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.

Previous Doctor Who: The Dead Planet                                                             Next Doctor Who: The Escape

Doctor Who: The Dead Planet

Spoilers for the episode

The story

Lots of things go wrong this episode. They hang out in the jungle for a while and get freaked out by a strange alien creature. Susan runs away from a hand on her shoulder. Then the Doctor sabotages the TARDIS in the most obvious way possible, nobody believes it’s an accident, so he can go explore the city. They separate to explore the city and loose Barbara in the process. And everyone seems to be getting ill.

Thoughts

Barbara gets to ask all the stupid questions so the audience can be informed of what’s going on. That’s standard for female characters but it’s still strange that she asks Ian where they are. The Doctor hasn’t said where they are but somehow she thinks Ian will know. I know he’s a man but he’s not all knowing.

She comes across as even more useless especially as she spends most of this episode screaming. Or complaining that they’re not on earth and she doesn’t want to be an adventurer.

The other female of the group isn’t much better but at least Susan likes to explore. She tries to take a stone flower back to the TARDIS but it gets broken when Barbara is frightened of a petrified alien creature and Ian rushes to the rescue.

The dead alien that scared Barbara is made of metal and a bit silly looking but that’s probably the budget. Barbara and Ian think it’s ugly and don’t believe the Doctor when he says it used to be alive and might have attracted it’s prey with electromagnetic waves.

The Doctor makes a point about what’s normal for living beings. Not everything is going to look human or be flesh and blood. This is a good point to make considering Doctor who tends to end up with the human looking aliens being the good guys and the ugly aliens being the bad guys.

He also says this is nothing like you have on your planet. So this implies he’s an alien but I’m not sure how much the writers have thought about it. He was originally going to just be a human from the future but I can’t remember where I heard that.

They find a futuristic looking city and the binocular effect they put on the camera to see the city is funny. It doesn’t make it look like anything other than a model city.

While trying to find another flower to take back Susan gets touched on the shoulder and instead of looking to see who it is runs off in the opposite direction in hysterics. She’s not even looking where she’s going and when she runs into Ian she starts screaming. And she’s surprised when no one believes her.

The doctor says no one could live on the planet because everything is dead but he never says he’s scanned the whole planet.

Barbara goes to talk to Susan and says it’s the Doctor’s scientific facts that won’t allow him to believe her but I think it’s just poor writing. He hasn’t scanned the whole planet so he doesn’t know if the entire planet is dead or not. So it’s possible people could have survived.

Then noises outside the TARDIS door happen and Susan’s all like I told you so. Before getting really freaked out.

Everyone gets scared and the Doctor agrees to take them somewhere else but then he sabotages the ship by draining it of mercury. When the TARDIS stops working he tells them it’s an easy fix and no one suspects anything until he says they have no Mercury on board and so they’ll have to search the city. He doesn’t even care that they know he’s lying. He’s all smug because they all know it’s a con but they don’t know enough to contradict him.

I should probably be more on Ian’s side because the Doctor’s being unreasonable and putting them in danger but every time he opens his mouth it makes me dislike him. He tells the doctor they are going to the city for Mercury and that’s it. It’s the way he says ‘is that clear’ that makes me want the doctor to abandon him.

Even before that when the doctor wanted to go explore but Ian says he ‘can’t let him do that’. Ian makes me less than sympathetic to them being frightened. He’s so annoying.

But the Doctor’s sabotaging works and they all leave the TARDIS only to find a box left outside for them. Ian immediately tells them all to step back so he can have a look.

Why Ian thinks he’s the best one to investigate a strange metal box that’s just appeared I’ll never know. It’s one thing ordering people around but the Doctor has a better chance of working out what it is than he does. But we do get to see him poking it with a stick and covering his face like it’s going to explode. If only he would get blown up.

The box has metal vials and Susan’s still all ‘I told you so’ about their being someone out there. Ian at least apologises to her so he’s not completely terrible.

When they get to the city they start to feel ill. I’m guessing no one thought to look at the radiation meter after that first time. They must be going out of their way to avoid it because it’s out in the open on the TARDIS console. Surely someone would just glance at it. Maybe the TARDIS is trying to kill them. Every time someone looks at it the TARDIS lowers the radiation level or something.

Ian takes charge again but then he’s the one that suggests they separate. So I think he’s to blame for Barbara being the first one to get captured. Because sending a person out who was terrified of a stone creature that didn’t move at all is a great idea. That sounds really productive.

So when she comes across a Dalek she just stands there and screams. I know there’s no where to go but the screaming isn’t helping.

The first shot of a Dalek we ever see is the plunger. I can’t wait to see more of how they began.

This was quite a good episode despite my hating Ian and wishing Barbara would just stay in the TARDIS if she’s going to be scared of everything. I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for them but I think you’re meant to relate to them. With the tension comes from the Doctor, who’s manipulative and sabotages things to get his way regardless of consequences or safety. He also doesn’t work well with others and I’m enjoying watching him frustrate Ian.

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