Doctor Who Notes 9

With the ninth season of Doctor Who, the show began to drift inexorably back to the original premise, with the Doctor traveling to different planets or eras aboard the TARDIS, even though he was still technically exiled to 20th century Earth. The Master appeared in only two stories, so his villainy was less diluted this time around. The Daleks made a comeback after five years, and for once, there were no major cast turn-overs. In the final story of the season, the Doctor speaks for the first time about his early life on his still-as-yet-unnamed home planet.

From “Day of the Daleks”

The Doctor’s tireless efforts to get the TARDIS operational again are interrupted when Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart asks him and Jo Grant to assist with the investigation of strange sightings at the site of an international conference. They discover a group of guerrillas who have come from the 22nd century to change history and thus prevent a war that led to a Dalek invasion. When the Doctor and Jo are accidentally transported to the future via the Daleks’ crude time corridor technology, they discover a temporal paradox -- the guerrillas were themselves responsible for the devastating war due to their time-meddling. Returning to September 1971, the Doctor is able to prevent the assassinations and thereby stop that future from ever coming about.

From “The Curse of Peladon”

The Doctor manages to get the TARDIS operational enough to transport Jo and himself to the planet Peladon, where the indestructible ship tumbles down the side of a mountain. They take refuge in a castle built into the rock face, wherein they find the planet’s ruler negotiating for admission into the Galactic Federation. The Doctor passes himself off as the delegate from Earth and presents his companion as “Princess Josephine of Tardis.” After resolving the usual political intrigues, the Doctor and Jo prepare to leave in the salvaged TARDIS.

The Doctor: You don’t really think that our appearance on the planet of Peladon at this precise crisis in their history was just coincidence, do you?
Jo: Time Lords again?
The Doctor: Yes, I think so.
Jo: Well, you didn’t beat them after all.
The Doctor: No, not yet. But I will, Jo, just give me time. Still, now that we’ve done what they wanted us to do, I suppose they’ll whip us straight back to Earth.

From “The Sea Devils”

The Doctor and Jo go to visit the Master in his specially prepared prison, where the Master claims to be repentant and longing for intelligent conversation. The Master refuses to reveal the whereabouts of his TARDIS. The Doctor refuses to shake his hand, though he is sympathetic.

Jo: Doctor, you felt sorry for him, didn’t you? You wanted to come down here and see that he was all right.
The Doctor: Well, he used to be a friend of mine once. A very good friend. In fact, you might almost say we were at school together.

The Doctor discovers that a rash of ship disappearances are the work of an aquatic reptilian race related to the Silurians, whom he encountered previously. The Master plans to ally himself with the Sea Devils, whom he learned of through stolen Time Lord files, and help them exterminate the human race. The Doctor tries to negotiate a peace between the humans and the reptiles, but the Master forces a conflict. During the battle, the Sea Devils take both Time Lords prisoner, forcing them to work together against their captors. In order to prevent a full-scale war, the Doctor causes the destruction of the Sea Devil’s base, but the Master makes good his escape.

From “The Mutants”

The Doctor receives a strange black sphere from the Time Lords indicating they have an assignment for him. The reactivated TARDIS takes him and Jo to a 30th century space station orbiting the Earth colony world Solos, a gray and misty planet.

The Doctor: Well, the Earth these people know now, Jo, the 30th century empire, is even more grey and misty.
Jo: Can’t be!
The Doctor: Land and sea alike, all grey. Grey cities linked by grey highways across grey deserts.
Jo: Really?
The Doctor: Yeah. Slag, ash, clinker. The fruits of technology, Jo.

The sphere contains tablets that reveal the secret of the Solonians’ mutation and allow the Doctor to prevent the colonial forces from terraforming the planet and killing the native population. Why the Time Lords sent the tablets via the Doctor, or involved themselves at all, remains a mystery.

From “The Time Monster”

The Master is found passing himself off as a Greek physicist at the Newton Institute near Cambridge, building a primitive transporter device he calls TOMTIT -- Transmission Of Matter Through Interstitial Time -- which is powered by the legendary Crystal of Kronos, an ancient artifact from the lost continent of Atlantis.

The Doctor: Well, luckily, you are already familiar with the idea of stepping outside of space-time.
Ingram: I’ve lived with the concept for months.
The Doctor: And I’ve lived with it for many long years. I’ve been there.
Ingram: You have?
The Doctor: Yes, I have. Strange place it is, too. A place that is no place. A dangerous place, where creatures live beyond your wildest imagination. Chronovores -- time-eaters -- who’ll swallow a life as quickly as a boa constrictor can swallow a rabbit, fur and all.
Ingram: Are you saying that Kronos is one of these creatures?
The Doctor: I am. The most fearsome of the lot!

The Master is unable to control Kronos with the piece of crystal in his possession, prompting him to take his TARDIS back in time to Atlantis. In order to follow along, the Doctor attempts to materialize his TARDIS within the Master’s ship, but instead they materialize one inside the other, trapping them both in the time vortex.

Jo: How long is it going to take us to get there?
The Doctor: Well, that’s the curious thing, no time at all. We’re outside time. Of course, it always seems to take a long time, but that depends upon the mood, I suppose.
Jo: What, your mood?
The Doctor: No, hers. The TARDIS’s.
Jo: You talk as if she was alive.
The Doctor: Well, it depends what you mean by alive. Take Bessie for instance.

The Doctor and the Master debate their situation via their viewscreens until the Master switches off the sound.

The Master: You know, he has an excellent brain, that man, though a bit pedestrian. But, oh dear, what a bore the fellow is!
Krasis: But is he dangerous?
The Master: He’s dangerous enough. But don’t worry. I can handle him.
Krasis: But you said he was in there! You told me he was safe in there!
The Master: Once he realises that he’s talking to himself, he’ll be out here like a shot! Ah! He’s realised it at last. That took a long time, the slow-witted fool. Now, you watch. He cannot bear not to have the last word!

When the Doctor bypasses the Master’s sound system, the villain scrambles the Doctor’s speech instead.

The Doctor: He’s picking up my words even before I’ve spoken them and feeding them back to me through the TARDIS’s telepathic circuits, making them come out backwards!
Jo: The TARDISes are telepathic?
The Doctor: Yes, of course. How else do you think they communicate?

As a last resort, the Doctor goes out into the Master’s console room to try to convince him to give up his mad scheme. Instead, the Master summons Kronos and the creature engulfs the Doctor, transporting him out into the time vortex. The Master then jettisons the Doctor’s TARDIS and continues on his way. However, the TARDIS’s telepathic circuits enable the Doctor to contact Jo, who helps the Doctor rematerialize in his physical form.

Jo: Where are you?
The Doctor: I’m nowhere, Jo. I’m in the time vortex. The TARDIS is relaying my thoughts to you.
Jo: What are all those other voices I can hear?
The Doctor: What other voices? Oh, those are my subconscious thoughts. But I shouldn’t listen to them too hard if I were you. I’m not all that proud of some of them.

Each TARDIS soon materializes in Atlantis, where the Master is able to seduce the queen and stage a coup, imprisoning the king as well as the Doctor and Jo.

Jo: It makes it seem so pointless, really, doesn’t it?
The Doctor: I felt like that once when I was young. It was the blackest day of my life.
Jo: Why?
The Doctor: Ah, well, that’s another story. I’ll tell you about it one day. The point is, that day was not only my blackest, but also my best.
Jo: What do you mean?
The Doctor: Well, when I was a little boy, we used to live in a house that was perched halfway up the top of a mountain. And behind our house, there sat under a tree an old man, a hermit, a monk. He’d lived under this tree for half his lifetime, so they said, and learnt the secret of life. So, when my black day came, I went and asked him to help me.
Jo: And he told you the secret? What was it?
The Doctor: Well, I’m coming to that, Jo, in my own time. I’ll never forget what it was like up there. All bleak and cold it was. A few bare rocks with some weeds sprouting from them, and some pathetic little patches of sludgy snow. Yes, it was just grey. Grey, grey, grey. Well, the tree the old man sat under was ancient and twisted, and the old man himself, he was as brittle and dry as a leaf in the autumn.
Jo: What did he say?
The Doctor: Nothing. Not a word. He just sat there silently, expressionless, and he listened whilst I poured out my troubles to him. I was too unhappy even for tears, I remember. And when I’d finished, he lifted a skeletal hand and he pointed. Do you know what he pointed at?
Jo: No.
The Doctor: A flower. One of those little weeds. Just like a daisy, it was. I looked at it for a moment, and suddenly I saw it through his eyes. It was simply glowing with life, like a perfectly cut jewel. And the colours, well, the colours were deeper and richer than anything you could possibly imagine. Yes, it was the daisiest daisy I’d ever seen.
Jo: And that was the secret of life? A daisy? Honestly, Doctor!
The Doctor: Yes, I laughed, too, when I first heard it. So, later I got up and I ran down that mountain and I found that the rocks weren’t grey at all. They were red, brown, purple, and gold. And those pathetic little patches of sludgy snow, they were shining white -- shining white in the sunlight. You still frightened, Jo?
Jo: No, not as much as I was.
The Doctor: That s good. I’m sorry I brought you to Atlantis.
Jo: I’m not.
The Doctor: Thank you.

The Master summons Kronos in the temple, but the creature goes berserk. The Master takes Jo aboard his TARDIS and dematerializes. The Doctor quickly follows in his own ship, leaving Kronos to destroy Atlantis forever. Since the controls of both ships are linked together, the Doctor threatens to create a time-ram, which would annihilate both ships and the crystal with them, thus freeing Kronos from the Master’s control. Despite the Master’s goading, the Doctor is unable to bring himself to do it, so Jo activates the control herself. The ships collide, freeing Kronos, and the creature transports them all to the boundary between their universes and there expresses its gratitude to the Doctor. When Kronos decides to send the Doctor and Jo back to Earth but keep the Master in perpetual torment, the Doctor asks that the Master be remanded to his custody. The ungrateful Master makes his escape and Kronos finds the whole situation rather amusing.

Next Season

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