Jack Kirby's Green Arrow 3

With DC Comics now hyping their forthcoming series Green Arrow: Year One, it’s time to take one last look at Jack Kirby’s stint with the character in the late 1950s. Fittingly, let us peruse the final story Kirby provided before seeking his fortunes elsewhere: his own version of Green Arrow’s origin story, published in Adventure Comics #256 (January 1959). This offbeat tale is aptly titled “The Green Arrow’s First Case.”

The story opens with our heroes relaxing at home. Speedy is parked in front of their big yellow TV set, while Green Arrow is enjoying his pipe. Suddenly, a news bulletin throws the adventurous archer for a loop!

Green Arrow makes a startling announcement to his junior partner -- if they don’t head off the expedition, his secret identity will be discovered! They immediately take to the sky in the Arrowplane, darting over the city’s Kirbyesque harbor.

En route to the island, Green Arrow relates his astonishing origin story. Years ago, when he was merely Oliver Queen, millionaire playboy, he was on a voyage to the South Seas when he accidentally fell overboard. (Presumably, he’d had too much to drink, but is too embarrassed to admit it.) Through the remainder of the night, he drifted on the open ocean. Then, come morning, he spotted an island nearby and swam for it. Finally reaching shore, he collapsed in exhaustion and slept. Upon awakening several hours later, he saw that dangerous shoals surrounding the island made a rescue unlikely. Like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe (actually more like Tom Hanks in Cast Away), he was marooned on an uninhabited island. Unbowed, however, he set about seeing to his survival.

(It looks like he shared Bruce Banner’s tailor in those days, what with the purple pants. Anyway...) For some reason, Oliver decided to try catching fish with a bow and arrow instead of a fishing pole. And so, after fashioning a crude archery set, he began training himself in the skills he would need to catch some food. However, he soon discovered the one flaw in his plan.

Thus Oliver began to devise the first of his famous trick arrows, inventing the rope arrow, the net arrow, and even a clever drill arrow, powered by the elastic from his socks!

(Man, he looks like Steve Rogers! It’s freaky.) Using the drill arrow -- with a rope attached -- he managed to snag some delicious coconuts for his supper. Over time, Oliver sought to expand his menu with some real meat. Thus, he created a distinctive outfit from the foliage in order to camouflage himself. Incredible!

Most importantly, however (to the plot, at least), Oliver also kept a journal of his experiences by carving his words into the wall of a cavern, using a primitive hammer and chisel. Little suspecting what fate had in store for him, he recorded his name, the date of his arrival, and all about the development of his bow and arrows and his green costume. Finally, one evening, he was overjoyed to see a commercial freighter anchored not far offshore! He immediately swam for the ship, and for some reason, he took his archery set with him. Good thing, too, for upon reaching the boat, he found there had been a mutiny on board. Realizing he had to defeat the criminals in order to secure safe passage home, he smeared anchor grease around his eyes, “so the deck lights wouldn’t reflect against the whiteness of my face.” His trick arrows made short work of the mutineers, and thus the crimebusting Green Arrow was born!

At this point, the flashback ends as the Arrowplane descends on the island. Speedy understands that if the expedition discovers the cavern, Oliver’s cover will be blown and his secrets revealed. The battling bowmen race to head off the explorers, but arrive too late to stop them! Fortunately, Green Arrow has a sudden brainstorm!

As luck would have it, Green Arrow’s quiver holds his “fake-uranium arrow!” (Yes, that’s right, the ever-useful fake-uranium arrow! Never leave home without it!) He fires it into the ground near the cavern entrance, where it “gives off waves that simulate uranium deposits!” And…

The ploy is successful and the expedition leaves the island without exploring any further. Green Arrow and Speedy breathe a sigh of relief.

Strangely, though, as this panel makes clear, a pair of sunglasses would surely hide Ollie’s identity better than that pencil-thin mask. How Green Arrow has ever maintained a secret identity is inexplicable, and the problem became even more pronounced after he grew his very distinctive chin whiskers in 1969. How many men go around sporting a thick blond Van Dyck beard? It makes Superman’s Clark Kent disguise almost seem convincing by comparison.

Although Jack Kirby left “Green Arrow” and DC Comics after this issue, the feature continued under the hand of veteran artist Lee Elias. However, this origin story was more or less contradicted two issues later in the lead story “Superboy Meets the Young Green Arrow.” Well, Jack Kirby never got much respect at DC anyway. It was at Marvel where he would earn the title “the King of Comics.”

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Jack Kirby's Green Arrow 2

During his brief run on the “Green Arrow” back-up feature in Adventure Comics during the late 1950s, Jack Kirby let his imagination run wild, producing some characteristically bizarre tales, such as “The Mystery of the Giant Arrows” from issue #252 (September 1958).

This is a symbolic splash, fortunately, and we need not worry about Green Arrow and Speedy perishing in the vacuum of space. This also accounts for G.A.’s apparent optimism in the face of impending death as they are whisked above Earth’s atmosphere. Kirby just liked to get things rolling with a spectacular image.

The story actually begins with a quiet street scene in an unidentified city, where the crowds are amazed by a giant arrow which suddenly lands in their midst. Drawn to the scene by a TV news bulletin, Green Arrow and Speedy secure the giant arrow, only to face a new menace!

Pursuing the big red missile in their golden Arrowcar, G.A. muffles its thunderous sonic vibrations with a “cocoon arrow,” then uses a “jet arrow” to deflect it from its collision course with a freighter just offshore! Speedy relinquishes the driver’s seat to Green Arrow as they race to their secret headquarters to fetch their awesome aeroplane the Arrowplane!

Intercepting a third giant arrow, our heroes are surprised when it suddenly explodes into hundred of blazing fragments! Luckily the titanic toxophilites have enough “firecracker arrows” to render the burning shrapnel harmless!

Suddenly, they receive an urgent radio message instructing them to meet Professor Riggles at his observatory! Knowing Prof. Riggles often helps the police, the arch archers speed to the scene, where Professor Riggles shows them what his fantastic wall of Kirbyesque machinery has discovered! Good old Professor Riggles!

The weird figure on the screen is seen shooting a “cable-arrow,” which lands near the observatory! Green Arrow and Speedy race into the sylvan glade to investigate!

After climbing atop the gargantuan arrow (which, curiously, has the cable coming out of the tip of its head), they find themselves suddenly hauled into a brightly-shining light -- the doorway into a strange new dimension! One mystery is solved, but our battling bowmen’s problems have just begun!

The breakneck pace never lets up for a minute as our heroes try to contend with Kirby’s patented brand of pseudoscience in this whirlwind tale. It certainly sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the more staid affairs that DC was publishing in this and its other titles of the time. Kirby was a jagged peg in a smooth hole at DC, and this contributed to his decision to leave the giant publisher to find more creative freedom at one of its struggling competitors -- the then-nameless comic book division of Martin Goodman’s publishing empire, run by the equally frenetic-minded Stan Lee.

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Jack Kirby's Green Arrow

Years before launching the so-called ‘Marvel Age of Comics’ in the early 1960s, Jack Kirby served a stint at National Periodical Publications, better known as DC Comics, which was by far the predominant comics publisher of the time. In addition to a book of his own creation, Challengers of the Unknown, Kirby also contributed back-up stories starring Green Arrow for Adventure Comics.

As ever, Kirby’s distinctive dynamic style shines through in these short features, despite their late-‘50s vintage. In stylistic terms, they can be seen bridging the grotesqueries of his Golden Age output and the idiosyncratic stylization of his 1970s oeuvre.

But enough of the pontificating, let’s get to the pictures!

In Adventure Comics #251 (cover date August 1958), Jack Kirby presents “The Case of the Super-Arrows.” It is the anniversary of Green Arrow’s debut as a crimefighter, and he and his teen sidekick, Speedy, receive numerous gifts from various law-enforcement agencies and other well-wishers. Astonishingly, a cylinder materializes out of thin air, and a disembodied voice tells them it is a token of esteem from the world of 3000 A.D., in honor of “Justice Week.” The cylinder contains at least nine “super-arrows” made with the fantastic technology of the future.

(Apparently, though, Green Arrow misheard the voice and thought it said it was from 3,000 years in the future, i.e. 5000 A.D.)

While testing out the arrows, the heroes learn of a bank robbery in process and leap into Kirbyesque action.

Giving chase in the ‘Arrow-Mobile,’ Green Arrow uses one of the futuristic shafts to freeze the getaway car in its tracks. Even this simple image is somehow pure Kirby.

The bank robbers abandon their vehicle and reveal themselves as ‘Cougar’ Cain and his mob. They attempt to escape with the help of a smoke screen, which the heroes easily dissipate. However, Green Arrow clumsily drops one of the arrows of the future.

Helplessly mesmerized, Green Arrow and Speedy are lucky that ‘Cougar’ Cain decides to merely steal the futuristic weapons and not shoot the heroes in the head and be done with it. Thus, they come to their senses several minutes later, and realize they’ve goofed up big time.

Green Arrow cooks up a cunning plan, in which he relies on his own skill and an ancient arrow from the Battle of Hastings (!) to defeat Cain and the dreaded “paralysis arrow.” When the crooks attempt to hijack a “million dollar gold shipment,” they find the armored car contains Green Arrow and Speedy. Cain fires the paralysis arrow, but G.A. shoots it out of the sky with good old-fashioned marksmanship.

Finally, the heroes decide to stash the high-tech weapons in their secret HQ for safekeeping.

Note: The nine arrows of the future we see are as follows: cloud-seeding arrow, “sonar shaft” arrow, freezing arrow, vacuum arrow, hypnotic arrow, invisibility arrow, anti-gravity arrow, vibration arrow, and paralysis arrow.

Besides the obvious parallels to DC’s own Batman and Robin -- what with the millionaire hero and his teenaged “ward,” the Arrow-Cave and the distinctive Arrow-Mobile -- under Kirby’s hand the pair bear a striking resemblance to Kirby’s own WWII team of Captain America and Bucky. In fact, Oliver Queen is pretty much a dead-ringer for Steve Rogers. Only the details of their costumes and their crimebusting gimmicks differentiate the two teams. I guess Kirby knew a workable formula when he saw one.

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Lord Byron: Vampire?

Was Lord Byron the First English Vampire?
A Halloween Essay

Lord Byron, the quintessential rake, was renowned for his outrageous sex life, and inspired equal parts fascination and disgust in the minds of men and women alike. In 1812, he became obsessed with Lady Caroline Lamb, a wife and mother, and tried to break up her marriage that he might possess her completely. Smitten with the dashing poet, Lady Caroline engaged in a well-publicized affair with him. Soon, however, Byron became bored with his conquest and abandoned her. Lady Caroline was devastated.

Her heartbreak evolved into a bitter hatred in the subsequent years, as Byron fathered a child with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and then married Lady Caroline’s cousin, Anne Isabella “Annabella” Milbanke. Their marriage proved to be an unhappy one, due in large part to Byron’s incessant philandering.

Portentously, in April 1815, the Indonesian volcano Mount Tambora erupted, blanketing Europe in a thick cloud of volcanic ash. Global weather patterns would be seriously disrupted for several years, leading to famine, riots, and bizarre weather phenomena.

The following January, Lord Byron’s wife left him immediately after the birth of their daughter. Depressed, Byron eased his pain with Claire Claremont, the step-sister of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. A month or two later, his divorce was finalized, and Byron decided to leave for the continent.

At that same time, Lady Caroline Lamb finally got a measure of revenge against her former lover with the May 1816 publication of her novel Glenarvon. The title character, “Clarence de Ruthven, Lord Glenarvon,” was a thinly-disguised satire of Byron, and proved to be the villain of the piece, leading the female protagonist into a tragic love-affair and paying the ultimate price for his treachery. The novel, understood to be a “kiss-and-tell” fictionalization of her relationship with Byron, immediately sold out and went into multiple reprintings and revised editions.

As the scandalous novel came out, Byron hired a 20-year-old doctor, John W. Polidori, as his personal physician and secretary, and they left England to tour Europe. Within a month, they settled in Switzerland, where Byron received some visitors in what may be the most famous vacation in the annals of English literature: Percy Bysshe Shelley, his fiancée Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and her step-sister Claire Claremont (Byron’s erstwhile lover).

As the weather was unusually miserable, due to the after-effects of the recent volcanic eruption, the group was forced to remain indoors, and they struggled to find ways to entertain themselves. (One of Byron’s pastimes involved getting Claire Claremont pregnant.) One night, after reading aloud from a book of horror stories, Byron suggested that they all come up with ghost stories and have a contest to see whose was the scariest. Mary invented the basis of the story of Frankenstein, and Byron produced a fragment of a story that he would never finish. Dr. Polidori, who was clearly out of his league, came up with a tale of a skull-headed woman, whose uncanny appearance was a supernatural punishment for peeping through keyholes. His contribution was cruelly derided and mocked.

Polidori’s relationship with Byron soured for various reasons, and he was soon dismissed from his job. The doctor returned to his father’s native Italy, and there decided to get his own form of literary revenge on Lord Byron. Inspired by Lady Caroline Lamb, Polidori created a character called “Lord Ruthven” (pronounced riven, by the way), drawing the name from her own version of Byron. Polidori’s Lord Ruthven was a vampire, but unlike the vampires of traditional folklore, this one was a suave aristocrat who preyed on the young women of the British upper class, destroying their lives with his evil. The character was, again, a thinly-veiled satire on Byron and his hijinks. To rub salt in the wound, Polidori plagiarized Byron’s ghost story and created a novel called The Vampyre.

The following year, after marrying Percy, Mary Shelly turned her ghost story into the novel Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus, which was first published in January 1818 and quickly became a popular success. Over a year later, in April 1819, Polidori’s novel was published, without his permission, in a British magazine. To make matters worse, the tale was attributed to Lord Byron, which infuriated both men and set off a bitter public feud. Meanwhile, The Vampyre became a smash hit in France.

The Vampyre is credited as the first work of the vampire genre in English, and also the first anywhere to portray the undead creature as an aristocratic sex-fiend rather than a gruesome monster. It served as one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the end of the century, though its authorship was in dispute for a long time, which prevented Polidori from cashing in on Lord Ruthven’s popularity.

In 1821, Dr. John W. Polidori committed suicide. (Interestingly, some years after his death, his sister, Frances Polidori Rossetti, gave birth to Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and their siblings.)

For his part, Lord Byron died in 1824 from an illness which was exacerbated, ironically, by having blood drained from his body by his doctors.


Thor Redux

Although Marvel is currently hyping the return of Thor to their modern continuity, I’m not going to talk about that. Instead, I’m going to look at a peculiarity from Thor’s earliest adventures in the anthology comic Journey Into Mystery, which I noticed while reading the first volume of Essential Thor.

After getting Thor off to a good start, artist Jack Kirby left the book towards the end of 1962, due to his heavy workload on other Marvel titles. In his penultimate issue, Kirby drew this unremarkable image of the thunder god carrying Loki back to Asgard in a net. The drawing was then inked by Dick Ayers.

Following an abysmal fill-in issue by veteran comic artist Al Hartley, the reins were handed over to Joe Sinnott to pencil and ink Thor’s adventures. Sinnott is perhaps best known as Jack Kirby’s primary inker on Fantastic Four, and he continued to do inking chores for Marvel through the following two decades. Early in his career, however, Joe Sinnott did a fair amount of penciling jobs as well.

On the first page of his first issue, Journey Into Mystery # 91, Joe Sinnott drew this image of Thor, which looks surprisingly familiar. Note the odd placement of Thor’s right arm.

In Sinnott’s third issue, JIM # 94 (Kirby and Ayers had returned for one issue to introduce a major villain), the same pose appears again, with the cape even closer to Kirby’s original version.

This is what’s known in comic book parlance as a “swipe,” when an artist appropriates a drawing done by someone else and incorporates it into his own work without meaning to reference the original. Often done as a time-saving measure by artists facing a deadline crunch, the “swipe” is a venerable tradition that goes back to the Golden Age. Identifying swipes has long been a favorite pastime of comic book geeks, but here Sinnott makes it way too obvious.

For, in fact, he used the same swipe again in each of his next two issues!

From Journey Into Mystery # 95:

And from Journey Into Mystery # 96:

At this point, Joe Sinnott was taken off the book and the art chores were handed over to Don Heck, until Kirby’s return a few months later. As it is, Sinnott used this one obvious swipe in four of his five issues. That’s a bit of overkill. We may never know if his abuse of the swipe technique was a factor in Sinnott losing the Thor assignment, but even swipe-master Dan Adkins, nicknamed “The Human Xerox Machine,” knew better than to use the same swipe in three consecutive issues!


Bang! Bang! A 'Movie' Comic Book

Bang! Bang! A ‘Movie’ Comic Book
An Editorial

I’ve noticed that a number of recent comic books have been so-called “westerns,” drawing their inspiration from the world of movies, and I think this is a rather unfortunate fad. Why is it necessary to debase this fine literary form by drawing material from a children’s entertainment medium?

We all remember going to the movies when we were kids and thrilling to the adventures of Cowboys & Indians, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with cherishing those halcyon days of yore. But when we got older, most of us put away our toys and moved on to more adult pastimes, such as curling up with a good comic book. As we matured, we realized that reality was more complex than the simple-minded good-vs.-evil world of Cowboys & Indians. We sought out more sophisticated stories and more sophisticated media.

However, as we all know, there are some pathetic losers who continue to watch movies even into their 40s. What’s wrong with these people? Are they so mentally deficient that they can’t imagine the action between the panels—it must be acted out for them? Are they so illiterate that they can’t read word balloons and captions, but must have the words spoken to them out loud? Such people may claim their continued interest in movies is a function of nostalgia, but this does not address the core issue of quality.

By their crude, primitive nature, movies were (until recently) confined to stories that could be acted out in front of a camera, greatly limiting the potential of the medium for telling worthwhile stories. Furthermore, the many years of using monochromatic film meant the stories had to be further simplified to a black-and-white mentality. This mindset has persisted to the present day. Comic books, on the other hand, have been limited only by the imaginations and talent of the authors and artists who craft each page ex nihilo, using only the simplest tools—the hallmark of any fine art. The styles and approaches—as well as the subject matters explored—are as varied and individualistic as the creators themselves.

Now, of course, it’s undeniable that movies have made a significant impact on our culture. They have provided us many of the great heroes of juvenile fiction, such as the Lone Ranger. Some argue that they represent a “modern-day mythology.” However, this assertion falls flat when you compare the brainless stereotype of Tonto to the more nuanced portrayals of Native Americans in such comic books as Red Wolf and Tomahawk, to name but two.

It is this inherent lack of quality, coupled with the utter passivity of the viewer, that makes movies extremely problematic when they attempt to move beyond the generic conventions of Wild West shoot-‘em-ups to explore more adult themes. Many movies lately, such as Brokeback Mountain, deal frankly with homosexual themes, but is this really appropriate for children?

Movie fans may pout and whine that such a movie is not meant for children. But I mean, let’s be honest here. You have to actually pick up a comic book, open the cover, and read it, whereas a movie is projected on a wall for anyone to see, its obnoxious soundtrack filling the air with inescapable noise. And if a five-year-old happened to see such a movie, who knows what irreparable harm might be done to an impressionable mind? Likewise, suppose a youngster viewed schlock such as Unforgiven, expecting his usual harmless fantasies of Cowboys & Indians? It would be, if nothing else, a rude shock and a blow to the innocence of childhood that all kids are entitled to.

For decades, psychologists have published studies on the rampant and unchecked violent and sexual imagery in movies and its deleterious effects on children, but what has been done about it? Fearing government censorship, the movie industry has adopted a ratings system, but it is too uninformative, too generalized, and basically impossible to enforce. But precisely because of their appeal to the prurient interest, movies have remained a popular entertainment for juveniles of all ages, and so, looking for a quick buck, a certain segment of the comic book industry has decided to try and cash in. This is a slippery slope indeed.

Movie fans, especially the socially-maladjusted older variety, will argue until they’re blue in the face that their guilty pleasure is as deserving of recognition as any other storytelling medium. However, consider the situation in the world of academia. Many prestigious universities have a Department of Comic Book Studies, whereas the idea of studying movies remains laughable. Imagine the humiliation of the movie fan as he tries to justify his infantile obsession as a proper subject for serious scholarly examination. Imagine also the guffaws of the editors of academic journals as he peddles his theoretical analysis of Cowboys & Indians. The very idea is ludicrous. However, academics thrive on discussing papers such as “De-Centering Iconic Sexualities: The Politics of Representation in Rawhide Kid.” Clearly, movies simply lack something that more respected forms of entertainment possess, and this is, in a word, maturity.

So please, let’s leave movies to the kiddies, where they belong, and not try to bring comic books down to their level.


Doctor Who Notes 26

The twenty-sixth season of Doctor Who would end up being the last of the original series, though there was no grand finale. However, the character of Ace was explored in unusual depth over the course of the season, which began with a new UNIT story featuring the return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Finally, the Master reappeared for one more showdown with the Doctor. The next televised adventure would be the problematic 1996 TV movie, followed at last by the new series beginning in 2005.

From “Battlefield”

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor picks up a mysterious signal, a pan-dimensional call for “Merlin.” Locked into the source of the signal, the TARDIS materializes on the shore of Lake Vortigern in Carbury, England at a time the Doctor describes to Ace as “a few years in your future.” Near an archaeological dig, they find a UNIT operation underway, now under the command of Brigadier Winifred Bambera. When word of the Doctor’s presence makes its way to Geneva, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is called out of retirement. A cadre of Arthurian knights appear from another dimension, and the Doctor and Ace encounter one in a barn, who recognizes the Doctor as being Merlin, to the Doctors bewilderment.

Ace: You’ve got it wrong, mate. This is the Doctor.
Ancelyn: Oh, he has many names, but in my reckoning, he is Merlin.
The Doctor: You recognise my face, then?
Ancelyn: No, not your aspect. It is your manner that betrays you. Do you not ride the ship of time? Does it not deceive the senses, being larger within than without? Merlin, cease these games and tell me truly, is this the time?

Ancelyn has come to retrieve the sword Excalibur, hidden within a spacecraft at the bottom of the lake. He is pursued by the sorceress Morgaine and her army, and she has summoned a demonic creature called the Destroyer, which Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart disintegrates by shooting silver bullets into it. Morgaine then hijacks the nuclear missile which UNIT was transporting, but the Doctor is able to convince her that nuclear war is inherently dishonorable. She and her son Mordred are taken into custody.

It would seem that at some point in his own future, the Doctor will travel to a parallel universe where the Arthurian legends are all true, and he will be mistaken for Merlin the Magician. The Doctor will assist King Arthur and his knights in an apocalyptic battle with Morgaine and her forces of evil. Unbeknownst to Morgaine, Arthur will be slain in the battle, and the Doctor will place his remains along with Excalibur aboard a spacecraft and move it sideways in time to the eighth-century Earth of his home universe. He will then construct a tunnel to the surface of the lake, and leave a note for his past self to find inside Arthur’s helmet. The Doctor will then apparently be sealed in some ice caves with no hope of escape, but not before starting the myth that Arthur will one day return for a reckoning.

From “Ghost Light”

Ace tells the Doctor of a traumatic event from her childhood: in 1983, when she was 13 years old, her best friend’s house in Perivale was firebombed, probably by white supremacist skinheads. In a rage, Ace broke into a “haunted house” called Gabriel Chase, and, terrified by a sense of powerful evil of an alien nature, she burned the house to the ground. Wanting to learn the nature of this evil presence, the Doctor takes them back to Gabriel Chase in 1883, where they meet a cast of bizarre characters, mutated by a powerful alien creature called Light, who once catalogued all life on Earth and then becomes distraught when he discovers that his research has been made obsolete by evolution. Gabriel Chase had been built on top of Light’s spacecraft, and his evil presence lingers long after he and his ship are gone.

From “The Curse of Fenric”

The TARDIS materializes at a military installation for codebreaking on the British coast during World War II, but the base personnel have become obsessed with an ancient Viking curse. Ace meets Kathleen Dudman and her baby daughter Audrey, whom she learns are her grandmother and mother, respectively. The Doctor discovers that the base is actually a secret stockpile for chemical weapons. They are attacked by a number of aquatic vampire-like creatures the Doctor calls “Hæmovores,” but he is able to drive them off by emitting a strange, singing sort of noise, which, he claims, creates a psychic barrier against such monsters, which have been created through the evil power of Fenric.

The Doctor: The beginning of all beginnings, two forces only -- Good and Evil. Then, chaos. Time is born, matter, space -- the universe cries out like a newborn. The forces shatter as the universe explodes outwards. Only echoes remain. Yet somehow -- somehow, the Evil force survives. An intelligence -- pure evil!
Ace: That’s Fenric?
The Doctor: No, that’s just Millington’s name for it. It has no name. Trapped inside a flask. The genie in the bottle.

The evil intelligence called Fenric manifests itself using a succession of human bodies as hosts. The Doctor and Fenric have met at some point in the past, and Fenric is back for revenge, an ongoing game of chess used as a metaphor for their conflict.

Fenric: Where is the Time Lord?
Millington: Time lord?
Fenric: For seventeen centuries I was trapped in the shadow dimensions because of him. He pulled bones from the desert sands and carved them into chess pieces. He challenged me to solve his puzzle. I failed. Now I shall see him kneel before me, before I let him die.

Fenric has manipulated events to bring together all those touched by his curse -- the descendants of the Viking raiders who buried the oriental flask in which he was trapped, including Ace, as well as the last survivor of the future Earth, horribly mutated by industrial pollution into the Ancient Hæmovore -- in order to unleash the deadliest of poisons to kill all life on Earth. The Doctor realizes the only way to defeat Fenric is to break the curse, and the only way to do that is to crush Ace’s faith in him.

Fenric: Kneel if you want the girl to live!
The Doctor: Kill her.
Fenric: The Time Lord finally understands!
The Doctor: You think I didn’t know? The chess set in Lady Peinforte’s study? I knew.
Fenric: Earlier than that, Time Lord. Before Cybermen. Ever since Iceworld, where you first met the girl!
The Doctor: I knew. I knew she carried the evil inside her. You think I would have chosen a social misfit if I hadn’t known? She couldn’t even pass her chemistry exams at school. And if she manages to create a time storm in her bedroom, I saw your hand in it from the very beginning.
Ace: No...
The Doctor: She’s an emotional cripple. I wouldn’t waste my time on her, unless I had to use her somehow.
Ace: No!

The curse thus broken, the Ancient Hæmovore is free to act, trapping Fenric inside a testing chamber, where the deadly chemicals destroy them both. With the death of his corporeal host, Fenric is presumably once more banished to the shadow dimensions. The Doctor seems to have brought Ace to this time and place specifically for the showdown with Fenric, and this may explain the mentor relationship he has with her, helping her to face her inner demons and mature from a troubled teen into a well-adjusted young woman, whose real name is most probably Dorothy Dudman.

From “Survival”

When Ace mentions that she wonders what her old friends are up to, the Doctor takes her back to contemporary Perivale. Ace learns that several of her friends have since vanished under mysterious circumstances, and then she, too, is kidnapped -- transported to an alien planet inhabited the Cheetah People, who hunt humans for food. The Doctor is then transported there as well, where he soon sees a familiar face -- the Master. Having become stranded on the disintegrating planet, the Master established a mind-link with the kitlings, creatures that look like black cats that possess the power of teleportation, and had them bring the Doctor there as well, the Master believing that his old adversary would surely find a means of escape.

The Doctor: Why should I help you?
The Master: It’s not just death that we’re all facing. This place bewitches you. If we stay here, we’ll be like the people who built these. They thought they could control the planet -- the wilderness. They were the ones who bred the kitlings -- creatures with minds they could talk to, eyes they could see through, the way I do. It only led to their corruption. We shall become like them. We shall become animals!

Like the Master, Ace also is affected by the power of the planet and begins to mutate into a more feline form, a process she finds seductive. As the mutation progresses, the power of teleportation arises as well, and the Master uses one of Ace’s mutated friends to get to Earth, where he tries to suppress his own transformation.

The Master: You are all animal now. You’re so weak, your will devoured. A stronger mind will hold onto itself longer. A will as strong as mine -- how much longer? If I have to suffer this contamination, this humiliation, if I am to become an animal, then like an animal I will destroy you, Doctor. I will hunt you, trap you, and destroy you!

Ace likewise transports the Doctor and her other friends back to the TARDIS, though the Doctor fears it may make her transformation irreversible. She is then able to track the Master’s movements. She and the Doctor become separated, and the Doctor finds the Master apparently trying to break into the TARDIS.

The Doctor: Good hunting?
The Master: Yes. It would be too easy. It seems we must always meet again.
The Doctor: They do say opposites attract.
The Master: But this is the end, Doctor. You see it? It’s a power -- the power from that planet. It’s growing within me. Are you frightened yet?
The Doctor: No.
The Master: You should be. You should be. It nearly beat me. Such a simple, brutal power, just the power of tooth and claw. It nearly destroyed me, a Time Lord. But I won. I controlled that force, Doctor. And now, at last, I have the power to destroy you! Welcome to my new home, Doctor!
The Doctor: They’re gone! What are we doing? I’ve got to stop! We’ve got to go home!
The Master: Can’t go! Not this time!
The Doctor: Yes, we can!
The Master: Escape to what? I don’t choose to live as an animal!
The Doctor: If we fight, we’ll destroy this planet! We’ll destroy ourselves!
The Master: You should have killed me, Doctor!
The Doctor: if we fight like animals, we die like animals!

After being abandoned by the Cheetah People, the planet finally disintegrates as the Doctor is suddenly teleported back to Perivale and the TARDIS and the Master, presumably, to parts unknown. He catches up to Ace, mourning the death of the Cheetah Woman she had befriended, who was killed by the Master. Her body is then taken by another Cheetah Person and teleported away.

Ace: Where have they gone?
The Doctor: They’ve been taken back to the wilderness. The place is different, but the hunt goes on. You know all about the hunt, don’t you, Ace?
Ace: I felt like I could run forever, like I could smell the wind and feel the grass under my feet and just run forever!
The Doctor: The planet’s gone, but it lives on inside you. It always will.
Ace: Good.

The Doctor and Ace return to the TARDIS to continue their travels.

Jump Back: A Brief History of Gallifrey

Jump Back: A Brief History of the Master



Doctor Who Notes 25

Doctor Who celebrated its twenty-fifth season with the return of the Daleks and the Cybermen, as well as attempts to add new layers of mystery to the Doctor’s character. The initial story acted as a sequel to the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child,” and revealed more details about Time Lord history.

From “Remembrance of the Daleks”

The Doctor: A long time ago, on my home planet of Gallifrey, there lived a stellar engineer called Omega.
Ace: Stellar? As in stars? Do you mean he engineered stars?
The Doctor: Ace!
Ace: Sorry. Go on.
The Doctor: It was Omega who created the super-nova that was the initial power source for Gallifreyan time-travel experiments. He left behind him the basis on which Rassilon founded Time Lord society. And he left behind the Hand of Omega.
Ace: His hand? What good was that?
The Doctor: No, no, not his hand literally. No, it was called that because Time Lords have an infinite capacity for pretension.
Ace: I’d noticed that.
The Doctor: The Hand of Omega is a mythical name for Omega’s remote stellar manipulator. A device used to customize stars with. And didn’t we have trouble with the prototype...
Ace: We?
The Doctor: They.
Ace: And the Daleks want it so they can recreate the time-travel experiments? But you said that both Dalek factions can already travel in time.
The Doctor: Oh, yes, Daleks have got time corridor technology, but it’s very crude and nasty. What they want is the power that Time Lords have. And they’ll get that from the Hand of Omega. Or so they think.
Ace: And you have to try and stop them.
The Doctor: No, Ace, I want them to have it!
Ace: Eh?
The Doctor: My problem is trying to keep Group Captain Gilmore and his men from getting diced in the crossfire.
Ace: So all this --
The Doctor: Is a massive deception, yes.
Ace: Well devious! So the Daleks grab the Hand of Omega and go and no one gets hurt! Brilliant!
The Doctor: Just one thing.
Ace: What?
The Doctor: I didn’t expect two Dalek factions. And now I have to make sure the wrong ones don’t get their grubby little protuberances on it!

* * *

The Doctor: The Hand of Omega is inside this box. The most powerful and sophisticated remote stellar manipulator device ever constructed.
Ace: Are you sure you want the Daleks to have it?
The Doctor: Absolutely. You know what you’ve got to do, don’t you? Yes, of course you do.
Ace: Is it alive?
The Doctor: In a manner of speaking, yes.

The Doctor subsequently tricks Davros into causing the Hand of Omega to make Skaro’s sun go super-nova, thereby destroying the Daleks’ home planet.

The Doctor apparently took the Hand of Omega with him when he and Susan escaped Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS. Upon arriving on Earth in A.D. 1963, he left the machine at a London undertaker’s shop, intending to have it buried in a nearby churchyard. However, he left unexpectedly when Mr. Chesterton and Ms. Wright discovered the TARDIS at Totter’s Lane and didn’t get back to have it buried until during his seventh incarnation. However, after only six months on Earth, the Hand was used to destroy Skaro and sent back to Gallifrey.

From “The Happiness Patrol”

On the Earth colony planet Terra Alpha, the Doctor tells Trevor Sigma that his nickname at college was “Theta Sigma.”

From “Silver Nemesis”

Ace: How can she get to 1988?
The Doctor: She used the silver arrow, of course. And she had some basic, rudimentary knowledge about time-travel. Black magic, mostly.
Ace: Black magic?
The Doctor: And what you might call a nose for secrets.
Ace: So, it wasn’t just silver, this stuff that fell from the sky?
The Doctor: Unfortunately, Lady Peinforte discovered it was something rather more unusual. A living metal, vallidium.
Ace: Living metal?
The Doctor: Yes, with just one purpose: destruction.

* * *

Richard: What will my lady do when you possess the Nemesis?
Lady Peinforte: Why, first have revenge on that predictable little man. He will soon arrive, Richard, oh, yes. I expect him. This time there’ll be a reckoning with the nameless Doctor whose power is so secret, for I have found his secret out.

* * *

The Doctor: Vallidium was created as the ultimate defense for Gallifrey, back in the early times.
Ace: Created by Omega?
The Doctor: Yes.
Ace: And?
The Doctor: And Rassilon.
Ace: And?
The Doctor: And none of it should have left Gallifrey. But, as always with these things, some of it did.
Ace: So you had to try to stop Lady Peinforte --
The Doctor: Or anyone else.
Ace: -- from ever putting the three bits together.
The Doctor: Yes, so I launched the largest piece into space...
Ace: But you got your sums wrong.

* * *

The Doctor: The rockets are now locked in to your destination. Now, let’s see how the Cyber Fleet is progressing. Right on course.
Nemesis: And I am to destroy the entire Cyber Fleet?
The Doctor: Forever.
Nemesis: And then?
The Doctor: Reform.
Nemesis: You will need me in the future, then.
The Doctor: I hope not.
Nemesis: That is what you said before.
The Doctor: Enough.
Nemesis: And after this, will I have my freedom?
The Doctor: Not yet.
Nemesis: When?
The Doctor: I told you when. Things are still imperfect.

* * *

Ace: The Doctor’s not going to just give you the bow. Tell her, Doctor. Tell her.
Lady Peinforte: Doctor who? Have you never wondered where he came from? Who he is?
Ace: Nobody knows who the Doctor is.
Lady Peinforte: Except me.
Ace: How?
Lady Peinforte: The statue told me.
Ace: All right, so what does it matter? He’s a Time Lord, I know that.
Lady Peinforte: (laughs and shakes her head) Well, Doctor?
The Doctor: If I give you the bow?
Lady Peinforte: Your power becomes mine, but your secrets remain your own.
The Doctor: It’s all over, Ace. My battle -- all my battles. I’ve lost. I can only surrender.
Lady Peinforte: Yes.
The Doctor: But not to you. The Cybermen will have the Nemesis.
Cyber Leader: This is most rational, Doctor.
Lady Peinforte: But I know your secrets!
The Doctor: Very well, tell them.
Lady Peinforte: I shall tell them of Gallifrey, tell them of the old time, the time of chaos.
The Doctor: Be my guest.
Lady Peinforte: Your secrets --
Cyber Leader: The secrets of the Time Lords mean nothing to us.
The Doctor: Exactly. Thank you for coming to the 20th century and giving me assistance. Thank you for bringing the arrow. You may go now.
Lady Peinforte: What?
The Doctor: You had the right game, but the wrong pawn. Check.

At some point, it would seem, an amount of vallidium, the mysterious living metal created by Omega and Rassilon, crashed to earth and eventually came into the possession of Lady Peinforte in seventeenth century England. She had it fashioned into a statue of herself, only to discover the metal’s sentient properties. Whatever plans she had for it were foiled by the Doctor, apparently earlier in his seventh incarnation since she recognized him visually. At some point, the statue revealed to her the dark secret of the Doctor’s true identity. The Doctor was able to launch the body of the statue into solar orbit encased in a meteorite. However, due to a miscalculation, the meteorite came near the earth every 25 years, its malevolent influence causing calamities. In the months to follow, Lady Peinforte hatched a plan to regain the statue and exact revenge on the Doctor when it eventually crashed back to earth in 1988. She seems to hint that the Doctor has something to do with the time in Gallifreyan history before the founding of Time Lord society and that the Doctor is not or not just a Time Lord. It is also possible that the sentient metal Nemesis is composed of is the same substance that gave the Hand of Omega its strange powers and apparent intelligence. It seems that vallidium may have been invented during the time before the establishment of Time Lord society to protect Gallifrey from some great enemy, perhaps by destroying that enemy entirely. Omega was then able to use this material to create the remote stellar manipulator that unlocked the secrets of time-travel and allowed Rassilon to make them Time Lords.

From “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”

The Doctor: I have fought the Gods of Ragnarok all through time!
Ragnarok 1: You are in our true time-space now, Doctor. There is no appeal beyond its confines to any other!
The Doctor: Don’t tell me, let me guess. Now you want me to...
Ragnarok 1: Entertain us!
Ragnarok 2: Entertain us!
Ragnarok 1: Or die! So long as you entertain us, you may live!
Ragnarok 2: When you no longer entertain us, you die!
The Doctor: Predictable as ever, Gods of Ragnarok! As I think it’s been said before -- or was it after -- you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

These “Gods of Ragnarok” are apparently a nihilistic triumvirate from another dimension who prey on imaginative beings to be used as entertainment. The Doctor seems to have a history with them, though it would seem he never before encountered them face to face.

Next Season


Doctor Who Notes 24

Doctor Who returned from its long hiatus for a twenty-fourth season with a new Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy. While minor characters such as the Rani and Sabalom Glitz put in another appearance, none of the Doctor’s major recurring villains were seen. A new companion was introduced in the final story, who would prove to be the last of the original series.

From “Time and the Rani”

The Rani reminds the Doctor that thermodynamics was his special subject at university, where they attended together and she studied neurochemistry. The Doctor mentions that he has regenerated into his seventh persona, and also reveals that both he and the Rani are aged 953 and that he has “a unique conceptual understanding of the properties of time.” Upon the collapse of her evil plans, the Rani is taken prisoner and transported to the homeworld of the Tetraps.

From “Paradise Towers”

The Doctor and Mel decide to visit the megalithic apartment complex Paradise Towers after the leaky TARDIS swimming pool has been jettisoned.

From “Delta and the Bannermen”

As Billy prepares to leave Earth to mate with the Chimeron queen, Delta, the Doctor notes that “love has never been known for its rationality,” exhibiting an uncharacteristic wistfulness, suggesting that he is perhaps speaking from experience.

From “Dragonfire”

On Iceworld, the Doctor and Mel meet an Earth-born waitress who calls herself ‘Ace.’

Mel: You’re from Earth?
Ace: Used to be.
Mel: Whereabouts on Earth?
Ace: Perivale.
Mel: Sounds mce.
Ace: You ever been there? I was doing this brill experiment to extract nitroglycerine from gelignite. I think something must have gone wrong. This time storm blows up from nowhere, whisks me up here.
Mel: And when was this?
Ace: Does it matter?
Mel: Well, don’t you ever want to go back?
Ace: Not particularly.
Mel: What about your mum and dad?
Ace: I haven’t got no mum and dad. I’ve never had no mum and dad, and I don’t want no mum and dad! It’s just me, all right?
Mel: Sorry. What about your chemistry A-level, then?
Ace: That’s no good. I got suspended after I blew up the art room.
Mel: You blew up the art room?
Ace: It was only a small explosion! They couldn’t understand how blowing up the art room was a creative act!

Ace reveals that she is sixteen years old, and has obviously been on Iceworld for some time, allowing her to adjust to her bizarre experience and assimilate into an alien culture, perhaps a year -- meaning she left Earth around 1985. She also tells Mel that her real name is Dorothy. When Mel decides to join up with Sabalom Glitz, the Doctor invites Ace to go with him in the TARDIS.

Next Season

Doctor Who Notes 23

Season twenty-three of Doctor Who was presented as a single serial under the title “Trial of a Time Lord,” with four interrelated yet distinct segments. A new companion was introduced in a rather convoluted manner as Peri was written out. This would prove to be the last story featuring the Time Lords. It also proved to be the final adventure for the sixth Doctor, as Colin Baker was fired before production began on the following season.

From “The Mysterious Planet”

The Doctor is forcibly brought aboard a gigantic deep space station to once again stand trial in a Time Lord court for conduct unbecoming a Time Lord and for meddling in the affairs of other cultures. The Doctor learns that since he neglected his duties as Lord President of the High Council of the Time Lords, he has been removed from office. The Valeyard, acting as prosecutor, presents what he considers a typical example of the Doctor’s meddling activity culled from the data stored in the Matrix. The Valeyard explains that the Time Lords are able to carry out detailed surveillance upon anyone within range of a TARDIS. His first example is the Doctor’s recent visit to Ravolox, during which time the Doctor claimed to be 900 years old (At one point, he also produced from his patchwork coat a bag of jelly babies.) After encountering intergalactic highwayman Sabalom Glitz, who was attempting to steal secret tapes from an abandoned Andromedan base, the Doctor realized that Ravolox was really Earth, mysteriously moved across the galaxy. However, it becomes apparent that the High Council is suppressing certain information within the presented evidence. During the course of the trial, the Doctor’s utter contempt for Time Lord society becomes evident.

From “Mindwarp”

The trial continues with a presentation of the Doctor’s activities immediately preceding his summons to the Time Lord court, at which time he and Peri Brown were investigating arms shipments from Thoros-Beta, homeworld of Sil, an enemy they made on Varos. The Doctor realizes during the presentation that he has lost his memory of the events being shown. When they present him teaming up with Sil and aiding his evil scheme, the Doctor suspects the evidence has been tampered with, despite the inviolate nature of the Matrix. At the conclusion of the evidence, the Doctor is shown how, after transporting him and the TARDIS away, the Time Lords apparently manipulated events so that King Yrcanos destroyed Crozier and his mind-transference experiments, killing Peri in the process.

From “Terror of the Vervoids”

The trial continues following a brief recess to allow the Doctor time to deal with Peri’s death and to search the Matrix for evidence to present in his own defense. He presents an episode from his near future, at which time he is traveling with a young woman named Mel. However, the Doctor becomes convinced during the presentation that the evidence has been tampered with to incriminate him before the court. Unfortunately, by showing himself destroying every last Vervoid, the Doctor opens himself to the charge of genocide, which the Valeyard immediately puts before the court.

From “The Ultimate Foe”

Responding to the Doctor’s charges of malfeasance, the High Court of the Time Lords brings the Keeper of the Matrix in for questioning However, the proceedings are interrupted by the arrival of both Sabalom Glitz and Mel, who, it turns out, were sent for by the Master, who has been observing the trial from within the Matrix. The Master finally shows himself to the assemblage, claiming to intervene for the sake of “justice.” Under the Doctor’s examination, Glitz reveals that the Andromedans were hacking information from the Time Lord’s Matrix from a secret base on Earth. To prevent these secrets from coming to light, the High Council ordered that the Magnetron be used to move the planet, and that it be renamed Ravolox. Learning of this, the Master had hired Glitz to recover the secrets. The Doctor is outraged:

The Doctor: In all my travelings throughout the universe, I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators! I should have stayed here! The oldest civilisation, decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core! Power-mad conspirators? Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen? They’re still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power, that’s what it takes to be really corrupt!

The Master then reveals that in order to stop the Doctor from uncovering more of its secrets, the High Council struck a deal with the Valeyard, who is an amalgamation of the darker sides of the Doctor’s own character from somewhere between his twelfth and final incarnations. The Master also reveals that Peri did not, in fact, die, but instead was saved by King Yrcanos and taken back to Krontep to be his queen. Once news of the scandal leaks out, the Keeper tells the Inquisitor that the High Council has been deposed and insurrection has broken out on Gallifrey. The Master’s triumph is short-lived, though, as he and Glitz become trapped within the Matrix, awaiting justice from the new Time Lord government. The charges against the Doctor are dropped, although the Valeyard makes good his escape.

Upon being released, the Doctor and Melanie Bush leave the space station in the TARDIS. However, while it is clear that Mel is well-acquainted with the Doctor, he has never actually met her before. Also, the Doctor has yet to actually encounter the Vervoids aboard the
Hyperion III, although Mel remembers that adventure well. Presumably, to untangle this mess, the Doctor had to leave Mel somewhere and go off on his own to their actual first meeting and their encounter with the Vervoids, during which time he perhaps endured a self-imposed amnesia. They would then continue on until whatever point in time Mel was summoned by the Master. The Doctor would have to leave her again shortly before this and then pick her up shortly after his past self dropped her off. Mel would perhaps not even be aware of the Doctor’s measures, thinking the trial merely occurred at that point in a simple linear fashion. They would then continue on together to Lakertya and the Doctor’s regeneration before finally parting company on Iceworld, where Mel partnered up with Sabalom Glitz aboard the Nosferatu II.

Next Season


Doctor Who Notes 22

The twenty-second season of Doctor Who saw a mixture of old and new, as the Doctor once again battled the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, and the Master, as well as new menaces like the Rani and Sil. The Doctor’s own past also caught up with him, with significant references made to his first and third incarnations, and an adventure shared with his second incarnation and former companion Jamie McCrimmon. There would be a long hiatus following this season before the next one was produced, as the BBC tried to figure out why the show was dying in the ratings.

From “Attack of the Cybermen”

The TARDIS briefly lands the Doctor and Peri Brown in the scrapyard at 76 Totter’s Lane in 1985. Seeing the sign, the Doctor mistakenly calls his companion “Susan.” After telling an undercover policeman flat out that he is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, the Doctor learns he has once again crossed paths with Commander Lytton of Rifton V, whom he left stranded on Earth a year previously. Later, held prisoner within the TARDIS, the Doctor recounts the destruction of planet Mondas after the Cybermen’s attack on Earth in 1986, which he foiled during his first incarnation. The Cybermen have traveled back in time using a stolen timeship to change that history, and the Time Lords have sent the unwitting Doctor to foil their plan. Lytton dies helping the Doctor defeat the Cybermen on their adopted homeworld of Telos.

From “Vengeance on Varos”

After leaving Telos, the Doctor accidentally jettisons three-quarters of the TARDIS storage holds. In search of the rare mineral zeiton-7, the Doctor and Peri visit the planet Varos, where they meet the slug-like Sil, an unscrupulous trade negotiator from Thoros-Beta.

From “The Mark of the Rani”

Intending to visit Kew Gardens in the early nineteenth century, the TARDIS lands instead near Killingworth, pulled off course by the nearby operation of the Master’s and the Rani’s own timeships. The Doctor and Peri try to foil both the Rani’s plans to steal a special chemical from the brains of the local populace that she needs for the planet she rules, Miasimia Goria, and the Master’s plans to take advantage of her scheme to set himself up as ruler of the Earth. The Master reminisces about when the Rani was exiled from Gallifrey after one of her experiments turned mice into monsters that attacked the Lord President of the High Council. The Doctor sabotages the Rani’s TARDIS, trapping the Rani and the Master aboard with several tyrannosaurs as it hurtles out of control to the furthest reaches of space and time, presumably leaving the Master’s TARDIS abandoned near the mining village.

From “The Two Doctors”

After leaving Victoria Waterfield on Earth, the second Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon are apparently sent by the Time Lords to call a halt to time-travel experiments being conducted at a deep space research station run by an acquaintance of the Doctor’s, Dastari.

Dastari: I remember it very clearly, Doctor. You came to our inauguration, bearing fraternal greetings from Gallifrey.
The Doctor: Yes, yes. That was before I fell from favour. I’m a bit of an exile these days.
Dastari: Yes, I heard something about that. But you still act on their instructions.
The Doctor: It’s the price I pay for my freedom.
Dastari: Needless to say, we’ve had no support at all from your people.
The Doctor: Oh, Dastari, you can’t have expected help from the Time Lords. Their policy is one of strict neutrality.

Sensing the effects of the torture chamber in his sixth incarnation, the Doctor and Peri travel to the space station to consult Dastari, only to find the station devastated. Learning of the Time Lords’ objection to the experiments from Dastari’s journal, the Doctor has no memory of his earlier visit, even after finding Jamie in the wreckage (due to the drugs given him after his abduction by the Sontarans). However, he begins to puzzle out the sinister plot:

The Doctor: Right, Jamie, a plot to kidnap me and Dastari as well. He’s about the only biogeneticist in the galaxy capable of isolating the symbiotic nucleii of a Time Lord.
Peri: So that’s how you control the TARDIS -- symbiosis!

Held prisoner by the Sontarans to be used in Dastari’s time-travel experiments, the second Doctor learns the nature of the scheme:

The Doctor: No one can travel through time without a molecular stabilisation system.
Dastari: We know that now. And we know that Time Lords possess a symbiotic link with their machines which protects them and anyone with them from destabilisation.
The Doctor: Guesswork!

The Doctor demonstrates a familiarity with the Sontarans in his second incarnation. Meanwhile, the sixth Doctor, Peri, and Jamie track the villains to their hideout in Seville, where the Doctor examines the primitive time capsule:

The Doctor: They’ve got it almost exactly right, even down to the briode-nebuliser, look.
Jamie: What is it?
The Doctor: A Kartz-Reimer version of a TARDIS.
Jamie: A TARDIS?
The Doctor: Yes.
Jamie: Will it work?
The Doctor: It will if I use it. Or any other Time Lord. Not for anyone else.
Jamie: Why not?
The Doctor: She has to be primed by what you call the Rassilon Imprimature. That’s a sort of symbiotic print within the physiology of a Time Lord. Once that’s been absorbed into the briode-nebuliser, you have a time machine that anyone can use. That, of course, is what they didn’t understand. They simply copied the technology without realising that Rassilon had a second trick up his sleeve.

The Doctor and Jamie are interrupted by Sontarans. After escaping, the Doctor tells Jamie that he knew the Sontarans were there and what he said about the time capsule was not entirely true. The imprint he left on the briode-nebulizer lasted only long enough for one test run. The villains defeated, the Doctor and the Doctor part company. Presumably, due to the effects of the drugs and the genetic experimentation, the earlier Doctor has little or no memory of this adventure by the time he reaches the Wheel in Space.

From “Timelash”

Encountering an apparition within the TARDIS after colliding with a time corridor, the Doctor returns to the planet Karfel, which he and Jo Grant apparently visited during his third incarnation, and once again gets embroiled in local politics. At one point an errant death ray reveals of mural of the Doctor made after his first visit:

Mykros: Incredible! I’ve never seen that before!
The Doctor: That’s me.
Herbert: Have you changed a bit?
The Doctor: Immeasurably for the better, it seems. Strange how you forget what you used to look like.

From “Revelation of the Daleks”

News of the death of a noted scientist lures the Doctor to a suspended-animation facility that is a cover for a Dalek breeding farm run by Davros, who is using the bodies of the strong to make more Daleks and the bodies of the weak for a food source. Davros intends to exact revenge on the Doctor by turning him into a Dalek. However, the other Dalek faction arrives to take Davros back to Skaro to stand trial. In the melee, Davros’ only good hand is blown off.

Next Season


Doctor Who Notes 21

Change was the order of the day in the twenty-first season of Doctor Who, during which Peter Davison handed the role off to Colin Baker, who debuted with a complete story rather than just a brief cameo. Companions Tegan and Turlough both left as well, replaced by a buxom American called Peri. The Daleks and their vile creator also returned to renew their enmity with the Doctor, as did the Silurians and the Sea Devils, the aquatic menaces from the third Doctor’s era. Naturally, the Master put in an appearance, too.

From “Warriors of the Deep”

On the way to show Tegan Jovanka a little bit of Earth’s future, the TARDIS materializes further into the future than the Doctor intended, due to “a slight hiccup in our time zones.” The three travelers find themselves on an undersea military base in 2084 which comes under attack by Silurian forces. Regretting the outcome of their last encounter, in 1970, the Doctor tries to once again broker peace between the human and Silurian armies, without success. In the end, only the Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough are left alive.

Preston: What happened?
The Doctor: Hexachromite. It does that to all reptile life.
Preston: Then use it on the invaders!
The Doctor: And kill them?
Preston: Why not? They’re about to start a war that will kill everyone on Earth!
The Doctor: I sometimes wonder why I like the people of this miserable planet so much! The Silurians and Sea Devils are noble races! They have skills and talents you pathetic humans can only dream about!

From “The Awakening”

The Doctor and Turlough are still working to eliminate the time distortion from the new main console when the TARDIS materializes in England in 1984 for Tegan to visit her grandfather, who happens to be mixed up in the attempts of a lunatic to access an evil alien psychic force. When the force projects itself into the TARDIS, the Doctor attempts to use the signal conversion unit to disrupt its power.

From “Frontios”

While the Doctor is in a manic tidying fit, an alarm on the console sounds, the display reading “time parameters exceeded.”

Turlough: Doctor, something’s happening to the controls!
The Doctor: Ah, we must be on the outer limits. The TARDIS has drifted too far into the future. We’ll just slip into hover mode a while.
Tegan: We’re in the Veruna system, wherever that is.
The Doctor: I had no idea we were so far out. Veruna -- that’s irony for you.
Tegan: What is?
The Doctor: Veruna is where one of the last surviving groups of mankind took shelter when the Great -- yes, well, I suppose you’ve got all that to look forward to, haven’t you?
Tegan: The Great what, Doctor?
The Doctor: All civilisations have their ups and downs...
Turlough: “Fleeing from the imminence of a catastrophic collision with the sun, a group of refugees from the doomed planet Earth -- ”
The Doctor: Yes, that’s enough, Turlough.
Tegan: You mean some of the last surviving humans are on this planet?
The Doctor: Yes.
Tegan: Can we land? Can we visit them?
The Doctor: Laws of time.
Tegan: Since when has that ever stopped you?
The Doctor: Now, we mustn’t interfere. The colony’s too new, one generation at the most. The future hangs in the balance.

As it happens, the TARDIS is forced down, and the Doctor very reluctantly helps the colonists, though he keeps insisting he is there unofficially and is not allowed to give them much assistance or make any material difference to the development of the colony, which has fallen prey to marauding Tractators. During a meteorite shower, the TARDIS is apparently disintegrated, leaving only a pile of rubble and the hat stand. Actually, its sections are scattered about Frontios’ subterranean caverns until pulled back together by the gravitational energy of the Tractator leader.

Plantagenet: Frontios is honored, Doctor. But surely you’ll stay awhile longer and enjoy some of the new colony we’re building.
The Doctor: Oh, no, no. Far too much repair work of my own to be done. Besides, time and the time laws don’t permit it. There’s an etiquette about these things which we’ve rather overlooked, I’m afraid.

However, after dematerialization, the TARDIS goes haywire.

From “Resurrection of the Daleks”

The TARDIS has, in fact, collided with a time corridor, which pulls them back to 1984 England. The time corridor is operated by the Daleks, trying to liberate Davros from imprisonment by the future Earth government. Dalek agent Commander Lytton informs Davros that the Daleks lost their war with the robotic Movellans and sustained heavy casualties due to germ warfare. The Daleks release Davros from ninety years in suspended animation in search of a cure for the Movellan virus. Realizing that Davros is tying to take control of his creations, the Supreme Dalek orders him executed, dividing the Daleks into two factions. Davros releases the samples of Movellan virus in retaliation, only to find he also is susceptible to its effects. The Dalek spaceship and the prison satellite are both destroyed. Lytton is left stranded on Earth after abandoning the fight. Sickened by the carnage, Tegan decides to part company with the Doctor and remain on Earth.

From “Planet of Fire”

Having been hidden away aboard the TARDIS all season, Kamelion turns up again, still under the control of the Master. He takes control of the ship, sending it first briefly back to Earth to retrieve a certain artifact, then on to the planet Sarn. The Master is trying to recover from an accident with his tissue-compression eliminator which has left him miniaturized. Like Earth, Sarn is a world to which exiles from Turlough’s home planet of Trion are sent. Turlough discovers that his father’s ship crashed there and the Sarn’s “Chosen One” is his brother, who was an infant found in the wreckage. The planet crumbling, Turlough is forced to contact Trion and request a rescue ship. When it arrives, however, he learns the new government has released all political prisoners and he is a free man. Turlough elects to part company with the Doctor and return to Trion with his brother. In foiling the Master’s scheme, the Doctor is forced to destroy Kamelion, and the Master appears to be burned to death in the volcanic control room.

During their brief time on Earth, Turlough rescues a drowning girl and takes her aboard the TARDIS. She is Perpugillian Brown, an American college student vacationing with her mother and step-father in Europe. Her step-father, Professor Howard Foster, stranded Peri alone aboard their boat to prevent her from going off to Morocco with friends. Peri tries to swim ashore, and is floundering when Turlough saves her. The TARDIS is already on its way to Sarn before the Doctor realizes she’s aboard. At the conclusion of the adventure, Peri asks permission to travel with the Doctor until her summer vacation is over. Rather than go on alone, the Doctor accepts the arrangement. Of course, Peri never makes it back to Earth, but ends up living on Krontep with King Yrcanos after apparently being abandoned by the Doctor. Presumably, Professor Foster would believe Peri drowned trying to swim ashore, although no body would ever be found. He would undoubtedly blame himself for her death. Her American passport and collection of alien flora are presumably still somewhere aboard the TARDIS.

From “The Caves of Androzani”

Sharaz Jek: I have missed so much of life these last lonely years. But your arrival has changed all that. We shall become the best of companions!
The Doctor: What do you say, Peri? We can go on nature walks, have picnics, and jolly evenings round the campfire.
Sharaz Jek: Don’t mock me, Doctor! Beauty I must have, but you are dispensable.
The Doctor: Thank you.
Sharaz Jek: You have the mouth of a prattling jackanapes... but your eyes, they tell a different story.

Lethal poisoning by spectrox toxæmia induces a regeneration in the Doctor as he lies on the floor of the TARDIS. He says it “feels different this time” before beginning to hallucinate. Images of his recent companions give way to the gloating face of the Master, which perhaps gives the Doctor the will to survive. It will prove to be a troubled regeneration, however.

From “The Twin Dilemma”

Burning out the spectrox toxæmia has interfered with the Doctor’s regeneration, leaving him susceptible to periodic fits of mental imbalance, such as adopting a ridiculous costume, accusing Peri of being a spy, and then becoming convinced he must become a hermit. Seeking a proper hermitage, the Doctor stumbles into a kidnapping scheme involving his old friend and mentor, Azmael, whom he last saw during his fourth incarnation. Azmael is a Time Lord in his final incarnation who apparently left Gallifrey to rule the planet Joconda. Azmael dies in the Doctor’s arms while saving his planet from destruction. Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor assures Peri that his mental state has completely stabilized.

Next Season


Doctor Who Notes - "The Five Doctors"

“The Five Doctors” was a 90-minute special episode of Doctor Who broadcast in November 1983 to mark the program’s twentieth anniversary. The ambitious story brought together, in one way or another, the Doctor’s first five incarnations, as well as several of his past and present companions, to battle Daleks, Cybermen, the Master, robots, and monsters while trying to unravel a mystery from the Time Lords’ own history. The set for the TARDIS control room was also given a major update in honor of the occasion.

While on holiday at the Eye of Orion, the fifth Doctor rebuilds the main console of the TARDIS, perhaps using data on the Master’s ship stored within Kamelion’s databank, since the new console is identical to the one later seen in the Master’s TARDIS. After working out a few bugs, this console seems to finally give the Doctor the means to steer the ship properly, since he more and more arrives places intentionally rather than by chance.

Tegan: Finished?
The Doctor: Yes. Looks rather splendid, doesn’t it?
Tegan: But will the TARDIS work properly?
The Doctor: Of course, once everything’s running.
Tegan: Didn’t you repair anything?
The Doctor: Well, the TARDIS is more than a machine, Tegan. It’s like a person. It needs coaxing, persuading, encouraging.
Tegan: You mean it’s just as unreliable.
The Doctor: You have little faith, Tegan.
Tegan: Do you blame me?

The second Doctor turns up at UNIT headquarters to hear Brigadier Lethbridge-­Stewart’s speech at the reunion celebration. They reminisce about yeti, Cybermen, Omega, and the Doctor mentions Zodin, though the Brigadier is oblivious.

The Doctor: And who is this?
The Brigadier: That’s Colonel Creighton, my replacement.
The Doctor: Mine was pretty unpromising, too.

Members of the High Council of the Time Lords including Lord President Borusa, Chancellor Flavia, and the Castellan bring the Master to Gallifrey to offer him a complete set of 12 regenerations, a new life-cycle, if he agrees to rescue the Doctor from the Death Zone, “the dark secret at the heart of the Time Lord’s paradise,” which has recently become reactivated. It is draining energy from the Eye of Harmony to such an extent so as to threaten all Gallifrey. When the Master asks if they want him because he is disposable, the Castellan says, “Not at all. You would be useless to us dead.”

The first Doctor and Susan escape from a Dalek only to discover they are not on Skaro, but have both been brought back to Gallifrey and deposited in the Death Zone. Sensing the answer lies in the Dark Tower, they set off to reach it, as do the second Doctor with the Brigadier and the third Doctor with Sarah Jane Smith. Crossing the Death Zone, the first Doctor and Susan find the TARDIS and the fifth Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough within. The fifth Doctor seems pleased to see Susan again. She seems some years older than when he left her on twenty-second century Earth to marry David Campbell. Since she has not regenerated yet, it is likely she is still Susan Campbell.

The second Doctor explains their predicament to the Brigadier.

The Doctor: It’s just as I feared. We’re on Gallifrey, in the Death Zone.
The Brigadier: You know this place?
The Doctor: To my shame. Yes, mine, Brigadier, and that of every other Time Lord. In the days before Rassilon, my ancestors had tremendous powers which they misused disgracefully. They set up this place, the Death Zone, and walled it around with an impenetrable force field. And then they kidnapped other beings and set them down here.
The Brigadier: But what for?
The Doctor: I’ll explain as we go.
The Brigadier: Where are we going?
The Doctor: To the tower -- to Rassilon, the greatest single figure in Time Lord history.
The Brigadier: Is that where he lives?
The Doctor: Not exactly, Brigadier. It’s his tomb.

* * *

The Doctor: I wonder. Could Rassilon himself have brought us here?
The Brigadier: Hang on a minute, Doctor. You said this chap Rassilon was dead. You did say that was his tomb.
The Doctor: Oh, it is. But no one really knows how extensive his powers were.
The Brigadier: He could still be alive?
The Doctor: Watching us at this very moment.
The Brigadier: Didn’t you say he was supposed to be rather a good type?
The Doctor: So the official history says. But there are many rumors and legends to the contrary. Some say his fellow Time Lords rebelled against his cruelty and locked him in the tower in eternal sleep!

Driving toward the Dark Tower in Bessie, the third Doctor and Sarah Jane encounter the Master.

The Doctor: Jehosaphat! It really is you. Yes, well, I should have known you’d be behind all this.
Sarah Jane: Doctor, who is it?
The Doctor: It’s my best enemy. He likes to be known as the Master. Don’t you? My, my, my, but you’ve changed. Another regeneration?
The Master: Not exactly.
The Doctor: I take it you are responsible for our being in the Death Zone.
The Master: For once, I’m innocent. Here at the High Council’s request to help you and your other selves.
The Doctor: You sent here by the Time Lords to help me? I’ve never heard such arrant nonsense.

After transmatting to the council chamber, the fifth Doctor mentions to the High Council that even in the ancient times, the Cybermen were prohibited from playing the Game of Rassilon because they played too well. A search of the Castellan’s quarters produces a box containing the Black Scrolls of Rassilon, which contain forbidden knowledge from the dark time. Attempting to escape, the Castellan is shot dead. The Doctor is certain, however, that the Castellan is innocent and was framed, and that the real traitor is still at large.

Trying to bypass the death traps within the tower, the first Doctor and Tegan run into the Master.

The Master: Our ancestors had such a wonderful sense of humor.
The Doctor: Do I know you, young man?
The Master: Believe it or not, we were at the academy together.
Tegan: What do you want?
The Master: To help.

After parting, the Doctor exclaims, “What an extraordinary fellow!” As the various parties near the Tomb of Rassilon, they encounter a psychic field that causes feelings of intense fear and anxiety. They also meet phantoms from the past who warn them away. When the second Doctor sees Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot, he recognizes them immediately. He seems to know what happened to them after his exile to earth, but how he could possibly know that is not explained. Bypassing the defenses, the first three Doctors reach the tomb, where they translate an ancient inscription on a small obelisk written in Old High Gallifreyan, the ancient language of the Time Lords. The inscription promises immortality to whomever puts on the ring from Rassilon’s finger.

Meanwhile, the fifth Doctor discovers the secret lair of the traitor, who turns out to be Borusa, Lord President of the High Council of the Time Lords. Borusa has decided he wants to rule Gallifrey for the rest of eternity, and found the answer in the legends of Rassilon, who left behind him coded instructions which Borusa believes he has solved. He wants the Doctor as his servant.

The Doctor: I will not serve you.
Borusa: You have no choice, Doctor. I wear the Coronet of Rassilon.
The Doctor: And very fetching it is, too.
Borusa: It emphasizes my will and allows me to control the minds of others.

Transmatting directly to the Tomb of Rassilon, Borusa activates an image of Rassilon which appears over Rassilon’s body and offers him immortality. As Borusa places the ring on his finger, his life force is absorbed into the tomb itself, granting him the worst kind of immortality imaginable, a fitting punishment for his greed. After congratulating the Doctor, the image of Rassilon fades.

The fifth Doctor: Did you know what would happen?
The first Doctor: I’m so sorry. I suddenly realised what the old proverb meant. “To lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose.” It was all part of Rassilon’s trap to find who wanted immortality and put him out of the way. He knew very well immortality was a curse, not a blessing.
The fifth Doctor: Well, now it seems we must part, just as I was getting to know me.
The second Doctor: So, you’re the latest model?
The fifth Doctor: Yes, and the most agreeable.
The second Doctor: Certainly the most impudent.
The third Doctor: And our dress sense hasn’t improved much, has it?
The first Doctor: Neither our manners. Well, good bye, my boy. You did quite well, quite well. It’s reassuring to know my future is in safe hands. Come along, Susan.
Susan: Good bye, everybody.
The fifth Doctor: Good bye.
The third Doctor: Good bye, Susan.
The second Doctor: Good bye. Time to go, Brigadier. Well, good bye.
The fifth Doctor: Good bye.
The second Doctor: Good bye, fancy pants.
The third Doctor: Scarecrow.
The Brigadier: Doctor, don’t you want your coat?
The second Doctor: Bring it along, would you, Brigadier?
The Brigadier: Certainly. Good bye, Doctor -- Doctors.
The third Doctor: Brigadier.
The Brigadier: Splendid fellows, all of you.
The third Doctor: Well, good bye, my dear chap. I must say, I’ve had the time of my lives. Haven’t we, Sarah Jane?
Sarah Jane: Have we? Well, I only have one life, and I think I’ve had too much already. Good bye. It was really nice meeting you.
The third Doctor: Thank you, Sarah Jane. It was nice meeting you, too.
Sarah Jane: What?
The third Doctor: I’ll explain later.
The fifth Doctor: I’m definitely not the man I was. Thank goodness.

Arriving with members of the guard, Chancellor Flavia informs the Doctor that the full council has exercised its emergency powers and appointed him Lord President. The Doctor grants her full deputy powers until he returns and then beats a hasty retreat into the TARDIS. Despite incurring the wrath of the Time Lords, the Doctor has no intention of being president of anything, and he, Tegan, and Turlough continue on their travels. The Doctor makes use of the title on occasion until he is eventually dismissed from office due to dereliction of duty. It is apparently Borusa who was behind the scheme to move the Earth across the galaxy to prevent the Andromedans from gaining the secrets of the Matrix, and presumably Flavia was running the High Council when they were all deposed following the revelation of this conspiracy. Nothing is known of the new Time Lord government formed following that scandal, only that revolt swept Gallifrey. It is also unknown what was done with the Tomb of Rassilon or the Time-Scoop after the resolution of Borusa’s final scheme. The Doctor insisted it would have to be sealed again, but he left everything in Flavia’s hands. It’s a little uncertain from what point in history each of the Doctors came from. It was evidently after “The Three Doctors” for the first three, and after the third Doctor met Sarah Jane. But the second Doctor displays some rather problematic knowledge, since he regenerated immediately after his trial.

Next Season