Pretty sure this is one I’ve not seen before.

Episode 1:

we open with a dark setting, a covered street perhaps? A lone figure, a woman in a coat, walks, seemingly tired, depressed, dazed? She sits down on a bench, but a man approaches her, saying it’s dangerous for her to sit out here.

She says she doesn’t care, “Let them find me.”

He says she doesn’t have to be alone, there’s a place for people like them, to go and engage in their depression. She seems interested. He gives her his card, which reads “SILAS P.” He tells her to read the other side, and she flips it over, only to discover he’s working undercover for the Happiness Patrol.

(Happiness is Mandatory, Citizen?)

He blows a whistle, saying, “Time to get really depressed.” A group of women in white outfits and pink/multicoloured hair walk up with rifles. One says, “Have a nice death,” and they aim at her.

Nearby (?), the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor and Ace exit, talking about dinosaurs. She asks where they are, complaining about the “lift music” (what we call Muzak (or elevator music if you don’t want to challenge their trademark, I suppose) that’s playing in the common area.

He says it’s an Earth colony from her future. He asks if she likes it, she says no, and he agrees. When he asks her why, she says, “Too phony, too happy.”

Yes, I’ve been hearing disturbing rumours about Terra Alpha,” he tells her. You know, I do like that this Doctor isn’t wandering aimlessly in space as so many others have before him. It seems, more often than not, he goes where he needs to be.

(And, yes, I get that many of the other Doctors did, as well, either through the manipulation of the Time Lords, or the whim of the TARDIS herself.)

He says there are rumours of “something evil” and they’re there to “get to the bottom of it.”

spoiler warning

Silas P is presented with his third badge by a woman in red. Silas is wearing a pink uniform, which isn’t very flattering. She compliments him on “forty-five Killjoys to your credit, I’m very happy!” Killjoys are those who aren’t happy, it seems.

He corrects her that it’s forty-seven, but she tells him that she does the counting. He quickly apologises. She compliments him on his initiative and says she’ll see that he’ll go far. He says he’s aiming for the top, but she comments, “Not quite the very top, I hope, Silas P?”

Ace and The Doctor wander the streets, encountering a man who demands to know their names. When Ace says, “Ace,” he gives her a hard time, saying no nicknames, just real names. He threatens to report her for it.

Ace says she smells something and wanders off. The Doctor asks the gentleman’s name, but he says he doesn’t have to give it, as he’s on “official business” from “Galactic Centre”. When The Doctor questions how he know he’s telling the truth, the man hands over a long slip of firm paper, saying it is his ID.

The man’s name, according to the ID, is Trevor Sigma; The Doctor mentions that his nickname in college was “Theta Sigma,” which elicits and reprimand of “No nicknames,” from Trevor.

Several Happiness Patrol members patrol in a silver dune buggy. They pull up to the TARDIS and begin to mark it.

The Doctor and Ace confer, saying something is up and they have to put a stop to it right away. He says first step is to get themselves arrested.

The find the Happiness Patrol paining the TARDIS pink. The Doctor says it looks rather good. One of the Patrol says he looks unhappy, but he says he’s just admiring their handiwork.

The Doctor realises they’re expected, even required to be happy, so he asserts that both he and his companion are happy. When Ace mocks the HP member’s gun, the woman shoots a nearby light to demonstrate it is real enough.

She levels her gun at them, saying if they’re from off-world they are to stay “within the specified tourist zones.” When it seems she’s not going to arrest them, The Doctor points out they don’t have their tourist badges. The HP woman tells her Patrol fellows that the man is a spy and Ace is his accomplice.

The rest of the Patrol comes over, leveling their guns at them, as the one keeps talking, saying “he will disappear and she will audition for the Happiness Patrol”.

The Doctor questions that the HP is, but she says only, “You’re under arrest.”

The woman in red returns home to find her pink-outfitted… husband, I’m guessing, watching a video marked Routine Disappearance Number 499,987, which shows the woman who Silas P tricked into outing herself screaming.

She tells him to shut it off, as it’s for her eyes only, and says he’s missing her broadcast. She turns it on, but he starts to get up, but she pushes him down, saying he should watch it.

Ace and The Doctor are brought in a room where people are playing games of chance. The Doctor gives a tip to a man and he plays, but loses. He says he doesn’t mind losing, as he doesn’t like the prize.

Ace asks what the prize is, and the machine starts to play a video. The man tells her she’s about to find out – so I guess he won, then? This makes little sense.

The woman in red appears to tell a joke, “Did you hear about the Killjoy who won an outing with the Happiness Patrol? He was tickled to death.” There’s a laugh track, and she signs off, “Enjoy yourself.”

The Doctor and the man grouse about the joke; The Doctor asks who wrote it and he says he did. “I used to be head gag writer, back when I was Harold F. Then my brother disappeared. I went to look for him. I heard of other disappearances.” They caught him trying to contact Terra Omega and “regraded me to Harold V” and brought there.

Ace asks why they just don’t leave, what’s keeping them, but Harold V goes back to the machine.

The Doctor approaches a woman in pink (like the HP members, not sure if she’s one of them or another assignment) and asks if this is a prison. She says of course not, “This is the Waiting Zone. We don’t have any prisons on Terra Alpha, miserable places!”

The Doctor asks if they’re free to leave, and she says it’s not a prison, but if they cross a line (literally on the floor), he’s a “dead man”.

We see the woman in red’s (presumed) husband, who she referred to as Joseph C in her broadcast, enter a room. A man is tied and Joseph C apologises to him, but says they have to be fair.

Harold V is telling The Doctor about Helen A and the rules against listening to slow music, wearing dark clothes, reading poems (limericks are permitted, however.) Walking on the rain, on your own, without an umbrella, is an offense as well.

Ace asks why people don’t stand up to her, but Harold says they’re scared. The Doctor reminds Ace of the HP. The woman is paying the three of them a lot of attention.

Harold says that the HP are “the nice side of her regime. Do you know who the Kandy Man is, Doctor?” He asserts that he is dangerous, doing dangerous experiements and he needs guinea pigs, and that’s why they are there.

Helen A asks one of her men what the Kandyman has cooked up for them tonight. He tells her a strawberry fondant surprise, which delights her, as that’s her favourite.

The woman in the unPrison watches the conversation continue. Harold tells them that the Kandyman is one of three ways people disappear – the other two being “The Late Show at the Forum” and “something else.” He says rumour has it being a firing squad.

Joseph C sentences the man to the severest penalty decreed by Helen A. The Happiness Patrol are dismissed and the man looks about confused. In her office, Helen A (who is watching this on a monitor), presses a button and a tube lowers down, engulfing the man.

We see what must be the Kandy Man, who looks like a robot made out of candy, in his kitchen. An alarm goes off, a red bulb in the wall flashes. The Kandy Man pulls a lever, setting machinery in motion. Dramatic music plays. A pipe fills with red liquid.

The tube around the condemned man raises, spilling red liquid everywhere, as the man’s body collapses. Joseph C announces, “the fondant supreme!”

The Doctor looks at his fob watch. “Time to go, Professor,” Ace asks. He says they’ve learned enough, but they have a lot to do. They tell Harold that they’re going to escape, but he says (loudly, alerting the woman who’s been watching them) “There is no escape.”

The man with Helen A says he must leave, but she says they’re not done yet, there’s still the man’s brother, Harold V. (Ahah, so the executed man was the disappeared brother.)

Families are very important to people’s happiness,” Helen A says. It’s almost sinister the way she does so. On the screen we see The Doctor, Harold V and Ace. Helen A presses the button again and Harold is electrocuted through the video gambling machine he’s playing on.

I think he got a buzz out of that,” the matron/overseer says. Ace yells at her to shut up, but The Doctor tries to get his companion to stand down. He checks on Harold, but the matron keeps with the bad jokes and Ace all but loses her temper.

The Doctor grabs her as she struggles with him, telling her to save it, “You’re no good to me like this,” he tells her. She calms down, telling him, “I want to nail those scumbags. I want to make them very, very unhappy.”

Don’t worry, Ace, we will,” he promises her.

Okay, time for a break from narration. You know, I think I was very, very wrong about this Doctor. I’ll be honest, I’d only seen… three, maybe four complete serials of his, and a few other episodes. But, still, that didn’t stop me from judging him.

And you have to understand, Colin Baker was my number two Doctor, growing up. Tom Baker will always be number one in my heart. As a youth, I never saw much of One through Three, Five didn’t really grab me like Four and Six did. And we didn’t see enough of Six, so when Seven came along, I was devastated. And the first serial, Time and The Rani, well, it’s not very good.

And the final serial of the original run, one of the others I’ve seen all the way through, isn’t very good either.

The Kandy Man is working in the kitchen when the man who was with Helen A enters. The Kandy Man (who has a shrill voice) asks, “What time do you call this?” In response, the man chops something on a cutting board.

The Happiness Patrol remove Harold’s body. The Doctor asks the matron about the waiting zone’s go-kart, which is sitting there, and what she would do it they were to commandeer it. She says she would do nothing.

The Doctor returns to Ace, “You’re right, it is booby-trapped.”

Helen A feeds her pet, some vicious hedgehog looking thing in a cage.

Ace and The Doctor mess around with the go-kart. The matron asks what they’re doing, they say nothing and assert they’re not trying to start it. She runs off, as The Doctor finds the bomb and works at diffusing it while Ace natters to let her try.

He gets it taken care of, she starts it up and they drive off. They leave, passing the pink TARDIS as they drive about.

A man walks around, playing a harmonica. Someone watches him from a manhole; the watcher has weird a skin condition (or perhaps is an alien.)

The go-kart seems to have stopped; The Doctor is upside down (ok, I’ll confess, I’m not overly keen on the physical comedy aspect of this Doctor. I know McCoy’s stand-up comedy was big on the physical stuff, but it’s unnecessary, most of the time.)

The Happness Patrol wanders and Ace runs out, waving them down, saying she’s ready for the Happiness Patrol auditions. “The question is,” she adds, “are they ready for me.” She is escorted off.

The Doctor gets the go-kart running and realises Ace has wandered off. Seeing the HP coming, he hops in the kart and drives off. The HP fire at him, but fortunately, they’re as accurate as Stormtroopers.

Ace is playing the spoons, but the HP escort says it’s no good. The girl asks if she knows jokes or songs, but Ace only knows sad songs.

The man playing the harmonica is approached by the HP. They slap a smiley face sticker on him and walk off.

The HP escort with Ace tells her she’s tired of pretending she’s happy. “Better to let it end.” Ace says she’s not HP material anyhow and agrees with her, it’s not good to smile when it doesn’t matter.

The HP girl gives her a key, saying she’ll close her eyes and when she opens them, Ace can be gone. (I wonder if there was more to this that was cut/not filmed for time, that explains where this comes from? Or perhaps it’s a set up?)

The Doctor continues to tinker with the kart. Silas P walks over and sits down at the nearby bench and pretends to be a dissident, telling him about a place, a secret place where they’re planning something. He gives The Doctor his card, same routine, but as he blows the whistle, the harmonica man knocks out Silas.

You must be a musician,” The Doctor says.

Sort of,” Harmonica replies. (Not his name, just my way to refer to him for now.)

Your timing’s good,” The Doctor says and follows Harmonica when he says they should go.

The Happiness Patrol arrives, “You look unhappy, Silas P,” they say and open fire on him. Okay, that makes no sense. Or maybe that was because he said he was aiming for the top?

Harmonica drags The Doctor away. They make introductions and Harmonica is named Earl Sigma. I like Harmonica better. He says he’s a psychology student and is a visitor, thus the Sigma nomenclature. He was traveling the colonies, paying his way through music, “But I sorta got stuck here.”

Hearing the Patrol vehicle, they head off, The Doctor wanting to meet the Kandy Man. They end up at the kitchen.

Ace runs through the corridors, but ends up face to face with a HP gun.

The Doctor and Harmonica hide under a table as Kandy Man’s assistant comes in, complaining out loud about the demands on them. Kandy Man pops up out of nowhere, shrilly demanding where his specimens are.

The assistant continues to rant. Kandy Man repeats his question and the assistant says “the just nipped under the table.”

Kandy Man looks and says there’s nobody there. The assistant looks, saying he swore they were there.

The Doctor and Harmonica dash for the exit, but a jail door slides, cutting them off.

Welcome to the Kandy Kitchen, gentlemen,” the Kandy Man says.

I’m sure the pleasure is all ours,” The Doctor says.

I do hope so. I like my volunteers to die with smiles on their faces,” the robot says, moving forward, menacingly… and the credits roll.

Not a bad cliffhanger. Decent story so far, lots of silly bits, but hey.

See you Wednesday.