Wednesday

Doctor Who Notes 8

The eighth season of Doctor Who introduced a new arch-enemy for the Doctor in the form of his evil counterpart the Master, played with sinister panache by Roger Delgado. Like the Doctor, the Master was a renegade Time Lord, and even had his own TARDIS, but their views were diametrically opposed. Their snappy exchanges reveal much about both men, and are a highlight of the season. However, the Master may have been a bit overused, for his appearance in every story does strain credulity a bit. The Doctor also received a new companion, the girly scatterbrained sex kitten and secret agent wannabe Jo Grant. The Brigadier and the men of UNIT continued to play a dominant role in the series as well.


From “Terror of the Autons”

A time capsule materializes at the small-time Rossini Brothers International Circus in the form of a large “horse box” van and a man emerges calling himself the Master. Displaying amazing hypnotic abilities, he enslaves the circus manager, steals the Nestene energy pod from a nearby museum, and infiltrates the Beacon Hill radio telescope facility, killing two scientists with his tissue-compression eliminator. The theft and the deaths alert UNIT, and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart calls upon the Doctor and his new assistant, agent trainee Josephine Grant, to investigate. The Doctor goes alone to investigate the sabotage atop the control tower, where a bowler-hatted Time Lord suddenly appears.

Time Lord: Oh dear. Don’t go away, Doctor. My co-ordinates seemed to have slipped a little. Still, not bad after 29,000 light years. I do hope you can spare a moment or two, Doctor.
The Doctor: Sarcasm always was a weak point with you, wasn’t it? And may I say I think you look quite ridiculous in those clothes?
Time Lord: I am travelling incognito.
The Doctor: Oh? Why?
Time Lord: We Time Lords don’t care to be conspicuous. Some of us, that is.
The Doctor: Now, look, if you’ve come down here merely to be rude --
Time Lord: I came to warn you. An old acquaintance has arrived on this planet.
The Doctor: One of our people?
Time Lord: The Master.
The Doctor: That jackanapes? All he ever does is cause trouble!
Time Lord: He’ll certainly try to kill you, Doctor. The Tribunal thought that you ought to be made aware of your danger.
The Doctor: How very kind of them.
Time Lord: You are incorrigibly meddlesome, Doctor, but we’ve always felt that your hearts are in the right places. But be careful. The Master has learnt a great deal since you last met him.
The Doctor: I refuse to be worried by a renegade like the Master. He’s an -- he’s an unimaginative plodder!
Time Lord: His degree in cosmic science was of a higher class than yours.
The Doctor: Yes, well -- Yes, well, I was a late developer.

The Master is working with the Nestenes to build a new army of Autons for a second invasion attempt. Meanwhile, the Doctor investigates the circus and discovers the Master’s time capsule, from which he steals the dematerialization circuit. Two Autons kidnap the Doctor and Jo, but they escape.

Farrel: And you’re not angry?
The Master: Because the Doctor’s escaped again? No. He’s an interesting adversary. I admire him in many ways.
Farrel: But you still intend to destroy him?
The Master: Of course. And the more he struggles to postpone the moment, the greater the ultimate satisfaction.

The Doctor is frustrated when the Master’s dematerialization circuit is not enough to make his own disabled TARDIS functional, but he realizes that without it, the Master is also marooned on 1970s Earth. While the UNIT forces are out tracking the Autons to a remote quarry, the Master appears in the Doctor’s lab, and the two old enemies come once more face-to-face. The Master describes the Doctor as almost his intellectual equal, while the Doctor characterizes the Master’s typical strategy as “vicious, complicated, and inefficient.” To prevent an air strike on the quarry, the Master takes the Doctor and Jo prisoner and retrieves his dematerialization circuit before moving back to the radio telescope facility to open the way for the Nestene invasion force. However, when the Doctor suggests the Master is likely to be double-crossed, the two Time Lords work together to repulse the invasion. The Autons collapse, but the Master makes good his escape. However, the Doctor reveals that the Master actually took the wrong component and is still trapped on Earth. The Doctor seems to feel the Master’s presence will at least alleviate his own boredom.

Josephine Grant had an influential uncle who got her assigned to UNIT after her initial security training, so the Brigadier pawned her off on the Doctor. He developed something of a paternal attitude toward the scatterbrained girl, and they doubtless spent a good deal of time together during his long exile on Earth. Once the TARDIS was made operational again, she traveled with the Doctor briefly until she fell in love with Professor Clifford Jones and resigned from UNIT to marry him. Jo was always more comfortable as a lab assistant than as a traveling companion.

The Master and the Doctor met again for what was probably the first time since they both left Gallifrey, where they knew each other and even spent their Academy days as friends. At some point, however, they became deadly enemies -- so much so that the Doctor’s jailers saw fit to warn him of the Master’s presence on Earth. The Master’s lust for power seemed to know no bounds, nor did his imagination for ways to achieve it. However, he nearly killed himself trying to regenerate a thirteenth time, leaving his body a decaying wreck. He existed in this state for some while, spurred on only by his intense hatred for the Doctor and the Time Lords. Finally, he succeeded in a scheme to usurp the awesome power of the Keeper of Traken, which enabled him to permanently commandeer the body of Consul Tremas. Thus renewed in body, the Master also renewed his schemes to gain total power and to bring the Doctor’s life to a fitting end, always managing to escape from even certain death. Ultimately, the Master found himself on the unnamed planet of the Cheetah People, where his new body was corrupted by the feline mutation that brought out his most savage instincts. When the planet disintegrated, the Master was teleported to an unknown destination, doubtless to continue to spread evil and chaos throughout time and space.


From “The Mind of Evil”

In the autumn of 1970, the Doctor and Jo go to Stangmoor Prison to witness a demonstration of the Keller machine, which purportedly drains hardened criminals of their evil impulses. After the demonstration, a medical student is found dead of mysterious causes in the laboratory.

The Doctor: But Linwood is dead.
Kettering: Because of heart failure!
The Doctor: No, Professor Kettering, because of this machine!
Kettering: I tell you that man’s death had nothing to do with this machine, and if you were a scientist, you’d understand!
The Doctor: If I were a scientist? Let me tell you, sir, that I am a scientist, and I have been for several thousand --
Kettering: The man’s mad.
Jo: On the contrary, sir, he happens to be a genius! I do wish you’d listen to him.

Meanwhile, UNIT is providing security for a world peace conference which the Master is intent on disrupting by killing the delegates using the power of the Keller machine, which he himself installed in the prison nearly a year earlier. When the Doctor frees the assassin from hypnotic control, the Master returns to Stangmoor Prison in the guise of Emil Keller and leads a riot to take over the facility. When the Doctor returns, he is taken prisoner as well, and the Master reveals his plan to cause a full-scale nuclear war on Earth. The Doctor realizes the Keller machine contains a living creature that feeds off the evil of the mind. The Master leaves the prison prior to a UNIT attack to ready his hijacked missile for launch, then calls the Doctor on the telephone.

The Master: And then later, when this planet is in ruins, I shall take over.
The Doctor: I see. Aren’t you forgetting something?
The Master: Am I, Doctor? What?
The Doctor: The dematerialisation circuit from your own TARDIS. You can’t leave Earth without that, can you?
The Master: Are you offering me a deal?
The Doctor: I am. Hand me back that rocket, and I’ll return your circuit.
The Master: That’s very generous of you.
The Doctor: Leave Earth. Stop bothering us. Go somewhere else and be a nuisance elsewhere. Well, what do you say? Well?
The Master: Right. But you will bring that circuit to me here at the hanger. You and you alone. At the first sign of treachery, the first sign of interference from your UNIT friends, and I launch the missile immediately!

Unwilling to actually give the Master back his freedom, the Doctor uses the Keller machine to incapacitate him long enough for UNIT to detonate the missile on the ground. However, the Master manages to escape with his dematerialization circuit. He returns to his time capsule and departs, gloating over the Doctor’s exile.


From “The Claws of Axos”

Representatives from the British and American governments are at UNIT headquarters to discuss the “renegade Time Lord problem” when an alien spacecraft lands on the southeast coast of England. The ship and its occupants are really one organism, a giant parasite called Axos, which had captured the Master’s time capsule. In exchange for his freedom, the Master agreed to lead Axos to Earth, where it could feed on the planet’s resources, destroying all life, including the Doctor, in the process. The Master is reluctant to trust Axos to keep its side of the bargain, so he tricks UNIT into bringing the Doctor’s TARDIS to a nearby nuclear research facility, where he can try to get it operational while the Doctor and Jo are captives of Axos. The Doctor escapes and the Master’s scheme is foiled, but the Doctor tells the Brigadier the Master may he useful in defeating Axos. The two Time Lords confer aboard the disabled TARDIS.

The Master: Well, Doctor, I’m still waiting to hear this marvellous scheme of yours.
The Doctor: Actually, there isn’t one.
The Master: Well, then, why -- ?
The Doctor: Because if you mend the TARDIS, we can both escape!
The Master: Both? Tell me, Doctor, are you suggesting an alliance?
The Doctor: Why not? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as a heap of dust on a second-rate planet to a third-rate star. Do you?
The Master: Do you mean to say that you are actually prepared to abandon your beloved Earth to the Axons’ tender mercies?
The Doctor: Certainly. After all, we are both Time Lords.
The Master: Look, why should I help you?
The Doctor: Because if you don’t, I shall hand you over to UNIT and you’ll become a prisoner on a doomed planet.
The Master: Yes, well, you’ll be doomed along with me.
The Doctor: Exactly. We either escape together or we die together.
The Master: Oh, very generous. Look, why not just hand me over to UNIT and make your escape by yourself? Well?
The Doctor: Because the Time Lords have put a block on my memory of dematerialisation theory, that’s why!
The Master: Oh. I see.

With the Master’s help, the Doctor is successful in getting the TARDIS operational. However, they travel only as far as the nerve center of Axos, where the Doctor offers a deal to give Axos time-travel capability if it will join him in attacking the High Council of the Time Lords. The Master is forced into the deal in order to gain possession of his own time-capsule. However, the Doctor uses the link only to hurl Axos into an inescapable time-loop, from which the TARDIS only barely escapes. The Doctor is frustrated to find that his TARDIS will only rematerialize on 1970s Earth. The Master, of course, escapes once again.


From “Colony in Space”

Some time later, the Time Lord tribunal has convened to discuss a grave matter.

First Time Lord: You are sure the Master knows?
Second Time Lord: The report on the Doomsday Weapon is missing from our files. Only he could have taken it.
First Time Lord: Then we can use the Doctor to deal with this problem.
Third Time Lord: The Doctor resents his exile bitterly. Do you think he’ll co-operate with us?
Second Time Lord: I doubt it. We immobilised his TARDIS, took away his freedom to move in space and time.
First Time Lord: Then we must restore his freedom … for as long as it serves our purpose.

Meanwhile, the Doctor continues his endless tinkering with the TARDIS’s circuitry. When Jo questions the value of his work, he offers her her first look at the inside of the TARDIS. Once inside, however, the ship takes off by remote control and materializes on the planet Uxarieus. Jo is somewhat astonished that all the Doctor’s stories of time travel are actually true. They discover a 25th century Earth colony being menaced by an unscrupulous mining conglomerate. The Master arrives, passing himself off as an Adjudicator from the Earth government. Unable to convince the colonists that the Master is an impostor, the Doctor and Jo break into the villain’s time capsule.

Jo: You’re right, Doctor, it is a TARDIS!
The Doctor: Yes. A slightly more advanced model, actually.

The Doctor discovers that the Master has come to Uxarieus to find the Doomsday Weapon, which was built by the indigenous population before the weapon’s radiation caused their civilization to collapse into savagery. The weapon can detonate stars from long distance, and the Master intends to hold the galaxy to ransom.

The Doctor: You deduced all that from these pictures?
The Master: Well, not exactly. I knew it already. The files of the Time Lords are very comprehensive.
The Doctor: Yes, that’s more like it. You mean that you stole the information.
The Master: Well, it seemed an awful pity not to make use of it, you know. But of course that’s typical of the High Council of the Time Lords -- know everything, do nothing!

* * *

The Master: Doctor, why don’t you come in with me? We’re both Time Lords, we’re both renegades. We could be masters of the galaxy. Think of it, Doctor, absolute power -- power for good. Why, you could reign benevolently. You could end war, suffering, disease. We could save the universe!
The Doctor: No! Absolute power is evil!
The Master: Consider carefully, Doctor! I’m offering you a half-share in the universe! You must see reason, Doctor!
The Doctor: No. I will not join you in your absurd dreams of galactic conquest!
The Master: But why? Why? Look at this -- look at all those planetary systems, Doctor! We could rule them all!
The Doctor: What for? What is the point?
The Master: The point is that one must rule or serve; that’s a basic law of life. Why do you hesitate, Doctor? Surely it’s not loyalty to the Time Lords, who exiled you on one insignificant planet!
The Doctor: You’ll never understand, will you? I want to see the universe, not rule it!

The leader of the Uxarians intervenes, helping the Doctor to activate the self-destruct mechanism. The Doomsday Weapon is destroyed along with the underground city. The Master escapes yet again aboard his time capsule. The TARDIS returns the Doctor and Jo to Earth just seconds after they left.


From “The Dæmons”

At midnight 1 May 1971, powerful forces are released by an archaeological dig in the town of Devil’s End, forces the Master intends to control. The Doctor and Jo arrive just in time before a heat barrier surrounds the village, preventing the Brigadier from bringing in his troops. The Doctor realizes that, rather than being of a supernatural nature, the creatures are actually from the planet Dæmos.

Benton: Well, I still don’t get it. I mean, what’s the creature doing here? I mean, why did they ever come?
The Doctor: To help Homo sapiens kick out Neanderthal man. They’ve been coming and going ever since. The Greek civilisation, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution -- they were all inspired by the Dæmons.
Hawthorne: But this thing the professor let loose is evil; you said so yourself. And now you’re trying to say they’ve been helping mankind for a hundred thousand years!
Jo: Yes, and you say they come from another planet -- well, then what’s all this jazz about witchcrafts and covens and so on?
The Doctor: Look, don’t you see? All the magical traditions are just remnants of their advanced science, and that is what the Master is using!
Hawthorne: Then these creatures are linked with the black arts -- they are evil!
The Doctor: Amoral, perhaps. They help Earth, but on their own terms. It’s a scientific experiment to them, just another laboratory rat!
Yates: Then what’s the Master up to?
The Doctor: He’s established a link with the Dæmon. What worries me is the choice: domination by the Master or total annihilation.
Jo: This … demon could destroy the world?
The Doctor: What does any scientist do with an experiment that fails? He chucks it in the rubbish bin.

When the Dæmon Azal appears to the Master, he says that his race destroys its failures, such as Atlantis. He is prepared to destroy the Earth also, but Jo’s act of self-sacrifice causes Azal and his buried spaceship to self-destruct. The Master is captured at last by the UNIT troops and taken off to prison.


Next Season


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