Friday

Doctor Who Notes 4

With its fourth season, Doctor Who made television history, when a new actor took over the lead role and the change in appearance was made part of the story. Rather than trying to find someone similar to William Hartnell, the producers decided to take the show in an entirely new direction. Their choice, Patrick Troughton, famously interpreted the character as a “cosmic hobo” and gave the Doctor a fresh new attitude. The Daleks returned to ease the transition, and a new recurring menace was introduced in the form of the Cybermen.


From “The Smugglers”

The TARDIS materializes on the coast of Cornwall in the seventeenth century, where the Doctor, Ben Jackson, and Polly Wright get mixed up with a band of pirates seeking a hidden treasure and a smuggling ring led by a corrupt squire. When the local militia moves in, the time-travelers slip away unnoticed and depart.


From “The Tenth Planet”

The TARDIS arrives in Antarctica in December 1986, where the Doctor, Ben, and Polly help the soldiers and scientists at a space program installation fend off an invasion by Cybermen, whose home planet, Mondas, has traveled into the solar system and is draining energy from the Earth. When Mondas is destroyed by absorbing too much energy, the Cybermen die, unable to survive without their planet’s energies. Totally exhausted from his recent adventures, and complaining that “this old body of mine is wearing a bit thin,” the Doctor staggers back to the TARDIS and collapses after hurriedly setting the controls. The ship dematerializes, and as Ben and Polly look on in astonishment, the Doctor’s appearance completely changes. He has regenerated for the very first time.


From “The Power of the Daleks”

The Doctor’s post-regenerative symptoms are slight: blurred vision and a drumming sensation in his head. His amazed companions try to understand what they have just witnessed, but the Doctor’s vague and elliptical comments are of little help. Ben finds the Doctor’s ring on the floor.

Ben: The Doctor always wore this. If you are him, it should fit. That settles it!
The Doctor: I’d like to see a butterfly fit into a chrysalis case after it spreads its wings!
Polly: Then you did change!
The Doctor: Life depends on change… and renewal.
Ben: Oh, that’s it, you’ve been renewed, have you?
The Doctor: Renewed? Have I? That’s it, I’ve been renewed. It’s part of the TARDIS. Without it I couldn’t survive.

While the Doctor is engrossed in his 500-year diary, the TARDIS materializes on the planet Vulcan, where an Earth colony has been established. The Doctor passes himself off as an examiner from Earth in order to infiltrate the colony, having witnessed the murder of the examiner in the mercury swamps outside. The Doctor becomes even more concerned when he discovers that the colony’s scientists are attempting to reactivate some Daleks discovered in a ship which crashed there 200 years earlier. The scientists are successful, and though the Daleks at first claim to be subservient, when they are all revived, they attack the humans. With the help of the Doctor, Ben, and Polly, the colonists destroy the four Daleks.


From “The Highlanders”

When the TARDIS materializes in Scotland in 1746, the Doctor, Ben, and Polly are captured by a group of Highlanders on the run from the English army. However, they join forces when they are taken prisoner by the army and nearly sold into slavery by a crooked solicitor. The Doctor smuggles arms aboard the slave ship and the Highlanders set sail instead for France. One of their number, however, a lad named Jamie McCrimmon, leads the time-travelers back to the glen in which waits the TARDIS. The Doctor invites Jamie to join them.

James Robert McCrimmon was perhaps the Doctor’s most fiercely loyal companion and they traveled together for a long time. Jamie saw many wonders during his travels, including meeting the Doctor’s future self and visiting his home planet of Gallifrey. Sadly, however, at the start of the Doctor’s exile to Earth, the Time Lords returned Jamie to 1746 Scotland, his memories of all but his first adventure with the Doctor suppressed. It is unknown whether these memories ever resurfaced, or what affect this had on his psyche, if any.


From “The Underwater Menace”

The Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie run afoul of a mad scientist in the underground city that is the last vestige of the kingdom of Atlantis. While claiming that he will raise Atlantis to the surface, the scientist actually plans to destroy the Earth by draining the oceans into the molten core, the resultant superheated steam causing a massive explosion. The city is flooded and the villain drowned, but the Atlanteans and mutated fish-people both survive the catastrophe.


From “The Moonbase”

The TARDIS goes out of control and materializes on the moon in 2070, where a facility has been built to control the weather on Earth. Inside the moonbase, the Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie find a mysterious plague infecting the personnel. The plague has been introduced by the Cybermen, who plan to take over the base and destroy mankind by manipulating the weather. The first wave of Cybermen are destroyed by solvents sprayed from fire extinguishers, and the Doctor uses the base’s gravity-manipulating equipment to repulse the rest of the invasion force.


From “The Macra Terror”

The TARDIS next materializes on an Earth colony planet which appears on the surface to be a utopian society, but is in reality utterly controlled by giant crab-like creatures who use the humans to mine a toxic gas they need to breathe. The Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie resist the brainwashing attempts of the Macra creatures, and by destroying the means by which the gas is pumped from the mines, free the colonists from the Macra’s mind control.


From “The Faceless Ones”

The TARDIS returns to England in 1966, materializing at an airport, which causes the Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie trouble with the immigration office. While hiding in a hanger, Polly sees a man killed by an alien ray gun. This leads the time-travelers to uncover a plot by a race of featureless aliens to steal the identities of a number of human victims. Ben and Polly are left behind when the Doctor and Jamie go to the aliens’ orbiting space station for a final confrontation. Once they are reunited, however, Ben and Polly elect to stay behind, finding themselves back in their proper place and time. The Doctor and Jamie return to the TARDIS only to watch helplessly as it is stolen.


From “The Evil of the Daleks”

The Doctor and Jamie follow a trail of clues in order to recover the stolen TARDIS, which eventually leads them to an antique store where all the merchandise looks curiously new. They have walked into a trap, however, as they are gassed into unconsciousness. When they awaken, they find themselves transported one hundred years into the past. They meet the man who organized the theft, Edward Waterfield, and his associate Theodore Maxtible, both of whom have come under the evil influence of the Daleks, who are holding Waterfield’s daughter Victoria hostage. The Daleks want the Doctor’s help with a little genetic engineering. When the Doctor succeeds in “humanizing” three Daleks, they are all transported back to Skaro, where the Doctor learns the true Dalek plan -- to isolate and implant “the Dalek factor” into human minds, using the Doctor and his TARDIS to spread this “Dalek factor” throughout space and time. The Doctor refuses to cooperate, and manages to trick the Daleks into implanting “the human factor” into more of their number. A civil war breaks out between the two Dalek factions, during which Waterfield dies saving the Doctor from a Dalek blaster. With his last breath, he asks the Doctor to look after his daughter. As the Dalek war rages on, the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria find their way to where the Daleks had stored the TARDIS.

Victoria Waterfield joined the Doctor on his travels when her father was killed and her home blown up by the Daleks. Having led a rather sheltered life up to that point (June 1866), she often found their adventures overwhelming, and when the opportunity presented itself to resume a normal life in the twentieth century, she took it. After losing everything she knew and being terrorized by various monsters before settling down some hundred years into her future, Victoria probably faced a difficult period of adjustment with the Harris family on the North Sea Gas refinery.


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1 Comments:

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Tony said...

The Macra return in the 2007 episode "Gridlock," though they are merely giant monsters lacking intelligence.

 

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