Friday, December 3, 2010

200 Moments: The Third Doctor!

"OH... god damn it..."

Spearhead from Space
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Auton hunts Ransome down and destroys him.
WHY: Poor Ransome. Does anyone ever find out what happens to him? There he is, helping UNIT, keeping out of the way and then an Auton rips its way into the tent and shoots him down without a word. But then, worse, the Auton shoots him again and destroys Ransome's corpse, leaving no trace of his body whatsoever. When UNIT returns, the Brigadier thinks Ransome's somehow done a runner, but the Doctor suspects he might have been kidnapped. But they never apparently find out he was atomized. He might be remembered as a coward rather than a victim, and the defeat of the Nestenes somehow doesn't feel right if no one knows that Ransome has been avenged. It makes you wonder how many other "disappearances" are actually murders and we will never know the truth...

The Silurians
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Baker critiques the Doctor's attempts at peace-making.
WHY: In order to "prevent a massacre" the Doctor sneaks ahead of UNIT and warns the Silurians that the humans are on the warpath. As Major Baker points out, the Doctor has no guarantee that the Silurians won't simply ambush and kill the Brigadier. "I had to take that risk!" the Doctor retorts. "At least there’s a chance they won’t start killing each other." But the chance isn't taken up as Morka immediately vows to destroy the humans rather than speaking to them. "Haven’t you done enough damage?" Baker demands as the Doctor continues to attempt negotiations - "You’re making a terrible mistake! I can stop you from being destroyed! Look, you’ve got no idea of the fighting power of the humans, they have bombs that can wipe out whole continents..." It's no wonder Baker tries to throttle him - the Doctor's good intentions very nearly get twenty innocent people killed, and the Time Lord is too stubborn to admit defeat and realize the Silurians are, on the whole, utter bastards with no interest in helping out. Is the Doctor working for the greater good or on a massive ego-trip to show off to the Time Lords about how much good he can do on Earth? "You’re nothing but a traitor!" Baker accuses, and for once the Doctor can't argue with him, he's already paved his own road to hell...

The Ambassadors... OF DEATH
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Reegan captures the Ambassadors and disposes of his thugs.
WHY: OK, so the astronauts are creepy. But how can they kill you? Space gloves aren't exactly meant for strangling people, and the two thugs riding in the back of the van are carrying guns. Reegan's assurance that the astronauts won't hurt the goons seems entirely genuine... until we him putting on a radiation suit, ducking into the bag of the van and dragging out his erstwhile employee's corpses. We don't know why or how the redshirts died, only that Reegan knew it was going to happen. And in silence he plants evidence on his men, dumps their bodies in a gravel pit and slowly kicks an avalanche of grit to cover the bodies. A dirty gangland murder... involving radioactive aliens from outer space. Only in Doctor Who.

THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor gives up hope of returning to his own world.
WHY: In recent years, the Doctor (at least the Eighth) has developed a catchphrase: "I am the Doctor and no matter what the odds, no matter the dangers, I never, ever, NEVER give up!" shouted with passionate, heroic denial. It's very different here. The Doctor is forced to watch an entire Earth go up in flames, with those lucky enough NOT to devolve into wolf mutants being burnt to a crisp. He can't stop this. He doesn't even try. The best he can offer is to prevent it happening on "his" Earth. It's a desperate gambit, but as the end of the world nears, it looks like his allies have abandoned him and he'll never get the TARDIS working. It's all been for nothing. The Doctor doesn't disagree. "They'd probably never have listened to me anyway," he admits sadly. We've never seen the Doctor at so low an ebb before and even when a disconcertingly similar premise appears in The Waters of Mars (even down to the zombie plague) the Doctor has the opposite problem - he has so many plans of attack he could win even with the last surviving humans actively trying to stop him. But just this once, the Doctor gives in to apathetic despair in a way no other incarnation has before or since. And that, more than any stock footage of volcanos or exploding models, is how you show the end of the world...

Terror of the Autons
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: An unfortunate lab tech gets in the Master's way.
WHY: The Master is always pretending to be someone he's not. In his first story alone he's a rich foreign businessman with a military career. In days to come he'll be a Swiss neuroscientist, an Earth adjudicator, an extinalist vicar, an interplanetary lawyer, a scarecrow, even the Prime Minster of Great Britain. But his perament performance is that of a charming Bond villain, who can dismiss failed assassination attempts as "a greeting card", who can rhapsodize about the fallout of his cunning plans, and be ever so sophisticated when facing his enemies. If he weren't trying to wipe out humanity, he'd probably be Tubby Rowlands the Doctor hobnobs with at the club for bridge. But then, when things get serious, the Master loses his good humor and charm. Character is what people are like when no one is watching, and we see in this first story what the Master is like when he's not trying to impress - his face is twisted in a complete, horrific snarl of teeth and beard. For the crime of simply being on the same ramp, the Master becomes feral and throws a labcoated tech to his death rather than simply push past him or put the 'fluence on the poor sucker. He might justify the lives he's taken as necessary sacrifices for his plans, but we know for a fact he enjoys hurting people and one day that will be an end in itself...

The Mind of Evil
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The mind parasite turns on the Master.
WHY: With it's Freddie Kruger-like ability to make nightmares real... somehow, let's not worry about how... the Keller Machine has unleashed hoardes of rats, tidal waves, firestorms, huge unconvincing dragons, and every monster the Doctor ever faced. Now it prepares to attack the Master with the Time Lord's greatest fear, but the bearded bastard looks at the machine unafraid. "You can’t harm me," he sneers. "I’m stronger than you are!" And, although clearly getting a bit of a headache, the Master is unaffected. "You are my servant," the Time Lord sneers, strained but still unharmed. The parasite throbs, as if frustrated - has this man no fear? And then the Master's jaw drops with terror. And we see what he can see: a gigantic version of the Doctor looming over him, laughing derisively, contempt on his face. Yet, and this is the killer, the Master was the one villain NOT in the Doctor's nightmares. His worst enemy is the Daleks, and the Master is an "unimaginative plodder", a nuisance at best. The giant Doctor laughs at the Master as he begins to cower in the corner, mocked by his own unimportance. "You can’t destroy me!" he screams at the Doctor, but if he's shouting at the parasite or the Doctor himself, we've never know. "I AM TOO STRONG FOR YOU!!" the Master howls, and the giant Doctor laughs again. Unable to withstand any more, the Master runs for his life, his humiliating secret laid bare - for all his posturing, he's jealous and envious of the Doctor, and desperate to prove himself the superior Time Lord... not just to the Doctor, but himself. And the Doctor has known all along, as his mercilous display of becoming a floating god on the Valiant shows.

The Claws of Axos
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Axon man "depersonalizes" and goes on the rampage.
WHY: The Doctor's description of Axos, Axons and Axonite all being a single substance in different forms (ala steam, water and ice all being H2O) is demonstrated as the golden good-looking bug-eyed Adonis suddenly staggers out of the room, as though ill. As it shambles down the corridor, its hands and head are hideously twisted and bloated. The Brigadier calls out in surprise, no longer even recognizing the figure as the alien visitor. Then we cut to a location sho0t of the Nuton complex, zooming in on a glass walkway stretching between two vast machine-like buildings. The natural Axon is lumbering across, a mass of red tentacles and orange organs, without any semblance of humanity now. Its tendrils and claws thrash in slow motion, all in eerie silence as it heads out on a suicide mission. Axos' alien nature is demonstrated in one simple shot...

Colony in Space
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Norton devastates the colony in more ways than one.
WHY: What a bastard Norton is. Unlike his superior the beyond-cynical and deadpan Captain Dent-Arthur-Dent, Norton seems far the worse. He pretends to be your friend, where Dent is consistently a prick. Norton tries to drive friends apart, while Dent simply rounds them up for execution. Norton is traitor, and the worst thing of all is that he's not even good at his job. He's an obvious spy and saboteur, he doesn't even have the excuse of being a brilliant manipulator. When words fail - and they do pretty quickly - Norton decides to destroy the colony's power supply, putting everyone at risk of the elements. Then he goes to kill the two people that can fix it, the harmless old Jim "'ll Fix It" Holden and his telepathic alien sidekick. Even though this primitive handyman is a living testament to peaceful cooperation, proof the natives aren't evil savages, and vital link between the colonists and the planet they live on, Norton has no hesitation in beating the primitive to death with a spanner (hmmm, telepathy didn't help there, obviously...) and then murders the defenseless Holden in cold blood. Worse, he tells everyone that Charlie the primitive was a secret psycho, tarnishing the relationship between humans and Exarians forever. He didn't need to do that. Norton could have taken other routes, indeed more successful ones. But he didn't. He took the quick and easy manner, ruining as many lives as he could. Maybe he was a sadistic fuck, but then again, maybe he was too stupid to do anything else.

The Daemons
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Master spills the beans about the secrets of those who live in Devil's End.
WHY: The evil Time Lord's slotted himself into the social pipeline and makes clear use of the fact. What could be crueler for a priest to do than betray the confidence of the confessional? (Actually don't answer that...) But it's hard not to imagine the Master's been literally itching for this moment where he can humiliate and ridicule his flock in public. Declaring this the most important day of the villagers' lives and cracking the odd good-natured joke to break the ice, the Master begins, "Now as you know, I am a newcomer among you, and yet already I feel that I know you all. For instance, you, Mr. Thorpe, are you still padding the grocery bills of the local gentry?" As the shaken Thorpe babbles about slander, the Master grins at him. "Now, now don’t deny it - I know. And you Charlie - how’s your conscience? Do you think you’ll manage to balance the post office books in time?" he teases. "And you, Mr. Grenville - has your wife come back from her sister's yet? Will she ever come back, do you suppose?" It's the infantile cruelty his sixth incarnation will get off on to such a degree, breaking down the very people that would have probably helped him out quite happily had he come up with some cover story for summoning the Devil. But the Master does so love to cut people down to size, remind them of their failings and overturn any high horses - after all, how else can he feel superior? "You’re all less than dust beneath my feet!" he laughs at them. "Obey me or I shall destroy you!" And when Squire Winstanley tells Reverend Magister to bugger off, the Master has Bok the gargoyle zap him. "Right, does anybody else agree with the Squire?" he cheerfully asks the horrified crowd. "It does my heart good to know I have such a willing band of followers!" he grins.

The Day of the Daleks
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Daleks argue with their human Controller of Earth.
WHY: "NO ONE CAN SUCCEED WHO OPPOSES THE DALEKS! THE FUNCTION OF THE HUMAN IS TO OBEY!" declare the Daleks, and seem to spend as much time bullying the defeated species as conquering them. They refuse to be satisfied - either humans fail their tasks and be punished, or they're accused of disloyalty. When the bipeds actually fight back, the Gold Dalek shrieks, "HUMANS ARE TREACHEROUS AND UNRELIABLE!" "Not all humans," the nameless controller replies. "I have served you faithfully!" "DO NOT DISPUTE WITH THE DALEKS! OBEY WITHOUT QUESTION!" the gold-plated tin bastard shouts. Conversation turns to the downturn in profit margins, and the Daleks aren't interested in explanations or excuses. They're introducing a GST-style increase. "If we push the workers any further, they will die!" the Controller shouts angrilly, making an appeal of logic. It fails. "ONLY THE WEAK WILL DIE," the Black Dalek replies flatly. "INEFFICIENT WORKERS SLOW PRODUCTION." It is immensely satisfying when the Controller unwittingly gives the cyborg bully-boys a taste of their own medicine when he reports the Doctor is in town. "'DOCTOR'?" exclaims the Black Dalek fearfully. "DID YOU SAY... 'DOCTOR'?" Suddenly the rulers of the Earth are in a far more dangerous position than any of their slaves...

The Curse of Peladon
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Ice Lord Izlyr convinces Jo of his good intentions.
WHY: The Ice Warriors are bad. They're evil. They kill for fun, they take long-winded ways of hurting people and have the chutzpah to be outraged whenever anyone fights back. Anyone who remembered the green sods seeing this story were probably waiting for the reveal that Izlyr and Ssorg were, if not behind the actual conspiracy, then another obstacle. Ice Warriors in the UN? Bollocks, it's some kind of ploy to conquer the galaxy. And when all the aliens in the story turn on the Doctor, Izlyr lumbers after Jo. Remember, Izlyr is to all intents and purposes the same guy we saw trying to gas the Doctor to death a couple of seasons ago - same actor, same outfit, same rank. Jo, and us are expecting Izlyr to gloat about having ganged up to abandon the Doctor to his death. "We have not, as you say, "ganged up"," Izlyr sighs reasonably. "Arcturus is a coward by logic, and Centauri is a coward by instinct. But they will not leave the Doctor stranded, because I voted to stay." And why would this borderline recurring villain do such a thing? Jo is puzzled, and Izlyr is just as puzzled as to why the answer isn't obvious: "The Doctor saved my life," he reminds us. "Now I intend to save his." And suddenly Izlyr isn't a villain, or a monster or even an alien. He's just a scaley version of the Brigadier, as proved when, at the end of the story, he watches in exasperation as the Time Lord buggers off in his police box...

The Sea Devils
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Sea Devils kill Trenchard.
WHY: Trenchard is such a loser, isn't he? A pompous, humorless, gormless idiot who seems to have been put in charge of the Master's prison because he's too stupid to be hypnotized. And the Master doesn't even need to do that, just fob him off with some stories about enemy agents and Trenchard is suddenly aiding and abbetting theft and sabotage. He's utterly useless and all we know of his past show that he's always been that way. The novelization gives him a truly ignoble end - the Sea Devils arrive, Trenchard decides to go out in a blaze of glory... but he left the safety catch on his gun and is cut down before he can fire a shot. The Doctor later tampers with the crime scene so the dead man is remembered a combat hero. But in the realm of what happened, Trenchard literally rises to the occasion. He doesn't panic or bluster, and takes down several of the damned lizards, doing his duty and buying time for his men to escape. It's heroic and, for a moment, it looks like he'll actually get the victory he so deserves. And then we cut to the Master waiting patiently in his cell as the Sea Devil arrives... each one stepping over Trenchard's corpse to do so.

The Mutants
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The conference on SkyBase 1 goes terribly wrong...
WHY: Oh, the bitter irony. The Earth Empire is on the verge of collapse, and so they're abandoning all their old territories - even if said colonies will collapse into anarchy without imperial assistance - out of financial desperation. The Administrator doesn't give a crap about Solos, the Mutts or anyone else, but he's intending to give the Solonians the freedom they've always wanted. And he decides to do it in the most longwinded manner possible, foolishly not mentioning it to any of the people present (even though this is all being filmed live) and then reminds them of the last five centuries of exploitation and corruption. Ky, easily wound up, soon starts shouting additions to the Administrator's speech and finally leads a football chant of "FREEDOM NOW!" But does the Administrator simply snap and say, "Fine, assholes, you're free!"? Nope, he stubbornly sticks to his boring speech and Ky stubbornly keeps playing up to the cameras, so when the Administrator finally says something along the lines of "you are now free", Ky is too busy shouting about pollution and oppression to hear it. Sometimes you can't get an even break.

The Time Monster
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Galleia watches as Atlantis is destroyed all around her.
WHY: You reap what you sew, and Galleia gets her rewards in abundance. She sends her emo ex-boyfriend on a suicide mission, cheats on her husband, plots to not overthrow his rule but also his most basic rule - you do not mess with the Crystal of Kronos. Even when her new boytoy the Master slaughters half the Atlantean council, she's still bigging him up as a venerable holy figure. "I promised you power and you shall have it," the Master vows, and when Galleia tries to turn on him the Master unleashes the Time Monster itself, letting out a storm that destroys the temple, burying the people in rubble and striking down more with lightning bolts. The Master flees, and Galleia releases the Doctor to defeat him, but her last gamble fails - the Doctor doesn't save her from the consequences of her actions, but leaves her to face the "strange music". We last see the Queen standing in the ruins of her city, surrounded by corpses, finally realizing what she's done. No speeches, no hystrionics, no morality. She bows her head and waits for Kronos' demolition spree to finally consume her. Neither the Doctor nor the Master spare her a second thought, and even Jo only worries about the innocents slaughtered. Galliea dug her own grave and she doesn't even get the dignity to die in it.

The Three Doctors
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Second Doctor winds up Omega.
WHY: Of course the incarnations of the Doctor are separate individuals - how else could they have such irreconcilable viewpoints and arguments. And if any Doctors were going to get along badly, it'd be Two and Three - the Second Doctor sees his future self, a defeated lackey of the Time Lords, pompous and patronizing, obsequious to his foes and relying far too much on the military. The Third Doctor sees an irritating little tit who acts stupid all the time to the point it's easy to think he IS as retarded as he appears, and perhaps a more moral, less compromised character. After all, the Time Lords changed the Doctor's face - it is well within their power and morality to do the same to his personality. The arrogant, bitter and occasionally violent Third Doctor is a better use as a CIA agent than the deranged clown who plays solitaire rather than listening to their announcements. Where the Third Doctor is honest, the Second is a liar. It's made never more clear than when the Second Doctor is brought before Omega. His future self struggled with star-struck awe and amazement. The Second Doctor sneers, unimpressed at the giant armored god. "You do not fear me?" asks Omega, suspiciously. The little Doctor gives the architect of his society a look of pure contempt. "Appearances aren't everything you know," he snaps, completely unimpressed. "What do you think you're trying to do?" the Third Doctor hisses, terrified. "Testing the limits of his self-control," the Second Doctor says smugly. "They're not up to much, are they?" If there's a simpler demonstration that the man in the bowtie is not the same man in the frilly shirt, that the two versions of the Doctor are unable even to follow each other's logic because they are different consciousnesses, then it is this.

Carnival of Monsters
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Drashigs finally reveal themselves.
WHY: For two episodes, Vorg has been bigging up the Drashigs. They are what people pay to see when they get the Miniscope, not the humans, Ogrons, Cybermen or Ice Warriors. But Vorg can't show them - these mysterious carnivores have "no intelligence" he can control to make them pose for visitors. But the Doctor and Jo have found their way into the Drashig part of the zoo, a flat and desolate marshland as the wind moans overhead. It seems deserted and there's nothing to look at; even Jo's description of Grundle's moon as "a bit scary" seems a feeble attempt to ramp up the eeriness. They don't know, but we do, that when the natives get the time traveler's scent, they won't stand a chance of survival. Even sweet Shirna thinks they're dead meat. But hang on, some brain-dead cannibals won't be much threat to our heroes, surely? And in this flat mashland, they'd be spotted a mile away! And the Doctor and Jo are already leaving! Drashigs, my ass! Then suddenly an inhuman wailing rolls across the sky and then a giant caterpillar-like monster bursts out from the swamp, screaming from its enormous fang-filled mouth. And we're reminded that, like the plesiosaur, not all the miniscope specimens are puny normaly-sized humanoids...

Frontier in Space
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Master discovers to his fury Jo can resist his power.
WHY: Presumably it was due to Delgado's charisma and popularity that the Master was rapidly treated more like a dodgy but loveable flatmate by the show than as an evil villain - in this story alone he's the one who saves the Doctor and Jo from their horrible fates, effectively becoming a wisecracking third companion. With the Ogrons Manuel to the Master's Basil Fawlty, it's easy to forget the bearded midget is the cold-blooded killer. And then, as episode six draws near, the Master charmingly reminds us he's the bad guy and going to use Jo for his own ends. Both he and the audience are surprised at the lack of "noble speeches to the effect that you'd rather die than betray the Doctor", but Jo is adamant. She's not forgotten how she got mind-raped in her first story and it's not something she will either forgive or forget. The Master smiles and begins to try to hypnotize her, but Jo's mastered the art of self-conditioning and fills her mind with nonsense - and she uses nursery rhymes because she knows that will really wind the blackguard up. For a moment it seems the Master's returned to his sitcom self, comically giving up, then trying again, then giving up before the joke wears thin. But the Master tries something else: his fear-box that will show everything Jo has ever been scared of until she breaks. Barely able to breathe, she croaks "It's not real! It's an illusion!" Grinning in delight at her discomfort, he sets the box to maximum until Drashigs, Mutts, Sea Devils and worse loom over the terrified girl. "It's you!" she spits, "It's the Master! It doesn't work on me any more! It's you! It doesn't work on me any more!" and finally, the Master switches off the box, defeated and losing his cuddly persona. Jo has finally paid him back and proved that whatever nightmares she has, the bearded Time Lord doesn't merit a place in them. Humiliated, the Master will be forced to retry and prove his mojo by teaming up with the Daleks - but the fact he doesn't scare Jo any more clearly hurts as much as whatever turns him to the sack of gangrenous poached eggs and rotting vegetables in The Deadly Assassin.

Planet of the Daleks
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Two Daleks are entombed forever.
WHY: Going back to the tried-and-tested methods of germ warfare, the Daleks fill up a fishtank of mould - having zapped the two lab technician Daleks with an immunity laser beam. "REMOVAL OF THE CONTAINER TOP IS ALL THAT IS REQUIRED TO ALLOW BACTERIA TO ENTER THE ATMOSPHERE," one Dalek announces, tempting fate mightily considering how they accidentally bump the tank and nearly knock it over before they have immunised the rest of the Daleks. Alas, self-sacrificing invisible Wester tears the lid off the fish tank and immediately perishes. To save the rest of the Daleks, the technicians seal the lab - but that is the only place with the immunity laser. "If they open that hermetically sealed door even a fraction of an inch, the bacteria will escape and destroy everything - including themselves," the Doctor helpfully informs the audience. Inside the lab, the Dalek begins to get hysterical. "WE CANNOT LEAVE HERE! NO ONE CAN ENTER! WE CAN NEVER LEAVE HERE - NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!" A horrific fate, like some Dalek version of John Paul Satre's hell. Of course, the Daleks don't have any lives to lose, it's not like one's going to blub it will never see its family again, but it makes the audience damn glad it's the Daleks facing that destiny rather than lucky old Wester, who has peacefully perished on the laboratory floor...

The Green Death
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor and Jo part company.
WHY: The story starts in what could almost be a complete parody of the UNIT era, as the Brigadier wanders into the lab acting more like a roommate trying to borrow a friend's car rather than a disciplined military commander issuing orders: "But, Doctor, it's exactly your cup of tea! This fellah's bright green apparently - and dead!" The Doctor announces he would much rather pilot the TARDIS to the planet he's been boring everyone about all year, Metabelis Three. But for once Jo isn't willing to come with him, or assist the Brigadier, she's even willing to resign and abandon both of them in a passionate zeal that stuns her friends. "Jo, you've got all the time in the world, and all the space - I'm offering them to you!" the Doctor protests, but Jo's not willing to abandon her world for a minute. "It's alright, Jo, I understand," the Doctor sighs, watching her go. "So, the fledgling flies the coop," he broods, and then promptly leaves in the TARDIS. For the first time, no warnings of danger or outright orders to stay behind will tempt her. Jo leaves the Doctor in that scene as completely as she does six episodes later. She effectively becomes a guest star for the rest of the story, as the Doctor slowly accepts what he realizes right here and now: she's grown up, and doesn't need him any more.

The Time Warrior
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Irongron sees Linx unmasked for the first time.
WHY: Linx doesn't actually look that freaky if we're honest. He looks like a deformed human being, but perhaps that's why he's so disturbing? Either way, Irongron's stunned into silence at ol' Toad Features, proving the first and only thing in the story to shut him up for five seconds - and it's hard not to feel that, despite being all superior and higher evolved, Linx is a tad upset (though not surprised) at the reaction. "Didn't I tell you you might not find my face pleasing?" he says huffily. Irongron regains the power of speech. "Aye, and never was truer word spoken... are they all so fair of face beyond the stars?" he asks in what could be a rubbish attempt at diplomacy or sarcasm. "The variety of sentient life forms is infinite," the Sontaran grumbles. "D'you think your primitive features are pleasing to me?" But soon they are talking shop about Irongron's homicidal android, and suddenly they're almost friends again, as Linx notes the weakness in the robot design that Irongron has pointed out and vows to improve it. It's a simple moment of comraderie, but established both characters. We get an impression of what they are like off-screen, the conversations they might have, their different views of the universe in a scene that could have worked just as well if it was some student sitcom and the party animal had dropped by to find the geeky nerd deeply hungover. Despite being an alien footsoldier and a deserting ex-Crusader, these are still people.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Mike Yates turns on his friends and prepares to destroy the human race.
WHY: Season 11 is very much about shaking things up. The Doctor's companion is no longer a sweet blonde hanging on his every word, but an argumentative feminist who has her own (and tiresome) agenda. The Doctor will be forced to ally himself to the Daleks. We'll return to Peladon and see that there are unhappy endings. The Doctor's wedding present comes back to haunt him. This is a season where actions have consequences. Whereas Mike Yates seemed to throw off the trauma of being brainwashed by a chemical company, he's actually gone too far in the other direction and now joined a doomsday cult vowed to destroy civilization. Worse, he's holding his friends at gunpoint... but this time of his own free will. "The world used to be a cleaner, simpler place," Mike chants. "It's all become too complicated and corrupt!" Once, the nuthutch greenies were the Doctor's unoffical allies from page one, but now they're the biggest threat of all - even BOSS wasn't planning to erase all of human civilization to prove a point. "There's no alternative!" Mike wails. "Yes, there is," the Doctor says brutally. "Take the world that you've got and try and make something of it, it's not too late!" But Mike wants a quick fix, a return to the simpler times, perhaps to earlier seasons with Jo and the Master and everything was black and white and the reset button happened every story. "There never was a golden age, Mike," the Third Doctor says gently, undermining the core belief of the villains in one sentence. "It's all an illusion." There never was or will be a time when everything's perfect, which means that there can never be a time when everything is beyond redemption.

Death to the Daleks
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Sarah points out that the Daleks aren't affected by the power drain.
WHY: It's not a big or epic moment that lingers from this story, but a simple exchange between the Doctor and Sarah about the "most technically advanced and ruthless life form in the galaxy": "But if they’re robots, how is it their power’s not affected? They can’t half move!" Sarah protests. "Because they’re only half-robot, Sarah. Inside each of those shells is a living, bubbling lump of hate!" "You mean they’ve got legs?" "No, they move by psychokinetic power." "I see." "Do you?" asks the Doctor surprised. "No!" Sarah admits miserably. It's a nice character moment, but its the idea described that's so powerful - the Daleks literally are driven by hate. Even when all their machinery is sucked dry, they can keep themselves going by sheer ominicial tendencies. It puts their trigger-happy behavior in a whole new light: extermination is what keeps them going, literally and metaphorically...

The Monster of Peladon
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Ortron hurls the Doctor and Sarah into a pit to confront Aggedor.
WHY: Ortron is, of course, the titular monster. Think about it - he says that he was Chancellor since Hepesh died... which means he was there during The Curse of Peladon. But he says he doesn't recognize the Doctor, when you'd think at the least he'd say something like "you may disguise yourself accurately". He's the one that, despite 50 years of contact and cooperation with the gender-equal Federation, bullies Queen Tharila into thinking she's a mere figurehead because of her genitalia. He's even called out by Sarah for his ruthless and corrupt manipulation of the miners and is clearly angling to be ruler of Peladon itself. He sides with our heroes only when he realizes that the Ice Warriors won't obey him. But the moment that we know, we just know that Ortron is evil incarnate is when he throws our heroes into a pit - not because he's trying to kill them, but because we've discovered he's kept poor harmless Aggedor in a black pit for five long decades, despite everyone knowing how cruel and unnecessary this would be... the bastard!

Planet of the Spiders
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor walks through the lair of the spiders, and none of them dare stop him.
WHY: The last episode of the Third Doctor is drawing to its grim conclusion. The whole thing has been the Doctor's fault, and we'll soon find out that if he'd simply stayed at home, the Great One would have nuked herself ages ago and saved anyone the hassle. What's more, the rebellion he started has failed spectacularly. But the Doctor can still remind the spiders of how pathetic they are, and how they're as much pawns of the Great One as he has become. "Is there any among you would dare take the crystal from me?" he challenges the spiders, who know that the blue gemstone he holds could give them power untold. "We dare not take the crystal," the new Queen sighs, "The Great One is all seeing, the Great One is all knowing, the Great One is all powerful!" The Doctor watches as the terrified spiders praise their godlike leader, more powerless and pathetic than they were before they mutated. Only Lupton, the Master replacement for the story, is willing to try to seize the crystal, mocking the eight-legs as superstitious fools. "To think that I've lost my chance of power through a spider! A spider that I would crush underfoot, without a second thought! A spider!" he rants. Unable to take any more sledging, the spiders kill Lupton instantly. The humilated arachnids glare at the Time Lord. "You have beaten us, Doctor," they concede. "It is good that you will die!" The Doctor strides off to face his destiny, with not a word to imply he's got a plan, or a way of survival. Everything has its time and the Third Doctor has had his...

No comments: