Episode 102 – “Destruction of Time”

Well, here we are. The final episode of this story. At last. A twelve-part story (or as we’d think of it now, a season-long story arc), is perfectly fine. But in this case, there wasn’t enough story to sustain the story.

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Also, goodbye, Sara!

Chen has taken Steven and Sara hostage and has bad things in mind. They’re soon captured by the Daleks, who seem to be very unpleased. Then again, that’s kind of their default state, so… Anyhow, they have Chen escort Steven and Sara to the Dalek supreme.

And if I might digress for a moment, the music that plays over that scene is very interesting. Quite different from what I’m accustomed to.

So Chen is slowly learning that perhaps getting cozy with the Daleks isn’t the best way to remain alive. I suspect this lesson will come just a bit too late to be of much use, as they haul him off to kill him.

Meantime, the Doctor has finally turned up. He gives Steven a key to the TARDIS. He then sends them off. As that happens, the Daleks kill Chen. Fun.

When the Daleks return to their control room, it turns out that the Doctor is screwing around with their equipment. For the first time, we start to get a glimpse at the full fury of a Time Lord, as it’s very clear he’s quite pissed at the Daleks.

The Doctor and Sara leave the Dalek base, with the Doctor carrying the time destructor. As they do, Sara starts to have some issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, aging to death.

That kind of rapid, death-inducing aging is introduced often in various sci-fi properties, and it never made much sense to me. Surely if someone is having their personal time sped up so that it ages them, then their hair and nails should grow longer, right? Or rather, no, because they should die from thirst or starvation well before that happens, yes? Yes.

While the concept is silly, the scene itself is nicely done, with the Doctor and Sara both clearly feeling the effects as the time destructor continues to run. It does so just a bit too late to save Sara, sadly, but the Doctor is fine. One can mentally retcon this, however, to assume, that this is probably part of why the Doctor regenerated at a much younger age than he normally might have.

The Doctor and Steven escape into the TARDIS as the Daleks show up and start to be damaged by the time destructor. The machines basically fall apart and collapse as the aliens inside fall out and die. It isn’t pretty.

By the time the Doctor and Steven get back outside, the time destructor has burned itself out. They have some sad words about their victory, and then head off, pleased in the knowledge that the Daleks are gone forever and ever.*

Next time: “War of God”

* or at least until the producers need a ratings bump

Episode 101 – “The Abandoned Planet”

Well, our last episode was in glorious video. This one is not. So let’s resign ourselves to that.

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And to costumes that would get you laughed out of any self-respecting convention.

Chen and the Daleks return to the base, with Chen bragging about how amazing and wonderful he is, while at the same time smack-talking the Daleks. Yes, he’s an evil twat, but you gotta admire the guy’s style.

Meantime, the Doctor and friends have a conversation I can only barely hear. To be honest, I’m largely tuning out at this point. This story is entirely too long, and these reconstructions are well-made, but not cutting it for me.

By the time my attention returns, Trump Chen is making a speech about how great he is. The festivities seem to come to hit a bit of a speed bump when Chen shoots a guy, but the meeting continues on for a bit despite that. It features all the excitement you’d expect of a meeting, and it’s a relief when the Daleks break it up.

We now cut to Sara and Steven wandering around the Dalek base, looking for ways to cause trouble, and apparently trying to find a way to contact the Daleks. They find a communicator and Sara tries to use it, but instead of reaching the Daleks, they get in touch with Chen and company, who are currently being held imprisoned. Chen is convinced that Sara must have really come to find him, which is kind of hilarious.

Steven and Sara free the Chen and company and watch as their ships take off. Chen’s ship blows up, leaving our heroes hoping that everyone else gets out to warn the universe about the Daleks. They then go wandering around and find a Dalek heading into an underground base and then Chen pops up, and I take a deep breath of satisfaction over the fact that we have only one more episode to go.

Next time: “Destruction of Time”

Episode 100 – “Escape Switch”

This episode opens with a mummy. I had planned to make the obvious joke, but apparently no one in the Google Image search results ever bothered to do that screencap. So I get this instead.

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How about, “Once again, Doctor Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine.”

Look, I don’t have a lot to work with here.

The mummy turns out to be the Monk, for some reason. We then cut to the Daleks and Chen who have a bit of a shouting match. It ends with Chen bitch-slapping a Dalek and storming off. Let me say that again. He actually bitch-slaps a Dalek and walks away alive.

We cut back to the Monk, who tries to get into the TARDIS. Sara and Steven aren’t quite buying into his buffet of BS, so instead they all go off to find the Doctor, while Chen and the Daleks (which sounds like the worst band ever), go off to do the same thing. Sara is then surprised by a Dalek who, near as I can tell, snuck up on her from in front.

There are some baffled Egyptians in this episode, too, one of whom refers to the Daleks as “war machines”. No, no. Wrong story.

Chen gets onto a loudspeaker, trying to get the Doctor to return…return…return what you have stolen!

(on a side note, I dimly recall that scene giving me nightmares when I was a kid)

The Doctor goes to strike up a bargain that would free Team TARDIS as the Monk. Both sides of this bargain, of course, plan to betray one another. The deal appears to go forward, and then a bunch of Egyptians show up to red shirt all over the place. At the end, we find out that the Doctor had planned to betray Magic Mavic Chen and give him some fake minerals, but ended up having to give them the real ones. Whoops. Still, the Doctor has another plan to get everyone away safely, as the Monk ends up in the frozen land of Nador.

Next episode: “The Abandoned Planet”

Episode 099 – “Golden Death”

So last night I saw kind of a meh movie. But there you are. Now I’m back here, and ready to watch…well, what’s probably going to be a rather meh episode in a rather meh serial.

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Meh.

We start off with the Daleks and their little plan to conquer the universe. I yawn a bit, and we then find ourselves in ancient Egypt, because why the hell not? Mavic Chen is with them, and they all do some evilish plotting. Then we go to the Doctor and the TARDIS crew working to repair damage that the ship has sustained.

As the Doctor talks, I can’t help but notice that Hartnell seems to have a sore throat. I’m rather surprised they didn’t just have him not be in this episode. It seems like they’ve managed that just fine with many others.

The Daleks go chasing after the TARDIS crew and show up in Egypt. Steven and Sara see the ship arrive, but they believe it, briefly, to be the Monk’s TARDIS. They soon learn better. Meantime, some Egyptians with spears go off to fight the Daleks. This ends very well for the Daleks!

We then cut to the Doctor, wandering around the build site. He happens to see the Monk’s TARDIS arrive, and  chuckles a bit. And in the meantime, Steven and Sara are being interrogated by an Egyptian guy and I frankly start to lose focus. But that’s the same thing the story has done, so there you are.

Then the Monk shows up wearing sunglasses, and I smile a bit.

There’s some stuff that happens, including a bit of drama with the Monk and the Doctor, and then we go to Sara and Steven in a tomb about to be killed by a mummy or something. So…yeah. It continues.

Next time: “Escape Switch”

Episode 098 – “Volcano”

Just a quick heads-up! No article tomorrow, as I’ll be seeing  a movie.

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With a Rotten Tomatoes rating in the 50s, how could it not be good?

But tonight we have “Volcano”. So let’s get on with that, shall we?

So we’re back to the main plotline, with Mavic Chen being all evily and stuff, while hanging with some rather bizarre aliens that we’ve seen before. We cut between them and Team TARDIS, who are busying themselves on a plan to stop the Daleks.

There’s some other stuff, and then we progress to a rather odd scene where the TARDIS arrives on a cricket field…pitch…glen? I don’t know where one plays cricket. It’s a cute, but rather pointless interlude, which I’m sure provided much inspiration for Douglas Adams down the line.

The TARDIS then arrives at the titular volcano, and who do we find there? The Monk. Yes, he’s arrived and is waiting for everyone. He meddles with the TARDIS a bit, and I can’t help but notice that he’s wearing the same clothes as he was in the 11th century. But I suppose by now they’ve become a…*puts on sunglasses*…habit.

The Monk taunts our heroes and leaves them in a death trap which they escape with incredible ease. We then return to the Daleks and Chen, just chillin’. And…not much else really happens. Kind of a dull story, to be honest.

Next episode: “Golden Death”

Episode 097 – “The Feast of Steven”

Sorry I missed out yesterday. I had a couple of friends over and we watched North by Northwest. Excellent movie. Fear not, though, I bring you holiday greetings to make up for my absence!

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It’s the gif that keeps on giving!

This is a very odd episode. We have a brief encounter with police on “modern” Earth, and well as a diversion onto a silent film era version of a film set. It’s a very stand-alone story, which is of course the point; it was broadcast on a day when the expectation was that most people watching it wouldn’t have seen the previous six parts.

Sadly, this means this episode was never shown overseas. So while I think we can all hope for recoveries of almost all the other missing episodes, this one is probably gone forever. It’s quite annoying, because this is obviously a very visual and kinetic episode, and while the people who did the reconstruction try their best, it just doesn’t quite hold up.

This episode is full of much in the way of light comedy, which is fine. We get a cute little cameo by Charles Chaplin, which was likely inevitable, and we get a cameo by someone playing Bing Crosby, which is…odd. But whatever.

There’s really not much of consequence that happens here, but it’s all reasonably entertaining. And then the story comes to an end with Hartnell wishing the audience a happy Christmas.

There are certainly worse endings.

Next time: “Volcano”

Episode 096 – “Coronas of the Sun”

Turns out it’s very difficult to find screenshots for certain episodes, especially when you haven’t seen them yet, so you aren’t sure if they actually go to that particular episode or a different one. In this case, I couldn’t find any, so instead enjoy this picture of a fluffy bunny rabbit.

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Totes adorbes!

When last we saw our heroes, they’d been captured by the Daleks, who are well-known for taking prisoners, provided you’re the Doctor or one of this allies/another important character. They want the Doctor hand over the McGuffin he’s carrying, and the reason they don’t shoot at him is because apparently it could cause an explosion. Happily, at that moment, an invisible creature attacks. It’s every bit as dramatic as you’d expect for a situation where one enemy is invisible, and it’s all done through still photos.

To the credit of the people who made this reconstruction, they do try to do some interesting things. For example, they have some CGI-ish Daleks that move around in a couple of scenes, and they do have flashing lights in the background and stuff. It’s nice to see the effort.

The Doctor and Steven try to mess with the Daleks, which doesn’t work perfectly, but works well enough. They manage to get into their ship, along with Sara Kingdom, and zip off. Mavic Chen is shown to be smirking when he hears this. He also mocks the Daleks for their failure.

The Doctor is trying to mock up a fake of the mineral the Daleks want. This leads to an amusing scene between the three of them discussing different types of energy generation, and in that one scene, Sara manages more characterization than Katarina managed in three-and-a-half episodes.

The TARDIS crew arrive and are met by Chen and some Daleks. Sara is generally displeased to see him, but they cut a little deal whereby the Doctor is allowed to return to his TARDIS. Not a wise course of action. Of course Steven gets away, having been protected by a force field, and the TARDIS flies off, and there you are.

Next time: “The Feast of Steven”