And we’re back! Hello everyone, the Historian here. We have survived both unexpected power outages and the bangs and booms of a Fourth of July celebration, and a relatively small house has gathered to watch the second episode of “The Invasion”–which sees the return of a familiar face and the introduction of a keystone of Doctor Who lore! But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s get to the episode! The episode first aired 9 November 1968.
H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
P = Photobug
A = Altair
E = Ezio
Cz = Cz
P: I had a feeling we were going to see him again.
H: You mean the Brigadier?
P: Yes. I really liked the way they were brought into the story.
H: Lots of firsts for this Doctor Who story. First UNIT. First Benton. Yay Benton!
R: First appearance of the computer language Algol. And probably the last.
H: I thought you software testers in room would enjoy that.
Sc: Algol is a real language.
K: Not used much anymore.
H: If you’re trying to control a spacecraft from the 70’s you might use it.
R: I was also impressed that Zoe did a really credible job of querying the computer.
K: I liked the “inquiry…”
R: “Two adult males earlier today” Yeah, that’s how you do a Google search – right there. Everyone else is trying to talk to it like it’s a person. And she’s like “yeah, it’s just a vocal interface.”
H: Well, she is from the future-chur-chur-chur.
R: Yeah, and that made it actually a lot more credible.
Cz: Yeah, but so’s the Doctor and he completedly failed at talking to the computer.
R: Yeah, but the Doctor doesn’t like computers.
K: And the Doctor’s probably used to computers with AI. And this computer was closer to Zoe’s timeline than the Doctor’s more advanced timeline.
H: Although this computer is still significant more advanced than it should be for whenever this story takes place.
R: About 4 years after that last Brigadier story took place.
K: So when do these stories take place, Historian?
H: No! No! No!
K: The 70’s or the 80’s right?
H: No, no, no, no, no. Not gonna talk about it.
K: Aww… I love the Discontinuity Guide’s explanation for the…
H: UNIT dating controversy. Which we’ll not talk about now.
K: And yet, here we are.
A: Actually, I don’t know anything about it.
H: We can talk about it later, but it really has nothing to do with the timeline of the TARDIS Project. Anyway…
P: Right off the bat the sound effects were really good. The nice creative use of sound for the doors. The music and the computers.
A: When they were showing UNIT.
H: Yeah, we’re into late 60’s television music now.
K: What was up with the Teddy Bear’s picnic?
H: It was an antique record that she bought in an area of London where they have little stalls and whatnot. The Barrow Road.
<brief discussion of the song>
E: Zoe’s menacing cackle just make the whole thing for me. Glorious.
P: And of course, being Photobug, I loved the photo shoot with the light that’s not on.
H: But it would have interfered with the studio lights.
A: Use your imagination.
P: Also I certainly did appreciate the short skirts.
K: Yeah, I was wondering how Isobel was getting up and down from the floor with that skirt on!
H: It was the 60’s. Don’t question these things.
K: So UNIT was in some kind of weird aircraft?
A: I loved the glass wall with the map on it and the door.
K: The Brigadier seems so much less angry than he eventually gets the Pertwee / Baker era.
A: He hasn’t become so jaded yet.
H: He hasn’t become so frustrated yet.
K: I think he’s at his most frustrated in the early Tom Baker era.
<discussion of how UNIT worked on the early Tom Baker era.>
P: I enjoyed the Doctor surrendering by the Doctor sitting down and dealing a set of cards. It really showed some spunk.
H: Yes, that was good. I love Troughton’s bits of business. I would bet you that was originally improvised and Dougie decided to keep it.
K: We’re light on crew this week… final thoughts?
H: There’s only so much I want to say because I don’t want to give anything away.
P: It may not have seemed like it then, but the cars that they showed were all classics to me.
H: Yeah. My immediate thought was “wow, that’s a nice looking car”
P: And I’m not really a car buff.
H: Me neither.
K: As far as I know, and I do know a wee bit about classic cars, is yes, they were all proper cars of the era. Middle tier luxury likely, though. Like an Audi today, I think?
A: I liked the bad guy. He has a cool factor.
H: Kevin Stony is always cool.
K: And I think he got second billing in the closing credits, before Frazer Hines.
H: <Mavic Chen voice> “I would never do anything to invade the earth!”
A: I liked how he laughed when Zoe nuked the computer.
K: Yeah, he acted all upset in front of them, but he was clearly amused in how they broke the computer.
A: I also really liked his mid-century modern 3-panel video phone.
K: What was up with the closeups of people’s noses in the middle of the screens?
H: It’s Packer looking into his monitor so he can get picked up on the camera.
K: I think that’s why Skype shows you what you look like in the corner when you’re talking to someone. So you know when you’re all nose.
H: Now that we’ve seen more of him, I’m just going to say that I love Packer. I won’t say he’s a fantastic character, but he’s a lot of fun. Keep watching him.
K: I loved that the boa was sticking out of the crate that they put Zoe and Isabel in. I’m guessing that will help the good guys find them later.
H: Could be.
P: I personally thought if you have a super strong being and / or robot then he probably would have super hearing and would have known they were hiding just around the corner in the warehouse scene.
<We wonder into picking on my spelling errors for a while. Seriously, “where” “were” wear” and “ware” are ALL English words. Who comes up with this stuff?>
P: So I’m still pretty surprised to hear the Doctor just handed future components to someone else. Even though it was under duress.
H: As I said last week, it was kind of more take from him.
P: We almost got into Laurel and Hardy esque characters when we got down to the warehouse… when they were continually investigating and running away. It just seemed not to flow with the rest of the story.
K: It reminded me of the bit in the Dominators when the Doctor and Jamie were acting stupid. I think it’s a thing… put just the Doctor and Jamie together with the maturity of young Zoe and you end up with slapstick.
H: I just thought it was, again, funny bits of business. It’s the kind of thing that Troughton and Hines liked.
K: Like I said, they get silly when Zoe’s not around.
H: Oh, off-set they get silly when Zoe is around. <talks about practical jokes>
Cz: For the very little I saw, it seemed to me like the Doctor and Jamie’s acting it was just a little bit better than Zoe and the other chick’s. It was just a little bit.
K: I did find Zoe and Isobel felt a bit flat when they were in the apartment. But they made up for it in their dealing with the computer.
Cz: Yeah. The apartment scene was when I what I meant. The laughing was also terribly creepy.
H: So, final thoughts?
E: It was a good episode. That’s all I’ve got for now.
A: I am enjoying this story and the characters. That’s it.
P: Good story. I think we’re off to a great arc. I really enjoyed the introduction of UNIT. Like everybody else, I’m enjoying the bad guy. Although his minions truly are minions, as they aren’t thinking for themselves.
H: Except for Packer!
P: Can’t wait for next week and enjoyed the moving pictures.
Cz: Merrrrrrrrr. The future is loud! There was a door scene. And also with beeping. It’s very loud.
P: I thought the sounds were cool at least, with the door.
A: It was very slow.
H: Ronelyn has left the room for a bit, we will insert her final thoughts at the end, but we won’t be able to react to them.
A: We can react and see how it turns out.
H: Oh! That is a fantastic idea. So, everybody laugh.
H: everbody groan.
H: Everybody tell Ronelyn she’s wrong.
P: I do not agree with you at all. Everything I’ve heard I disagree with.
K: With Ronelyn or with the Historian?
H: And now I will agree with something Ronelyn says. “That’s a really good point, Ronelyn.” And I think we’ve covered it all.
K: Oh dear.
K: <sigh> This felt more like “in my head” than anything we’ve done, and I just typed what you said, Historian. Anyway… I’m enjoying the story a lot, but I am frustrated by the pace. This is like… 7, 8 parts?
H: 8 parts.
K: Yeah, and it feels it. We’ve only just learned in episode two that the bad guys are working for bigger alien-like bad guys. Who apparently met the Doctor on planet 14. Which doesn’t make any sense to me, but whatever. So I think the slowness of the pace is going to frustrate me. But otherwise I’m enjoying the story so far.
H: Once again, I don’t want to say too much, because there’s still a lot of this story that’s possible to spoil. But this episode gives us Benton, UNIT, the Brig, more Tobias Vaughn. More Packer, who I just love. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked the character. It’s just a well written story with… I’ll agree with you, with some padding. For production reasons more than anything else. And even with the budget cuts it’s still pretty good.
Cz: Budget cuts!
R: Where’d everybody go?
R: <creepy Bond villain voice> Packer, did you, aaah… “take care,” heheh, of those “young” ahaha “ladies,” eheheh, “yet,” aheheh?
R: <Bond henchman voice> Aaah, “no,” <wink> I was “just” about to, “sir.” <nudge>
R: <wink> <nudge> <hand signal> <air quote> <nudge>
R: This just doesn’t work as well with nobody else around. See you next week, folks!
And that’s it for another week! A note, though– Ketina has let me know that I seem to be talking a lot about avoiding spoilers, rather than actually discussing the episodes. I will try to refrain from doing that every week, but I will admit that this story makes it hard! At any rate, we’ll be back next week with another fun episode of this fun story. Until then, I remain