“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.

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Triple Post: “The Rescue,” “The Romans,” and “The Web Planet”

Here it is! The last post before I begin actively watching Doctor Who again!

“The Rescue”

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”

“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!”