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Doctor Who: Three Stories

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After watching Castrovalva, I figured it would be cool to go through Peter Davison's first season. So, that's what I've been doing. These three stories follow sequentially from Castrovalva.

Four to Doomsday

Fresh from Castrovalva, the TARDIS arrives on board a space ship with some fascinating machinery. The Doctor and Nyssa think they can use some of this material to fix some bits of the TARDIS. And then random people from all over history start showing up. There is a classical Athenian named Bigon, a Mayan princess, a Japanese swordmaster and an Australian aborigine. It was definitely an interesting meeting. These anomalous early people take the crew to meet the masters of the ship, a kind of frog like alien people with titles instead of names (Monarch, Enlightenment, Persuasion). All they want to do is spread peace and happiness throughout the universe! By turning everyone into synthetic beings whose consciousness is downloaded into a microchip. We're talking like skin-job Cylon type people, which is why these historical figures exist on this ship, and that the entire population of the frog people has been downloaded into 3 billion microchips aboard the ship. But the purpose of this ship was even more complicated. They've been scouring technology throughout the universe and decimating planets for their silicon as well as downloading everyone who cooperates into a microchip. But there's more, the purpose of all this technological acquisition was to satisfy the vanity of the monarch who believed himself to be God, and he wished to fashion a ship that could travel back to the beginning of time to see if he was there to create it. So of course the TARDIS piques his curiosity. Using Nyssa as bait the Monarch orders her consciousness to be downloaded so that he would trade off the TARDIS for Nyssa. But the Doctor will have none of it, nor would Tegan. Tegan in fact ran back to the TARDIS and using the manual she jumped outside of the hull of the spaceship, but given the massiveness of the ship she couldn't escape it's pull. Using a small oxygen helmet and a bit of string the Doctor jumped into the vacuum of space to go and get to the TARDIS and brought it back aboard the ship. Afterwards he starts a robot revolution against the monarch and everyone flees in the TARDIS.

What I didn't like about this episode was Adric. He was like the Vichy France of this episode. Oh, you want to give us peace and happiness? Well of course I'd be happy to tell you everything about the TARDIS and help you overthrow the human race. How completely dumb do you have to be? Though, it's Adric, he's got a nasty habit of thinking he knows exactly what's right and being naively, deadly wrong. The other thing I didn't like was that all the Monarch wanted to do, other than micrchip everyone, was to go back to the beginning of the universe and see if he was there. Surely, the Doctor has gone to the beginning of the universe, and it would be a simple feat to take him back there and chuck him out. But no, the robots just turned the ship around and took him back to his original home planet. So, he's still out there, and a few thousand years from now he'll show up again. :/ That's lame.

What I liked about this episode was the concept about the ship with different ages of cybernetic people. That was pretty cool. And the action developed in a pretty cool way.

Overall it was a pretty cool story. So for cybernetic skin-jobs, micrchips of entire civilizations, and megalomania, but for Adric stupidness I'm giving it:

4 TARDIS grinds out of 5.

Kinda

The TARDIS lands in a verdant tropical forest. Nyssa is still reeling from her being nearly microchipped. So she's playing some games with Adric to try to gain her mental acuity back, but it's not getting far. So the Doctor whips up a plot device, I mean a Delta Wave to subtley help her regain her synapses while she sleeps in the TARDIS for the rest of the story. But she's not the only one who falls asleep. Tegan, Adric and the Doctor go exploring and find an interesting set of wind chimes and Tegan goes out like a light and falls into a dark dream world where pasty people play chess. The Doctor and Adric think she just needs a nap too so they leave her there in the forest under the wind chimes. And that's when the Doctor and Adric become trapped by a metal device that brings them into a geodesic dome staffed by the East India Company, or at least that's what it looks like. They've been capturing the telepathic natives and slowly going stir crazy. Well, the problem with telepathic natives is that they don't have to be nearby to communicate with each other. And so Arris whose brother was taken has decided that he wants to get them out. Meanwhile Tegan in her dream world becomes possessed by the Mara, a trickster serpent who possesses her and smears lipstick all over her teeth, who in turn possesses Arris who then gets lipstick all over his teeth. Meanwhile the people in the Geodesic dome start having a total nervous breakdown, well the men at least. The woman is totally fine. It is at this time that the Doctor and the woman escape, and Adric is left to fend for himself and again become the governor of Vichy France by joining the madmen in the front. Though this time he seems less convinced about following their orders, well, because they're very obviously mad and the orders would include destroying the dome in a huge explosion thus killing practically everything, including themselves. The Doctor and the woman from the EIC find the two speaking members of the Kinda tribe, oh did I mention they were called the Kinda? Pronounced like kith and kin-da, not like kinda sorta. Anyways the two speaking members are an old woman and a young girl. The old woman shows them the prophecy of how time loops back upon itself because of the Mara, and then she dies. Sad, because she called the Doctor an idiot about 10 times, and it was totally hysterically appropriate. But like the Bene Gesserit and the Cylons her consciousness downloaded into the little girl and all was well. So now they just have to stop the Mara from resetting time. Which they do once they find Tegan who told them the whole story about Arris. Then Arris shows up and claims to fulfill prophecy and Adric, who's escaped from the EIC in a one man armored walker, wounds Arris. In the end they defeat the Mara through a clever use of mirrors, and we get to see a giant rubber snake evaporate in smoke.

You'd never know it from the way I just wrote about it, but I loved this story. It's completely bizarre and melodramatic, but if you can't have those things in Doctor Who it's just not the same. One of the most interesting things in this story that I liked especially is that the Mara is kind of an ancient trickster god to the Kinda people. He is the one who resets the clocks, bringing everything back in a loop. Mircea Eliade talks a lot about mythological time and how this doesn't exactly correspond to real time, but is cyclical. Recapturing this idea of circular time is what a lot of modern Paganism seeks to reclaim, and here it is seen as a frightening prospect in a reality. Interesting.

So, for mind-games of a trickster God, a big rubber snake and a lovely old prophet woman calling the doctor an idiot, but for a really bad petty tyrant at the EIC (Hindle, who flies off the handle).

4.5 TARDIS grinds out of 5.

The Visitation

Part of the overarching storyline of this season is that Tegan really shouldn't be here. She's just gotten mixed up in all of this mess while she was on her way to work, and she's basically been in her flight attendant uniform this whole season. (Does the TARDIS do dry cleaning?) Well, the Doctor promised to take her back to Heathrow where she beloged, and he did. Only it hadn't been built yet, because it was about 300 years too early. So, they have a romp in the 17th century to kill time. Well, the plague is on, and the villagers are burning sulphur to hopefully fumigate things. Well, there's more than plague out there, there are aliens and androids as well! One thing leads to another and they wind up in the basement of a house where some fish people called the Tereleptils are slowly enslaving humanity and using them to make a supervirus of black death in order to wipe out humanity and convert the planet into something they can live in without using their highly flammable solaton humidifiers. Some running around ensues, and the Tereleptil blows up the sonic screwdriver. :( *Pout* Now that's sad. Some more things happen and they wind up in a bakery trying to defeat the whole Tereleptil brood that escaped from their prison ship and crashed on the planet. Well, the solaton humidifier goes up in flame and everyone runs out. Everyone gets back in the TARDIS and they're incredulous that the Doctor would leave a fire that bad raging in that building without helping. Well, it was supposed to rage, as it was the exact spot that the great fire of London began in 1666.

Well, This story was only okay. I didn't really like the Tereleptils as a villain. I mean, yes they were evil and from a prison ship and they were going to kill everyone off with plague, but still that didn't really do much for me. The Androids were pretty cool in their shiny rainbow diamond track suit kind of way. I liked the enslavement device, with the crystal and the power pack. Interesting. Nyssa really pulled it out in this episode when she lured the Android back to the TARDIS and used a super high frequency resonation to blow it up. Left a bit of mess in there, but it was certainly effective. I like her. I'm sure Adric did something stupid but I seem to have blocked it from my memory. I would have liked to have seen the actor come aboard the TARDIS and Adric get booted out. I mean The Doctor, Richard Mace and Nyssa would have been a kickass crew of rogues and geniuses.

So, for historical tinkering with grand events, but for lame bad guys:

3 TARDIS grinds out of 5.

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Eric Fritter Riley

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