Thursday, November 15

The Ark Part 4/4: The Bomb

WHAT UP, WHOVIANS. We rejoin the action with the Doctor and Dodo stuck on the planet Refusis, a planet very much like Earth in temperature, atmosphere, water levels, and celebrity culture (that one was a lie), and thus it has been chosen by ex-Earth inhabitants as a place they wanna be, because their old planet was swallowed by an expanding sun (like that episode of the ninth Doctor's! Still happy about that). Steven is back up on the spaceship known as the Ark, where giant lizard creatures called Monoids have taken charge, and the remaining humans (whom I have affectionately termed 'newmans') are working as slaves. The original plan of the newmans, Monoids and Refusians living in peace on Refusis does not look like it's going to go ahead.

Up on the Ark, the Monoids - who just heard the Monoid on Refusis start a report and then get blown up - contemplate the wisdom of moving their entire population to a planet that is potentially filled with enemies. But it could just be a communications error! And before he got cut off, the Monoid on the planet sounded happy and stuff, so. They're just going to send everyone down and hope for the best. And also they've planted a bomb in the top of the statue, so once all the Monoids are safe on Refusis, they're going to blow up the Ark and all of the humans! There's a lot of evil lizardy laughter following this announcement.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Dodo are having a chat with a Refusian they've befriended. It seems logic is not going to play a huge part in this episode - the Refusians were the ones to blow up the shuttle, because they don't want any violence. The Doctor tells him that the newmans who wanted to kill them are peaceful, like the Refusians, and the Monoids are the only problem here. But also there are a couple of newmans who want to overthrow the Monoids! The Refusian says, ah okay, in that case he'll give the newmans a whole day to overthrow the Monoids before they shoot the Ark out of the sky. The Doctor is relieved by this? And says that Steven will definitely take care of it and sort out the situation, even though Steven has absolutely no way of finding out about what's happening on the planet. I don't understand ANY of this.

Luckily, Steven IS planning a revolution, because Steven is a dashing man of action. The kitchen he's trapped in - there's only one door, and it only opens from the outside. But he has a plan: when one of the newman servants who works obediently for the Monoids comes into the kitchen to pick up food, he will distract them with his sexy manly wiles and Dassuk will sneak out and open the door for all of them when it locks again!

Look at those sexy manly wiles go. Hot dang.

But! Before any havoc can be wrought, all the Monoids take off for Refusis! Steven and the newmans (which, by the way, is an excellent name for a band) are left alone on the Ark, which is a good thing, but also there is this bomb that's scheduled to go off in twelve hours, and none of them knows where it is, which is kind of a bad thing.

Logic loses once again in this episode, as the Doctor and Dodo are suddenly out in the jungle, watching from behind a tree as the Monoids land. The Monoids talk loudly of how if this planet doesn't work out, there's still time to get back to the Ark before that bomb they planted goes off - obviously the Doctor and Dodo overhear this and comment on how much of a ridiculous thing to say it was and seem to brush it off. Then, when the Monoids wander off deeper into the jungle, the Doctor and Dodo sneak into one of the unlocked space shuttles, and ring the Ark.

The newmans, who have made it to the control room on the Ark, see that they have an incoming transmission from one of the space shuttles. It could only be from one of the Monoids, and obviously the newmans are supposed to be trapped in a room on the other side of the ship, so obviously they answer the call.

DOCTOR: This is Refusis, contacting spaceship Ark.
STEVEN: It’s the Doctor! Hello, Doctor, this is Steven.
DOCTOR: Oh, thank heavens, Steven my boy, you’re safe. Now listen: the Ark is about to blow up!
STEVEN: We know that. Do you know where the bomb is?
DOCTOR: No I do not, but I’m going to find out from the Monoids. Now, continue with the search!
STEVEN: ... well, good, thanks. Well worth the cost of a phone call, that one, Doc. Brilliant.

The Doctor hangs up and then instructs the Refusian (who is apparently there too!) to fly the shuttles back to the Ark while the Doctor goes talking to the Monoids. The Refusian gets right on that, and when the Monoids come rushing back to see where their spaceships are going, the Doctor happily tells them that he doesn't know! He hasn't seen ANYBODY since he landed on this planet! (It's because the Refusians are invisible.) (He's very proud of himself.)

The Doctor and Dodo get taken away by the Monoids to be questioned, whereupon they obviously hear all the details about the bomb because the Monoids just reiterate all the information of the episode thus far to one another. Up on the Ark, the bomb hunt is not going well, so the newmans decide to split up so half of them can go down to Refusis and help? I dunno what they're supposed to be helping with, but this episode is not an episode for logic, as we have learned.

So, the newmans head down to the planet and run into the Doctor; the Doctor tells them that he knows where the bomb is! Let's all head back up to the bomb that's gonna explode soon! He rings ahead to tell Steven that, hello Steven, how're things, yeah, the bomb is in the massive statue BE THERE SOON GOOD LUCK LOL. Steven and the newmans all gather around the statue looking helpless, but then the voice of the Refusian appears being all, 'I CAN HELP YOU WITH THAT,' and then the statue starts, like, being dragged across the floor. Apparently the solar flare that his the Refusians was the same thing that got the Fantastic Four crew because, like, shit.

The Refusian drags it to the launching bay and blasts it off into space before it explodes, so that's one plot point we've got out of the way, there! Now all they have left to take care of are the murderous lizards. Cool.

Aaaand they achieve that by... just saying that the two species will make peace? I, um, don't think that's how this kind of stuff works. Or if it is can someone just hop over to the dozens of war zones on present-day Earth and let them know. And the Doctor, Steven and Dodo just leave! Okay, well, quick resolution there, but. No logic in this episode. I don't know why I keep expecting it.

But then! Inside the TARDIS, everything seems to be going fine (Dodo has changed into a new outfit and Steven gets really close to her before he compliments it) and then the Doctor sneezes and... turns... invisible? Dodo thinks this might have something to do with the Refusions, but then InvisiDoctor says no! They are UNDER ATTACK.

I've heard that the next serial is a good one, so I look forward to sharing that with you. Maybe there will be storylines that make sense in it. We can but hope. :D


Monday, November 12

The Ark Part 3/4: The Return

Dodo infected a bunch of humans from the year 5 billion with a cold, but the Doctor cured everyone! The new humans revised their previously a-bit-not-good opinion of the Doctor and his companions, and happily waved them off as they vworped away in the TARDIS. But, as we all know, the TARDIS goes wherever it damn pleases, and they ended up in the exact same spot they took off from. Weird! But also it appears a bunch of time has passed, and maybe the giant lizards (Monoids) are in charge now?

They have a gander around for a bit and find their way back in the main control room. The Doctor checks out the CCTV feed; there are still humans around, but they're working as slaves in the kitchen, and the Monoids are lounging around, giving orders and generally being bosses. Suddenly! A Monoid with its human bitches strolls in, and asks them what exactly they're doing on the spaceship. The Doctor, Dodo and Steven are taken aback by this; the last time they were kicking around on the ship, the Monoids only communicated through sign language.

The Monoid seems a little suspicious of the Doctor's 'Oh we've been here before, we're friends of yours!' explanation, and hauls them over to speak to the leader. The Monoid In Charge stops all of them before they say anything, and plays the previous episode on a little screen so they can all catch up with the plot.

And in a move I saw coming, dunno about you, it turns out that WHOOPS! The cold ended up killing loads of the newmans anyway! So that weakened them, and then they worked together to get the Monoids those mechanic voice box things that they're using, and also made themselves some weapons, then BOOM. Monoid revolution! Thank you, Doctor.

Somewhat ungratefully, though, Monoid In Charge orders them to be taken away while he arranges a grand council. The Doctor, Dodo and Steven all share a weird and unexplained sense of deja vu.

They get taken to the kitchen, where two people - Dassuk and Venussa - are gossiping. Venussa is really excited cos she overheard the Monoids talking about how some humans have landed on the Ark. Dassuk tells her, nah mate, Earth exploded and all the humans came aboard this ship, where would they have come from? Venussa chirps about the LEGEND OF THE DOCTOR AND THE YOUNG COUPLE, and Dassuk tells her that she's a bit loopy. Venussa is put out, but then hears a Monoid saying the Doctor's name and gets excited again. When they meet her, the TARDIS crew wave her off with only minimal explanation, though, because they are in the middle of a very important Escape Mission.

... that mission promptly fails when the Monoids come back into the kitchen with guns. Those pesky lizards grab the Doctor and Dodo and take them away, leaving Steven to chill with the newmans. Turns out the Doctor and Dodo are being sent ahead to Refusis on a little shuttle to check out the environment and to make sure that there are no bloodthirsty natives, and Steven is being held back as INSURANCE. Man, not sure lizards are my favourite animals any more, jeez.

Dodo and the Doctor - along with a Monoid and a newman - make it to Refusis pretty quick. There doesn't seem to be any natives kicking around, which confuses the Monoid, because he could've SWORN that they had readings that indicated... ah well, never mind. And ignore the door opening and closing by itself, it's probably the, um. The wind. Well, they best get back to the ship and tell everyone of the good news! Time's ticking away!

DODO: Yes, I bet it'll take some time to get the whole of the population down here, so the sooner you get started the better, I should think.
MONOID: Don't worry. It may not take as long as you think.
DODO: What do you mean? Are you up to something?
DODO: I'm calling bullshit.

But then! The Doctor comes round the corner and tells them that Refusis is definitely inhabited and he has proof! Look! A BUILDING.

So the four of them shimmy on over there to explore; it's the same kind of deal, no people. Except things keep moving on their own! Come on, guys, we all figured out what was going on like five minutes ago.

Whahey, and then we get an explanation! The Refusians were victims of a giant solar flare, and now they exist in a kind of... non-entity form? They're not just invisible. I guess they're kind of like ghosts, that sort of substance? Anyway, because of this, they were looking forward to their planet having actual corporeal inhabitants again, as long as they came in peace. The Doctor laughs nervously and changes the subject. 

While the Doctor and Dodo stay in the Refusian pad for a while, Monoid and the newman go and make their way back the shuttle so they can radio up to the Ark. The Monoid says something dumb, or something, which makes the newman suspect that maaaaybe the Monoids plan on killing all the humans and living on Refusis without them. The two of them get into a fight (the newman loses), and the Monoid saunters happily into the shuttle again. 

MONOID: Refusis to the spaceship Ark.
MONOID IN CHARGE: Yes, give us your report. Are the landings possible?
MONOID: The planet offers everything we need, but I must warn you. Listen to this carefully. When we first arrived, we exited--

And then the shuttle blows up! With the Monoid inside it! Leaving the Doctor and Dodo stranded on Refusis! Shiiiit.

I like how the BBC's budget in the 60's meant that a bunch of aliens were just invisible. Not being able to see the enemy is UNDER-UTILISED in New Who, imo.


Sunday, November 11

The Ark Part 2/4: The Plague

New Girl Dodo is way too eager to be away from home with no way of getting back, which makes me suspicious, and also she has brought her disgusting Earth Girl germs with her to the 5 billion and 1st century and is now killing locals. She has not made a great impression on me so far.

So the Doctor, Dodo and Steven are in some kind of holding cell, waiting to be tried under Galactic Law by Crazy Zentos. Dodo is getting on my nerves already and we're only one minute in.

DODO: It’s all my fault! If I’d known it was going to be like this, I’d never have come.
DOCTOR: Well you did come, my dear, so it’s too late to be worry about that - and stop sniffling!
DODO: I’m not sniffling, it’s me nose running again! Anyway, I’m feeling better now. But I don’t suppose anyone cares.
DOCTOR: I don't suppose anyone does, because there are other people on this spaceship who are LITERALLY DYING, you selfish little shit.

The Commander, who caught the cold at the end of the last episode, is lying on a bed with his daughter, Mellium, and a scientist next to him. The scientist is apologetic, because all records concerning the common cold were lost YEARS ago, and it was, y'know, quite tough to cure to begin with. The Commander says that he doesn't really care what happens to him, or to his daughter, as long as the voyage continues and the ship makes it to the planet Refusis in 700 years' time. Mellium is a little put out.

Crazy Zentos is pretty eager to get on with the trial and punishment of the three prisoners, so he calls a meeting of the newmans. He will preside, he says happily, and does anyone want to stand up for the prisoners? After an awkward silence, Manyak - the technician that the Doctor had a chat with when they were first brought to the spaceship - and Mellium say that they'll do that, it's what the Commander would have wanted. (The Commander, who is lying fully conscious on a bed one room over, chimes in with, "Yes, yes!")

The Commander's hilarious interjections continue. Crazy Zentos calls Steven into the trial room and accuses him of being a spy from Refusis sent to sabotage the humans' journey. Steven calls bullshit on account of him being a human time traveller; Crazy Zentos rejects this idea, as humans haven't perfected time travel yet (my earlier excitement over the Doctor Who continuity staying strong over 50 years has wilted a little - wasn't Jack Harkness a human time traveller from the 51st century?). But Crazy Zentos's 'instincts' tell him that Steven and the others are EVIL.

STEVEN: And that, unfortunately, tells me only one thing.
CRAZY ZENTOS: What’s that?
STEVEN: That the nature of man, even in this day and age, hasn’t altered at all. You still fear the unknown, like everyone else before you.
COMMANDER: That’s true! True!
CRAZY ZENTOS: Stop getting involved omg.

Ahaha and then he does it AGAIN I'm laughing really hard right now. Manyak the technician is really fighting for the TARDIS gang:

MANYAK: The fever is here. We have no answer for it and it might well be that they are the only ones who can cure it.
CRAZY ZENTOS: Our micro-virologists may still find an answer!
MANYAK: Perhaps, but if we were to agree that the Doctor and his friends could, what is the value in expelling them from the spaceship?
COMMANDER: None at all!

Ahh no but then one of the newmans brings news that someone else has died from the fever. This makes everyone's mind up; the verdict is that these saboteurs are to be EXPELLED FROM THE SPACESHIP. But then, whoops, something's going on with Steven.

He's all weak and fainty cos he's caught the cold (Dodo may be annoying but she never made such a fuss about a little COLD, gosh). Some Monoids drag him to the cell where the Doctor and Dodo are waiting and the Doctor tries to talk his way out of custody so he can go do 'some experiments' and find a cure. Crazy Zentos flat-out refuses, but the Commander has found a communication device from somewhere and orders Crazy Zentos to let the Doctor do his science, on the condition that he tests out the cure on Steven first.

The Doctor, given a sudden free reign, goes into overdrive. He starts ordering the newmans about, telling Mellium to keep Steven warm and then run around the ship doing the same to all the other sick people. The then gives Dodo a list of things he needs and sends her to fetch it all from the TARDIS (I'm crossing my fingers that the list is just 'Lemsip, cuddles'), and then he grabs one of the newmans and begins to tell him about the science behind the cold virus, in case they can be of any help. It might be the first time I've seen him take charge of a situation and have some semblance of competence. It's exciting!

The Doctor, with his silent Monoid assistant (all the Monoids communicate in sign language), whip up a cocktail of cold remedy and sort of rub it into Steven's arm, because hypodermic needles are sooo last millennium. Steven stirs a little bit, so the Doctor is all, 'Cool! It works!' and then rushes off to treat everyone else.

It is one hour later and Steven is still all fevery. Dodo is getting concerned, but the Doctor tells her to chillax, hang loose, just go with the flow. And SURE ENOUGH, in a spectacular display of Steven being wildly inappropriate, he grabs onto Dodo while his fever breaks. Everything's going to be fine!

Dodo runs to the main room to break the news to everyone, and the newmans are surprisingly laid back about it all. Even Crazy Zentos is just, 'Cool, you were right! Awesome, you're free to go whenever you like catch you later xoxo.' So, the Doctor, Dodo and Steven say goodbye to them in front of the statue that they're building (it's going to be a massive human - the plan is it'll take 700 years to build so by the time they arrive on Refusis it'll just be finished) and then just... head back to the TARDIS on, like, a little golf cart driven by a Monoid oh gosh that's really cute.

So they just get into the TARDIS and dematerialise. I guess... that's the end of that? But it's a four-part serial! I sense there is MORE TO COME. And I am proven right, because apparently they've materialised again right back where they left! They're still on the ship, something must have gone wrong with the TARDIS, the Doctor tells them.

So, they (for some reason) head back on over to the newman's building to tell them of the hilarious thing that just happened, and they find it deserted. Weird, Dodo says, they've only been gone a few seconds. Steven gently reminds her of what the T in TARDIS stands for, but then they catch sight of that statue that was going to take 700 years to build, and it's finished. But instead of being a statue of a human, it's a statue of a MONOID.

Excellent plot twist, A+! MORE SOON.


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.


Thursday, November 8

The Massacre Part 4/4: Bell of Doom

So, the Doctor is dead? And everyone thinks Steven killed him, and also they think that the Doctor is this  Abbot dude, so Steven is being chased across Paris by a bunch of cardinal guards and a horde of angry Catholics. Also there is a part where a character mentions that it's St Bartholomew's Day tomorrow, and as the full title of this serial is The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, then I think I have an inkling of what's going to go down.

It is the morning after and Steven is okay! He managed to evade the guard and hid... somewhere... during the curfew. He goes back to Preslin's abandoned shop and finds Annevieve! She asks what he plans to do with his life now everything has gone to shit, and the only thing Steven can think to do is to find the TARDIS key and get out of there. Maybe the Doctor changed into his Abbot clothes while he was at the shop, Steven reasons, so maybe his Doctor clothes are still kicking around somewhere and MAYBE the TARDIS key is in the pocket or something. It's a long shot, everyone admits, but the two of them set about to searching the shop anyway.

After a while Annevieve finds the Doctor's walking stick and brings it to Steven. Steven demands to know where she found it and if there was anything else with it; Annevieve says that, no! It was in the back room! There are no clothes anywhere!

ANNE: I've searched everywhere!
STEVEN: Then why the stick? He - he couldn't have pretended to be the Abbot dressed as he was. So he must have changed somewhere. But where?
ANNE: Perhaps he went away somewhere with the apothecary who used to live here?
STEVEN: With Preslin? No he couldn't.
ANNE: Why not?
STEVEN: Because Preslin is either dead or in prison.
DOCTOR: He is not.

OHHHHH what an entrance. You got STYLE, Doctor.

Meanwhile, Admiral de Coligny is still all shot in the arm and stuff. Angry Gaston warns him that the Catholics still want him dead, he should leave Paris right now! Boyfriend/Carer Nicholas gently tells Gaston that, look bro, the Admiral has a pretty hefty bullet wound, he can't really go sneaking out of heavily guarded buildings into the night. Gaston walks away in a huff, and the Admiral and Nicholas have a nice little chat (of course, because Nicholas is wonderful).

Back au magasin de Preslin, the Doctor is acting like the Abbot was not him at all. I... don't know what to believe. Maybe the Abbot really did just look exactly like him? Steven seems to think so. The Doctor, who has missed being obnoxious in the hours that he was maybe dead(?), dives right back in.

DOCTOR: Oh, my dear boy, had you stayed at the tavern all this mix-up could have been avoided.
STEVEN: I did stay in the tavern, you didn't turn up!
DOCTOR: Yes, well, I was unavoidably delayed. Never mind that now. Come along, we must go. Come along.

Then Anne mentions something about it being St Bartholomew's Day tomorrow and the Doctor pauses. He demands to know the year (1572) and then gets crazy and interrogates Anne, asking her if there's anywhere she can go stay for the night. She's points out that she's kipping in an abandoned shop, she's pretty low on choice, but the Doctor forces her out of the door and tells her to go stay at her aunt's house or something. As soon as Anne is out of the way, the Doctor grabs Steven and tells him that they need to leave too! Right now!

The Catholics, who are definitely the bad guys in this serial, are busy plotting. Marshal Tavannes (Catholic in Charge) is drawing up a list of Huguenots they need to kill, but then the Queen Mother knocks on his door and is all, 'You know what? We don't really need a list. Kill them all!' Tavannes asks if that includes Prince Henri, her son-in-law, and she cheerfully replies that it definitely does, yep! Tavannes tries to talk her down from her crazy, and she eventually concedes that if he's out of the city by tomorrow then he will have no death brought upon him. Simon is put in charge of the prince's safekeeping. He's pretty gutted that he's not allowed to even injure him a little. Catholics are all bloody crazy, man.

Hiding behind a wall near the Abbot's house, where there are Catholics standing guard, the Doctor and Steven debate how they're going to get past them and back to the TARDIS. They can't risk just walking past them because it's early morning, the curfew is still in effect. But then! Two other guards come to relieve the old ones of the post, and then a bunch more arrive and start battering down the door to the Abbot's house. Steven and the Doctor make a run for it!

And... well, I mean, they make it. And then dematerialise. So. That's that story over with, then, isn't it. Oh, and Steven never got to say goodbye to Nicholas! Boo. There's still like ten minutes of the episode left but after it's done you can bet your arse I'm reading the Wiki article for this massacre thing so I can get some decent closure. Anne/Genevieve and Nicholas better be mentioned in that article and they better have happy endings. God.

Floating around in time and space, Steven gets pretty angry that the Doctor knew all this was going to happen and yet he left people like Anne and Nicholas (of course he mentions Nicholas I'm actually pretty sure their ~love was canon) there to die. He also says that he's sick of this, and next time the TARDIS materialises somewhere, he's getting off. BABY, NO.

I hate everything.

The Doctor then has a little soliloquy where he reminisces about his past companions. Ian Chesterton of the Pre-Moosh Watches Who era gets a special mention, which is nice, cos I liked him, and the Doctor also says that he wants to go back to his home planet, but because he has a shit TARDIS, he can't. It's all very sad.

BUT THEN a girl bursts inside the TARDIS, looking for the phone, because the TARDIS looks like a police phone box. The Doctor tells her to go away, there is no phone here. But there's been an accident, she says in a really endearing northern accent, she has to ring the police right now and also who are you, crazy man in a box? The Doctor tries to explain that he's a man of science! And this is his machine for travelling relative dimensions in space! But before he can finish bewildering the poor girl, Steven comes back! Hello, sweetheart! I missed you!

Steven is all, 'Look I can't go into it right now but there are two policemen coming this way so can we dematerialise now pls,' so he's almost definitely defiled some public property or something. The Doctor genuinely says, "They'll want to use the telephone or something like it!" like telephones are the worst thing ever thought of, and dematerialises in a hurry.

It's at that point that Steven notices that, hello, there's another person in this TARDIS. Steven is distressed, because that is a young girl that the Doctor has just taken away from her entire life with no way of returning, there. The Doctor is confused at Steven's displeasure.

STEVEN: Doctor, how could you?
DOCTOR: What else could I do, dear boy? You don't want a couple of policemen aboard the TARDIS, do you? You know you're the most inconsistent young man? Just now you were telling me off for not having that Chaplet girl aboard!
STEVEN: Yeah because this is the EXACT SAME SITUATION you complete moron.

It's all cool, though, the new girl doesn't have any parents, she lives with her great-aunt and they don't get along. Also they ask her name - it is Dodo, but her full name is Dorothea Chaplet, which is the same surname as Anne/Genevieve. Fancy that.

And that's it! The next episode is called The Steel Sky. Do you reckon it's a cyberman one? If it were a reboot episode I'd say it was definitely cybermen, but I think the cybermen of Classic Who were made of cloth or smthn, so. Let's wait and see.

Also I guess the Abbot was just the Abbot all along? Um. Okay. Well. Good.


Tuesday, November 6

The Massacre Part 3/4: Priest of Death

Chief Protestant, Admiral de Coligny, is due to be given a shiny new nickname and then assassinated; Steven knows the nickname and the plan but not who the nickname refers to, Nicholas (boyfriend/carer) knows the nickname and the referent but not the plan, and the Catholics know everything, because they're the evil masterminds of this whole thing. The Doctor has wandered off somewhere, and Steven is holed up with Anne But-If-Anyone-Asks-My-Name-Is-Genevieve in Charles Preslin's abandoned shop, which wasn't abandoned yesterday when the Doctor visited but also has been empty for two years.

It seems relatively empty now, because that's where Steven and Anne wake up. The end of the curfew prompts Steven to make a plan; they will go to the Abbot's house and try to see just what the deal is with him looking like the Doctor. Anne, reasonably, tells Steven that the guards will definitely recognise them before he even gets close; Steven refutes this claim, saying that he'll wear a disguise! And then promptly just puts on a different cloak and hat. Excellent espionage skills there, Steven.

Meanwhile, there's an early-morning meeting of important people over at the Louvre. In attendance: King Charles IX, Admiral de Coligny ('Sea Beggar', Protestant in Charge), Marshal Tavannes (Catholic in Charge), Teligny (Councillor, hopefully a one-scene character because I'm losing track of everyone) and Catherine de Medici (Queen Mother, silent observer).

They're all discussing the possibility of France allying itself with the Netherlands and declaring war on Spain. This would, Admiral Protestant claims, unify the country and prevent further civil strife. Marshal Catholic claims that, psh, the country is already unified! There was that marriage between two royals mentioned in the first episode that did that! Also, we're too poor to do war lol. De Coligny argues with this and says that England will definitely be on their side, and the two of them bicker. After a while, King Charles basically says, 'Oh my god guys shut up I'm bored of this war talk,' and then changes the subject to last Saturday's episode of X Factor or something. I definitely like him.

De Coligny and Tavannes are pretty determined, however, and the talk turns to the religious rift in France. De Coligny is pretty pissed that his protestant homebros keep suffering at the hands of the Catholics, who run the joint. Tavannes says that there was a treaty drawn up by the Queen Mother and they're following the rules laid out in that and is he questioning her judgement? Admiral de Coligny says something sarcastic in response, and everyone gets angry. The Queen Mother storms out, Marshal Tavannes goes with her, and King Charles IX is amused and asks if the Admiral wants to play tennis with him. Not even kidding.

Steven and Anne Call-Me-Genevieve make it to the Abbot's place. After arguing with a servant for a bit, they make it inside and the Doctor stays in character, acting all obnoxious and authoritative and... well, actually, acting much the same as usual, just not answering to the name of 'Doctor'. Steven is taken aback by this, and panics.

DOCTOR: What is this?
PRIEST: My Lord Abbot.
STEVEN: Doctor!
DOCTOR Silence! Who is this man? And why does he disturb my peace?
PRIEST: It appears he comes from a dying man.
STEVEN: Um, I... I - I've brought back the servant who ran away!
ANNE: You little shit!

The priest leaves and Steven whispers that he thought Anne would be safer here, with there being an assassin kicking about, but before anyone can reply, Marshal Tavannes storms in wanting a private word with the Abbot regarding the Sea Beggar. The Doctor tells Steven and Anne to wait outside.

So, they go wait outside the door but they can totally still hear the conversation and they find out who the Sea Beggar is! Steven is all like, 'I must tell Nicholas!' because he is a poor lovestruck fool, and the two of them hurry out the side door over to Protestant HQ.

Nicholas is obviously overjoyed to see him, but there isn't time for make-up cuddles, cos there's gonna be a death on the Rue des Fosse St. Germaine if they don't hurry! Meanwhile, Admiral de Coligny is walking along said street and the covertly-named Bondot is setting up his killing weapons. Just as Bondot fires, though, the Admiral bends down to pick up something he dropped (convenient), so he only gets shot in the... arm? How did he even bend over? Do they do that differently in France? Jesus. Anyway, Teligny (forgettable character from the council scene earlier) and Nicholas rush over to him and urge him to a surgeon and he's all alive and stuff so everything's fine.

Teligny rushes to tell the king of this treachery (Charles's reaction: "Will I never have any peace?!"), while Steven and Nicholas have a touching reunion.

STEVEN: Nicholas, I'm sorry. I tried to tell Gaston, he wouldn't listen to me.
NICHOLAS: I know, he told me.
STEVEN: I knew that the 'Sea Beggar' was going to be killed. Until this morning I didn't know who that was.
NICHOLAS: I could've told you.
STEVEN: ;____; Take me back please I'm sorry I didn't mean it I love you.

Unfortunately before they can even have a tiny little kiss, Teligny, who is suddenly a character in this serial, burst in and tells them that shit is going mental outside. The Abbot of Amboise was just murdered outside his own house because he let that pesky Englishman overhear the assassination plans, but the Catholics are blaming the death on the Protestants and things are basically going crazy. Steven races off because, like, that wasn't the Abbot, that was his buddy the Doctor, and Nicholas, charged with watching over the wounded Admiral, watches him leave as a single tear runs down his face. I imagine.

Steven makes it to the crowd outside the Abbot's house. There are a bunch of people - just, like, commoners, I think - all gathered around a body on the floor and talking about how terrible these Huguenots are. They should be banned from entering towns, what with all their 'free-thinking' bullshit! Shady Roger is also nearby, quietly talking to the Captain of the Guard about how cool it is that the crowd believes their deception. Steven doesn't hear this, he's too busy collapsing on the floor next to the body, being all distraught and that. Shady Roger sees him, though, and shouts that HE'S THE ONE WHO KILLED THE ABBOT! The guards arm themselves and go after him. Steven shits himself and runs for it.

Next episode: Bell of Doom. Did not hold back with the ominous titles this serial, did they? Jeez.


Monday, November 5

The Massacre Part 2/4: The Sea Beggar

So we ended last episode in sixteenth-century France in the midst of a little Catholic/Protestant kerfuffle. Steven is off being seduced by a hot French Protestant dude, and the Doctor, bizarrely, is somehow in charge of the Catholics. No idea how that happened.

It is the morning after the end of the last episode, and everybody is carefully avoiding the subject of what happened between Steven and Nicholas. Gaston showed up at Nicholas's place while Steven was checking the tavern to see if the Doctor was there (he was not) and now all three of them are having a light morning chit-chat. Steven is visibly worried about where the Doctor could have gone (Gaston's mutterings about the Catholics probably killing him don't help much) and Nicholas offers to take him to Port St Martin. What a gentleman.

Before they can leave, though, Shady Roger arrives looking for the servant girl. Gaston and Nicholas both evade the questions about her, but then she ruins everything by walking in to serve them all drinks.

SHADY ROGER: Surely, that is the very girl!
GASTON: That girl?
SHADY ROGER: Yes, her name is Anne Chaplet. Allow me take her with me.
GASTON: Oh, no, no, no! You must be mistaken! That girl is called... erm. Genevieve. And she's been working here ever since the Admiral came to Paris.
NICHOLAS: And this is my platonic friend, Steven! We didn't have sex last night!
SHADY ROGER: ... I don't even know with you people.

Shady Roger leaves, and Gaston watches him go from the window. He voices his amazement that the Abbot himself took the trouble of coming out to Protestant territory for the sake of a servant girl; Nicholas and Steven go over to the window and Steven is all, '... but... that's my bro the Doctor?' He tries to leave so as to go and speak to him, but Gaston holds him back because in his eyes Steven just admitted to being a Catholic spy, there. A brief interrogation occurs before Steven tells them that they'll go to Port St Martin and they'll see the Doctor there and they can all see how weirdly similar the Doctor and the Abbot look and then they'll laugh about it over drinks. Nicholas suggests that maybe Gaston should stay there while just he and Steven go. I'm not even kidding.

So, Nicholas and Steven head on over to Port St Martin and find the shop. There's no answer, and a weird old woman passing by tells them that Charles Preslin (the apothecary) has been dead for YEARS. Steven is confused, and Nicholas is hurt that Steven lied to him. They have a bit of a fight, which results in Steven knocking Nicholas over and then running away. The hearts of Tumblr users everywhere break in two.

Meanwhile, Simon, who I get the impression is the Lord Varys of these episodes, is consorting with all sorts of people. He hung out with a guy called Tavannes, Marshal of France, who told him to keep an eye the Abbot, because he has a weird feeling, and also to watch out for the new Englishman who has appeared (Steven), because it would be just typical of Queen Elizabeth to butt in on French matters. Simon then meets up with Shady Roger, and tells him that they're suspicious of the Englishman now too. Also they talk about an assassin, whose name is Monivere, but who they're calling Bondot so people don't get suspicious. Come on, lads, if you're going to use a secret code name, don't use a French version of the name 'Bond'. Skyfall's just come out, anyone can see right through that.

Simon and Shady Roger then BOTH go to meet up with Marshal Tavannes, who tells them that the Abbot has disappeared somewhere, because as we know, the Doctor likes to disappear off on his own for 15 minutes per episode, and also the French Queen Mother has instructed Bondot to assassinate the 'Sea Beggar', which is apparently French slang for a Dutch person, or something. Steven, who had crept over to Catholics United HQ to see if he could find the Doctor, overhears this and rushes back to Nicholas's crib to pass on what he's learnt.

When he gets there, though, he doesn't find Nicholas, but Gaston. Hot-headed foo' that he is, Gaston goes a bit mental at Steven and threatens him with some sword action (not a euphemism) before kicking him out again. Nicholas shows up just after Steven leaves and asks what all the commotion was about. Gaston proudly tells him that he just spared that little shit of an Englishman's life instead of killing him dead, and Nicholas is immediately concerned for Steven. Of course.

GASTON: Oh, you're having a very bad effect on me, my friend. I just spared that wretch's life.
NICHOLAS: What are you talking about?
GASTON: That... Englishman!
GASTON: Yes, I caught him here!
NICHOLAS: What did he say?
GASTON: Say? Nothing.
NICHOLAS: Why did he come back?
GASTON: He was spying! I caught him going through your papers!
NICHOLAS: He must have had a message otherwise he'd never have come back...
GASTON: Getting a little jealous over here, man. I thought you and I had something special.

Cold, dejected and alone, Steven is wandering the streets of Paris just before the curfew. He slowly comes to realise that he is being followed, so as the bell signalling the start of the curfew rings, he turns around and manages to grab his pursuer. It's Servant Girl Anne/Genevieve! She wants to go with Steven because the Catholic baddies are looking for her at Nicholas's place, and also Steven was nice to her. Steven is like, 'That's cool and all, but I ain't got nowhere to stay tonight, love, so unless you fancy cuddling in a doorway somewhere, you should probably go.' But eventually they decide to go back to Port St Martin and have a kip in Preslin's apparently-deserted shop.

Back at Nicholas's place, the Admiral de Coligny (Protestant In Charge, I think) shows up to tell Nicholas that he has great news! The King has agreed to ally himself with the Dutch and go to war with Spain! Excellent! And even better: the King said that if everything goes well, the Admiral will go down in history as the 'Sea Beggar'! How cool a nickname is that?!

See, at first I thought the Admiral meant that the Sea Beggar was Nicholas, so I'm actually not too bothered by this. The Admiral has a voice that just makes me a little uncomfortable. It's all oily and strange. Assassinate him all you want, Bondot, anything to make him not say words at me any more.

The end screens for this serial are weird and difficult to read, so. The next episode is called Priest of Death! Sounds well cheerful, I look forward to it.


Sunday, November 4

The Massacre Part 1/4: War of God

Hello! Welcome to Day Four of NatWhoWatMo (National Who Watching Month). I'm feeling much more enthusiastic about watching a Classic Who episode than I have been for the last few weeks. It's the beginning of a new serial and I have no idea what to expect! Some kind of war, maybe, going from the title. A bit of casual death here and there, but I'm HOPING that no one I care about is going to die. At the moment the list of surviving characters about whom I give a crap is limited to Steven, so. Surely the odds are in my favour?

I don't know how much time has passed since the Dalek Extravaganza; the TARDIS materialises in a courtyard and the Doctor and Steven emerge from it, fully recovered from the horrors of their past.

Oh, they're in France! The Doctor figures they're in the mid-sixteenth century, and gets excited about meeting the Famous Apothecary Charles Preslin, who I have just googled and I don't think he was a real person, but I may be wrong.

The Doctor's excitement was prompted by the appearance of a dude, Gaston, knocking on a door and asking for Nicholas Muss, who I again googled and who, it turns out, is now working as a dentist in Reston, Virginia. So I imagine, like, probably fictional. The Doctor recognises the name, though, and mentions a "strange brotherhood of apothecaries" who are "way ahead of their time". Nicholas appears and listens patiently while Gaston insults Catholics, before they both disappear off. The Doctor and Steven take this opportunity to go back into the TARDIS and change clothes.

Nicholas and Gaston make their way to a tavern where they meet up with some other dudes, one of whom is called Simon. Gaston proposes a toast to Henri of Navarre, the Protestant Prince (it's a religion episode, apparently), and Simon puts in that they should also toast to Henri's Catholic Princess. Gaston pointedly spits out his wine and has a loud and obnoxious conversation with the landlord about the quality of the alcohol in this joint. Nicholas, who is acting like Gaston's boyfriend/carer, tries to shut him up, with limited success.

Simon then pulls Gaston up and is all, 'Dude, come on, don't be insulting Princess Marguerite, now,' and Gaston is basically like, 'Shut up, I don't like you.' Simon sighs and has a quiet word with the landlord, asking him to keep an eye on the rowdy peasants, and leaves.

The Doctor and Steven pass him on the way in to have a quick dash of booze before exploring the city. Steven is complaining that he doesn't want to sit in the TARDIS while the Doctor goes off talking to his apothecary person, and the Doctor is adamant that Steven will just hold him back when he's talking science.

Steven then insists that he'll just explore the city, then, and after some heavy warnings not to get into trouble, Steven, and don't talk to strangers, Steven, and don't put your real name on the internet, Steven, the Doctor agrees that they'll meet back at the tavern that evening and jet off in their time machine again. He leaves, followed by a mysterious gentleman who had been waiting in the shadows. Steven notices this and moves to go after them, but the landlord holds him back because the Doctor walked off without paying for the wine. What a shit.

Steven confusedly presents the landlord with a big gold coin - I'm going to call it a galleon, for comprehension's sake - and the landlord is like, 'What the hell, dude, the wine is two sickles. I don't have change for this.' Steven gets nervous because the galleon is the only French money he has, but then boom, Nicholas, apparently a carer/boyfriend to everyone, appears and buys Steven the drinks.

Steven is duly charmed by this, and casually asks if Nicholas knows the way to Port St Martin, where the Doctor was headed. Nicholas tells him that if he's a tourist, there's pretty much no chance that he'll make it there alone. Steven gets out his puppy eyes and Nicholas, the charmer, invites Steven to have some wine with him and his buddies, and then afterwards the two of them can go on a little wander down the side streets, if you know what I mean (Steven does).

After quarter of an hour of awkwardly drinking wine and being interrogated by a jealous Gaston, Steven says that he really should be getting on now, actually. Nicholas stands up and says that they'll go see Paris together! But Steven notices Gaston's evil eye and assures Nicholas that he'll be able to find his way, if Nicholas just points him in the right direction.

Nicholas is disappointed, but agrees, but before Steven can go anywhere, a little girl runs past them into the tavern, followed by a bunch of cardinal guards. Gaston leaps up to confront the guards and refuses to let them further into the tavern because his defining character trait is apparently hating Catholics. They all exchange insults for a bit, then the guards give up and go away. Gaston, cheered by this run-in with the fuzz, tells Steven that it's dangerous for him to be outside alone, and invites him back for more booze.

Steven is concerned about the girl and wants to go look for her, but Gaston says she'll probs be fine. Weirdly, Steven isn't comforted by this, but the girl pokes her head out from where she was hiding and Gaston calls her over to show Steven just how very fine she is, Englishman, do not even worry. Steven gently asks her why she was frightened, and she doesn't answer. Gaston tells her that if she doesn't answer, they'll call the guards back (Nicholas hits him round the head), and she tells them that she used to be a servant working for the Catholics, and she overheard them saying that something that had happened at this place called Vase would happen again? And her father died there so she got scared and ran away. Or something.

Boyfriend/Carer Nicholas explains that about ten years ago, the Catholics slaughtered a bunch of Huguenots (I googled - they're basically just Protestants) in this little town Vase, a few miles south of Paris. He then handily explains a bunch more of the plot for us poor viewers while chatting up Steven a little more.

NICHOLAS: I'm afraid you have arrived in Paris at a most unfortunate time.
STEVEN: I wish I understood what was going on.
NICHOLAS: My dear English friend, it's really quite simple. Henri of Navarre is a Huguenot, a Protestant prince. Yesterday he married Marguerite of France, a Catholic. The marriage was arranged by the Queen Mother in the hope that it would heal the religious wound that is tearing France in two. But in the light of what that girl overheard, it looks as if the Catholics of France are plotting against Navarre's life. Do you understand?
STEVEN: You might need to go over it again. At your place. With coffee. Without your clothes on. I mean, what?

Meanwhile, the Doctor has found Charles Preslin, and Charles Preslin is doing some handy explaining of his own. There's this Abbot of Aboise, who hates the apothecaries, and is hunting them all down. He's the right-hand man to the Cardinal of Lorraine, who is in Rome. The Doctor is intrigued by this and wonders if there's any point going to go see the Abbot and having a chat. Preslin strongly advises against this, and the Doctor smiles and leaves for a super-secret undisclosed location, but I bet I know where he's gonna end up.

A while later, Steven is sitting on his own in the tavern, waiting for the Doctor to come back. Simon, the dude from the beginning of the episode, has come to the tavern to try to find the little girl who ran away, and he spots Steven and goes over to try and find out what his deal is. Steven tells him that he's waiting for a friend and he's not interested, thanks, and Simon huffily replies that the curfew is coming up, Steven should be leaving soon. Steven tells him that he'll be all right, thanks, and Simon stalks off.

Enter Nicholas who, I shit you not, invites Steven back to his place because the curfew is approaching and Steven shouldn't be out here alone. You can meet your friend in the morning, Nicholas says, it only makes sense for you to come back to mine. Steven, as you'd imagine, is well up for it, and follows him out of the tavern.

Cut to the cardinal residence where Roger, the shady guy who was the one who followed the Doctor out of the tavern, is telling the Abbot of Amboise about their balls-up of letting that little girl escape. The Abbot, who is hidden in the shadows all sinister-like, taps his cane impatiently. Roger begins to poop himself a little bit, but then Simon bursts in with information of where the girl is hiding that he learnt from his little trip to the tavern. The Abbot leans forward to reveal his face and OMG, IT'S THE DOCTOR. THE DOCTOR IS THE ABBOT. HOW IS THAT EVEN A THING?

His French accent really is terrible, but still. Cool plot twist, man. Did not see that coming.


Saturday, November 3

The Daleks' Master Plan Part 12/12: Destruction of Time

Hello and welcome to part twelve of That Fucking Dalek Serial! It has been a long time coming - I watched part one on September 19th. Today is November 3rd. I'm beginning to forget that sometimes this show has things other than dubious Dalek plotlines. I have vague memories of some chick called Vicki and another one called Katarina and my soulmate called Paris, but they're all either dead or abandoned. The names Susan, Ian and Barbara ring a bell, but I don't think I cared about them very much. At least the first Doctor has been a constant throughout this emotional turmoil, because he's a really cool character who's always in the know and is a kind and gentle soul and I like him a lot.


Sigh. Steven and Sara are being herded into a secret cave on Kembel by Mavic Chen, who pretended to be dead for two minutes and then appeared again to threaten them with a gun. The Daleks, who pretended to have left, are chilling out in said secret cave for unknown reasons. Fuck knows where the Doctor is, the last few episodes he's just been sneaking off on his own for a while. Maybe he has some personal things he's going through, idk.

Mavic Chen is starting to look a little crazy. He seems sure that the Doctor is trying to take Mavic's place in cohorts with the Daleks and is going to take Steven and Sara to the Dalek Supreme so he can get a pat on the back for foiling the plot, or something. So the three of them make it to this underground control room where the Daleks are preparing for a bunch of invading and tries to show off his excellent prisoner-capturing skills. The Daleks do not give a shit.

MAVIC CHEN: Once again, I, Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System, have helped the Daleks with their conquest plan!
DALEK SUPREME: Our alliance has ended.
MAVIC CHEN: What? But I have helped you time and time again with your absurd incompetence! I, Mavic Chen, will decide when the Alliance is at an end.
MAVIC CHEN: You, Dalek Supreme, tell them they're to take their orders from me.
MAVIC CHEN: I assume that this silence means that the orders have been passed. Good. You, Dalek! Bring me the invasion reports.
DALEK: ...
MAVIC CHEN: It is essential that I know what stage the countdown has reached. Now, move!
DALEK SUPREME: Yo, someone take this dude away and kill him, yeah? I'd do it here myself but I don't wanna fuck up my invasion equipment. Kthx.

Mavic Chen realises that, hey, maybe these machines of death actually mean business, and runs away. A few Daleks follow him, and while they're distracted, who should sneak up behind Steven and Sara but the Doctor! He gives Steven the TARDIS key and tells him to take Sara and run, head right for the TARDIS. Steven asks what the Doctor is going to do while they do that, and the Doctor smiles his crazy smile and tells him that he's gonna set off the Time Destructor. Definitely has some issues he needs to work through, man.

The Daleks exterminate Mavic Chen (cheers can be heard throughout several galaxies) and head back to the control room, where the Doctor has just activated the Time Destructor. The Daleks are pretty wary of the crazy man with the LITERAL TIME BOMB, so the Doctor makes them do what he says otherwise he'll blow shit up. Using trickery and cloaks (because Dalek floors are made of metal; if they lose contact with the floor then everything stops working), the Doctor engineers his own escape and traps all the Daleks in a room while he runs away with the Time Destructor in hand.

On his way back to the TARDIS, the Doctor bumps into Sara, who left Steven to go back and help the Doctor. The Doctor chastises her for this foolishness, but Sara says that it's cool, Steven was pretty much back at the TARDIS anyway, he'll be there waiting for them.

UNFORTUNATELY, the Time Destructor, being activated and all, is starting to destroy time. There's a crazy wind a-brewin' and the Doctor and Sara are beginning to age like crazy.

They make it a good way, but they get in pretty bad shape, both falling to the floor and pulling themselves along. But then LUCKILY they turn a corner and find themselves in the clearing where the TARDIS is! Steven, who was inside the TARDIS and watching the crazy shit happening outside on the scanner, is pretty happy to see them, and rushes outside.

Fucking hellllll, so the forest has just turned into a bunch of dust now, and before Steven can get to Sara and the Doctor, Sara DIES OF OLD AGE and TURNS INTO A SKELETON which then COLLAPSES INTO DUST, which is terrible, because she was my new favourite character. Shit. RIP, Sara Kingdom, your bloodthirsty badassery will live on in our hearts.

Steven, whose hair is getting a little grey, fiddles desperately with the Time Destructor, trying to make it stop forcing death on them all. After a while he gives up and throws it aside, and hurries over to the prone figure of the Doctor. The Doctor is barely conscious, but manages to shove Steven towards the TARDIS and stagger after him.

Once inside, it turns out Steven's pressing of random buttons actually started reversing time instead of accelerating it, so things aren't all bad! Except Sara is just scattered particles and will REMAIN SO, god.

Suddenly, Daleks. Steven and the Doctor are now inside the TARDIS, safe from the Time Destructor's effects, but the Daleks, not so much. They start firing their egg whisks at the Time Destructor, trying to turn it off, but that doesn't seem to be working. The Time Destructor works its reversey magic on them, and they start falling apart, their outsides collapsing and showing off the tentacley insides and then THOSE turn into dust and that scatters in the crazy wind like the Saradust did and golly gosh. I don't really know how the Daleks planned on using this thing to take over the Universe, but there's no denying it's a powerful bit of space junk.

After a while, the Taranium inside the Time Destructor runs out, and the Doctor and Steven emerge from the TARDIS.

DOCTOR: Mavic Chen's Taranium Core has finally burnt itself out.
STEVEN: I wish Sara could have seen the end.
DOCTOR: Yes, my boy, so do I. You know, Steven, the one thing that Sara lived for was to see the total destruction of the Daleks. Well, now it's all over. Without her help, this could never have been achieved, hmm?
DOCTOR: Look! Millions of years of progress reversed back - that's all that remains of a Dalek!
STEVEN: Lets go, Doctor. I've seen enough of this place.
DOCTOR: Well, my boy, we finally rid this planet of Daleks!

It's done! We made it! There were casualties on the way, it's true, but every great journey has risks. Was it worth it? Not really. But we never have to do this again. The rest of season three has a bunch of four-parter episodes, and they are wonderful things. I will see you with the first episode of the next serial - The Massacre - tomorrow. With a name like that, we're definitely in for a more cheerful time, am I right?

This show, Jesus.


Friday, November 2

The Daleks' Master Plan Part 11/12: The Abandoned Planet

The Doctor stole a thing from his fellow Time Lord to make his TARDIS not shit any more! Said other Time Lord, the Monk, is now stuck bouncing aimlessly through time and space, and the Doctor, Steven and Sara are trying to fix up the Doctor's TARDIS but are getting a little bit blown up for their troubles. The Daleks and Mavic Chen have the hunk of Taranium that they've been after for the entire course of the serial, and are going to use it to power a Time Destructor that will make them leaders of the universe or something idk.

Turns out, though, the Doctor, Steven and Sara are not as blown up as we thought! Bad news, though: the directional unit has completely melted down. Looks like the TARDIS is staying shit for a little while longer, and also they have no way of getting back to Kembel. The Daleks are gonna take over the universe and everyone is just going to have to deal with it.

Oh, but, hang on, they check out the scanners to see if there's a Dalek time machine kicking around that they could maybe steal, and they're not in Egypt any more. They're in KEMBEL, FANCY THAT. The directional unit was one trip only, so yeah the TARDIS is still shit, but also there's a chance of taking down the Daleky overlords. How convenient.

In Dalek HQ, the Taranium is being fitted into the Time Destructor. The other galaxy representatives are getting really sick of Mavic Chen's shit and, ooh! Celation is back! Remember, the dude who was laughing when the Daleks exterminated another galaxy rep back in episode 8? I don't think I ever included a picture of him, he's probably my favourite alien so far.

Celation is REALLY not happy that Mavic Chen is still kicking around, and is even more pissed off that Mavic is privy to more of the Daleks' plan than the other representatives, because he hangs out with the Daleks so much. Mavic Chen is all, 'SFTU, ur just jealous because I'm the Dalek Supreme's favurit' and all the galaxy reps go mental. Mavic Chen takes out his gun and shoots one.

Things quieten down a little (the Dalek Supreme sneaked away during the crazy) but Celation is still not on Team Mavic Chen, surprisingly.

CELATION: We have all served the common cause! All of us!
MAVIC CHEN: Indeed we have. But I, Mavic Chen, was solely responsible for the recovery of the Core of the Time Destructor. Because of this, I naturally precede anyone here. For without my power, the Daleks cannot succeed. You do appreciate the point!
CELATION: There remains one question. Where is our co-ruler, the Dalek Supreme?
MAVIC CHEN: He - he was... Oh. Er. It is clear that he knows that I can run this council without his aid!
DALEK: It's clear you're an irritating prick that none of us like, actually. Shit is about to go down, guys, brace yourselves for some Dalek action! :D

In the forest, Steven and Sara are complaining about having to traipse through the jungle. Steven warns Sara to watch out for the Varga plants, to which she replies, '... what Varga plants?' because there are NONE AROUND. They look at each other and are like, 'Dude, are we actually even ON Kembel?', and then figure that the Doctor was pretty sure so they're almost definitely on Kembel, right, Doctor? Only the Doctor has disappeared, so.

Steven and Sara decide that, well, okay, the Doctor has probably gone to the Dalek HQ, so they should probably go too. After a little bickering, they do that and when they get there, everywhere is deserted. They wander into the control room, which is also empty, and stumble upon the Daleks' time machine and decide to make sure they stay undercover and not-exterminated by using the LOUDSPEAKER to tell the Daleks to send the Doctor to the control room. Um, okay, guys, good work.

Oh, see, I was thinking that maybe Sara and Steven were on Kembel but were just in a different time, but not so much. Mavic Chen, who has been herded into a cell with the other galaxy representatives, replies to the broadcast on the intercom system that apparently the Daleks have.

Celation and the other alien dudes drag Mavic Chen away from the speaker because they don't like him having fun in any way, and tell Steven and Sara that they are the Galactic Council! And they're locked in a detention cell! And could you please come and let us out, Steven, we are so trapped and helpless. And Steven FUCKING AGREES. COME ON, MAN, I KNOW YOU'RE ADORABLE AND DIM BUT THIS IS ANOTHER LEVEL.

God, and then Sara joins in. Sara I expected better of you. They find the cell where all the galaxy reps are, and Steven demands to know where the Doctor is. The representatives are adamant that they don't know, and Steven almost refuses to let them out, but then they all insist that they want to take down the Daleks because they have been betrayed and Sara is all for any and all acts of violence that would occur, so that happens. Brilliant. You guys are doing really well this episode. Con-grat-u-lations.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that due to the facts that (a) the Daleks have the Taranium and (b) they have disappeared off somewhere, that they're probably already making a start on all the invading they planned on doing. To this end, the galaxy representatives decide that they're all going to go back to their own parts of the universe and warn their people of the oncoming Dalek shitstorm.

Steven and Sara stand outside watching everyone take off in their own little spaceships. They all get off just fine, except Mavic Chen, whose spaceship explodes, which is unfortunate for him, but good news for everyone else because that guy was one hell of a douchenozzle. Hilariously, Steven's reaction is pretty much, 'Oh well. Best go find the Doctor then, hey?'

But then what do they happen to see but a Dalek sneaking off to an UNDERGROUND LAIR. I'm sure this is meant to be very intriguing and all but oh my god I am so ready for this serial to end. Where is the Doctor and why do the other characters care about finding him because he's actually really shit. Why was the TARDIS good for all of three minutes. Why do they keep killing off/abandoning my favourite characters. I have all sorts of problems with this show, geez.

I mean, back to the actual episode: Steven and Sara follow the Dalek (obviously) and then Mavic Chen appears because he's not actually dead and nobody CARES oh my god. He's still as much of a prick as he ever was.

STEVEN: The representatives gone and the Doctor disappeared - we're gonna have to put them out of action ourselves or Earth will still be invaded.
MAVIC CHEN: Certainly! Thanks to you.
SARA: Chen! But you're dead!
MAVIC CHEN: Not yet, my innocent one, though I'm delighted my pyrotechnic display impressed you. No, I am alive and soon shall be master of the universe! Perhaps, Kingdom, you'd like to lead the way.
SARA: Perhaps, Chen, you'd like to suck my dick. I am so done with this bullshit.

Next - and FINAL!!!1! - episode of The Daleks' Master Plan tomorrow!


Thursday, November 1

The Daleks' Master Plan Part 10/12: Escape Switch

It is ANCIENT EGYPT and Steven and Sara have stumbled upon the Doctor's TARDIS in this cavey, tomby place. Coincidentally, it is also the place the Doctor and the Monk had an as-of-yet unnamed showdown, where the Doctor went a little batshit. Dunno where either the Monk and the Doctor are right now, but there's a mummy emerging from a sarcophagus so that's almost definitely one or the other of them. Also there are Daleks kicking around somewhere with their homie Mavic Chen. It's all happening. Crazy shit going down. Etc.

Sara notices the mummy and goes a little pale; Steven remains wonderfully level-headed and goes over and just unwraps the bandages to reveal the MONK, who is grateful to be unravelled. He tells them how mental the Doctor went and how all he wanted to do was to warn them about the Daleks. Steven and Sara look at him suspiciously and ask him where the Doctor went. The Monk says he doesn't know, he's innocent in all this, he just popped to Egypt for a bit of sightseeing; the others ignore him and wonder whether they should go find the Doctor or just wait there for him to come back.

STEVEN: Well then, what do we do? Go out again and take a chance on missing him? Or just stay here?
SARA: If he meets the Daleks, he will need our help.
MONK: Stay here. Definitely. I've... got a terrible headache.
STEVEN: What happens if we meet them?
SARA: We'll just have to take that chance.
MONK: No doubt the Doctor has got some - drug or other?
STEVEN: All right, we'll go, but I won't even pretend that I like the idea.
MONK: Maybe you guys should give me the TARDIS key and I'll wait in there just in case he comes back? And I can look for, um, medicine. For my headache.

Steven tells the Monk to STFU, they couldn't let him into the TARDIS even if they wanted to cos the Doctor is the only one with a key. The Monk is disappointed and grudgingly agrees to join them on the Doctor hunt.

Because Steven is a little slow, he rushes outside and immediately starts shouting the Doctor's name. Obviously, there are other people hanging around, namely Mavic Chen and the Daleks, and they have ears too. It doesn't take long before the Daleks descend on the gang, and the Monk tries to talk his way out of the situation by saying that they shouldn't kill him because he has fulfilled his part of the bargain! Mavic Chen holds out a sassy little hand for the Taranium core and the Monk says that he doesn't have the Taranium core, exactly, but he did bring along some hostages!

Steven calls bullshit, but Mavic Chen figures that this could work! The Doctor would definitely swap the Taranium for the lives of his little human friends, so they have a new plan! The Monk congratulates himself on his mad thinkin' skillz.

They're all herded over to the Daleks' time machine, and the Daleks wheel around setting up this long-range loudspeaker so they can taunt the Doctor out of hiding. Meanwhile, the Monk sidles up to Steven and Sara and tries to make small talk. Steven and Sara are understandably incredulous at this, but the Monk is all, 'You're welcome for me saving your lives just now, jeez.' He has so much nerve, it's brilliant. I think I like him.

Mavic Chen heads on over to the loudspeaker and makes the appropriate threatening statements about what'll happen to the companions should the Doctor fail to show up with the Taranium. The Doctor, who wears a hat now (hats are c--no, I can't do it, I'm sorry), hears this and has a little think.

It doesn't take him long to make a decision; he pops right on over to where the Daleks are hanging out and tries to negotiate with them. The Daleks are pretty fucking desperate for that Taranium, as they don't exterminate the shit out of him when he's obnoxious and annoying - instead, they agree to the Doctor's terms, which are to bring the prisoners and meet at the corner of the Great Pyramid.

So that happens, and the Doctor makes the handover as dramatic and irritating as possible. Mavic Chen gets the Taranium, and all of a sudden the Egyptian locals, who've been kicking around a little throughout the course of the episode, descend on the Daleks and start attacking them. Most of them get exterminated no problem, but the one of them falls down dead right in front of a Dalek. The other Egyptians see this and just build a little circle of bricks around the edge of the Dalek so it can't move. Brilliant.

While the Daleks are getting embarrassed over their fatal flaw, the Doctor, Steven and Sara meet up in the tomb where the TARDIS is. The Doctor breaks the news that, actually, he just gave Mavic Chen the real Taranium because there wasn't time to make a better plan, so the last nine episodes were completely pointless. But! He also stole the directional unit from the Monk's TARDIS! They can decide where they want to go now! This is VERY EXCITING NEWS.

The Monk is less pleased with this development. He's just discovered that his TARDIS now looks like a police box so the Daleks are going to follow him through time if anything goes wrong with the Taranium, and also when he dematerialises he ends up on a PLANET OF ICE, which is definitely not where he wanted to be. There's a dramatic moment where he looks up to the sky, shakes his fist and does a 'DOCTORRRRR!' shout, which made me laugh. Probs won't be seeing him again any time soon, is my point.

In the Doctor's TARDIS, the Doctor casually mentions that there's actually a very slim chance of the Monk's directional unit being compatible with their TARDIS. There are two ways this could go, he says. One, everything will be fine and they can programme in where they want to go and it's all lovely. But also two, the more likely option, everything is going to explode. So.

With this in mind, he cheerfully switches the TARDIS engines on and fires that bad boy up. Three guesses what happens.

Gonna try and watch an episode a day for the whole of November, something that I'm almost positive will not last the entire month, but chances are I'll see you tomorrow and Saturday so we can FINALLY BE DONE WITH THIS SERIAL OH MY GOD.