Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ClassicWho Reviews: The Krotons, The Seeds of Death, and The War Games

The Krotons:

     The Second Doctor and his companions, Jaime and Zoe (whose first adventure I didn’t see because of the vagaries of fate/BBC DELETED MOST OF IT), land on a planet where the local humanoid aliens, the Grond, are under the iron fist of the Krotons. The most intelligent of their race are chosen by the Kroton as “servants”, but our heroes first view of the planet is of these “chosen ones” getting vaporized. They save one of them, Vana, and hurry to warn the rest of the Grond.

     This was an okay serial. The Krotons are crazy B-movie robots, Zoe is adorably impulsive, and Jamie is adorably clueless as ever. As usual, it’s up to the heroes to whip the local populace into revolution. This wasn’t too bad, but it also wasn’t that memorable to me (I can’t remember many details of it since I first watched it). Most notable is that it’s the first one for Robert Holmes, who quickly became a permanent fixture in the Doctor Who world.

What do you mean, "trying and failing to be a Dalek"?

The Seeds of Death:

     Supposedly some time near the end of this century we’re going to get teleportation technology. I’ll probably be dead by then, but it’ll be up to the later generations to sustain the disappointment we ourselves will experience next year when we inevitably do not have hoverboards.

     However, the Doctor and his companions are not disappointed, but are more interested in an old man in a museum still building rockets. Naturally, the trans-mat system breaks down, and guess who gets to pilot a rocket?

"Worst road trip ever." "Shut up Jaime!" "I...I forgot to go before we left..." "DAMMIT ZOE."

     Turns out, the relay station for the trans-mat has been taken over by those pesky Ice Warriors, whose first serial was not available to me, because the vagaries of fate didn’t leave a copy at the library. They plan on using the trans-mat system to send a deadly fungus to Earth that absorbs the oxygen, because the Ice Warriors didn’t see the zillion other uninhabited planets they could totally live on. Luckily, the Doctor realizes the fungus can be defeated by water, probably because he watched Signs. He then lures the entire fleet into the Sun, because the Doctor didn’t have this weird thing about leaving hostile, deadly aliens alive until later, and Jamie kills the last one because HE IS SCOTTISH, SCREW ALL OF YOU. This was a pretty good if slightly confusing serial. (Seriously, these aliens come up with some of the most convoluted plans to destroy Earth I’ve ever heard. They need to take lessons in simplicity from Marvin, really.) It also showed off how manipulative this seemingly goofy Doctor was. In fact, the goofier the Doctor, the more manipulative he will probably be.

The War Games

     I’ll just finish up with the last of the Second Doctor’s serials. This was quite a big one. It was also the end of Zoe and Jaime’s run as companions; it revealed the Doctor’s race, the Time Lords, and it was the very last serial to be black and white. And what a serial it was.

     The Doctor and Co. arrive on a planet only to find themselves in the Hunger Games. No, really; different soldiers from different time periods have been placed on this planet to fight to the death. The Doctor discovers a rebel from his own race, called the War Chief, is aiding a group of aliens (led by the War Lord) in establishing an army of only the best soldiers, to…you guessed it! Take over the galaxy.

Thank you, Dalek Bison!

     The Doctor is able to help many of the soldiers break through their mental conditioning, and together they make their way to the aliens’ base. They manage to take control, but the Doctor can’t return the soldiers on his own. He must call in the Time Lords, even though they will most likely arrest him for his crimes, such as stealing a TARDIS, being snarky, and impersonating a cleric of the Church of Rassilon altering some historical events throughout the universe. The War Lord is dematerialized, Jamie and Zoe have their minds wiped and sent back to their own times, with only a vague memory of meeting the Doctor, and the Doctor himself is forced to regenerate, and exiled to Earth where he will wind up being even more awesome, which probably just annoys them even more.

"Knock kno--" "DOCTOR THIS ISN'T STAND-UP." "Oh."

     I loved this serial. It gave us a little glimpse into Time Lord society and their past, and it had a very bittersweet ending. It also did bring to light why the Doctor left Gallifrey-the Time Lords do self-righteous and hypocritical so well. This led into possibly my favorite Doctor (it’s a toss-up between Pertwee and Tom Baker, but I think in general Tom Baker wins for the extra quirkiness and defeating a Dalek with his hat) and what I consider one of the best eras of Doctor Who.

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