I’m curious to see how the first handful or so of these Third Doctor serials are going to go for me – I saw quite a few of the early Pertwee ones about a year ago (before the idea to do this year long project came about – though it was certainly part of the inspiration), so they’re much fresher in my memory than anything I’ve seen to date (outside of THE MIND ROBBER.)

 Very excited to be starting the Pertwee era. One of my all time faves is later this season – INFERNO.

 Episode 1:

 The opening credits begin and already I find myself wondering what the viewers back in January 3rd, 1970 were thinking. When the last episode of THE WAR GAMES ended, we had no idea of what The Doctor would look like. Was there an announcement in the papers/on telly between then and now? Was it like today where the actor was announced in advance?

 Or was this opening sequence, with his face popping up as the title runs the first appearance of Jon Pertwee on telly as The Doctor?

 We see Earth from outer space, then the scene switches to an observatory station. A duty officer gets an incoming signal and calls for a superior. She asks if it’s interference from the heatwave, but he says no, whatever they are, they’re approaching and flying in formation.

 We see a man out in the woods, he looks up and sees the approaching objects, which look like meterorites. He dashes off away from where they impact. Not too wisely, he goes back to investigate – and a strange, almost musical tone can be heard from the object.

 The TARDIS appears in a field, where upon The Doctor staggers out of the police box and collapses in the grass.

 We see Lethbridge-Stewart (yes, you know my love for the character, so I will do my best not to gush on) greet Miss Shaw. She complains about security measures. She’s rather irate at being here it seems – she’s “an expert in meteories, degrees in medicine, physics and a dozen other subjects” (the Brigadier’s words, not hers) and her work at Cambridge is being interrupted.

 Apparently, the meteorites weren’t the first ones to land there. Six months ago, others landed… in the same general location, a fact that Miss Shaw finds incredulous.

 The Doctor is brought into a medical facility, unconscious.

 The Brigadier tells the doubting Miss Shaw that, “since UNIT was formed, there have been two alien invasions”, and she pretty much laughs at him. Stoicly, he continues his story, mentioning help from a man called The Doctor. Just then, a UNIT guard, Munro, who is at the hospital that The Doctor was brought into, calls in to BL-S. Munro tells the Brig that he hasn’t found the meteorites, but he did find an unconscious civlian near an abandoned police box in the woods.

 This last bit catches the Brig’s attention, of course. He orders an armed guard at the police box to keep anyone away from it until he gets there.

 At the hospital the doctor treating The Doctor (that’s fun to type) gets irate when the nurse puts up his chest x-ray. He feels someone is playing a joke, as there are two hearts on the X-ray, one on each side of the chest! This is the first indication that The Doctor has two hearts (though in THE DOMINATORS, the concept of two hearts was brought up for the natives, but The Doctor was never medically scanned by The Dominators, only Jamie, so it was never revealed there, one way or the other.)

 Doctor Henderson (The Doctor’s doctor) gets a bleep on his bleeper (pager?) from Doctor Lomax in path lab, who is irate at Henderson for sending non-human blood to him for sampling. A porter overhears the doctors talking and calls it in to a local newspaper.

 The man in the field uncovers one of the meteorites, which is chirping musically and flashing. He puts it in a bag (it’s the size of a bowling ball, though multi-faceted and almost egglike in shape.)

 The Doctor tries to get out of bed – he’s finally conscious, mumbling about his shoes. When Dr. Henderson walks in, he’s unconscious again.

 By the time Brig Lethbridge-Stewart arrives, there’s a platoon of news reporters hassling Munro and the hospital staff. They charges towards BL-S and Miss Shaw when they arrive, demanding to know if there’s a “man from space” in the hospital. He deflects their questions, though somewhat clumsily. A man on the outskirts of the crowd is paying far too much attention to be harmless, he’s up to something.

 The Brig and Elizabeth Shaw are brought by Capt Munro to The Doctor’s room. Dr Henderson explains that the patient’s cardio-vascular system is completely different from anyone else’s and his blood type is unknown. The Brig feels this sounds like The Doctor he knows and walks over, but at seeing his face, thinks he’s a complete stranger.

 The Doctor wakes, stares at the Brig, and recognises him, must to Lethbridge-Stewart’s surprise. The Doctor quickly realises why and is worried, “I can’t have changed that much, surely. I must see what they’ve done to me.” He asks for a mirror, and Miss Shaw hands one over.

 “Oh, no! Oh, no… that’s not me at all! No wonder you didn’t recognise me.” – The Doctor. And we begin the classic Doctor-looking-in-mirror-and-checking-out-face-and-hair-and-complaining-sequence.

 The Doctor is exhausted and drifts off to sleep, despite Brig’s attempts to get some answers. The Brig gives orders for The Doctor to be brought to London as soon as the doctor gives clearance for him to be moved. As they leave, The Doctor’s eyes open.

 The reporters in the lobby at the hospital talk amongst themselves, trying to figure out what’s going on. They see the Brig leave, and when one of them walks to the public phone booth, the strange man from earlier is in it. The reporters talk – he’s obviously not one of them, nobody knows him. When a reporter opens the booth to ask if he’ll be much longer, it’s obvious he’s not even using the phone and the man departs rapidly.

 The man in the woods comes across the TARDIS and the two UNIT men guarding it. They point their guns at him and ask how he got in, as it’s restricted. The man offers them some rabbit, and they deduce he’s a poacher and tell him to move on but stay away until the restriction is dropped.

 The Doctor is looking for his shoes, half-hanging out of the bed. The nurse argues with him about it. Dr Henderson comes in and when The Doctor asks for his shoes, he fetches them for him. Doc H and the nurse discuss his erratic behavior.

 The Doctor gets the TARDIS key out of his shoes, which is why he was so obsessed with the shoes, obviously. The nurse leaves to fetch something and while she’s gone, two men come in, assault Doc H and take The Doctor captive, rendering him unconscious and taking him out in a wheelchair. As they get him outside, where the strange man is waiting with an ambulance, The Doctor makes a break, rolling away in the wheelchair. UNIT guards fire on the ambulance as it drives off.

 The Doctor gets out of the wheelchair, staggering towards the TARDIS and one of the guards shoots him as he comes through the brush. He collapses… and the credits roll.

 Great fun so far. Yay, Lethbridge-Stewart! I can’t remember whether I like Elizabeth Shaw that much, but I’m down with a technically advanced companion.

Episode 2:

 The Doctor is taken back to the hospital, where Doc H says that according to the EEG, he is “more unconscious than anyone I’ve ever seen”. The doc says it wasn’t the bullet – it only grazed his scalp.

 The doc speculates that The Doctor has placed himself in a deep coma, but he advises against moving him just yet. Munro shows the Brig a shell from a meteorite, a very light plastic. He and the Brig discuss the men who tried to capture The Doctor, Munro saying there was “something odd” about their faces.

 We see a factory where dolls are being fashioned. A man and a woman wander through the various areas of the assembly line. The man comments that there have been a lot of changes, and asks if she’s new, but she doesn’t respond. They pass what used to be his workshop, but now it’s labeled “OUT OF BOUNDS, SECURITY SECTOR” – he demands to know what’s been going on, but again, she doesn’t comment. As she passes by the camera, we get a close up of her face and there’s an unnatural sheen to her skin.

 Behind them, the man from the crowd of reporters who had the ambulance comes up the stairs.

 John, the man questioning the changes, is brought in to someone in charge. John begins demanding to know what’s going on – he was sent to America to get investors in a new doll, comes back with all sorts of orders, to find he’s been fired. George, the man behind the desk, stutters and stammers about a new policy. George warns John to stay away from his old workshop, and in fact that he should leave, that it’s not safe.

 The other man enters the office, and George becomes very cold again. John grabs his papers and storms out. Despite George’s warning, he tries to enter his old workshop, but the door is locked.

 The Brig pesters Miss Shaw in her makeshift lab, where she’s running tests on the shell from the meteorite. She hasn’t identified it, but says it’s been manufactured.

 “Miss Shaw, I’m not a fool, I don’t chase shadows.” – The Brig

 They begin to butt heads. She’s very dismissive, almost to the point of ridicule, of the Brigadier’s story about “an alien who travels through space and time in a police box.” I can’t imagine why, it’s a very rational and believable story… isn’t it?

 The strange man tells George Hibbert that all he has to do is run the factory as if nothing has changed (though it obviously has.) They discuss two missing “energy units” (obviousy the meteorites) and whether or not “the stranger at the hospital” has one or not.

 “You talk about these energy units… as if they were a living thing.” – George

 “All energy is a form of life.” – the strange man

 We next see the poacher with a large chest; he opens it to reveal the energy unit he dug up is inside. When he opens it, the signal is heard by a man in the woods, one who looks like a mannequin.

 Distracted by his wife, the poacher puts the energy unit in a store room, not within the chest (which apparently had been blocking the signal from being received), careful to put it back when he gets rid of her. Once he does, we see the mannequin-man in the woods stop, as if it has lost the signal.

 The Brig, still in Shaw’s lab (where the TARDIS is being kept), receives a call that General Scobie is there to check in on things.

 The Doctor skulks through the hospital in his hospital gown. Hearing Doc H and some “hospital bigwig” coming by, he hops in the doctors’ shower and starts bathing, singing all the while. The two men are discussing the The Doctor and Doc H invites the bigwig to come to his office to read up on him before seeing him.

 UNIT soldiers have unearthed the other missing energy unit and the mannequin heads off, hearing the signal.

 The Doctor has gotten dressed, raiding the doctors’ wardrobe room, including steal the bigwig’s cape/cloak and hat. He ends up swiping the bigwig’s car in his escape.

 Back at the lab, the Brig has heard about The Doctor’s escape from the hospital. He takes The Doctor’s key, but it won’t turn in the lock.

 The UNIT jeep taking the energy unit back to the lab runs off the road when the mannequin steps in front of it. The soldier is injured/KO’d/dead and the mannequin takes the crate.

 At the doll factory, we see a room filled with giant computers and a row of mannequins line the wals, dressed in the same blue coveralls as the one we’ve seen walking about. George is buzzed in by the strange man and he reports that General Scobie will be arriving soon.

 The Doctor arrives at the UNIT facility, demanding to see the Brigadier. He’s shown in to the lab (which he was able to find because he has a watch that homes in on the TARDIS.) He’s introduced to Miss Shaw.

 “What are you a doctor of, by the way?”

Practically everything, my dear.”

 The Doctor is intrigued by the meteorite shell and makes a deal with the Brig – he’ll help in exchange for the key to the TARDIS.

 John is seen scaling a wall into the doll factory. Inside, General Scobie meets with George and the strange man; they have a mannequin which is meant to be of him, but doesn’t really resemble him. The strange man informs the general that they have machines capable of making much better likenesses, but since they’re not portable, that’s why he had to come to them.

 With a pry bar, John gains access to his old workshop, finding the mannequins and strange machinery. One of the mannequins comes to life and John gapes in horror… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 The mannequin’s hand pops open and a gun barrel extends. It fires at John, but he evades and runs off. The mannequin can’t give chase as General Scobie, George and the strange man come nearby. (Yes, I know the mannequin is called an Auton, but they haven’t introduced that term yet, so I’m avoiding doing so just yet.) John scampers off.

 The General says goodbye, but Mr. Channing (the strange man) won’t shake his hand. George quickly shakes the proffered hand. Channing tells the General that they’ll arrange for him to see the mannequin before it is sent to Toussad’s. (Yes, I bet they will. Moo ah ah ah.)

 Back in the private room, Channing and George talk about “sending an Auton” after John. (Yay, we can use it now.) George protests sending an Auton as it will kill John, but he is intimidated (or compelled) into withdrawing his objection.

 John runs through the woods, coming across a UNIT soldier, begging for help.

 The poacher and his wife talk about the soldiers and the “thunderballs”. She says the soldiers found one and that’s how the soldier died.

 Munro gives John a glass of water and he starts babbling on about stairs, men, creatures. Munro gives the order to send him to HQ.

 The Doctor and Liz are having difficulty identifying any of the makeup of the shell. The Doctor says with “primitive equipment”, it’s no surprise. Liz takes offense. He tells her he has an entire laboratory inside the TARDIS, and if he could get in, he could use it to analyse the material. He asks her to persuade the Brig to part with the key.

 The poacher is brought in to the UNIT men, asking how much reward there is for finding a meteorite. Capt Munro demands that Mr Seeley tell the truth if he was out the day they fell to Earth.

 Channing reports that the Autons have lost Ransome (John). He and George talk about the missing energy unit – it is apparently “the swarm leader”.

 John is sitting in the Brig’s office, telling him what happened in the factory. Liz bursts into his office, asking to speak to him. The Brig is busy with John, and while she waits, Liz swipes the TARDIS key.

 Liz gives the key to The Doctor, who says the Brig is going to be “awfully cross” with her. The Doctor smiles, as if to say, “Stupid human,” and lets himself in. He enters and closes it just before the Brig arrived. He accuses her of being gullible and they won’t see him again.

 The TARDIS begins to make the sound of dematerialisation, but it’s all warped, extra-worbly, then there’s sounds of backfire. The Doctor comes out, smoke billowing out of the TARDIS. He apologises for tricking Liz, but says he couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck there.

 While her husband is away, Meg opens up the chest with the energy unit in it.

 John tells the Brig, The Doctor and Liz about Mr Channing and his hold over George; The Doctor says he thinks a trip to the factory is in order.

 The Auton closes in Seeley’s cottage.

 The Doctor, Brigadier, Liz and John arrive at the tent where Munro is questioning Seeley. John is left at the tent, the others go to Seeley’s cottage to collect the meteorite.

 Meg hears the dog, who is barking, suddenly yelp and go quiet. She’s locked the trunk up, and goes inside to find the Auton making a mess, searching for something. She screams and runs off, fetching her husband’s shotgun. The Auton approaches, and she fires, but it seems to have no effect on it.

 The Doctor and company arrive to find the cottage is disorder; two UNIT men open fire on the Auton and Channing issues an order for the Auton to ‘recall’. It runs off, suddenly displaying to move more than zombie-stumble.

 While The Doctor examines the energy unit and Liz checks on Meg, the Auton finds John in the tent and vaporises him with a gun blast.

 The Doctor, Brig, Liz arrive at the plastics factory, where they’re taken in to George Hibberts office. George laughs at their retelling of John’s story. He claims that John was just “making trouble”. They leave, not having any more they could learn there.

 The Doctor has the energy unit hooked up to a device that reads “mental energy” – whatever is inside the globe is alive.

 The Brig contacts General Scobie who reports he saw nothing there at the plastics factory while he was there. After he gets off the phone, the General is greeted by the Auton replica of himself, who enters his house. The General cries out, “No, no…” and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 The Doctor and Liz discuss that the globe has some form of brain, but needs a body. It doesn’t take them long to make the connection between that and the plastics factory.

 The Auton General Scobie calls back to the Brig, telling him to lay off the plastics factory. The Brig says he’ll have to go over the General’s head, but The Doctor complains that will take time.

 Liz and The Doctor visit the waxworks, after hearing that the plastic factory was making one of the General. They’re in a room full of them, when Liz remarks they’re all government officials, high ranking civil servants and the like. The attendant points out the mannequin of General Scobie. The Doctor notices that the wristwatch on the mannequin is wound and set to the right time – something he finds very suspicious.

 Channing and Hibberts are talking; George wants to know what it is going to look like, but Channing says he didn’t design it, he’s just provided “it” with the environment to make “the perfect life form”. The machine they’re at seems to have something inside it, perhaps growing.

 General Auton demands that Capt Munro hand over the energy unit; the Brig is away, in meetings with the Home Secretary, and though Munro has reservations, he gives in when Scobie threatens him with arrest and charges of mutiny.

 The Doctor and Liz have stayed behind at the waxworks and after they lock up, they poke around. The Doctor tells Liz that the Scobie there is the real thing, and the facisimile is walking around. Hearing someone approaching, they hide, and listen as Channing and Hibbert arrive. Suddenly, the mannequins all come to life and walk out in single file. Channing says they’re going to “take their places – it is time to begin work”.

 George remains behind and catches The Doctor and Liz, but before The Doctor has much success helping George break the hold Channing has on him, Channing returns to collect George and they leave. Fortunately for The Doctor and Liz, Channing is too preoccupied with his plans to question George too much.

 General Auton brings the final energy unit, the swarm leader, to Channing. They discuss that they don’t need Hibbert any more. Channing places the unit in a machine, and the growing thing in the other machine reacts, pulsating. Channing tells General Auton that in just a few more hours, at dawn, the Autons will be activated.

 An exhausted Liz helps The Doctor fiddle (ruh roh, fiddling again) with some wires in the lab. It’s after 5am and she’s having trouble staying awake.

 We see a street scene in London and the camera focuses on a store display window. Suddenly, the mannequins inside come to life, their hands extending pistols. Elsewhere, the scene is repeated. The mannequins march into the street, randomly shooting people, bystanders, bicyclists, policemen.

 At the UNIT HQ, the Brig gets a report that all over the country window dummies are on the rampage.

 At the plastics factory, Hibbert is trying to sabotage the machines. Channing confronts him. When Hibbert demands to know who, what he is, Channing replies that they are the Nestene, they colonise other worlds and now they have come to Earth. An Auton kills Hibbert, vaporising his body.

 The Doctor, Liz, Brigadier and a UNIT team break into the factory, but General Auton arrives with some soldiers, but The Doctor uses his new weapon to take out the Auton General. (And at that moment, Real Scobie suddenly comes to life, surprising everyone in the waxworks museum.)

 The Doctor and Liz sneak away from the soldiers and start using the machine on the Autons they come across. The soldiers (UNIT and regular Army, all under the Brig now) fight a large group of Autons.

 The Doctor and Liz make it to the secret room in the factory, where Channing waits. The Doctor and Channing make boasts at each other. Channing flips some switches on the incubator and the process speeds up. The sonic/electronic weapon doesn’t work for some reason and Liz can’t get it to work.

 The Doctor is grabbed by tentacles from the incubator as Liz looks rather stupidly on. Finally, she gets back to work on the weapon, gets it working, and The Doctor uses it on the Nestene. As it flails and screams, the Autons all about collapse, no longer animated by the Nestene.

 Back in the lab, the Brig asks if the Nestene will try again. The Doctor says that because they’re a telepathic race, it’s very likely the others know what happened here and they very well could try again. The Brigadier asks if they could count on his help, and The Doctor says they need to discuss some terms.

 The Doctor doesn’t want money, he wants facilities and equipment to repair the TARDIS, help from Miss Shaw. And he wants to keep the car that he stole from the hospital bigwig, but the Brig says it must be returned… however, he agrees to find The Doctor something similar.

 As he turns to get the paperwork prepared, he stops and asks The Doctor’s name.

 “Smith. Doctor John Smith,” the time lord replies, with a charming smile… and the credits roll.

 A good start – definitely a different approach. Still the same mix of humour and adventure, though more action to the adventure than we’ve seen in the previous Doctors.

 A good solid serial, introducing the Nestene Consciousness and the Autons, whom we have not seen the last of. In fact, those of you who jumped aboard with “Rose”, you saw the Nestene was the first threat we saw the Ninth Doctor deal with!  

Advertisements