Expandmenu Shrunk


04 – The War Games

Hello everyone, the Historian here, welcoming you back to another episode in this, our final story. If we kept up with our running gag, I’d be making a hypnosis joke right about now, but I think that one’s been played to death, don’t you?

EVERYONE ELSE: Yes, we think that one has been played to death. You are right, Historian.

Ok, just one last time. (I so rarely hear that!) Anyway, let’s get to the episode! This episode first aired 10 May 1969.

H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
Sp = Spoo
EG = Elfgirl
M = Mister Mother
P = Photobug
A = Altair
E = Ezio

—–

P: She gonna die!

M: <mishmash of accents> Well, this episode had some interesting accents.

Sp: Why chew the scenery when you can just chew the accent.

H: Now, now. Some of the accents weren’t entirely fake. There was some Canadians in there. Including the “yew guyzz!” guy.

R: “Mousejaw. Poutine. You guyss! Eh.”

Sp: Hockey sounds. Woosh!

M: I…now I’ve missed a lot of stories, so maybe it’s been there, but this seemed like the most egregious attack of the soundtrack in a long time.

K: I don’t think so. It was distracting, but we’ve heard worse this season.

H: Did everybody like the fact that the aliens used shower curtain technology?

M: It’s amazing what you can do with shower curtains and tin foil.

H: I mean, I thought it looked cool. But clearly shower curtains.

R: <Doctor> “Look Zoe, this eyeglass shop is bigger on the inside.”

P: When I saw the scene I immediately thought that’s a cheap way to do the set. And off in the distance, the echo of “budget cuts.”

Sp: I fansplained it by remembering that the vast majority of people that are in the shower curtain room are hypnotized and only need to walk into the room and stand there. So they all have a little bit of tunnel vision, and really the shower curtains probably aren’t even necessary.

K: So, I like to imagine that all of the fight scenes we’ve missed as part of The Project for recons looked something like what was in this episode. No, I lie. I like to imagine they’re a lot better.

H: The fight scenes were pretty good, I thought.

P: I thought the fight scene was good enough, that it’s still a fight, but not bad enough to be cut by the censors. Which I thought was good enough.

M: Fight scene contrarian. The fight scenes with Jamie I thought were particularly terrible, probably because “We must make sure Frazer must not get hurt!”

K: I thought Jamie did well, just not anyone trying to hit him. Or anyone else. The punches that were FEET off from where they were trying to strike.

M: And the way they were handling the guns was terrible, in contrast to last week where Carstairs actually looked like he knew what he was doing. And also what about that NSFW scene with grabbing the rifle.

H: One take. We have one take!

<attempts at acting out the scene not obscenely fails>

K: What was up with the magically appeared bad guys. Jamie and Jennifer running out and immediately a gun coming in where they were. They would have run into the guy with the gun.

M: And the one with the ambush too. One moment empty countryside and the next lounging soldiers. “We’ve been here this whole time watching the shenanigans.”

Sp: I see your shenanigans and raise you tomfoolery.

P: I raise you a misschief.

M: I fold. It’s hard to beat tomfoolery. You need monkey shines full house.

R: And don’t forget doolallery.

P: That’s seriously a word?

E: <Applause>

<discussion derails a bit>

Sp: Meanwhile, stranded across time and space…

R: Yeah, so was everyone else amused by Southern Hitler? “Ve haff weys of making y’all taulk.”

M: That was the most “interesting” of the accents.

Sp: With a very brief cringe worthy moment of having him refer to the black resistance fighter as “boy.”

H: I thought that was really great, as that was what they would have really said. Or possibly something nastier.

A: I was just happy he didn’t get shot in his first scene.

H: The black actor was born in Trinidad, as I expected from his accent. And the guy who played general Smythe was the cat priest in Red Dwarf. And none of the dudes who played either American soldiers have Wikipedia pages, so I can’t confirm where they were from.

Sp: Quite the look of recognition between the Doctor and War Chief.

M: I was hoping that someone else would point that out.

H: And there was that wonderful bit of foreshadowing bit there, where the Doctor was concerned about who would have that TARDIS-like technology.

<discussion of time travel theories and various conspiracies. I can’t type that fast.>

K: So, did the Doctor take the silly glasses off because he couldn’t see out of them? Because I don’t see how anyone can see out of those things.

H: He clearly didn’t want to be Devo anymore.

P: There were little tiny arrow slits.

M: Clearly he knew there was going to be a big reaction scene coming up. It’s what you call bits of business.

H: Pat Troughton excels at at that, which is why it’s such a shame we’ve lost so many of his episodes, and we can’t watch him doing it.

P: Final thoughts?

H: I’m gonna say thing, because no one has really said it yet – I enjoyed the heck of this episode!

Sp: Yes. Again, as with the previous filler episode, being better than some previous stories, this episode, for all of it’s “interesting” set design and fight choreography, maintained the same pace and advancing the plot and…and actually, come to think of it, I believe Carstairs is the first NPC I’ve cared about in several stories. I was actually vaguely distressed that he was being mind wiped and reset over and over again.

M: This is a big part of what I like about the classic Doctor Who stories, where you can have a 10 parter where you can introduce one or two main points per episode, as opposed to the modern episodes, where everything has to be wiz-bang pow!

H: It’s nice to have more than 45 minutes to tell a story, is what you’re saying. Which I agree with entirely.

K: I think 2-parters in the modern era is better, as it’s about the same length as a classic 4-parter, which for most stories is about right.

<discussion of modern TV shows with story arcs.>

K: Okay, I think we are really ready for final thoughts after that randomness.

E: With me? Okay. Ah… that was good. You know Jamie is going to save the day when you hear vicorious music when someone screams for help. It’s already been decided.

EG: “I’m going to save you!” “Help! Jamie’s going to save me!”

R: Woman in pants saved by man in skirt. Film at 11.

<laughter>

A: It was awesome.

H: Photobug?

P: One, we were assaulted by the soundtrack again.

R: I don’t know about the soundtrack, but that is the worst ring tone for a video phone EVER.

K: It was a red alert alarm!

R: It was a ring tone and a red alert!

EG: My ears! My ears! The agony!

P: Secondly, I’m still digging the other time machine’s exterior.

R: I second that.

P: It seems weird that you could make a time machine where someone could lock you in.

R: How else are you going to get your t-rex back?

P: This plot was a shotgun pattern. There was no cohesive attack in any direction. It felt like a bunch of pieces put together randomly to me. The only part that really pulled it together was the reverse TARDIS. If it wasn’t for that scene, it was just a bunch of things happening and they don’t really relate to each other.

K: Well, they split the party, and we got to see both halves.

P: But, usually when that happens you see both halves with a related thing. Like on two sides of a spaceship.

K: Because the sets looked so different? It certainly didn’t feel like a soap opera, or Game of Thrones, to me, where you can bounce between 7-8 different locations. There were only two. Anyway, it didn’t bother me.

P: I appreciated the kitchen magnet programming on the machine.

M: Colorforms?

H: I thought so too.

K: Elfgirl, do you know what a colorform is?

EG: I have no idea.

<discussion of colorforms. Look it up.>

H: Are you done?

P: Yeah, I do have one more thing. It seems to me that the dudes that can hypnotize people would make awesome instructors. Is it me?

H: Elaborate.

P: Student, you will read all 2,500 pages by next Friday.

H & Sp: <monotone voices> “I will read all 2,500 pages by next Friday.”

K: Elfgirl?

EG: I thought this was confusing.

R: Germans with southern accents.

P: They’re from southern Germany.

H: Lots of places have a south. Why did you think it was confusing.

EG: Because there was a lot of dudes, and I can’t tell if there were more dudes with glasses or monocoles. At first there was only one thing to pay attention to, but now there’s a whole army to pay attention to. And at first you think they’re going to backstab you with the plot. And you’re the plot.

Sp: <pretends to smoke pot> Yeah, I totally agree. I saw it too.

EG: <laughs> So, and then the ink of the plot, runs…I’m not trying to give you all nightmares here…

E: I’m leaving.

EG: But anyway, the ink is running with glittery surprisingness.

P: What about the story?

H: So you found it very confusing.

EG: I didn’t find it very confusing. I found it very hostile. The plot’s giving in with other plots.

P: Just one long fight scene?

EG: Not one long fight scene. Too many fight scenes. One goes this way, one goes that way, so that it makes you lose track of what’s right in front of you, and then it comes back at you, and you don’t even know it. So you’ve seen the whole thing, and you are so caught up in everything else. Like a magician’s trick. If you don’t follow the magician’s eyes you are not fooled, but if you don’t you are.

H: Misdirection. So, question for you. Did you enjoy it.

EG: Yesssss. I think.

H: Okay.

EG: The magician in this one is trying to make sure my eyes are off track of the coin. Yes, this is a coin trick. Somebody’s gotta get paid.

K: I love it!

H: That’s awesome.

R: <sings> “Somebody gotta get paid. The magician is doing a coin trick.”

H: Okay, you’re done. So, Mister Mother.

M: I enjoyed the interstitial nature of the steadfast progression and appreciated the well crafted manor in which the expository content was used to heighten the trepidation and escalate the consequences.

K: I hate you. I only spelled two words wrong, but I still hate you.

M: <laughter> That is what I mean to say. But I could have used different words, but they wouldn’t have broken Ketina.

K: <laughter> And I’m just glad you actually called me Ketina.

H: So…Spoo? <he asked-you’re really going to make me type that word again?- Trepidatiously.>

Sp: So, I take it that we’re all so jaded that the Doctor talking the professor into telling him exactly how to deprogram everybody is really no big deal.

H: No, it’s just that no one has mentioned it yet.

E: I’d like to high-five his charisma.

K: Anything else?

Sp: Nah. That’s it.

K: Rrrrronelyn?

R: Okay, so, the bad guys are smart.

Sp: Eh.

R: They used loads of big words.

Sp: Like “boy” and “tie them up” and “fire”

H: And “y’all”

R: I meant the guys at HQ. They all dress like crazy ass cosplayers.

P: There are sane ones?

E: Hey!

R: They all wear glasses.

H: Devo crazy glasses.

R: And they get upset when people screw around with their games.

Sp: Punch line please.

R: They’re nerds.

K: Well, duh. At least the professor certainly was.

R: So, if someone would just teach these jerks to play Games Workshop games, all of these problems could be avoided.

K: Duh! And you’ve figured out the plot. Congratulations.

H: “I understand Terrance Dicks is coming out with ‘Doctor Who and the War Hammer 2020 game’ next year.”

M: Why do I need to many d10s?

R: Unless! This IS what Games Workshop games turn into in the future! Dun dun dun!

K: Again, you’ve figured out the plot. Anyway, is that it?

Sp: “Why do we always have to play at Chaz’s place?” “Because Chaz’s mom’s den is bigger on the inside.”

K: Okay. My turn? I think everyone covered what I wanted to say, so that’s it. Historian?

H: Well, I already said that I really enjoyed this episode. The weird thing is though, that the way it was paced, it makes it feel like the next to last episode of the story, and yet there are six more.

<laughter>

Sp: “So Joel, we’re like halfway though this one, right?” “No, it’s only been 5 minutes.” “Ahhh!!!” <MST3K reference, folks>

K: Historian? Anything else?

H: I hope the rest of it holds up as well as these first four episodes have.

R: Yeah, if they keep padding with memory foam this way I’ll be fine with it.

And there we have it! As always, we had a lot of fun. What about you? Any thoughts about this week, or the Project in general? Click that “comment” link up at the top of the post! And we’ll be back next week–until then, I remain

THE HISTORIAN

NEXT WEEK: THE WAR GAMES EPISODE FIVE