Here it is! The last post before I begin actively watching Doctor Who again!
This serial introduces Vicki, the Doctor’s new companion! I had to look up her name. She’s pretty neat. She’s from the future (ooooooohhhh!) and doesn’t have the silly psychic powers that Susan had.
Near the beginning of the serial, the Doctor has his obligatory “I forgot Susan wasn’t still here” moment, which felt kind of phoned-in to me
Long story short, the good guys are actually the bad guys, or something like that. Vicki ends up without any family or protectors, so she ends up joining the TARDIS crew! Kind of a depressing reason for joining.
“The Romans” is the best serial I’ve seen so far, hands down. It’s another in the style of “The Aztecs” and “Marco Polo,” there aren’t any aliens or weird goings-on, it’s just good old-fashioned history that the TARDIS crew gets itself tangled up in.
The serial starts with the Doctor, Barbara, Ian, and Vicki all lounging around in a Roman villa. Which they’re occupying while the actual owner is on vacation…? A little sketchy. It turns out that the time travelers are also on vacation, and the Doctor and Vicki are getting a bit bored of lounging around all day. They decide to set out for Rome and meet Emperor Nero. The Doctor poses as a lyre player (the body of whom he found lying on the side of the road… Again, a bit sketch) to get into the Emperor’s palace.
Meanwhile Barbara and Ian are taken captive and become slaves! That escalated quickly. Ian is sent to row a galley, and Barbara is sent to the Emperor’s palace.
Shenanigans ensue! The Emperor is very funny, relishing in his power to do whatever he wants. His wife becomes jealous of his lust for Barbara and attempts to poison her. Or something! Barbara, the Doctor, and Vicki barely miss each other numerous times in the hallways. The Doctor gets out of playing the lyre (apparently he can’t play) by putting on an “Emperor’s New Clothes”-type concert–he declares that only those with refined ears can tell what he is playing. Everyone falls for it, of course, and we see the Doctor with another one of his awesome conniving looks.
Ian eventually makes it to the palace as a gladiator and fights his way toward (and eventually rescue) Barbara. Hooray for him.
The Doctor is doing something far more interesting, as he figures out that the lyre-player he is impersonating was actually an assassin sent to kill Nero! Oops. I love stuff like that, when the Doctor doesn’t quite know what’s going on, but doesn’t really mind.
Vicki and the Doctor accidentally set the Emperor’s architectural plans for his new city on fire, giving him the idea to set Rome on fire. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first instance of
a stable time loop stable time shenanigans in Doctor Who history! Was it really the Doctor who caused Nero to set Rome ablaze? It probably would have happened anyway. Nero was a little unstable. **Upon further reflection, it’s not a time loop because Nero burning down the city isn’t what caused the Doctor to travel there. I’ll be on the lookout for the first true time loop, though!
Barbara and Ian manage to make it back to the villa before the Doctor and Vicki do, which leaves them time to get settled in again. The Doctor and Vicki return and believe that Barbara and Ian have been there lounging around the whole time. Which is hilarious.
“The Web Planet”
After the amazingness that was “The Romans,” I knew that the next serial I watched would not be very good. What I wasn’t expecting was “The Web Planet.”
It’s just… aargh! Bugs everywhere! People in silly costumes! Why should I care that these bee/butterfly hybrids have lost their wings/homeland? The ants have better costumes! I should be rooting for them! And they can control people with gold! That’s much better than you can do, you silly bees.
The serial starts of with a nice acknowledgement of the previous one; Vicki still doesn’t believe Barbara and Ian actually did something in Rome. That was literally the best part of the entire serial for me. It took me two months to watch the whole thing, because I was so confused all the time. The serial attempts to split all the characters up again, which worked when the setting was familiar (like in “The Aztecs” or “The Romans”) or after the world has been set up (like in “The Sensorites” or “The Daleks”). “The Web Planet,” however, flings all the characters in seemingly random directions, and they keep getting captured and the bee people keep showing up, and aargh.
I can’t even attempt to explain the plot. I don’t understand what happened in this serial. Not even the ending.
And the TARDIS departs for more grand adventures… Fortunately, back to Earth this time.
Keep on the lookout for the first episode of “The Crusade:” “The Lion!”