Episode 1 reviewed 11 Dec 09
Episode 2 reviewed 12 Dec 09
Episode 3 reviewed 14 Dec 09
Episode 4 reviewed 15 Dec 09
Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by Derek Martinus
Earth - Inside a radio tower, a man tracks something headed towards the planet. The items - meteorites - crash land on the planet, in the woods, where a nosy man finds them.
The Doctor, now with stark white hair, falls out of his Tardis, into an open field.
The Brig shows up, and we're introduced to Liz Shaw. She is in a really bitchy mood. He talks to her about the meteorites which have landed, then briefly fills her in on the Doctor.
UNIT soldiers find the Doctor and his Tardis. He is taken to a local hospital; a guard is stationed next to the Tardis, on the Brig's orders.
The nosy man grabs one of the objects, then hurries away as soon as he hears the UNIT men approaching.
In the hospital, the Brig goes in to meet the Doctor, but doesn't recognize him. The Doctor opens his eyes. The Third Doctor's first wards are "Lethbridge-Stewart!"
The Doctor pretends to fall back to sleep. The Brig still hasn't figured it out. Confused, he leaves.
The Doctor is kidnapped by men .. well, it appears they are. But really, they are Autons He makes a daring escape, going 20 billion miles an hour in a wheel chair.
He almost makes it back to his Tardis, but an idiot soldier fires at him and he passes out.
* * *
A new Doctor, a new opening, a new style, and now in color. This version of the character seems to be an action-hero type, though he doesn't speak much. He's still going through the regeneration, and his personality is very much in flux.
This Doctor's first companion, Liz Shaw, is introduced here. She has a rather gigantic chip on her shoulder and doesn't mind lashing out at, well, everybody.
Unlike Two or Six, I don't have a pre-established fondness for this Doctor. He is the one I have seen the least of prior to this project. So far, I like him.
Oh, the poor Tardis. It isn't very sturdy. As the Doctor is falling out of it in the beginning, it's all wibbly wobbily, and it's almost like watching an old Dark Shadows episode.
The UNIT idiots bring the Doctor back to the hospital, where he lies in a self-induced coma.
The Brig and Liz have a little chat. She's still bitchy. He, though, is turning into a total Doctor Who fanboy. I love it!
Nosy man brings the object home and puts it in the shed, hiding it from his equally-nosy wife.
The Doctor awakens and explores the hospital. He finds a door with a sign on it reading "DOCTORS ONLY" ... His expression is priceless. In he goes. He finds an outfight which he likes (that velvet getup), then goes outside and "borrows" a car that resembles Bessie.
UNIT soldiers dig up one of the meteorites. One of them tries to drive it to HQ, but an Auton makes him crash, then it grabs the object, leaving the soldier to die.
The Doctor drives directly to the HQ, where the Brig introduces him to Liz.
Random Man #72 breaks into the factory where the Autons are being stored. Naturally, they attack.
* * *
Liz calms down considerably when she meets the Doctor. Maybe it's because they are both scientists, but she's kinder to him than the Brig.
Speaking of the Brig, he gets the Tardis key and tries to use it. This is something that's been ... inconsistent ... at best, through the years. Susan talked about how it's got to be unlocked a certain way, or the lock will freeze forever. That went away rather quickly. Then anybody with a key could open it, then it was only Time Lords who could do it, then Humans couldn't but anyone else could. In modern Who, everyone and their mother has a key, and all the keys work.
I love the Brig. It is refreshing to see a military dude portrayed as open-minded and intelligent at the same time. He realizes there is more life than just humans out there, based on his previous adventures with the Doctor, and he learns from his past. It's uncommon on screen. In this one case, military intelligence is not an oxymoron.
The clips of the factory were fascinating. I never wondered how they were made before, but now I know and it's kind of interesting.
Random dude escapes. He finds UNIT (they're everywhere, for your convenience).
The Doctor cons Liz into getting the Tardis key from the Brig. He tries to take off, but it won't dematerialize.
Nosy guy goes to UNIT to sell the object. While he's gone, nosy wife goes rummaging. through the shed and finds it. An Auton comes after her. She shoots him, doing exactly zero damage. It keeps coming and dispatches her easily.
It finds the object just as the Brig and his team arrive. They track it to the factory, but quickly wimp out, returning to HQ.
* * *
Not as exciting as the previous two episodes. It feels like we're in a holding pattern. For a little bit, the Doctor acts like his playful previous incarnation, with the conjob and trying to escape, but other than that, I mean, there's maybe three minutes of stuff that matters here and the rest is just filling time, waiting for the story's end.
Lots of Science! going on here, which I appreciate. It gives the Doctor and Liz something clever to do together, while maintaining a chaste relationship. (it is a kids' show after all)
The Doctor tells the Brig he believes the objects contain brains - or, part of a brain. They may be using the factory to create bodies, which the brain/s will then control.
On streets all over the UK, mannequins - taken over as Autons - come to life and start firing at everyone they see.
The Doctor, with UNIT, breaks into the factory where he fights a tentacle monster, then go after the bad guys. He and Liz kick their butts.
Back at HQ, the Doctor fills in the Brig, then they arrange terms for the Doctor's "employment" with UNIT. Among the payments are clothing and a car - Bessie! I think it's in the next story that he gets the car.
* * *
There have been other examples, but here's the most recent. Two very strong episodes followed by two deadly dull episodes. It was pretty painful making it through these last two. But, I made it through Mind Robber, so I can make it through this.
Here's hoping the next story is better.