Hello everyone, the Historian here, welcoming you to the “home stretch” of the TARDIS Project. Only five more episodes (including this one) to go! So, let’s get to the episode!
This episode first aired 24 May 1969.
H = Historian
K = Ketina
R = Ronelyn
Sp = Spoo
EG = ElfGirl
P = Photobug
A = Altair
E = Ezio
Cz = Cz
P: They dead.
H: No, they not dead yet. They have 30 seconds.
EG: But the thing’s big, so it makes sense. But shouldn’t it be 1 minute?
P: Why should it be one minute?
EG: But it should be slower, because it’s bigger on the inside. If it can crush adult human skulls. Or at least the Doctor’s skull.
P: What previous experience in Doctor Who has lead you to that discovery.
<discussion gets a little dark, but we’re still not sure why Elfgirl thinks it should take 1 minute verses 30 seconds.>
EG: Let’s just say that death, between the skulls, may be less than crushing the Doctor’s mind.
K: Anyway. So it seemed that everyone is enjoying the cliffhangers this story.
H: Yes. Definitely, yeah.
R: Yeah. That was a very nice effect.
H: Very simple, too.
R: I did catch the moment where the stage hands pulled the wall panels away from the frame. The SIDRAT had the big metal frame with panels in it. And, as the metal frames started to move in, I swear I saw stage hands yoink the panels out of the way so that the actors had some place to move to.
H: I believe you are correct.
K: So (after briefly reviewing all of the stories in the Project so far) there have been several stories where the plot is broken up into two distinct parts. Like with The Ark, and The Sensorites, and others. I’m wondering if this story is broken up that way as well, with one half discover, ending with this part, and the second half building an army, like what the Doctor suggested they do next.
Sp: So, basically, “I told you that story, so I could tell you this one.”
H: Well, given how the story was written, kinda. Yeah. Also, anyone else getting a real Aquabats feel from the gimp guards this week?
H: They started out as a costume Ska band, and they’ve become something other than else. They’re doing a children’s show.
R: I can’t really say anything about that, but I will admit that half of my notes this week amount to some variation on “Gimp, gimp gimp. Gimp gimp gump gimp.”
H: The way that she said that, it almost sounded like the Security Chief. It was the most interesting reading of lines we’ve had in a long time.
Sp: I’m just wondering how the War Chief managed to deliver so much exposition given how much dramatic pivoting he was doing.
P: It seemed to me the aquasition of a single monocle would allow you to develop quite the army. And seeing how they just killed a guy with one…
K: But they don’t want to brain wash them, they want to unbrain wash them. This the processing device that the Doctor took.
R: Also I don’t actually think any of our guys have figured out the glasses trick yet.
H: That’s actually a really good point. Although I think the black dude said something like “that don’t work on me no more” which would imply that the resistance knew about it.
K: And Moore would remember now, having just fought it successfully.
P: Made his safe.
K: Yeah, he got a second Will save role because of the captain.
R: Oh, and Nazi southerner was the gift that kept on giving this week.
H: The Nazi southerner British commanding officers. Although technically he was just German, not a Nazi.
R: Anyway, I know we couldn’t have seen it on the TV screens at the time…
H: That fight!
R: But, his dueling scar was rather obviously made out of tulle.
K: I saw it over his eye at one point, and I was like “why is there a screen over his eye? Is that really long eye lashes? What was that?” Tulle… makes sense now.
H: Still, again, it wouldn’t have been obvious on a lower resolution screen, and it was still pretty cool.
Sp: I saw a boom mike shadow.
K: I’m not surprised.
Sp: What is there to elaborate?
H: When did you see it?
P: Tonight. While watching the episode.
Sp: It was one of the interminable scenes of the bad guys debating amongst each other who the Doctor is. Someone with a bowl cut had a boom mike shadow on him.
H: Did anyone else get sort of a Dalek Master Plan feel from some of those scenes.
Sp: Time Lord! They said it. It happened. They’re that far along in Doctor Who now!
H: Yes. Some kind of “Time Lord” what ever that is.
H: Give me illusions.
K: We really don’t do a good job at pretending that we haven’t seen it before.
H: We were pretty good at before we were transcribing the discussions.
K: Which says something right there. Things are a bit less contrived now.
H: Neh. You say contrived. I say potato.
Sp: So this was the first episode of the story that didn’t really grab me.
Sp: And not anything they were doing wrong. No real change in acting or props or pace or anything. I think it gets back to the earlier bit about this really being two stories, and we’ve gotten just enough of a taste of where they are going with it that I’m impatient to get to “the real story.”
K: Yeah. I was just like “Okay, let’s go build the army now” but then we had to sit through another 15 minutes of escaping base.
H: You know, it wasn’t the escaping base that was the issue. It was the bitch fest between the Security Chief and the War Chief.
Sp: <dramatically> I AGREE WITH YOU! <pivot> But! Are you! Right?!
H: <Security chief voice… which is basically his Dalek voice> “I am correct. But I believe. You are. A traitor!”
R: There was a fantastic shot of him that needs to be a meme labeled “sad glasses guy is sad.” There’s this one shot after the War Chief told him off… they cut to a shot of him just look like “awwwww” <sad face>
K: Despite the slowness of the plot in this episode, I still really liked the scientist guy. I loved that the Doctor got to trick him yet again. And those tiny glasses!
H: They’re glazed with a little hole in them.
Sp: Yo dawg!
R: Also I loved the moment when the gimp squad showed up outside the door with their stun guns, and Mike… ah Carstairs… “stunned” the living crap out of one of them with his Webley. “Blam!” “Oh, crap! They’ve got real guns. We’ll just wait out here.”
P: Oh, that’s fine. Bring a real gun to a stun fight.
R: Their guns throw little pointy rocks. Who does that?
K: But they killed a guy with one of those stun guns before. Wait…
<Sudden realization by us all that the only guy killed by the cops in this episode was a black guy!>
H: We shall never speak of this again.
P: I’m really digging the Doctor’s cat’s cradle for demagnetizing the wall.
H: And, once again, the sonic screw driver prop, is clearly a pen light. Which is consistent with the Patrick Troughton sonic screw driving props we’ve seen thus far.
R: That was a really nice way to lamp shade the really cheap plastic panels that they used to build the walls.
Sp: Yeah. This also served to show a big difference between Classic Who and New Who, in that in Classic Who there is all kinds of extra hoops and wires and a little dab of sonic screw driver, and the wall panel was open. Whereas in New Who…
R: “Let me wave my nuh-uh rod at it!”
K: Well, they have to cut something when you go from ten 25 minute episodes to four 25 minute episodes to one 45 minute episode. You have to cut something.
H: You’re justifying the magic want.
Sp: I’m just pointing out that it would have been 3 seconds of a wrist flip and a Murray Gold orchestral swell, a whining sound, and the wall panel would pop off.
H: To be fair, minus the Murray Gold, that could also be true of the fourth Doctor’s era.
K: And thus my 4 episodes verses 10. And then when we reduce from 4 to 1, we loose character development.
H: So, final thoughts?
A: I am enjoying it, and I’m looking forward to next week.
Sp: Well done.
P: We’re light on science fictiony stuff. We had a little bit of playing with the magnets. There was a lot of running around without actually running through corridors.
H: Or corridor, as the case might be.
P: I thought that the TARDIS still is a very effective cheap room in this case.
H: You mean the SIDRAT?
P: Yup. I’m guessing that we’re talking Time Lords, and not Daleks. And, still enjoying it. There was no attack of anything this week, which was kind of nice.
R: There was. There was “Door bell! Door bell! Door bell!”
P: Yeah. Okay.
R: They use that sound for EVERYTHING! “Coffee’s done! Coffee’s done!” “You’ve got a text! You’ve got a text!” If everything is priority one, nothing is priority one.
K: Now that we know the War Chief is a Time Lord – I love his beard! It’s now been added to my list of awesome acceptable beards.
H: It’s not just his beard. His whole hair scheme – his Fu Manchu mustache, his sideburns, every thing.
K: I consider mustache and sideburns all part of the beard package unless each is on their own.
Sp: Look, the dude looked like a Lego minifig, okay. I fully expected to be able remove all of his head hair in one unit.
P: Take off his hat and go “pop” and remove the hair.
H: Anything else, Photobug?
P: Is it the Master? Huh?
H: No, it’s the War Chief.
K: Is it the Monk, post regeneration? Which is a bit more plausible, since we’ve met him before.
H: No. It’s the War Chief.
<discussion derails a bit regarding what parts were about Time Lords>
P: Even thought Jamie was unconscious, he did manage to cross his legs before falling down.
R: Dude, if a bunch of guys in rubber suits.
R: This does not break my point…roofied me and starting dragging me away, I would find a way to cross my legs too.
P: Okay. On that, I yield my time to the lady from Kentucky.
K: Elfgirl’s from Kentucky?
EG: I am not from Kentucky. I am from Seattle. Where you get free coffee.
H: Well, it is your turn.
EG: I…think…that it was much better than…
K: The Space Pirates?
EG: Yeah. Less confusing, but at the same time it was much confusing.
K: That’s probably because you missed last week.
EG: Well, yeah.
H: Did you enjoy it?
EG: Yes. “Okay, this happened. And. No, this happened!”
Sp: Yeah. There are a lot of moving parts. If you missed one of the middle episodes, I could see how this could be confusing.
R: “Where did all the gimps come from?”
K: Oh my. Spoo?
Sp: So, as far as the previous conversation about the War Chief, I think the main thing left to say…is…domo arigato proto-Delgato.
H: Ah! That was beautiful, man.
<Roger Delgato, in case you missed that reference, was the first actor to play the Master. Not this guy. This guy was the War Chief. Not the Master.>
H: Alright. Rrrrronelyn?
R: <Doctor voice> “Alright let’s just push through these coats and…”
H: “Mr. Tumnus?”
R: <Doctor voice> “Oh dear, we seemed to have arrive in Narnia in rather 1917. I don’t think that the…ah…the talking Animals are going to take to trench warfare terribly well.”
K: So my turn?
R: I’ve got one more thing. When the Doctor said “we’ll need disguises” did anyone else think “Are you my mummy?”
R: Talk about a story that stays with you.
K: Now my turn? So, while this episode moved slower for me, there was clearly a lot I still liked…Yes, Ronelyn? Do you have something to say?
R: <very bad German accent> “Excuse me, mein English chum. Dos zis monocle smell like hypnosis to you?”
H: <bad English accent> “Why yes, I believe it does.”
K: Okay? Back to me?
K: Anyway. Now I’ve forgotten what I was going to talk about.
<Ronelyn repeats the above scene again>
K: Historian, just take us home.
H: Okay. <laughter> We’re home.
Another one down! I’m still amazed that it looks like we’re actually going to finish this thing…Four more weeks! But until then, I remain
NEXT WEEK: THE WAR GAMES EPISODE SEVEN