Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo and welcoming SpookyGirl to the third episode of our story not actually set in Galaxy 4. Again, I’ll plug Loose Cannon Productions, who made the reconstruction we’re watching. Let’s get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 25 September 1965. Suddenly, something appears at the spaceship window–a hideous creature with huge eyes and no other features stares at them! Vicki screams…
The Doctor and Vicki, hearing a Chumbly coming, flee back the way they came. They are almost to the exit, the Doctor just ahead of Vicki, when a gate crashes down between them, trapping Vicki in the Rill complex. The Doctor is unable to move the gate. He turns to the air converter, thinking he might be able to sabotage it and force the creatures to release Vicki. He assures Vicki that the Rills must breathe the ammonia, that it’s the only logical conclusion, so tampering with the machine will force them to release her. Just then, a Chumbly arrives and bumps Vicki, indicating that she must go with it. The Doctor tells her to go, he will keep working. Reluctantly, remembering the creature she saw in the window, Vicki goes. The Doctor continues to work on the converter.
Back at the Drahvin ship, the Drahvin soldiers ask Maaga why they are not going out on patrol, as they normally do at this time. She tries to explain the idea of situational changes, but the soldiers don’t understand. Maaga tells herself that she’d told her superiors that soldiers would be no good for space work; they cannot think. She tries to explain that the Earth people will not leave their friend behind, a concept the soldiers cannot grasp. The idea of self sacrifice for a friend is also alien to Maaga’s nature, but she has heard of it. She suggests that perhaps they will not kill the Rills or Earth people themselves, but simply leave them on the planet, look back and see the explosion. One of the guards tentatively says that they will not see the others die, but Maaga tries to tell them she will be able to imagine their deaths, in detail. The soldiers do not understand. Finally, she just pulls rank, sending one soldier to rest, one to guard Steven (who is apparently asleep on a bench in the corner) and the third outside to look for the Earth people. Maaga tells Steven’s guard she must not sleep and then goes into the inner part of the ship. After she leaves, Steven cautiously opens up one eye…
By the Rill ship, Vicki has been led up to the area with the window, whose shutter is down. The Chumbly nudges her again and she angrily asks what it wants. Suddenly, her words are repeated, then modulated and a deep voice comes from the Chumbly as the window shutter raises, revealing the eyes of a Rill, wreathed in ammonia smoke. It apologizes for singling her out, but it was necessarily to communicate with her. She tells it that she and her friends are time travellers and that the Drahvins are holding her friend captive, forcing the Doctor and her to do what they are told: to capture the Rill ship. The Rill is surprised; they wish to help the Drahvins, to take them along. Vicki says the Drahvins didn’t tell her that, and the Rill replies that the Drahvins would rather kill! Well, says Vicki, you did kill one of them…but the Rill denies this. Vicki, confused by the voice coming from the Chumbly, asks whether the voice is that of the Rill in the window. It confirms this, saying it’s transmitting its thoughts to the Chumbly, but it refuses to show more of itself to Vicki, saying that its appearance would disturb her.
The Doctor continues to work on the air converter…
The Rill tells Vicki its side of the story of their arrival. It says that the two ships (Rill and Drahvin) met in space and hung in space, facing each other. Finally, the Drahvins fired first, with the Rills returning fire, both ships falling to the planet. Discovering they could not breathe the atmosphere, the Rills (using a small amount of portable “atmosphere” of their own) set out to help the Drahvins. They found an injured Drahvin and started to help. Suddenly, Maaga appeared and began firing at the Rills, who retreated. Looking back, they saw Maaga shoot the injured soldier, killing her. But, says Vicki, the Drahvins believe the Rills killed their comrade! We know, says the Rill, and now they attack us. Would you really take them with you? asks Vicki. Why not? replies the Rill. What do we gain if they die? The Rill then tells Vicki they will help her rescue her friend. She is won over, but realizes that, if the Rill cannot breathe oxygen, she must stop the Doctor’s sabotage! Meanwhile, the Doctor continues to work…
In the Drahvin ship, Steven watches, continuing to feign sleep. He sees the Drahvin guard start to nod off in her chair. Slowly, he gets up…and grabs for the Drahvin’s gun! She topples from her and is knocked unconscious. He reaches up and switches on the lever that opens the inner door of the ship’s airlock. It starts to open…but Maaga appears from the ship’s interior, sounding the alarm! Steven leaps into the airlock, but the outer door remains closed. Glancing back, he sees Maaga flanked by the other two Drahvins in the ship. Maaga tells him to come back and he won’t be harmed. I’d be a fool to believe that, says Steven, who touches a control in the air lock. The inner door closes. He presses the other button and the outer door opens. He exits…only to see a Chumbly outside waiting! After a moment, he goes back into the airlock and closes the outer door. In the window of the inner door, Maaga looks on, a cruel smile on her face.
The Doctor is making good progress with his sabotage. Suddenly, Vicki runs up to the gate, yelling to him to stop! The gate slides up as Vicki and the Chumbly arrive. She tells the Doctor that the Rills want to help, which the Rill voice from the Chumbly confirms. The Rill suggests they both come back to the ship, but the Doctor objects, saying that would place both of them in the Rills’ power. Vicki observes that if the Rills wanted to harm them, they could have already done it. The Doctor agrees and they start off. The Doctor notes a Chumbly coming towards the converter; the Rill tells him it will repair the damage he did. He asks Vicki what the Rills look like and she tells him they won’t show themselves. The Rill again explains that its appearance would disturb them, which the Doctor thinks is “rubbish.”
Back at the Rill center, the Doctor asks what the drilling rig is for. The Rill says they are drilling to find power for their ship; the suns of this planet are too weak to provide enough. The Doctor tells them they have little time left, less than two dawns! The Rill is horrified, as the only thing they have found for power is a gas, which they cannot use. The Doctor says, since the Rills are willing to help them, he might be able to supply them with power. Vicki asks how many Rills there are and is told there are four. There were twelve, but the rest perished in the crash. The Doctor asks for metal cable for the power transfer. Suddenly, the Rill says they have a report from the Chumbly outside the Drahvin ship. It says that Steven left the ship, but before it could make contact, he went back in. He must still think they’re dangerous, says Vicki, and adds that she should go back to the ship to help him. No, the Doctor says, he can take care of himself. Now, about that cable…
Back at the ship, Maaga calls to Steven through the intercom. She tells him to throw down his gun and she’ll set him free. Understandably, he doesn’t believe her. She tells him that, if he comes back through the inner door, he might kill one of them, but he would surely die. Steven looks out at the Chumbly and Maaga says yes, the Rill machine would kill you too. She then directs his attention to the dials on the wall, telling him they can empty the airlock of oxygen. She tells one of the soldiers to begin to drain the airlock! Maaga turns back to Steven and tells him he has three choices: stay there and die, be killed by the machine or surrender! The needle on the oxygen dial continues to drop as Steven tries to decide what to do…
Back at the Rill ship, the Doctor has finished his preparations and is about to leave for the TARDIS when there is a sudden commotion among the Chumblies. The Rill tells them that a report has come in. Steven is still in the ship, but is making “cries of distress!” The Doctor immediately drops everything and prepares to go back to the Drahvin ship, but the Rill tells him it will send two Chumblies–to cut open the Drahvin ship if necessary! Vicki demands to go with and they set out as quickly as they can!
Just before they come to the Drahvin ship, the soldier left to guard outside calls to the Doctor and Vicki to stand. It accuses them of bringing the enemy machines along, but Vicki tries to convince the Drahvin, using simple commands, that she has taken control of the Chumblies. It doesn’t understand and tries to fire at a Chumbly, but Vicki struggles with her for the gun. Disarmed, the Drahvin requests to be killed as she has failed in her duty. Nonsense, says the Doctor, and they continue on to the Drahvin ship, Vicki training the gun on their soldier prisoner.
Outside the ship, the Chumbly guard continues to send messages to the Rills. Inside the airlock, Steven is sitting with his mouth wide open, breathing slowly. Maaga continues to taunt him, telling him to give up. Gasping, he replies he’d rather face the Chumblies than her, and he reaches for the switch to open the outer door…but nothing happens! Maaga laughs, telling Steven that the outer door will no longer open, the pressure inside the airlock is too low! He must surrender, or he will die! Steven, gasping, collapses to the airlock floor….
H: Well, I think a lot happened in this episode. There was a lot of character development.
R: Yeah. Maaga, revealed that under her callous sack of crap exterior is actually a cleverly concealed callous sack of crap.
H: She’s clearly sadistic. She went into such great detail imagining their deaths.
S: Ponderous. Very ponderous. It got going in the second half, but dang, the pace, even allowing for reconstruction, the pace was noticeably slower.
H: There was a lot of exposition.
Sc: It sounded like a lot of William Hartnell talking to himself. Assuming he did the voice of the Rill.
H: He actually didn’t.
Sc: Well, it sure sounded like him.
H: It might have been someone who intended to sound like him.
Sc: Quick, get out into the street and find an old coot! “Two.. no, three… four dawns!”
H: So, the Rill is telling Vicki their side of the story, and they were like “for four dawns we stood staring at each other.” What the heck is a unit of “dawn?”
R: Okay, let the writer catch up.
K: 😛 <Reference to my typing speed… see, I’m caught up! This is being projected as I type, so everyone knows where I’m currently at.>
S: The sound effect of the Chumbly spinning up to start the translation was really cool. And that was about it.
H: The Rill side of the story was really cool. It was the opposite of what the Drahvin said.
Sc: But it was kind of predicable too.
R: I kind of like the way the Rill was going “You mammals get all wobbly kneed, so we’re just not going to show you what we look like.”
H: One of the things that we don’t get as much as the people at the time of the actual broadcast got was that it was a really big deal that the pretty people are the bad guys and the monsters / horrible things are the good guys. That’s why I see a lot of meat with this story.
S: Story wise I guess it’s okay. Exposition wise, however, it was ponderous.
H: One of the issues with that may be the Reconstruction. It’s hard to say.
Sc: Alas, I have nothing else to add.
S: The clones are terrible guards.
H: Maaga was saying that soldiers are no good for space because all they know how to do is kill. They can’t think.
S: Kill doesn’t overlap with guard. It doesn’t overlap with capture. Kill is kind of specific, isn’t it?
H: Imagine how the overpowering the guard/escape could have been with Barbara…
S: Yeah… throw some mud in there.
H: Okay, that’s enough of that discussion. Anyway, I see lots of exposition, some character development for Maaga, we learn the Rill’s side of the story. Once again, Vicki’s awesome. And once again, Steven doesn’t have much to do except being in peril at the end.
SG: You have the ugly people being the heroes and the pretty people being the villans. Then you have the male being the victim in the situation…
H: He was somewhat proactive.
H: He had the choice of death…death… or death.
R: Here’s the gamer’s solution: you press the door open button. You flip a sock over the door frame, close the door. Prevent it from making a full seal so he has air, but still has the door there to protect from the robot.
K: Gamers… clever.
S: Or you open both doors and have the Chumbly and women fight it out.
H: Airlocks don’t generally work that way…
SG: I think when he opened the door initially, and the Chumbly didn’t immediately shoot him, he should have had an idea that he would be okay.
H: But due to the Reconstruction, we can’t tell exactly what happened… the door might have only been opened for a second.
SG: I don’t know. I still think he should have known it wasn’t going to shoot him.
H: Well, so far we’ve only see the Chumbly blow up a rose bush.
S: I like how they filled up 6 minutes of the episode describing JUMPER CABLES! He’s going to use the TARDIS to give the Chumbly / Rill ship a jump.
H: That was not six minutes!
S: Well, it seemed to take forever. I just want to see the TARDIS and the Rill ship facing each other with their hoods up and the jumper cables attached. And the TARDIS is all vworp vworp, and the Rill ship is all vernininin vernininin.
H: Are you ready for the exciting conclusion next week?
R: We do not want the Roombas to save us!
Sc: I can make your carpet clean. And our new model can cut your lawn as well!
S: This is what I’m going to be looking for in the conclusion. I am going to be waiting for them to properly solve the problem with the airlock.
H: He’s not going to get the bends.
Sc: I don’t think he’d have that problem.
<Discussion about if being in an airless room would give you the bends or not…>
S: But I still want them to communicate all of that in the episode.
H: But, if they communicate all that, will you say it’s ponderous?
Sp: It depends…
H: It depends on what?
Sp: Will you gloat about it?
Sp: Then noooo.
And we just left it at that. Not much left to say, really, though if you think of something we missed (or want to question something we did say), feel free to comment and let us know! Next week, the (hopefully) exciting conclusion! Until then, I remain
NEXT WEEK: “THE EXPLODING PLANET”