Expandmenu Shrunk

02 – The War Games

Hello everyone, the Historian here. This week, episode two of The War Games, our final story. I’m sure you will all enjoy it.

<pause. puts on glasses>

I said, I’m sure you will all enjoy it.

Everyone: <monotone> I’m sure we will all enjoy it.

<takes off glasses, realizes he can’t see to type, puts them back on again>

That’s better. Now, let’s get to the episode! This episode first aired 26 April 1969.


H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
P = Photobug
A = Altair
SG = SpookyGrrl
EG = ElfGirl
M = Mister Mother

P: They’re dead! They’re gonna die!

R: Now that was a good cliffhanger.

Sp: Even though it went a little long.

EG: The show makes more sense now. Like the mist kind of time travels. Makes them forget? Okay, yeah, it’s a…pretty not unclear. It’s still foggy. It’s pretty foggy. The gas! The gas is still there but they can’t see it! It’s clear gas! But isn’t so clear.

H: That was adorable.

EG: Thank you. Someone finally understands me.

Sp: <monotone> Someone finally understands her.

P: Again? Have you been like this all week?

Sp: It’s been a long week.

M: So we still can’t talk about the…or the?

H: No. Not for quite a long time, actually.

Sp: Oh my goodness, this is the best episode that I’ve seen in the project for a long time.

M: It was really good. And SO MANY Will Saves.

K: I think they’re call Wisdom Saves now.

Sp: No. This episode was about two thirds poker game with the amount of bluffing and blustering and shout til you get what you want.

M: Another way of saying will saves.

Sp: It was amazing, and no psychic paper was required.

H: Thank you, very much.

P: Or invented yet.

EG: I like that it was illusion-y. And the greatest part is, I get to hypnotize people now. <she wears glasses. Points at Mister Mother> You do my homework! <Points at Spoo> You do my chores!

M: I’m wearing contact lenses.

P: <also wears glasses> And you go out and earn the money for the house this month.

EG: Muhahaha! I can be evil again. I laugh at the power.

H: Okay.

M: <To Historian & Spoo> Are you saying that you prefer acting over storytelling short cuts?

H: You know, an occasionally use of the psychic paper was fine. It was a good idea. But yes, I missed this kind of thing.

Sp: The amazing thing, to me, is that when the Doctor is starting to do it, it doesn’t look like it should work. And then the further he goes the more it doesn’t look like Patrick can pull it off, and then it just works. And both the Doctor, as character, and Patrick as actor, through shear force of will, makes for a very convincing bluff. Which is doubly hard in a story which already has a hypnotism story telling short cut with the glasses.

M: I actually thought that it was perfect, with the Doctor basically clued in on how susceptible to suggestion these people might be.

Sp: And, with military hierarchy, makes sense too. But, seriously, this is the best episode I’ve seen of Pat Troughton in a long time. From the acting to the blistering pace, to multiple factions all working against or with each other, and then they introduce involuntary time travel bit too. It was just so well put together, and so much more story in this one than we’ve gotten in entire six episode stories, recently. Just so well done.

K: I’m glad you enjoyed it.

H: Me too.

M: <sarcastically> And thank goodness they lady Jennifer, so someone was qualified to operate the phones. It’s so typical of the time period they were portraying, but it was still a facepalm moment.

H: To be fair, she was also needed to drive the ambulance.

R: At least they didn’t try to laugh it off. It was obvious that they were saying “yes, remember back in this time period.”

H: Three things. First of all, there’s a decent reason why she didn’t have anything to do – she was an ambulance driver and a medic. There really wasn’t a hell of a lot else she could do other than coordinate on the phones. Second thing, what do you mean back in this time period. It was made in 1969. You’re saying that as if it was something to remember for 1917, but it was still a reality for 1969.

M: If they had been making a concious intentional effort to make gender roles, like in Downton Abby, that would have been one thing. But the fact that they just said “answer the phone” they could have come up with any number of things for her to do.

H: She’s not a soldier though, so what would they have her do?

M: <shrug>

Sp: Zoe smacked a soldier in the head with a vase. So it’s okay.

H: My third point, was that I am amazed you’re not talking about the Doctor bluffing for having Zoe as his secretary, if we’re talking about gender roles.

M: Actually, in 1917, the secretary would have been male.

P: The Doctor was trying speak to someone in that time period and con him.

K: I’m just surprised that most of you discussing gender roles are guys, and not as much of me, Ronelyn, and Altair. :)

R: I already do that all day on the internet.

Sp: And, to be fair, you didn’t have a chance to speak. You’re too busy typing. You know…like a secretary.

K: <glares at Spoo>

Sp: I love you!

K: <continues to glare>

EG: You’re cheating on my mom!

K: Moirails. <and I’m not going to explain that reference. Look it up> Moving on. So, the machine that General Smythe had…

R: remarkably TARDIS-esque.

K: Looked like the time travel machine that the Daleks had back in The Chase.

R: <Dalek voice> “What were we going to do, have a bake sale? These plans take a lot of funds.”

H: It takes a lot of money to drill into the earth for an engine, after all.

K: Anyway, I thought that was interesting.

H: And it sounded like the TARDIS sound run backwards too.


Sp: Too early. I did notice one trivial production error where the camera was at just the right angle to show Smythe pulling the door to the “SIDRAT” shut.

<discussion of if the actual term SIDRAT has been used on Doctor Who. Conclusion, the Master’s TARDIS is not called SIDRAT>

P: One thing that I’ve learned from Doctor Who is miltary protocol for the British Army. We seem to run into it a lot.

H: At least TV versions of the protocol for the British Army.

R: There were several points during this episode, speaking of that, when I thought to myself “Ah, Britishness in… 3…2…1…”

H: Britishness now.

M: Sir… and tea.

R: Yup. That was one of them. And “It’s about time you showed up!” “I…ah…oh, very well.” There were a number of other examples too, but it was just amusing to go “Ah, this is where the Doctor wins because he just understands Britain.”

M: You wonder why the Cybermen don’t win just by going “Well, we’re here now…”

R: “And we’ve brought a flag!”

H: So, Smythe is a hell of a villain, isn’t he. He’s a lot more sinister than you’d think he’d be just looking at him.

R: He’s the first villain I can think of who’s scary move is putting on his glasses.

M: Nice. And he got to say the phrase “creeping artillery barrage.” which is a heck of a lot more intense than a lot of Doctor Who villains. You know, genocide and mass murder is always on the menu, but some of them are more convincing than others.

Sp: Something that occurs to me, is that this specific villain, so far, seems to be really into it. But without the kind of cheesy mustache twirling that we’ve gotten from recent villains, most of our villains either were forced into it, or thought they had no choice, or really liked it but they’re presentation wasn’t all that menacing. But this guy, yeah, he’s into it.

K: What’s up with the creepy guy who was standing behind him during the camera scene.

M: We call that foreshadowing.

R: Yeah. He had to go back in “Yes, my evil glasses aren’t eviling properly anymore.”

Sp: “I’ll be back to the war in a moment, I have to stop off at LENS MASTERS!”

R: Now open your eyes and say “ahhhh!” I was also amused at our little view of nerd-girl relations through history. “It’s not very often that women take an interest in military supply.”

<does not type Photobug’s pun. You’re welcome>

P: If you keep that up people are going to think I don’t make good puns.

R: Hahaha. Yes. Think.

Sp: Jamie did a fantastic job taking care of himself.

H: And hey, a Red Coat. We haven’t seen one of those in a while.

M: Another sort of loop, you might say. A reincorporation, even. After all this time we come back to the Red Coats.

H: Specifically from the time of Cullodan / the Highlanders.

K: <saying nothing, so as not to say spoilers>

Sp: Jamie handled it as well as we would expect him to by now. “You! You look oddly dressed and scared of cars. I’ve been there. It’s okay.”

H: I love that line “I’ve seen them too!”

R: Yeah. They have these horseless carriages. “Oh buddy, you have no idea.”

P: Wait until you’ve run from a great sky bird.

H: You haven’t lived until you’ve run from a great sky bird.

R: <Scottish accent> “Och! And they have this thing called a turducken.”

M: <voice over intonation> I am intentionally not speaking in a Scottish accent.

P: <tries and fails to speak gibberish in a Scottish accent. I can’t even type it, sorry.>

H: Are we at final thoughts?

M: We must be.

H: Photobug?

P: Oh my god, theygonnadie!

H: That’s it?

P: Um. I’m digging the gotta start the car from the front thing. It really makes me appreciate my hybrid. I’m starting to there’s some time travel involved here.


R: Ladies and gentlemen, Photobug has started watching the series.

P: <thinks> This episode had a lot of nice outdoor shots. It’s something you don’t get too often. I thought they made good use with the time on screen with the actors. They didn’t fluff around, they got right to the point. Which felt pretty good. Looking forward to what’s going on. Clearly this Doctor’s going far.

K: Clearly I’m going to miss Patrick Troughton, but he’s leaving on a high point.

Sp: Final thought, Elfgirl?

EG: <spins up> Ah yes. It was… good. Good. Yes that was good. And that was good. That could have been really good. That evened it out. That’s great. That’s awesome. That’s really good. So, yes, the votes say….it was good! It was awesome. And it got evened out.

<I think she voted with herself??

EG: Yup.

H: That was cute.

Sp: <looks at Ketina> The voices your head have developed subsidiary voices.

EG: That you for saying that I’m cute.

H: You’re welcome.

M: Well, you’ll know what I think as soon as the voices make up their mind.

K: Well, it’s your turn, Mister Mother.

M: I do love a good Roman standard.

Sp: <holds one finger in the air, starts to speak…thinks better of it.>

M: And also, the cost of shooting a scene is directly proportional to the number of times the BBC will reuse it, vis a vis the artillery explosions.

K: That it?

M: Yeah.

H: Spoo?

Sp: <spins up> Um…No, we’ve covered everything. Just really, really well written, and acted, and paced. And I can only hope that they have the stamina to keep this kind of quality and complexity and pace for another few episodes, considering that we have eight to go.

K: Ronelyn?

R: <British Tommy accent> “Ready! Aim!” Blam “Sir, I’ve been shot!” “It’s because you pointed the rifle the wrong way, you git!”


P: Isn’t that why they made the rifles so long? To prevent that?

EG: Well, that would make sense.

H: <whispers> Not at all.

Sp: <mumbles> That’s an accidental feature.

K: So, my turn then?

Sp: You’re not wearing glasses, so not necessarily.

H: It’s your turn now.

K: <sigh> Lasik. I am protected from your weirdo glasses voodoo tricks.

<silly discussion of glasses mind tricks>

K: I liked it. I’m still worried that things are going to slow down in the middle because TEN PARTS!

R: Oh, don’t worry, they will.

M: Oh come on. They’ve just introduced Romans. Just keep going.

H: They’ve earned it. With these two episodes they’ve earned the right to have some padding in the middle, if the rest of the story is this good.

P: They’re probably going to end this on a huge cliff hanger.

K: They are. They are going to end it with a huge cliff hanger. But I’m trying to be vague. I’m looking very much forward to seeing the rest, although not, necessarily looking forward to finishing the Project. :(

H: That’s kind of where I am too.

K: I am also looking forward to not typing like this every week. :)

H: This is your idea.

K: Anyway, your turn, Historian.

H: I am having a heck of a great time. I’m really enjoying this story, even more than I thought I would. And I’m really enjoying the fact that you all are enjoying it so much. This is a great way to end the Project, which gives me a really great feeling inside, other than the fact that we’re ending, which is sad. And on that note, do we want to go out with some kind of joke?

P: Knock knock…

E: I enjoyed it more than anyone! <note that she did not watch it>

Sp: I won’t miss that sort of joke.

And there we have it, another episode down. We’ll be taking a break next week to attend the Emerald City Comicon (maybe I’ll see some of you there!), but we will be back with another episode the week after. I’m both excited to be watching this story with the Project and kind of wistful at the same time, it being our final story and all. What do you think? Do you have a favorite story? A favorite TARDIS Project moment? There’s still plenty of time to share them in a comment. I look forward to hearing from you! Until then, I remain