“The Reign of Terror”

Returning to normality, today I write about “The Reign of Terror!” Two episodes of this serial are, unfortunately, lost. There is plenty of other material to cover, however!

From “The Sensorites,” the Doctor has resolved to dump Barbara and Ian back where they belong. He actually manages to  land the TARDIS on Earth, but the gang quickly realizes that they are again not in the correct time and are in fact in revolutionary France. While exploring, they stumble across a seemingly abandoned house, which is actually a safe house for people hiding from the Reign of Terror. Unfortunately, soldiers discover the house, and Barbara, Ian, and Susan are captured. The Doctor is left stranded while the house is torched.

The Doctor is rescued by a small boy. Hooray! He sets off to rescue Barbara and Ian. He is waylaid by a burly man who forces him to dig a trench, along with other debtors. Why would anyone force an obviously old man to do manual labor? Anyway, the Doctor pulls one of his famous tricks by pretending to find money in the trench and then hitting the burly man in the back of the head. Ouch!

The Doctor eventually makes it to Paris, after many shots of him walking down what appears to be the same road over and over again. He cons his way into a fancy officer’s uniform, or something. In any case, it includes a hilarious feathered hat. The Doctor plays his new role very well. I was impressed.

At this point I wasn’t really caring what Barbara, Ian, and Susan were doing. They escaped from prison a couple of times, but Susan, at least, was thrown back in, because the Doctor ended up rescuing her.

The missing episodes were the ones that had Napoleon and Robespierre, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t see them in action. Actually, episode six might have had Robespierre; I don’t remember. But I definitely didn’t see Napoleon.

Long story short, everybody ends up safe, and the Doctor finally, FINALLY, accepts that Barbara and Ian are with him for the long run.

And that rounds of Series 1! I thought it was a little weird how there wasn’t a finale or anything. There was only the title of the next episode, just like every episode before it. I think that might be how television worked back then, though. Plus, there was only a gap of a month between Series 1 and 2, which also seems odd.

There is a nice little line from the Doctor, though: “Well, unlike the old adage, my boy, our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it…”

Next up: Series 2 and Planet of the Giants!

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