Hello everyone, the Historian here. We’ve gone from a smaller group last week to a nearly full house tonight! Will the Doctor and Jamie rescue their friends and escape the clutches of Tobias Vaughn? Just what is he up to, anyway? Let’s get to the episode! This episode first aired 16 November, 1968.
H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
Sp = Spoo
MS = Minispoo
EG = ElfGrrl
P = Photobug
A = Altair
Cz = Cz (guest staring)
MS: I guess there’s something underneath the blanket.
EG: And we don’t know what it is! Is it another man taking a nap?
H: Tune in next week when you’ll see the other man say “zzzzz” and turn over.
MS: Maybe it’s Zoe. They could have just knocked her out and put her in there. You know, they could have sleeping darts.
K: Yeah, you guys missed last week. Zoe and Isobel were put in one of those crates. So it could be them.
H: So, as the Historian, I’d like to note a historical factoiod about this evening that we are watching this episode.
P: A factoid is something that appears to be true but it’s not.
H: Fine. A fact then.
<discussion of word definition changes.. what does this have to do with Doctor Who?>
H: It has nothing to do with Doctor Who!
Sp: You know, some of us did miss last week.
EG: I know! I missed last week!
Sp: So it’s entirely possible that Vaughn is actually working for the Factoids.
Sp: They’re Doctor Who’s greatest foe! They appear to be evil but it’s not true!
K: Your “fact” Historian?
H: Okay. We are watching this episode on July 18th, 2014. 10 years ago today filming on the new series began exactly 10 years ago today.
EG: That is super amazing! <does math for a bit> That was 2004.
H: That’s right.
EG: A few months after Minispoo was born!
H: That’s right! It doesn’t seem that long ago, does it.
Sp: It depends on the day.
P: Kilroy was here!
Sp: Yeah. That was cute.
P: Does everybody know what that is.
H: The kids don’t.
A: So back in World War II some soldier kept writing “Kilroy was here” all over the place. Eventually it became more than one. I haven’t seen that in a while – maybe I’ll start doing it.
EG: No wonder, Kilroy was on that thing on the wall.
P: That’s why we brought it up. So this must be right after the war.
K: “Doctor Who dating controversy.” We don’t know when this was. Har har har.
Sp: Don’t mention The War.
H: I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.
<and the group tumbles into bad “Fawlty Towers” jokes for a while.>
K: Okay. Back to Doctor Who.
<one more joke… and… are we done yet?>
P: So apparently the Fawlty Towers Project is next…
R: A lot shorter.
P: The prop department had a lot of fun with this episode. This place was strewn with electronics in some of these scenes.
A: I liked their fake elevator.
Sp: I loved the story explanation for how they’re getting away with reusing a set.
Sp: I believe in efficiency and duplication.
Sp & R: Budget cuts!
H: Watching this again, that line… remember that line.
EG: “Get them! I cannot wait anymore!” It sounds like a man wanting to get his dogs back. There’s an old saying that you should never really trust. If you want to do something right, you gotta do it yourself. That’s not how it works with fun. When you’re alone it’s terrible. When you’re together… maybe a little terrible, but at least you’ve got company.
H: That’s an excellent philosophy.
EG: Thank you.
Sp: I would watch the hell out of the Vaughn and Packer show.
H: I know, right! I love Packer. He’s just so fun to watch.
Sp: I love the two of them together specifically. Mumble mumble, threat, mumble.
P: How many other characters of that style have you seen… the smart controlling guy and the beefier guy who gets bossed around. Pinky and Brain?
A: Ren and Stimpy
P: Lenny and George from “Of Mice and Men.”
H: I would say that Vaughn and Packer pre-sage a lot of combinations we will get in the future, especially from the writer Robert Holmes. When I say “we” I mean Doctor Who in general, as they fall outside the scope of this project.
K: Brain and brawn. Master-Blaster sort of thing.
EG: So, if Doctor Who is the main character, then we should know where he was hiding. But we don’t.
H: Because we followed Jamie instead of the Doctor at the end. Maybe we’ll find out next week.
<Discussion of why The Doctor isn’t actually called Doctor Who.>
R: So, am I wrong, or does Watkins look familiar?
H: Do you mean the actor or the character?
R: The actor. Probably. Was he on the show before?
H: He will be in the future. Again. He plays the inventor in “The Robot.”
R: Speaking of budget cuts…
Sp: <frog voice> Yes?
R: Actual Rolls Royce. Doctor Who be moving up in the world.
K: It advances from the “Audi” level car from last week.
H: They’re in a Plutocrat’s car. Last week they were in a government car.
K: But they had enough budget for a Rolls. Or at least to borrow one.
P: “Yes, sir. I will definitely polish your car for you. It will be back at the end of the day.”
P: Another episode without the TARDIS and I feel a little less.
K: I don’t know, I’m fine without them having the maguffin for a while.
Sp: I get it now. I understand why the Doctor doesn’t like lifts.
H: Cause they’re…?
Sp: The same size on the inside as the outside.
H: Remember the M.O. of most of the classic series is the TARDIS is the way for you to get there and they leave. They don’t tend to get back there until the end. Unlike in the new series, where it tends to be more of a plot point.
R: I have to say the flow of the story has been such that I have no felt… I haven’t felt its absence except as a motivator in the plot. This story has moved along really, really smoothly.
H: I’m glad you feel that way. We have five episodes to go. In all seriousness, I agree with you. I feel like, in general this story is very well put together. Even the padding. I’m so happy we’ve got UNIT. It always makes me smile.
Sp: Brigadier squee!
<Cz wanders into the room>
Cz: I thought Jamie was extra cute in this episode.
H: You didn’t watch this episode.
P: Did you like it when Jamie climbed up the ladder?
Cz: Was there an upskirt?
Cz: Yeah! It was the best episode ever!
Cz: I’m the most serious member of the TARDIS project.
P: Seriously missing.
Cz: Seriously awesome.
K: So… Zoe on vacation this week?
Sp: She was in the box.
P: “Hello?” <knocks on couch>
Sp: She’s like a larger, cuter version of “Prince Albert in a can!”
R: So, speaking of serious…
H: Were we?
R: What was with the football calls when they arrived in front of the special police unit?
H: It wasn’t a special police unit. It was Vaughn’s other headquarters. Those were Vaughn’s private army presenting arms.
R: I got all that. But I’ve never heard, even the most seasoned drill sergeant, utter anything so incomprehensible as “Gah, dah, huet!”
H: <bit of a paraphrase here> That’s more typical of British army than U.S.
R: <British accent> “I’m afraid I can’t quite understand your banter sir.”
H & P: <mutter incomprehensibly.>
<The Historian pulls up an actual British drill sergeant screaming on You Tube. Brief discussion of how easy it was to understand. Or not.>
Sp: So, I wasn’t here last week. Is there a story reason why Vaughn is so super confident that, not only does he give back the magnet to the Doctor…
K: And the TARDIS part.
Sp: And the TARDIS part…
R: You’re a TARDIS part.
H: Cz’s not even in the room anymore!
Sp: But also let Jamie have his knife. That’s a huge knife. I don’t care if the only thing that it’s stabbed in this episode is an elevator, what does he have that.
P: He keeps it hidden under his kilt.
Sp: It’s in his belt.
R: The reason that Vaughn is so confident is because he has Zoe.
Sp: But still.
H: Also, he’s Vaughn. And he has no reason to not believe that he always has the upper hand.
K: He even told down the evil glowly light thing in his magical closet.
R: So lots of entertaining sound moments in this episode. Some good ones, some no so good. The helicopter bit – nice touch. On the other hand, the foley feed at the beginning <pats hands on sofa really quickly> which were completely out of sync with everybody who was running on screen. And, not timed to match up with the people who came in from off screen.
<discussion of how they may have created the audio>
A: Did anyone else notice the elevator making a noise when it wasn’t moving?
P: I think so.
R: And, of course, I must inject at this point “Move!”
H: I love Packer.
R: I’m just so amused… you’ve got this paramilliary thug who screams like a little kid.
Sp: Now that we’re on sounds, my favorite sound was a character all its own. It was the little Jawa noise coming out of the wrist band communicator Dick Tracy looking thing.
Everyone: “Memememememeeemememe utini!”
Sp: “What’s that? Kill Vaughn?” “Mememememe” “We couldn’t! Who’d clean up the mess!”
H: So we’ve gone from Fawlty Towers to Red Dwarf. Awesome.
K: At least they’re all British. Like Doctor Who. Hint. Are we ready for final thoughts?
R: I’ve got one more. I loved Packer’s face when he realizes that he can use the elevator to cause pain. “I’ll pay the rent!”
H: This is why I said last week that you gotta keep watching him. He’s just the gift that keeps on giving.
R: He’s the second… who the hell were the avocado people?
H: The Dominators?
H: So I think we’re ready for final thoughts.
MS: It was awesome.
H: Anything else Minispoo?
MS: No. I always have to say “it was awesome.” It is a tradition for me.
EG: Never go into a filled up coffin.
A: Not bad advice.
H: Anything else?
EG: That advice was for Jamie.
A: I liked it. I’m really enjoying Vaughn. He’s getting a lot more upset.
R: He definitely got more yell-y this week. “Packer, you made me forget why I rescued you from the pound.”
A: Yeah, Packer had a sad puppy look when he got yelled at.
R: Naughty bad, bad militia commander. Bad. No rubber hose.
P: Okay. I get the feeling that the duplicate office was sort of a joke that started on the set that they went ahead and did. “You know what would really save money?” and it did.
R: I can believe that.
P: Once again I think that the character play between the Doctor and Jamie, as well as the Doctor and Vaughn, were the strength of this episode. Again. Again we saw UNIT, but it was kind of not necessarily in their favor. You can’t sneak up in a helicopter. It was a plan that went awry.
Sp: When I’m an evil genius.
P: Well, you’re not genius.
Sp: A) You’re all fired. B) I want to be Vaughn.
H: Let’s see if you still say that in five weeks.
Sp: I still say that now. Because as of now, Vaughn has: a psychotic and loyal henchman; the confidence to leave his opponents fully armed; the self confidence to mumble most of his instructions…
H: We understood all of them.
Sp: And so did his hench. And as a mumbler myself I respect the hell out of that.
K: I’m used to being the henchmen of someone who mumbles a lot.
H: But Mister Mother is not here.
Sp: But, most of all, when I grow up, I want to be Vaughn because his staff is so competent that they can fix an elevator that has had its controls severed and they can do that fixing remotely.
H: They put it on another circuit.
Sp: Shut up.
H: The whole big thing is circuits. Microcircuits.
A: That’s the buzz-word.
H: For 1968, I guess so.
Sp: Also I am going to have the feeling about four episodes from now that this story could have been cut short by about… five episodes, if, while on the roof, the Doctor and Jamie had simply been picked up by UNIT’s helicopter.
H: I can neither confirm nor deny. I couldn’t possibly comment on that possibility.
Sp: You would never do anything to keep me from watching all nine…
Sp: Eight. Episodes of this.
R: “Qveen Ami-darra!”
H: No, no, no no, no no!
<That was the Mavic Chen joke we’ve been wait for all night. Thank you Ronelyn.>
Sp: UNIT looked like a little bit of a backwater operation didn’t it?>
H: They’re currently headquartered in a big huge airplane.
K: Done Spoo?
K: Cz, you wanna thought?
R: Right. Ahem. <tunes voice> <Pinky and the Brain theme> “They’re Packer and the Vaughn. Packer and the Vaughn. One is a genius, the other’s his pawn. Because they both are jerks, they’re selling out the Earth. They’re Packer, Packer and the Vaughn, Vaughn, Vaughn, Vaughn.”
H: Is that it?
R: You better hope so.
H: How do you follow that?
K: Indeed. So, looking back at this episode, while entertaining, it was very much filler regarding plot. The Doctor gets to meet Watkins. But, other than that, not much else happened.
R: But it didn’t feel like padding.
K: When you see only one a week though… I just get frustrated that the plot moves so slow. I wanna see the spoiler spoiler spoiler. So SLOW! But, nevertheless, it was fun and entertaining.
R: They’re computer guys – it was an invasion of privacy.
K: That’s it.
H: So, to a certain extent I think both Ronelyn and Ketina are right, in that this was basically, other than meeting Watkins, a chase episode. But it didn’t feel.. like most of the padding we’ve seen. It’s actually a “from here to there” episode as well. And certainly the end really sets up the next bit. It’s not like…
Sp: Artificial peril.
H: It’s not like… a cliffhanger that just serves to be a cliffhanger. It actually sets something up. And I will second the love for Vaughn and Packer.
P: I hope the two of them make it.
H: Well, all the odds are against their love, yes. And when the Brig called out to Benton into his microphone I nearly went “yes!” it made me so happy. And I cannot wait for next week. I really can’t wait for next week.
And that’s it for another week! Next week, I believe we will be watching the animated reconstruction and I can’t wait to see the team’s reaction! Until then, I remain
NEXT WEEK: THE INVASION EPISODE 3