31 October, 2012

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 74 - "Survival"

When Ace offhandedly tells the Doctor she's curious what her old mates are up to, he takes the opportunity to bring her home to Perivale. Ace is less than thrilled at the prospect of returning to the dreary, boring suburb. But once there, she eagerly sets off to find her friends. Initially she can't anyone, even in the normal places they generally used to hang out. When she finally finds one of her friends, she's informed some have gone on to other, less exciting, things and the rest have mysteriously gone missing. 

As Ace is out looking for her friends, the Doctor has taken to cat hunting. A strange black cat seems to be following him around. Visiting a local shop for cans of cat food, the Doctor tries in vain to capture the animal. As he continues to do this he's running through peoples lawns and yards which draws the attention of the local neighbourhood watch. The Doctor manages to lose Sergeant Paterson, the persistent SAS survivalist, and is about to catch the black cat when he hears Ace shouting for help.

The Doctor discovers the missing people are being transported off planet by cheetah people. As he's once again confronted by Paterson, they are both transported to an alien planet. It's then the Doctor discovers the Master is responsible. The Master is marooned on the alien planet, which is slowly turning him into a cheetah person. While struggling to retain his Timelord attributes, he laid this trap for the Doctor hoping the Doctor will be able to find a way off the planet.

On the cheetah world, Ace finds a few of her friends. She learns eventually the planet bonds with and transforms people into the cheetah's. Her attempts to capture one fail until she meets up with the Doctor. During another attack, she manages to wound one by hitting it with a rock. Instead of trying to kill it, she helps it. The cheetah, Karra, accepts Ace's help and begins calling her 'sister'. Ace has now begun to transform into one of the cheetah people and Karra invites Ace to hunt with her.

Once the Doctor realizes the cheetah people can teleport off the planet to bring back their prey, the Master captures one of the youths who has started to be transformed by the planet. He tells the youth to go home, and when he does the Master goes with him. But once back on Earth, the Master is horrified to realize the transformation the cheetah world has on him may have progressed too far. He's unable to restore his full Timelord persona.

Still trapped on the planet, the Doctor and Ace have to wait for another person to begin changing into one of the cheetah persons. But Ace has already had this happen to her, though she's showing some restraint. The Doctor informs her she can help bring everyone back home, but it may cost her her humanity; as has happened to the Master. Ace is not afraid and agrees to help the Doctor and the rest of the people still alive from Perivale. Back on Earth, the Master indirectly attacks Ace, but she's saved by Karra who has followed her to Earth. The Master promptly stabs Karra and she begins reverting back to her human form. Ace sadly watches Karra die.

The Master then attempts to break into the Doctor's Tardis, though what's become of his Tardis is unclear. When the Doctor stops him, the Master transports the Doctor back to the alien world that is destroying itself. As the planet breaks up, the cheetah people disappear and the Master tries to provoke the Doctor into fighting. The Master seems to have gone crazy and exclaims he does not want to live as an animal. He's willing to die with the planet, and take the Doctor with him. As the planet is about to break up, the Doctor is transported back to Earth. If the Master was transported back elsewhere, it's not shown.

This was the final episode of the classic Doctor Who series. The final shot is the Doctor and Ace walking off towards their next adventure.

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold! Come on Ace, we've got work to do!" - The Doctor

Bonus Photo
Lisa Bowerman (Who plays Karra), later goes on to play Bernice Summerfield in the Big Finish Audios

17 October, 2012

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 73 "Battlefield"

In a darkened Tardis, the Doctor is trying to pinpoint a distress signal. Once landed, the Doctor and Ace discover they are on Earth near a small town called Carbury. As they begin their investigations, they find a nuclear missile convey escorted by UNIT troops, but they have been stopped near Lake Vortigern. Using older UNIT ID's of the third Doctor and Liz Shaw, the Doctor tries to find out more information from the most recently appointed Brigadier, Bambera. She angrily scolds her first officer for letting the Doctor in using such "false" identification.

However, the officer knows something Bambera doesn't. Having worked with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in the past, he recalls the scientific advisor they once had. A scientific advisor named the Doctor who was able to change his persona, appearance and his mannerisms. The Doctor was also well known for the danger he seemed to attract. Bambera puts in a call to Geneva to get what info she can regarding this "Doctor". Meanwhile, at home, the Brigadier is enjoying his retirement with his wife Doris. When she receives a call asking for the Brigadier's assistance, he reminds her he's retired, and as such, not interested. But when he hears the Doctor is involved, he immediately decides he must, much to his wife's reluctance.

Doing his investigation work at a local pub, the Doctor and Ace find an armour clad medieval soldier who goes by the name Ancelyn and identifies the Doctor as Merlin. The Doctor finds out Ancelyn is battling Mordred and his mother Morgaine. The rivalry is actually from a parallel Earth, but when the Doctor meets Mordred, he also identifies the Doctor as Merlin. The Doctor uses this to his advantage and causes Mordred into a retreat. Now somewhat convinced of the Doctor's identity, an unsteady alliance is formed between Bambera and the Doctor, but she's still waiting for the Brigadier to arrive for help.Despite the outward rivalry between Bambera and Ancelyn, it seems they  have begun to fancy each other.

With Ancelyn having "Merlin" on his side, Mordred calls upon his mother Morgaine, who crosses a bridge into our universe. She vows this will be the last stand between her and Arthur. As this is going on, the Doctor and Ace have discovered a space ship under the lake with what appears to be Arthur in suspended animation. The Doctor was able to gain entry when he realized the entrance was keyed to his voice pattern. He then realizes he is most likely "Merlin", but from his own future, most likely a future incarnation of himself.

The Brigadier finally arrives on the scene via helicopter, but Morgaine witnesses his arrival and shoots the 'machine' down. It's then she realizes her son has been fighting on a cemetery of fallen war heroes and claims he has disgraced them and sends him away. Having survived the crash, the Brigadier finds Morgaine but she has called a truce. In her warped sense of honour she refuses to fight on the 'sacred' ground of the dead. She allows the Brigadier to escape, but warns him the next time they meet, she'll kill him. The Brigadier agrees to return the favour and sets off to find Bamera and the Doctor.
[Interesting side note: Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) and Jean Marsh (Morgaine) played brother and sister, Bret Vyon and Sara Kingdom, in a first Doctor episode "The Dalek Master Plan"]

As the Doctor and Ace are exploring the underwater spaceship, Ace grabs what is identified as Excalibur. Unfortunately, this triggers a defence mechanism which almost causes her to drown and the Doctor attacked. As Ace is sectioned off from the Doctor, she's ejected from the spaceship and into the lake. She swims to the surface and worried about the Doctor, but the Brigadier has arrived and heads into the underground spaceship and rescues the Doctor. Though not having seen his current incarnation before, the Brigadier immediately identifies the Doctor. Both are glad to see each other once again.

The battle between Ancelyn and Mordred are heating up, casualties on both sides. But when Morgaine stops by the local pub to collect her son, she sees he has had his fill of drinks from the establishment. Her code of honour causes her to pay the 'bar tab' by restoring the sight of the proprietors wife. But thinking "Merlin" could ultimately win, she calls upon "The Destroyer" for leverage. She knows Merlin will withdraw rather than see the Earth destroyed by the "Eater of Worlds". The Doctor tries to convince her though, that Arthur is already dead. In disbelief, she still craves Excalibur and the power it holds.

With the Destroyers help, Morgaine takes Excalibur from Ace. Ace is depressed she let the Doctor down, but he admits he'd rather have her alive, than dead with the sword. The Brigadier then surprises the Doctor with the advancement of UNIT's weaponry to deal with all sorts of invasions. Having silver bullets in stock, the Brigadier kills the destroyer, almost at the cost of his life. Morgaine then decides she's going to use the nuclear missile to destroy the world. But the Doctor calls upon her sense of honour and at the last second she calls the attack off. She's then taken prisoner by UNIT.

Bonus Photo!
The Brigadier surprises the Doctor by bringing with him, Bessie. The car he once drove in his third incarnation when he was UNIT's scientific advisor.

Story Note: This is the final appearance of the Brigadier in Doctor Who, though he is mentioned a few times in the new series.

03 October, 2012

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 72 "Silver Nemesis"

Doctor Who's 25th Anniversary Episode

It's Windsor, 1638. Lady Peinforte and her companion Richard Maynarde are in search of a Silver statue known as Nemesis. In an earlier untelevised adventure she met the seventh Doctor where she learned the secret of who he really is, his planet Gallifrey and the components of the Nemesis statue - Validium. Validium is a sentient metal created by Omega and Rassilon as a defence for Gallifrey. Somehow, some of this metal fell to Earth and was discovered by Lady Peinforte. She formed the metal into a statue of herself, and the statue told her of Gallifrey and some rudimentary secrets of time. Armed with those secrets and the Silver Arrow, she concocts a potion to transport her in time to 1988 to redezvous with the Statue.

In 1988, a group of neo-nazi's, led by De Flores,  are also searching for the Nemesis statue. Through uncertain contacts, they have found out an 'asteroid' containing the statue will be arriving on Earth in Windsor. Hoping to utilize the power, the Nazi's travel from South Africa to Windsor to acquire the statue. They have in their possession the Silver Bow, which given to the statue along with the Silver Arrow, will allow them to control the living metal. Whoever is in control of the Nemesis can then manipulate all of time and space.   

As the Doctor becomes involved, Ace strives to figure out what is really going on, but as per usual the Doctor is keeping his secrets. Right from the beginning they are under fire from an unknown force. They run into De Flores who immediately orders Ace's execution. But she's saved when a space craft flies overhead. Ace is thankful to whoever just "saved her life", but the Doctor tells her she'll likely live to regret it. The ship lands and Cybermen pour out of the ship, they too are looking for the Nemesis.

The Cybermen open fire, immediately decimating many of the Nazi troops. From the outskirts, Lady Peinforte fires upon the Cybermen with her arrows and is delighted to find they are effective, despite the Nazi bullets which seem to have no effect on the Cybermen. But her arrow-heads are crafted in gold, the one substance lethal to the Cybermen. With this revelation, she withdraws hoping the Nazi's and Cybermen fight each other to the death. During the course of the battle, the Doctor secretly steals the bow away from the Nazi's and the Cybermen take control of the Nemesis once it hits ground. Lady Peinforte still has the Silver Arrow.

Still believing they have the Silver Bow, De Flores forges an unsteady alliance with the Cybermen. De Flores' selling point is he and his men are immune to whatever is afflicting the Cybermen, he's unaware the gold tipped arrows are the problem. With the alliance cast, both go their separate way, though vowing to destroy the other side first chance they get. Meanwhile, Lady Peinforte is convinced she will shortly be in possession of the Silver Bow and the Nemesis. Drunk on the prospect of potential power, she begins to go mad.

Once finding the Nemesis, Lady Peinforte primes it by giving it the Silver Arrow. She believes she can easily acquire the Silver Bow and be in full control, but the Cybermen discover her and she is forced to flee. At this point, De Flores discovers he is no longer in possession of the Silver Bow, which had been stolen by the Doctor. The Cybermen dissolve the temporary alliance. De Flores claims they still need him because the Doctor will not just walk in and hand them the bow. No sooner said than done, the Doctor walks in and offers the Cybermen the Silver Bow. But it's a stalling tactic and the Doctor actually hands the Nemesis the bow, then departs as quickly as he came in, taking the Silver Bow with him.

Now that the Nemesis is fully primed, it will follow the Silver Bow. The Doctor makes his way towards an abandoned warehouse where the Cybermen have stored the "asteroid" or rocket the Nemesis fell to Earth in. Armed with some gold coins and a slingshot, Ace protects the Doctor, destroying all Cybermen that get in her way while the Doctor programmes the Nemesis to leave Earth and destroy a massive Cyber Invasion Fleet. With the Cybermen dispatched, De Flores tries to take control. But the Cyber Leader was not destroyed as Ace had hoped and kills De Flores and his last remaining man.

Lady Peinforte re-enters the scene now, still completely drunk on her potential power. She orders the Doctor to give her the Bow. The Doctor refuses so she threatens to tell the Cybermen all about the Doctor, who he really is. Not persuaded, the Doctor ignores her demand and hands the Silver Bow to a surprised Cyber Leader. The Cyber Leader reveals he doesn't care about the Doctor's origin, he only wanted the Silver Nemesis and the ultimate power. He orders the Doctor to dismiss his last command to the Nemesis and have it rendezvous with the Cyber Fleet. The Doctor asks the Nemesis if it understood the order and it says it does. The Doctor then sends it on it's way. But driven insane knowing she is not to have the ultimate power, Lady Peinforte jumps into the rocket with the Nemesis and merges with it, leaving her faithful companion behind. The Cyberleader orders they watch as the Nemesis is delivered to the Cyber Fleet. But the Doctor has tricked the Cybermen. He only asked the Nemesis if it understood the order, which it did, he didn't order the Nemesis to follow the instructions. Meeting up with the Cyber Fleet, the Nemesis destroys it. Wishing to take revenge on the Doctor, the Cyber Leader attempts to eradicate him. Realizing he can save the Doctor, Richard grabs a gold tipped arrow which had previously been shot at the Tardis, and drives it into the Cyber Leader, destroying it. The Doctor agrees to take Richard home.

Bonus Photo!

The Doctor wearing a fez, because fez's are cool. And he's even got a mop. Hmmm, could this be where Matt Smith got this from?