind can do. Susan’s more worried about the Daleks having a fault locater and being caught. Which happens in the next second as they are surrounded.

Back in the caves and they’ve come across a wide gap. Ian decides they’re going to jump even though there’s not much room on the other side. They tie a rope around Ian and he makes it to the other side.

In the city and the Daleks and the Doctor are accusing each other of stuff. The Doctor destroyed their things but the Daleks killed a Thall. Then the Dalkes go into monologuing mode but thankfully it doesn’t last that long and they get told the plan to radiate the planet. They found a way to do it by bombarding the atmosphere with radiation.

In the caves and they’re still jumping the gap. Barbara makes it across but then gets stuck and has to be rescued by Ian when trying to get round a corner.

The next Thall makes it as well. Leaving only the cowardly Thall who’s looking at the drop and saying I can’t do it. Well not with that attitude you can’t.

He jumps (with a lot of build up so you know it’s going to go wrong) and sort of bounces off of Ian. Or you never know Ian might have given him a little push. He’s not to keen on pacifism after all.

Ian ends up on his stomach with the rope while the Thall dangles below screaming “I can’t hold on.” That’s not really an issue because the rope’s tied to him. Even if he lets go he won’t fall. It’s if Ian lets go then he’s screwed.

This episode was better than the last episode. There were no discussions of pacifism and very little sexism. There’s lots of action and the plot actually moved forward.

The jumping of the gap in the cave didn’t even slow it down too much because they switched to what was happening elsewhere and back. Otherwise that cave would have got boring quickly.

The Doctor is what makes this episode entertaining because firstly he’s actually getting to do something and secondly he’s really enjoying doing it.

Previous Doctor Who: The Expedition                                                                        Next Doctor Who: The Rescue

Doctor Who: The Expedition

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

They’re still stuck on the planet and nobody can really decide on anything. Everyone seems to think Ian is the one to convince the Thalls to fight. While the Daleks discover they need radiation to survive and that’s just too bad for everyone that doesn’t.

Thoughts:

The Daleks have duplicated the radiation medicine and they’re going to distribute it amongst themselves. They have a laserscope that seems to let them look at images from anywhere and they conclude that the Doctor and his companions are siding with the Thalls to attack them.

Meanwhile Susan’s decided to climb a tree and Ian’s given up on convincing the Thalls to help them, he doesn’t say what his methods were, but he’s tried everything he knows. Been in this situation a lot have you Ian.

He doesn’t blame them though because they’d be risking their lives for strangers and not getting anything out of it. Barbara’s not impressed by this. They’re trapped on the planet and the Daleks will find a way out of the city and come and kill them.

The Doctor can’t make a new fluid link and he’s discovered they really do need more Mercury. Well at least something good came out of this situation.

Ian forgives him because what’s happened has happened. Barbara tells them to stop wasting time and do something. It never crosses her mind that she might be able to do something but considering the Thalls are as sexist as humans are they probably won’t listen to her.

The Doctor has decided to use the Thalls because they’re a ready made army and they can move quicker than the Daleks. Except they have no guns and don’t like violence. I think he’s being a bit optimistic and it looks like the Daleks were right to be worried.

He then says this is no time for morals when Ian gets stubborn and refuses to allow the Thalls to fight for them.

I don’t know what Ian thinks the Doctor’s going to do to convince them because at the moment there’s no danger in them helping. Ian doesn’t want to have the Thall’s deaths on his conscience and Barbara says what about their deaths. They have this argument quite loudly in front of Thalls but they don’t seem to notice.

Susan makes the best point in that the Thalls should get something out of helping them. Like protection from the Daleks.

Ian decides to change his mind again and decides to pick a fight with Alladon to see if they can fight or to show them they can fight (I’m not sure which because I think it’s obvious they can fight).

He says he’s going to trade their history records for the fluid link unless one of them stops him. Alladon doesn’t think he’ll do it but doesn’t make a move to stop him.

So he decides to grab a woman (who I think is Alladon’s love interest) and is going to swap her for the fluid link. It takes a while but Alladon eventually punches him knocking Ian over. Alladon then looks devastated at what he’s done and like he’s only just understood what Ian was trying to do.

Meanwhile the Daleks are reacting badly to the drug and discover they’ve evolved to need radiation so tough luck for those that don’t because they’re going to radiate the planet with another neutron bomb.

They test this theory on the other dying Daleks by giving them more radiation and seeing if they survive. They do and so the plan goes ahead but first they’ve got to take a stock count of all their bombs and radiation supplies.

Back in the jungle and Alladon’s having an existential crisis. To fight and live or to die without fighting. It’s like it’s just occurred to him what his moral stance on violence means. The female Thall says she would have hated him if he’d done nothing to save her. It’s never brought up that she could have done violence to save herself.

Barbara is being told about the terrifying swamp full of mutated creatures. It’s the perfect defense for the back of the city. I wonder where they’re going to have to go next.

The writers really have something against mutation even though that’s what drives evolution. And I don’t think they understand radiation.

Ian’s decided to go to the city. Alladon says he can’t let them die and do nothing and then they will die when the Daleks find a way out of the city to attack them.

They decide to go through the swamp because the Daleks don’t defend it while another group distracts them at the front of the city.

They get to the swamp and some time has passed. It’s lucky the Daleks are doing a stock take or the planet would be nuked by now.

Two Thalls decide this is a good time to discuss what happened last time they were in the swamp when a Thall got dragged under by a creature.

Ian catches up to them and we get a wonderfully patronising sexist conversation. The Thall is surprised Ian let Barbara come along but Ian says he’d be more surprised if he could have stopped her. As if you get to decide where she goes. Her life is on the line too she gets to be part of saving herself.

Barbara wants to stop for a rest being the weak woman that she is but they’ve got a deadline to meet the Doctor in two days.

They make camp, Ian sees a creature in the water and a Thall tells them to sleep but immediately starts monologuing which is counterproductive to the previous statement.

The next day they discuss what they’re going to do. The Daleks get their water from the lake so there must be a way through. While Barbara is there making everyone drinks.

Then a Thall goes to fill the water bags and gets dragged under. I don’t care which one he was and I don’t know if he had a name.

This should have been called planning the expedition. It’s only the last part where they’re trekking through the jungle and it’s like one scene. Most of the expedition is implied.

The first part is a lot of discussing pacifism again which I wouldn’t be against if it didn’t feel like ideas keep getting repeated. Ian keeps flip flopping on his position and the Thalls don’t know what they think.

It’s a very doctor light episode. You think he’s going to do something when he says the Thalls are a ready made army and he can lead them but that goes nowhere. It’s Ian who does all the work of convincing them.

Susan gets a good moment of making it clear why they shouldn’t just be using the Thalls and Barbara pushes everything along like she’s finally found her feet only for them to act like she’s got no right to fight for her own life. I have a feeling she’s going to be more of a hindrance than a help. They sent her along to damsel her.

Previous Doctor Who: The Ambush                                                                                Next Doctor Who: The Ordeal

Doctor Who: The Ambush

Spoilers for the episode

The Story:

They put their plan to escape the city into action but it’s not much of a plan. It’s more lets hope we don’t get noticed and that the Daleks believe Ian is one of them. Then you got the Thalls who turn out to be pacifists and walk straight into the Dalek’s trap.

Thoughts:

Susan’s leading the way with the escape when Ian figures out how to use the controls. There wasn’t much point in having him not be able to use them then if in the next scene he can. I like the way he says ‘off we go’ as if they’re just taking a stroll somewhere.

There’s a Dalek guarding the doorway to the lift and he wants to confirm that the prisoners are to be taken for questioning. Susan pretends to get frightened and tries to run away but they catch her with the plungers. I don’t know how that Dalek missed her winking at the others or her smiling. I also don’t know why the Dalek didn’t shoot her.

They get into the corridor before the lift and the doctor locks the door.

The Daleks finds out there were no orders to question the prisoners so they start cutting through the door.

Ian’s stuck inside the Dalek because they’ve magnetised the floor so he tells them to go on without him. The doctor gets Susan in the lift before she becomes hysterical.

The Daleks get through the door and find the Dalek casing empty. Ian’s managed to get it open and has gone up in the lift. He gets to the top just as the Daleks press the emergency button to bring it back down.

Instead of leaving as quickly as possible they decide to have a look out the window so they can see the Thalls and realise they’re heading into a trap.

The Daleks send one of them up in the lift but now they’re not trying to recapture they’re going to exterminate them.

The door’s been magnetised as well but the doctor gets it open as the others push a statue down the lift shaft destroying the lift.

The Thalls in the city have a conversation about if they should trust the Daleks or not. The Thall with the hat who turns out to be the leader tells Alladon (the Thall that Susan met) to stop being so suspicious because that causes fear which leads to hate and war. Well he’s going to die for being an idiot. He thinks the best weapon against war is going unarmed and that being cautious is an unreasonable response to an enemy you know has wanted to kill you in the past.

The Daleks decide to hide badly around a big table full or food.

The Doctor wants to leave the Thalls and Daleks to it but the others want to warn them because it’s the right thing to do after the Thalls helped them. Ian volunteers to go warn them and sends everyone else back to the ship

The Thall leader approaches the food and says he wants to live in peace with them. Ian watches from a doorway and does nothing until the Daleks come out and the Thalls have got no chance then he tells them it’s a trap. He could have easily warmed them before the Daleks came out to attack. He’s stood right there watching the speech the leader gives. He could have signaled to them. The leader gets killed and a few others injured.

Back in the jungle the Doctor is looking at records of the Thall’s history and maps of the solar systems to try to find out where they are.

Injured Thalls show up and Barbara helps with medicine from the TARDIS. Alladon is taking over as leader.

Ian says the Daleks don’t act as humans do or feel the same way. They have a dislike for the unlike and that’s why they want to kill them. Nazis were the big inspiration for the Daleks.

He says the Thalls must show strength and get the Daleks to respect them. The Thalls won’t fight if the Daleks get out of the city they’ll just move on. They say he doesn’t understand them.

Barbara wants to know if pacifism can become human instinct. She says they’re not cowards so why don’t they fight. I don’t think the writers like pacifism very much. They set the Thalls up so that they lack common sense.

They do realise that the Thalls aren’t human don’t they. Because when they say Human they include the Thalls in that. They might look human but they’ve got to be closer to the Daleks biology wise than humans.

The doctor doesn’t care what happens and says it’s time to go. He asks Ian for the fluid link but the Daleks took it from him. I love that moment and the look on Ian’s face. That might have been something useful to mention back in the city when you were still escaping.

So now they’ve got to go back to get it. At least it was Ian messing up this time and not the doctor screwing around with them. This also makes me like Ian more because he’s not perfect.

This episode felt like it flew by after the last one where nothing happened. Everything still takes ages to do but it feels like progress is happening.

I’m not that keen on the pacifism argument being so one sided. They make the Thalls very easy to argue against.

I’m not much a pacifist. Like Ian says I think pacifism is only effective when everyone is a pacifist or if your enemy is reasonable. Otherwise you’re enemy is getting their own way or killing you and your family off rather easily.

Pacifism vs. Unreasoning hatred. Pacifism loses. It’s like in Xena you’ve got the nice warriors so the pacifists can be pacifists (I’ll have to look that episode up to remember the title).

That being said I think you need to represent both sides fairly or you’re just setting up a strawman to defeat. There’s no challenge to winning an argument when the other side doesn’t have it’s full argument. I don’t think pacifism means you’re stupid or lack self preservation.

This feels more like propaganda to me. They’re equating being a pacifist with being a coward. But I guess they’d have different attitudes back then considering the war wasn’t that far away.

Previous Doctor Who: The Escape                                                                   Next Doctor Who: The Expedition

Doctor Who: The Escape

The story

The Daleks are defeated with mud, the Thalls do lots of talking but not much else and everyone else takes ages to do anything.

Thoughts

I was wrong last episode isn’t slow this one is. It’s starts with Susan exiting the TARDIS and coming face to face with one of the Thalls. At first she’s scared but once she realises he’s not going to hurt her they have a conversation.

This episode of Doctor who makes me understand the whole racism criticism better. Mostly because what Susan says to one of the Thalls. “You’re perfect.” I know the Daleks described them as mutations so she’s probably expecting something horrible but perfect is going a bit far. It’s worse considering he’s a blond haired white man and the actress who plays Susan (Carol Ann Ford) is Jewish.

Turns out that the Thalls didn’t know the Daleks had survived the war that caused the radiation on the planet. He gives her his coat and more medicine to hide in case the Daleks take away the first lot.

Then we’re back with the Daleks who have returned Susan to the cell and have decided to keep the prisoners alive so they can trap the Thalls. Which is why they let her keep the radiation medicine.

We then get expository Susan who gives us Thall back story. They’re basically running out of food.

Then it’s back to the Daleks who are discussing how to defeat the Thalls. So they decide to get Susan to write a letter which means it’s back to the cell again. Where the Dalek accidentally reveals the cell is bugged. I’m sure they could have figured that out without this scene. You can see the camera on the wall.

The Thalls in the jungle have decided to hang out where the TARDIS is parked and discuss how the Daleks used to be teachers and philosophers while the Thalls were warriors. They’re also waiting for a letter signed from Susan so they know it’s from her. That’s genius no one else could possible sign her name.

At least the next scene’s more entertaining with the Daleks dictating a letter for Susan to write. She tells them to wait while she’s writing and says she can only ask not demand. Then laughs at the way they say her name. Somehow she doesn’t get killed.

Then it’s back to the cell where they’ve decided to do something about the bugs and stage a fake fight that the Daleks know is fake to destroy the cameras and the Daleks are too lazy to go in and fix them.

The Doctor figures out the Daleks are powered by static electricity and Ian comes up with a plan. I think it’s funny how they’re trying to make the science be real and they compare the Daleks to bumper cars.

Then it’s back to the Thalls who want to be friends with the Daleks and that’s all the scene is about. The Thalls are just like humans and that makes them boring. They’re society is also sexist. The men wear exactly the same clothes and I’m guessing the women wear the same thing as well but I don’t remember seeing more than one woman.

Then it’s more planning to get out of the cell before they do anything. I think they could have condensed these scenes.

The plan to escape goes well. They jam the door, smear mud on the eye stalk and roll the Dalek over a coat to depower it. It reminds me of Wilf using a paint ball gun so the Dalek can’t see.

They open the casing and Ian orders Susan and Barbara into the corridor so they don’t see the creature inside the Dalek. Probably a good call considering how Barbara reacted to a dead alien and this one’s still alive.

Ian gets inside the Dalek casing but can’t see because they’ve forgot to wipe the mud off. He then speaks in monotone so he sounds like them but can’t move it so they push him.

Brilliant plan the Daleks will only judge you based on your voice. They’ll never notice another Dalek being pushed around by their prisoners. You never know maybe they’d just be too lazy to do anything about it.

This episode went very slowly because on one side of the plot you’ve got the Thalls, who don’t actually do anything, and on the other side you’ve got the doctor and his companions trying to find a way to escape and taking their time about it.

The only thing that saves this episode is the little funny moments. The Daleks having Susan write a letter, the suspicious way they act when planning the escape and a fake fight to destroy a camera. Which as it turns out is the only method of surveillance the Daleks have of the room and once it’s gone they can’t be bothered to move them to a new cell or install a new camera.

The defeat of the Dalek is a little silly but the Daleks have come a long way since then. I’m looking at the Daleks as the Doctor’s greatest enemy not this random alien species the Doctor runs in to.

Also ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ makes more sense to me now. I don’t have to like the decision to make the Daleks forget the doctor but I do see where they’re coming from. The Daleks got stronger in response to the doctor defeating them and this is where they started.

I just hope in the next episode things happen a little quicker and it’s not endless talking.

Previous Doctor Who: The Survivors                                                       Next Doctor Who: The Ambush

 

Doctor Who: The Survivors

Spoilers for the episode

The Story:

They look for Barbara, find out about the high radiation levels, the Doctor confesses about sabotaging the TARDIS and they get captured by the Daleks.

Thoughts:

They’re still looking for Barbara in the city when they get distracted by a ticking noise that leads them to measuring equipment.

Ian hopes they can find Mercury for the TARDIS and thinks whoever made this equipment must be intelligent. He worries what form their intelligence will take but he Doctor dismisses his worries and just says the aliens are advanced.

The ticking leads Susan to a Geiger counter. Where someone has stuck a white label on one end of the scale that says danger. I wonder how the Daleks managed to stick the label on it with no hands. That must be tricky with just a plunger.

The Doctor diagnoses them as having radiation poisoning. Ian gets agitated but Susan says they can travel to another time to get medicine. Ian points out they can’t because of the fluid link and they need the Mercury.

The Doctor confesses what he did and his reasons for it, he wanted to explore the city, and it’s so funny. He says it in such a matter of fact way as he hands the fluid link to Ian. The look of Ian’s face is brilliant.

They have a bit of an argument where Susan and Ian aren’t happy. The Doctor decides it’s time to leave but Ian says they can’t because they’ve got to find Barbara. And here’s the reason he handed the fluid link to Ian in the first place because now Ian won’t give it back. He’s got something over the Doctor and they’re going to do what he wants to do.

The Doctor agrees but I think it’s mostly because he’s not feeling well and can’t be bothered to argue. I love this entire exchange between them.

They exit the room and the Daleks are waiting for them outside. Susan doesn’t get around to screaming but you can tell she wants to.

Ian decides to make a run for it so the Daleks can demonstrate why that’s a bad idea. He gets shot but it only paralyzes his legs. And even after the Daleks explain what they’ve done he keeps repeating ‘my legs’ as if he can’t believe he could be defeated so easily.

They get put in a cell with Barbara and the writers continue to make her ask stupid questions. This time she decides to ask Ian what those things are as if he’s going to know.

They tell her about the radiation poisoning and she asks what’s going to happen to them. The Doctor, probably fed up with endless stupid questions, tells the truth. If they get no treatment they’re going to die.

The Daleks decide to interrogate the Doctor because they think he’s a Thall who are their enemies.

The Doctor gets a bit of information out of them but he doesn’t manage to talk his way out of it.

The radiation medicine is in the TARDIS so the Daleks send one of them to get it and it turns out it has to be Susan. The Doctor can barely move, Barbara doesn’t feel well and Ian can’t walk.

So there were two reasons he was the one to get shot. So he couldn’t travel back to the TARDIS and to show that you can’t just out run the Daleks.

Ian is determined to go though and gets very annoying about the whole thing. He can barely stand and Susan says you have to put the key in the TARDIS just right or the lock melts as a defense mechanism. So Ian declares she’ll have to come with him.

Susan ends up going alone and I like that. It’s a good growing up moment for her.

Susan’s journey back to the TARDIS is a bit slow and there’s a storm going with thunder and lightning to make it more dramatic. Then she sees something scary and we get a close up shot of her head flailing around and being hit by branches as she runs away. It’s a bit silly but very in character for Susan.

She gets to the TARDIS and finds the vials hugging them to her in relief. Then she realises she’s only done half the journey and has to go back out into the jungle. Facing whatever she’s just run away from.

A lot happens in this episode but it still feels slow to me. My dislike of Ian is growing because he’s stuck in the ‘man’ role and has to be in charge. While Barbara comes across as stupid even though no one else knows what’s going on either.

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