“The Crusade:” The Lion and The Knight of Jaffa

Well hi there!

Let’s just pretend that whole gap never happened. Although y’all might need some reminding of procedures.

I have now caught up to where I am in my progress of watching Doctor Who, so each episode will be fresh in my memory when I write about it. Thus, each episode will have its own entry, unlike a serial per entry like I was writing before. The exception to this is when an episode is missing–I read transcripts for those, so there isn’t as much to say.

Also, I am now taking my own screenshots/pictures, so there won’t be any problems with pictures being unavailable. Because every picture until now was shamelessly stolen from other websites.

On with the show!

The Lion

Cover

A fair part of this episode is the Doctor and co. running around in the forest. There are some scenes in a town, though, so does the forest abruptly stop at some point? Does the episode cut out travel time? I don’t know. It wasn’t very clear where exactly this is taking place, but I gathered it is in the Middle East somewhere. Because Crusades. And there’s a Sultan of Egypt or something. I don’t know much about the Crusades, but is this even remotely historically accurate? Honestly, I’m not trying to be rude or anything, I’m just extremely ignorant about this time period.

I’m getting ahead of myself. The TARDIS materializes (without its signature noise, strangely) in a forest where some English soldiers are being attacked by guys with pointy hats. They send a message for help–is that bird wearing a hat? Why? Wouldn’t it fall off or at the bare minimum make the bird more noticeable to the enemy?

I thought the hat would be the highlight of the episode, but nope. This guy shows up.

Moustache

That is one of the most spectacular mustaches I’ve ever seen. That guy could enter that one beard contest and do reasonably well. I think he shows up again, but the director or someone must have noticed the ridiculous size of his facial hair, because it isn’t as stunning in his future scenes. Or maybe it isn’t even the same guy. WHO KNOWS?!?

So everyone gets out of the TARDIS and tries to figure out where they are. And Barbara gets captured in one of the quickest kidnappings I’ve ever seen. It’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short. Speaking of Barbara, why does she have to be captured all the time? Is it that necessary? At least wait, I don’t know, five minutes. Whatever. At least she’s calm about it.

One of the soldiers/knights gets captured, too, while pretending to the king. Gutsy move.

Doctor Fight

Ian gets right into fighting, as usual. Putting your gladiator skills to the test, aren’t we? He bests his foe, but some of the fight is pretty terrible. Like, Ian’s pinned to the ground and about to get his head smashed in, and kind of nonchalantly rolls it to the side to avoid the oncoming club. Huh. The best part about all this fighting is that the Doctor gets to join in! He’s pretty good with a sword for someone his age, but needs help from an Englishman to finish off his foe.

Now that the fighting’s done, the Doctor and Ian return to the TARDIS to find mustache man (?) wounded and dying. Also, one of the funnier moments: Vicki, who hasn’t been seen at all during the fight, is holding a rock. As if, she’s thinking: “Oh, I can help! Let me get a rock to bean ’em!” And then she just drops it when the Doctor comes back. I don’t know, that just struck me as funny. Why does she have a rock?

Rock

It’s official. Vicki is replacement Susan. She’s young and smart, taking all of Susan’s good traits and doing away with the incessant screaming and annoying psychic powers. Thank goodness.

The Doctor decides that they need period clothing, so he and Vicki head off to the aforementioned town to seek some out. The Doctor gets into some shenanigans with a salesman. Yadda yadda yadda.

Meanwhile Barbara and fake King Richard are captured. Barbara pretends to be the King’s sister, but doesn’t fool the Sulan’s brother, whom, in the next episode, is revealed to have a thing for the real sister. Or something like that. Anyway, the Sultan’s nice–Barbara and the knight are still prisoners, but they won’t be treated badly. Barbara ends up spilling the beans about her time-traveling adventures for some inexplicable reason (you’re supposed to keep that secret, Barbara!), but the Sultan thinks she’s just an actress. He allows her to stay as long as she tells him stories. Like Arabian Nights.

The Doctor, Ian, and Vicki meet up with King Richard and ask him to let them go rescue Barbara and the knight, but he’s throwing a bit of a temper tantrum and won’t let them. That’s the end of the episode. What a great cliffhanger.

The Knight of Jaffa

Again, this is a missing episode, so I won’t have a whole lot to say about it.

Once the King calms down, he allows the Doctor, Ian, and Vicki to go looking for Barbara. Moustache man (?) says something that I thought was pretty clever–he describes the team as “courage, loyalty, and wit.” I’m assuming Ian is courage, Vicki is loyalty, and the Doctor is wit. Not bad! Also, Vicki is now pretending to be a boy.

All I can gather from this one is that Barbara gets captured twice. First by the guy that originally captured her, taking her away from the Sultan’s protection. She escapes, but gets captured again by someone who we don’t know about yet. Come on. This isn’t even funny anymore.

And the search for Barbara continues… in The Wheel of Fortune.

“The Dalek Invasion of Earth”

I have to admit, I didn’t like this serial while I was watching it. Two reasons: 1) The “Robomen” looked and acted very silly. 2) I didn’t understand why the Daleks were there in the first place. They want to move the Earth… why? To turn it into a giant war machine? Okay, I guess that’s pretty scary.

Looking back on it, though, it was actually pretty good. The deserted London was really creepy. Some interesting new characters were introduced, and my favorite crew members play a big role, too. Plus, this serial marks the return of the Daleks, and thus Doctor Who’s first recurring baddie.

So, the Daleks have taken over the world and have converted almost every human into mind slaves called Robomen. However, the mind control only works for so long; after that, the Robomen die. Because they’re not human anymore. Whatever. After running around avoiding Robomen for a bit, the Doctor and Ian are captured, while Barbara and Susan find a hidden resistance group.

The Doctor and Ian sit in their cell, trying to figure a way out, while another cell-mate is asking the Doctor annoying questions. Here, the Doctor says one of the funniest lines I’ve heard so far, while handing the guy an unnecessary piece of equipment: “Take this and shut up.” It’s just, wow, the Doctor’s really angry! The line seems really out of character for him.

The Doctor and Ian eventually escape the cell, but the Doctor is captured again and is going to be turned into a Roboman! Gasp! So the resistance comes to save the day with high-powered explosives that don’t do much. Oh, well. The Doctor is rescued, at least.

After the attack, Ian is left on board the Dalek ship. Susan and the Doctor end up traveling with a bunch of resistance members, one of whom is Susan’s love interest. Hooray for Susan.

BUT HOLY DAVROS BARBARA ENDS UP RUNNING DALEKS OVER WITH A TRUCK SOMEHOW! That’s awesome. As a Barbara fan, I appreciate this moment of Dalek destruction.

The Dalek ship takes Ian to a mine where apparently he will spend the rest of his days. The Daleks want to be able to pilot the Earth around. I don’t know. They’re going to lower a bomb into a mine shaft. Anyway, somehow Ian ends up INSIDE the bomb capsule while trying to disarm it. Sure. The Doctor arrives and manages to stop its descent in time for Ian to escape. Through technobabble, the bomb is able to go off without destroying the planet, and instead just destroys the Daleks. All of them. Yep, the entire Dalek invasion force relocated to that one mineshaft. Well, I suppose it’s plausible.

The TARDIS crew get ready to leave when the Doctor notices that Susan has grown very attached to that certain resistance member. He ends up locking her out of the TARDIS, and tells her that she needs to make a life for herself. His parting quote is particularly touching: “One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, my dear. Goodbye, Susan.”

I really, really, didn’t like Susan, and was glad to see her go, but this moment was sad. And also confusing. What’s so bad about Gallifrey that the Doctor can’t just drop her off there? And why was she even with the Doctor in the first place? I think some of my questions might be answered (if vague spoilers of The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors have anything to say about it), but it is a little weird just leaving her so abruptly.

Oh, well. At least she’s gone. And now there’s a void that can never be filled. Or can it? The Doctor needs a replacement companion, and there’s one waiting for him in the next serial, The Rescue!

“Planet of Giants”

Here we are at Series 2! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! I couldn’t believe it at the time, either.

I thought this episode was actually going to have giants in it–I was that fooled by the title. However misguided I was, I actually did enjoy this episode. It took the “I’m shrunk, ahh!” cliche and put a new spin on it. Here, the dangers are not the oversized animals, but instead an insecticide that will harm the intrepid adventurers just as much as it harms the insects it was designed for. I was also impressed at how the adventurers managed to actually accomplish some good deeds, instead of running around trying to figure out how to return to full size. I suppose they already know how to reverse the minimization–just get back to the TARDIS!

Summary time: The TARDIS materializes in a rocky canyon, and the company soon realizes that they have been miniaturized. The Doctor says that the “space pressure” was too high. What a load of bull. The crew steps outside to investigate and find dead creatures everywhere. A gunshot is heard, and the crew discovers a murder has taken place. And then a cat appears! There’s a cat! I love cats! Hooray!

The cat forces the crew to separate; Barbara and Ian run into a briefcase and are transported inside a lab. The Doctor and Susan run in the opposite direction and are stuck outside. Meanwhile, the viewer has been filled in on the situation of the murder. Apparently, there’s this insecticide that this one guy wants to sell, but someone else discovered that it was too dangerous, and so he was murdered. Hooray for ruthless businessmen!

While finding a place to hide, Barbara and Ian stumble across another dead ant. Barbara touches it and unknowingly comes into contact with the deadly insecticide. If she doesn’t get back to the TARDIS soon, she’ll die!

The Doctor and Susan find their way inside, and the crew saves the day by accomplishing the almost impossible–making a phone call. Hey, it’s hard when you’re one inch tall! The people on the other end figure out that someone’s been murdered and come to arrest the evil businessman. Hooray! Also, there is fire involved. Not sure how that went exactly.

As the TARDIS materializes at its next destination, we (as viewers) realize it’s high time for another Dalek episode. Will these evil abominations return? Short answer: yes. Next: The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

“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!

“The Sensorites”

This serial actually had a decent, if confusing, plot. The thing that stuck out in my memory, however, was how ridiculous the Sensorites look. That’s them in the picture. What are they wearing, footie pajamas? Do all Sensorite clothes cover their feet? If not, are they supposed to be naked? And those feet! Are those just circles of cardboard attached to the actors’ feet? The masks look pretty scary, but once the Sensorites start talking their mouths don’t move much.

The pretty lame cliffhanger at the end of “The Aztecs” finds the TARDIS aboard a future-human ship. It’s been unable to get back to Earth because the Sensorites are holding it captive around their planet. The Sensorites had also driven this guy named John to madness and Susan wants to help. Susan’s soooo wonderful. She has psychic powers! Why does she get the psychic powers and not the Doctor? I don’t know. I don’t like Susan.

That’s John on the right. The funniest line in this entire serial is when one of the future-human crewmembers makes a remark that John’s hair is white, and the Doctor replies: “There’s nothing wrong with that.” This show has the best lines sometimes.

Susan negotiates with the Sensorites and everybody goes to the planet’s surface to try to solve the Sensorites’ problem. A lot of them have been dying, but nobody knows why. But the TARDIS crew quickly discovers that the water has been poisoned when Ian falls ill.

Meanwhile there’s political intrigue because the third-in-command doesn’t trust humans. I don’t know. He murders the second-in-command and takes his place, able to pull it off because (I kid you not) the Sensorites can’t recognize each other without the sashes that identify their position in government. What kind of society is that?! It’s not a society where everyone in the same class is exactly the same, like robots or something. These aliens have distinct personalities! How do the people who aren’t in government office tell each other apart? What about the children? Do they have an elaborate system of clothes–Oh my goodness. Maybe this is why they all wear footie pajamas! Because their clothes are like a second skin! I’m a genius.

Long story short, it was actually humans poisoning the water supply, and the third-in-command’s plot is foiled. The TARDIS crew sets off, and this time the Doctor is determined to get Barbara and Ian back to Earth, whether they like it or not.

Next: The Reign of Terror.

“The Aztecs”

Series 1 may have classics such as “An Unearthly Child” and “The Daleks,” but no serial so far matches “The Aztecs” in sheer enjoyability. Like “The Keys of Marinus,” the characters all split up and have their own separate stories, but frequently interact with each other. That seems to make the best serials, as “The Romans” did the same thing. I think the interaction is key, though, without it, the viewer can’t piece together what’s happening when the story keeps shifting to different viewpoints (“The Web Planet”).

I also liked this serial a lot because it places Barbara in a position of power, and not just some female being kidnapped. That’s more Susan’s role throughout the series, anyway. I don’t like Susan.

“The Aztecs” brings to the forefront a question that was only hinted at in “An Unearthly Child:” What happens if the past is changed? As time travelers, is the TARDIS crew morally obligated to prevent bad things from happening?

Summary time: The TARDIS lands in the burial chamber of the avatar of an Aztec goddess. When Barbara emerges from the tomb, the Aztecs hail her as the goddess made human, and pretty much take orders from her. Things start to go wrong when she attempts to stop the human sacrifice that is supposed to be made in her honor. The Doctor doesn’t like it because Barbara’s trying to change the past, which is obviously VERY VERY BAD, and the head priest doesn’t like it because it’s against tradition. He proclaims Barbara to be a false goddess.

Meanwhile, since they can’t stay with Barbara in the goddess chambers, the Doctor, Ian, and Susan have been taken to live in their proper places in Aztec society. Ian is assumed to be a mighty warrior and is taken to contest to be the next army general. The head priest doesn’t like that either, because his son was supposed to be the general. Ian and the son fight, yadda, yadda, yadda, Ian wins somehow. I don’t know.

Since she’s a young girl, Susan gets taken to learn the womanly arts and gets betrothed to someone? Obviously she doesn’t like that, but I don’t like Susan, so I really didn’t care about her stuff.

The Doctor is taken to an old peoples’ garden-place, where he’s free to do whatever he wants. He meets a lady and they become friends. She tells him a secret entrance to the tomb, since it doesn’t open from the outside and the TARDIS is in there. Oh, and the Doctor accidentally gets married to her.

Yes, apparently the Aztecs have this marriage ceremony where one person presents the other with cacao. They both drink together, and BAM. Married. So, the Doctor obliviously drinks the cacao and marries this lady.

This is what MADE “The Aztecs” for me. I was aware of some Doctor Who history before watching the classic series, but THIS?! The Doctor accidentally getting married is actually a TRADITION? I thought it was something unique to the new series, since Doctors 10 and 11 look relatively young. But NOOO. Even the ancient-looking First Doctor can accidentally get married! So foxy!

The four travelers are eventually reunited and Ian kicks some Aztec butt. Barbara was unable to prevent the sacrifice, which makes her a bit sad, but the Doctor cheers her up, I think. It’s weird to see the attitude the show has towards time travel in its early stages. The seriousness of it all is lifted a little in “The Romans,” though, so that’s progress.

And thus the serial ends, but not without a confusing segway into the next. The TARDIS has landed, but is still moving? What is this nonsense? Next time: The Sensorites.

“The Keys of Marinus”

I’ve realized that I should probably be talking about my opinion on these serials more than just summarizing them. That would make this whole Journey a lot more interesting! So here we go.

I thought this serial had a good idea. It’s like a Zelda game, sort of–our heroes have to collect all the Keys of Marinus before the bad guys in order to keep them safe. Or else they could be used to power up a machine that could be used to mind control the entire planet. Cool. There is also a giant pyramid which houses the mysterious machine complete with guardian old guy. So after the first episode, where their quest is explained by the creepy old guy who I immediately didn’t trust (because he blocked the TARDIS with a force field), the TARDIS crew sets off using “travel dials” (vortex manipulators?) to their first destination. And then the creepy old guy is seen attacked by one of the bad guys. So he was good after all!

Barbara had left before everyone else, and when the Doctor, Ian, and Susan arrive, they can’t find her. They are invited into a paradise-city and find Barbara living like a queen. Eventually they realize that the entire paradise is an illusion and find one of the Keys. Whee.

Thus it continues through the Forest Temple–er, I mean “screaming jungle” (Susan was doing more screaming than the jungle in that one, ugh) and the Ice Cavern–um, mountain caves. Although in the mountain caves episode Barbara is almost raped by a mountaineer. That was scary. But Ian saves the day! I always wonder how Ian manages to fight so well. I mean, he’s just a chemistry teacher! Maybe the TARDIS has some training programs. Or maybe Ian is secretly a ninja spy.

Eventually everyone ends up in another city, a real one this time. Ian is framed for murder and for stealing the last Key. The Doctor, in a display of awesomeness, manages to find the real murderer and earn everyone’s gratitude. The crew heads off with the final Key in hand.

Eager to get off the planet and get the force field lifted, the Doctor and Co. head back to the old guy’s pyramid to return the Keys. But, the old guy’s dead! He’s being impersonated by an evil dude! Ian suspects this and hands over all the keys, but replaces one of them with a fake one (oh, yeah, there was a fake key in the Forest Temple that was intended as a trap but ended up saving their butts in the end). Yeah, ever since seeing Ian take that fake Key from the Forest Temple I KNEW it would be used! There you go! The whole plot twist actually came off as cool rather than clichèd, though.

The mysterious machine explodes from the fake key, thus shutting off the power to the force field and killing all the bad guys. The TARDIS crew is free to leave, and they do! Where they end up next, nobody knows!

…OK, I do know. It’s back on Earth. Next time, the Doctor meets The Aztecs!