4 – The Invasion

Hello everyone, the Historian here. A very relieved Historian, I might add, as we have gotten to the fourth (alas, missing) episode of “The Invasion” and, once it’s done, I can finally stop keeping shtum about [REDACTED FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN IT AND ARE WATCHING ALONG WITH US]! This week, we’ll be watching the second of the animated episodes released on the official BBC DVD, animated by Cosgrove Hall. So, without further ado, let’s get to the episode! This episode first aired 23 November 1968. (Doctor Who’s fifth birthday!)

H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
Sp = Spoo
EG = ElfGrrl
Cz = Cz
P = Photobug
A = Altair
E = Ezio

—-

H: I can breathe again.

EG: Was that a human or was that a…

Sp: A Cyberman.

<explanation to ElfGrrl about the Cybermen and how they can be put into hibernation>

P: I knew it!

K: How long again did you know it.

P: I knew it during the discussion of conversion. And the emotion machine.

A: I was surprised.

H: I was amazed when Cz called it in the first episode and I had to keep my mouth shut.

Cz: I did?

H: Yes. You said “I think it’s the Cy-ba-men!”

Cz: The computers gave it away.

Sp: So, Historian…

H: Yeeees?

Sp: After this story, how many more Kevin Stoney stories are there?

H: None in the Project.

Sp: In Doctor Who?

H: One.

Sp: And, in that story, does Stoney’s character exhibit great overconfidence while being in cahoots with a vastly superior enemy that we all know is going to kill him dead, dead, dead by the end of the story. Because I’m sensing a theme in Mr. Stoney’s casting.

P: His ways are <am I really typing this?> set in stone.

H: No.

Sp: Well, that’s disappointing.

K: I’m disappointed at how STUPID Vaughn is. He knows the Cybermen are going to turn them, and yet he’s still working with them. And doesn’t give a crap about the rest of humanity, apparently.

H: All I’ll say is, keep watching. I managed to keep my mouth shut about this spoiler, so I’m not going to spoil anything at this point.

Cz: How many more episodes?

H: Four.

Cz: Holy crap.

H: But they all exist.

R: I’m going to miss the animation when it’s gone.

P: Me too.

R: I really liked the artwork for Vaughn’s office. I thought they did a nice subtle job on the lighting and background and everything.

H: Did you enjoy the lens flash.

P: Yup.

Sp: I most enjoyed the lip curl smile.

A: Yeah.

R: The jackbooted thugs are actually more compelling in the animation then they are in real life. Goofy continuity thing – by the way – so the guards can lift one of these really heavy pods when there’s a Cyberman in it and tote it around like it’s a sleeping bag. But if you put a human in it, it takes two of them to carry it.

H: To be fair, we know some of the guards can tote one around without a problem. We don’t know all of the guards can do this. We also know they shoot like storm troopers.

P: I loved the line, couldn’t hit a flying elephant.

<everyone agrees>

R: Nobody could hit a flying elephant. You’d be going “Whoa! A flying elephant!”

Sp: Which reminds me, speaking of good animation the Brigadier is very… Briggy with this animation. He’s very expressive. They did a good job with him.

K: I like this – I could see the later Brigadier in him that I couldn’t see in the Web of Fear.

Sp: So you know the old thing about how “War and Peace” can be summarized as “the enemy advances, the enemy retreats?”

H: Kind of.

Sp: Episode four. Helicopter comes in. Helicopter goes out.

K: It was only during the first half.

P: I think it does it three times.

Sp: Oh, and there was a Cyberman at the end.

R: Dude, don’t complain about the helicopter. First the first time Jamie got the chance to look up someone else’s skirt.

H: Fun fact about that scene…

R: None of them were wearing underwear?

H: Well, I don’t know about this. The fun fact is… Frazer Hines made sure weights were sewn into the bottom of his kilt so no wind could make anything blow anywhere.

R: <whispers> My fun fact is more fun.

K: I knew there was a point in Doctor Who when he did that… makes sense that it was for this story.

Sp: So why did Zoe make a big show of pointing out the security camera watching them, and then they never reference it again. Especially during the daring escape out the window with the ladder.

K: The sort of do. The camera was why they blocked the door so that the guards couldn’t rush into the room to stop them from escaping out the window from within the room. Zoe figured the guards knew they were escaping because of the camera so she took extra precaution.

R: I’m with Spoo. I would have done the same thing anyway… because escaping. It sort of like hanging a gun on a wall in a burning house.

H: I have to wonder if the full episode had something more there. Because we do know the animation did miss out on some stuff. But I don’t know.

R: Was anybody else creeped out by the secretary of the army… “You have a phone call sir.” “Male or female… I have to decide if I should be wearing pants.”

<general agreement>

H: Ah, 1968.

R: Yeah. And then they say “Vaughn sir.” “So neither.”

P: So, why didn’t the helicopter just land and then not get shot at because no one could see him from below?

H: Well, they saw it come in to land.

R: <explains how the ground troops couldn’t hit the helicopter if it landed because of the angle.>

H: The only explanation I have is that the Doctor told them to do it, but they did need the rope ladder to rescue the girls.

R: Oh, of course. So the rope ladder is a reach weapon. Which means you can’t use it on targets in an adjact square.

H: Exactly. Nerd humor powers activate.

<and it gets a bit weird for a minute… there’s a whole Super Friends thing… trust me, I’m saving you pain.>

R: Which is why I say Inikcholk whenever I come out of the bathroom.

<laughter>

H: Moving on…

R: This story moves along at at quite decent clip I have to say, for mostly Keystone Cop filler.

P: Sort of a reverse base under siege.

K: No, this is more classic. They captured. Thrown in a cave. Escape from the cave. Captured again.

R: But my point is, unlike that horrifying nonseries of events, in feels like there’s actually stuff going on in this one.

H: I could defend 100,000 B.C.

R: Yes you could.

K: And I must point out, this is the Cybermen. Remember. The aliens of inexplicable plans.

H: All of their plans are explicable. They’re just ludicrously complicated.

R: Unlike the Daleks. “Okay, first we hollow out the Earth.”

K: Okay. But still, Cybermen and ridiculous plans are a thing. And I’m sure will be a thing in this story as well.

Sp: So, in that light, maybe a couple of episodes of filler is a good thing because then the Cybermen’s plan cannot expand to fill the available space.

H: Phase 43.

Sp: Oh, I’m so sorry, we’re out of story.

R: God know this might still be the SAME plan.

H: To be fair, we’re not far in the future.

R: Yes. Now that we’re in the past we can spring into action.

K: So, Vaughn apparently knows enough about the Cybermen at this point to know they convert people, and that they have some issue with emotions that he might be able to use against them. I’m curious to see how he figured this all out, and how he got tangled up into this situation in the first place. It really appears that he’s prepared to betray all of humanity to help the Cybermen, which seems completely nuts. I’m not expecting an answer from you, Historian.

H: I can say a couple of things. In the episode he said he realized the thing about emotions when he showed them the prototype of the machine and they really didn’t like the emotion causing part of it and told him to destroy it.

R: It would be like creating a gun and trying to sell it to the Puritans and tell them it also shows naughty pictures.

K: I did get that part. I mean see him interact with the Cybermen on screen in a way other than with big shiny light box thing.

H: The second thing I can say is he’s very clear that he plans to use them to grab power and then use the emotion machine to destroy them. He believes that he’s not working for them, they’re working for him.

K: I got that too. But what power does he expect them to grab for him if they’re going to do what he suspects, and convert everyone to Cybermen, which is what he said. What does he think he’s going to get from this if all the rest of humanity are Cybermen. That’s what I don’t get.

H: I’m out now.

R: I think he’s going to interrupt before everyone becomes a Cyberman process.

K: I hope so.

R: But also, like so many managers, at so many tech companies, I don’t think he understands how any of this crap works.

K: <laughter>

H: I think Vaughn does understand this a lot better though.

K: So maybe he’s just insane then.

Sp: No. I think I get what he’s trying to do, and I’m going to use a different metaphor.

R: “Why buy the cow when you can blow it up and have hamburger?”

<laughter>

Sp: Darn it Ronelyn, that’s better than what I had. No, what Vaughn is trying to do is, he sees a damsel strapped to the rail road tracks and a train coming down the track, and he thinks he can jump into the moving train, stop the train, and then he has the damsel right where he wants her. The train is the Cybermen and the damsel is humanity. The tracks… are… probably England? Yes, there you are.

R: Well, damn, I guess mine was better.

Sp: I told you. And thanks, now I’m hungry.

H: So, are we at final thoughts? Ezio?

E: “Dun dun DUUUUUN!” I think that speaks for itself. Also, really nice rescue sequence. It’s pretty climatic.

Sp: Climb-atic.

<groans>

E: Yeah. This was pretty exciting. <whispers> I’m looking forward to the next one.

H: Altair?

A: Oh crap. Cybermen.

K: Photobug?

P: Hum… I think we covered it all. It had action! It had gun shooting! It had alternatetransportationnotnormallytakenbypeople. I loved it. I’d see it again. Animation was stellar. It didn’t suffer from stagnation of middle shows like we’ve seen in the past. Clearly the plots on the move. And I sort of thought that it was going to be the Cybermen because of the word “transformation.”

H: Conversion.

P: Yeah, that’s right.

H: Cz?

Cz: I liked the “music” near the end. But I was very disappointed that it did not actually go “Dun dun DUN!” I also remember there being a Jimmy I think. And I was thinking “that’s not Jamie’s name.” Because they were yelling it like they do with Jamie. That’s all.

H: Now. It’s time for ElfGrrl.

EG: I… <thinks> I liked how they blocked the door and how they got the helicopter out. But I still didn’t understand how Jamie survived when they were shooting.

H: They missed him.

EG: They missed him, but did they ever shoot the ladder?

A: They couldn’t hit a flying elephant.

EG: Okay.

H: Anything else? Was it awesome?

EG: <shakes head. Cut off motion.>

H: We’ll leave that to Minispoo when he’s here.

K: Spoo?

Sp: <squints> <thinks> <gestures>

R: enough!

Sp: <cut off motion.>

K: That’s it?

Sp: <nods>

K: Ronelyn?

R: <Vaughn voice> “You see Packer, we have to take a certain amount of risk. Imagine that we are playing a very dangerous game. A sort of Baccarat of galactic destruction. Oh that’s good. Yes. Write that down.”

K: Is that it?

R: Yeah.

H: Oh, I wanted you to keep going so badly.

R: Sometimes less is more. A lesson that Vaughn could stand to learn.

K: As usual, how am I going to follow that. So, while it was well done, not much happened in this episode. Mostly an escape, then some dialog, then followed by them just going back in again. Again, these stories are so unnecessarily long.

R: Dude, what are you talking about. “Bang, bang! Bullet! Gun! Helicopter! Boom!”

K: As I said, not much happened.

R: <Comic book guy voice> We were clearly watching two different episodes.

K: So, while I’m enjoying the story, I think it’s a lot longer than it needs to be. And it really feels it watching it unfold so slowly with a week in between each episode. Wow.  Good story, just loooong.

Sp: Take us home, Historian.

H: I cannot tell you how relieved I am that we’re finally at the end of episode four. I can finally not worry about giving away the identity of the alien baddy. I think this story is paced well. There’s definitely filler but at least it’s enjoyable. This episode was fun. It may not have been the most necessary episode, but I enjoyed it. And I would love it see it in the original form. Maybe some day.

—-

And there we have it! Whew! Not that our story ends here–not by a long shot. We have four fun episodes to go, starting next week! Until then, I remain

THE HISTORIAN

NEXT WEEK: THE INVASION EPISODE 5