Saturday, November 10

The Ark Part 1/4: The Steel Sky

I did some research - turns out the Doctor wasn't around much during The Massacre is cos William Hartnell was on holiday. Still not entirely sure what the deal with him and the Abbot was, but from what I can gather it was just... they looked exactly the same? Hartnell-as-the-Abbot didn't do his annoying little giggle, or say 'hmm?', apparently, which I didn't notice! But I appreciate! If only Hartnell-as-the-Doctor could show the same courtesy.

No, it's fine, I'm gonna let it go. I've moved on. Season 3 episode 26, let's do this.

The episode opens with a shot of a lizard on a rock. I love lizards! But then a bird lands on the lizard's face what no don't be mean to the lizard, bird, what did it ever do to you? Oh man and then there's a person in a scaley costume so I assume that's supposed to be a BIG LIZARD with ONE EYE inside a MOUTH ooh how exciting.

I've never seen a lizard with such a well-kept head of hair before, but I guess aliens have different rules for that kind of thing. Even if they still have geckos and toucans.

The TARDIS lands in the middle of a jungle/rainforest - because ALL ALIEN PLANETS ARE MADE OF JUNGLE, that is what we have learnt - and the new girl, Dodo, prances right out. Steven rushes out after her, reprimanding her for just jumping out of the TARDIS without the Doctor doing, like, atmosphere checks and stuff.

STEVEN: Look, Dodo, you don’t know what you might have found out here. No gravity, poisoned atmosphere, all sorts of things. What happens if you get lost?
DODO: I'll catch a bus back!
STEVEN: A... bus? Are you HIGH?

Dodo is pretty certain that the rainforest they've landed in is actually a zoo! She came here on a school trip a few years ago, she assures Steven, and if you go down that path there's a pretty good American Bison attraction. Also woah geez how old is Dodo because Steven just had a definite moment with her. CONTROL YOURSELF, Steven, stop having chemistry with everyone. God.

The Doctor appears and tells them both that Dorothea - sorry, Dodo - might be right. He's been looking at his instruments (now, Doctor, this is a family show) and things are very strange. You're damn right they are, Doctor, because the scene then cuts to one of those big lizard things using a typewriter. And then, wow, okay, the shot pans out to show a courtroom? There's a human jury, human judge and human defendant, but also those lizard things are like the guards? And all the humans are wearing these tunic-skirt things. The dude being tried has great legs.

Okay, so from what I can gather, the Dude of Great Legs works in, like, a power plant or something, and left a safety valve open. His sentence is MINIATURISATION, which is what it sounds like, he's just gonna be shrunk to tiny size. The judge's daughter protests a little - I think her and Great Legs must have been a thing - but a lizard thing (called a Monoid?) zaps him down and that's that done with.

Back in the jungle, the Doctor, Steven and Dodo have found an elephant (seriously) and all gather around it, petting it, which I am very envious of. Elephants are up there with lizards. Love 'em. The Doctor remarks on how this is an Indian elephant, and there are plants from America and birds from Africa and basically shit from all over the place all in one jungle. Oh, also there's no sky; it's a metal dome that radiates light. So.

They conclude that they're in some kind of indoor nature park on Earth or maybe some other undisclosed planet who knows! Also Dodo is getting a cold, she keeps sneezing, so maybe there's a poison in the air or something, that'd be cool.

Unfortunately for the TARDIS crew, a Monoid (lizard) has been watching them the whole time, and goes off to report to the judge from earlier, who is a Commander of some kind. The Commander fires up the CCTV and sees that these three look like human beings, which is apparently weird. He gets his minion, Zentos, to pop outside and invite them in for a little chat.

An alarm starts blaring away in the jungle and the Doctor, Steven and Dodo are understandably concerned by this. Turns out the Monoids have found the TARDIS and now they're looking for them, shit. They go hide in a cave (there's a moment where Dodo nearly sneezes and Steven presses his ENTIRE BODY AGAINST HER, not even kidding, come on, Steven); once the Monoids have walked past the cave entrance, the Doctor decides they should all go back to the TARDIS and get the hell out of there.

So they creep out of the cave and round a corner and see a kind of factory thing? Steven and Dodo don't have a clue what's going on, but the Doctor happily says that that factory thing means this is a spaceship! How exciting! Dodo says, cool, but if this is a spaceship, why are we currently surrounded by threateningly large giant lizards? The Doctor laughs nervously.

Oh man something cool just happened. So, Steven, Dodo and the Doctor are taken into the building where the trial was held, and are separated and questioned. Steven is pretty useless when asked about the whole travelling-the-fourth-dimension thing, but he gets a couple of questions answered in return. It turns out that it is the year 5 billion, and this spaceship has left Earth for the last time for pastures new. IT'S THE SAME TIME AS THAT EPISODE FROM CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON'S ERA. IT'S THE SAME YEAR. THE SUN IS EXPANDING AND EVERYONE'S LEAVING EARTH. Ahhh so cool.

The Doctor and Dodo reappear and everyone has a nice chat for a while. Mellium, the commander's daughter, shows Steven and Dodo around while the Doctor has a chat with the spaceship technicians. Everything is hunky-dory until another alarm starts going off; people are starting to get a STRANGE FEVER and one of the Monoids has just DIED.

Turns out the common cold was wiped out of humanity millions of years ago, so these humans of the year 5 billion don't have any resistance to Dodo's germs. The new humans (newmans?) take this as a big old sabotage attempt and take the TARDIS crew into custody! They will be tried by Galactic Law and will suffer for the crimes they have committed! Dun dun dunnnnn.



  1. This is by far the best way to experience Old!Who. Many thanks for your funnies and such.

    1. You're most welcome! I'm glad it's useful to at least one person who isn't me. ;)

  2. Steven is actually my favourite character right now. BUT LET US NEVER FORGET STEVEN/NICHOLAS.

    1. Steven is no Paris or Vicki. But Stevolas 4EVA.