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Monday, February 7, 2011

I Don't Know, I'm Not a Doctor: Serial 2 - The Daleks; Part 1 - The Dead Planet

First things first, if you want to watch along, the episode I'm reviewing is available from Amazon. Additionally, a lot of these old Doctor Who episodes are available on YouTube or on services such as Netflix. I encourage you to watch along with me and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Secondly, a big spoiler warning for anything I say after this sentence. I'm not sure if it's still common courtesy to put spoiler warnings on content that is almost 50 years old, but I'm going to air on the side of caution.

Disclaimers out of the way, lets watch some Who!

Serial 2: The Daleks
Part 1: The Dead Planet (1963)
Starring: Doctor 1 - William Hartnell

Quick recap: Doctor Who and his granddaughter Susan accidentally kidnap two of her teachers, Ian and Barbara, and take them back in time. In the past, their time machine, the TARDIS, malfunctions, leaving them unsure if they will ever be able to return to their own time. After a blind jump to an unknown point in space and time, the Doctor suggests they all "freshen up" before going outside, but first asks Susan to check the radiation levels, which are fine, until she looks away and they jump to MAXIMUM DEATH.

Oh, my god. SO MUCH to cover this week. I'm excited!

First of all, when the Doctor suggested they all "freshen up", what that meant is that they are all wearing new clothes now. Ian is wearing a Mister Rodgers sweater. Susan is wearing a shirt with a tiny collar all the way up her neck. Barbara is wearing a low cut shirt with a GIANT collar. Doctor Who is wearing a new set of the exact same clothes.

The mysterious thing here isn't what they're wearing, but where these clothes came from. You can maybe assume that Susan has a closet full of shirts with various sizes of collar, but it's been demonstrated that Doctor Who only has one style of clothes (like Monk!). And this is of course assuming that the kidnapped teachers wear the same size as the doctor and Susan, which is clearly not the case.

You can then draw one of three conclusions:
  1. They have a machine that creates clothes out of thin air in whatever sizes you want
  2. They have a massive warehouse full of clothes of all sizes within the TARDIS.
  3. The kidnapping was not accidental, but premeditated, and the Doctor stocked up on clothes in the teachers' sizes.
Any one of these three situations would be fascinating to watch, or at least more fascinating to watch than looking at a bunch of petrified trees, which is what they do show instead.

It turns out that everything around here is dead and petrified. They wander about for a bit but don't discover anything anything. They're all set to head back to the ship and leave when Ian sees a large city off in the distance. The Doctor then goes on another of his selfish benders and decides he WILL study the city, completely ignoring the protests of all his traveling companions.

They all agree it would be too dangerous to explore the site then and there though so they head back to the ship to wait until morning. On the way back, somebody touches Susan. The adults handle this child groping by telling Susan she's crazy and made it up.

Then they all take a snack break! Apparently in the future, Science has discovered that all food is comprised of two base flavors. Depending on how you combine these two flavors, you can create food that tastes like anything. Conveniently, the TARDIS has one of these machines on board, and by twisting two knobs to various settings, it spits out a paste that tastes like bacon and eggs. Unless the two "primary flavors" are "bacon" and "eggs", then I don't really see this as plausible, but it's an interesting idea. Honestly, this was my favorite part of the episode, and at this point I don't care if they ever leave the ship again.

They hear some banging on the outside of the ship and come to the conclusion that there may actually be life on this planet, so they decide to leave as quickly as possible. But the doctor still has his heart set on visiting the city so he SABOTAGES HIS OWN SHIP. The ship's drive runs on liquid Mercury, so he empties it out so they will be forced to go into the city and find some.

Needless to say, this is quite the gamble. If my life depended on my finding liquid Mercury here in Tacoma, I'm not sure I could. And this is a planet where I know liquid Mercury actually exists! And there are live people to help me! But apparently for Doctor Who, always getting what he wants is far more important than not being stranded forever on a radioactive planet.

As they leave the ship the next morning, they discover a metal box. Presuming it to be a bomb, they take the proper precautions and poke it with a stick from 2 feet away. Ian at least has the good sense to put one hand in front of his face, while the others just stand in the blast range unprotected. Here's a travel tip: when you find yourself in a petrified forest, and one of your friends is going to poke what you assume is a bomb, hide behind a rock, which is pretty much ANYTHING AROUND YOU. Luckily for them all, it isn't a bomb, but a container of vials of fluid which they ignore and continue on.

When they arrive in the city the next day, they decide to split the party up, which is always a great idea. Unfortunately, Barbara, who went off by herself, doesn't meet back up with the group, because she's attacked by what seems to be a giant toilet plunger.

No, seriously:

That's it for Serial 2, Episode 1! Check back soon for more Who!

Miss one? Check out our previous episodes below:
Serial 1 - An Unearthly Child; Part 4 - The Firemaker
Serial 1 - An Unearthly Child; Part 3 - The Forest of Fear
Serial 1 - An Unearthly Child; Part 2 - The Cave of Skulls
Serial 1 - An Unearthly Child; Part 1 - An Unearthly Child

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