Archives for posts with tag: ben

I originally watched this back in February 2012; that was a LOOSE CANNON fan reconstruction, as two of the episodes were missing.  Two years later, they released it on DVD with the missing episodes redone through animation (and the original audio track.)

If you want a play-by-play of the episodes, read my original entry here.  This will be a much shorter post with just some thoughts on the new production and whatever pops in my head.

The first episode is one of the lost ones, so it’s animated.  The animation is the same style done in THE POWER OF THE DALEKS (also a Second Doctor serial, in fact, his first) – it’s not the best, but I don’t mind it.  It works.  It’s done in black and white, like the remaining video is.

Early on, we exposed to how stupid some writers thought Polly should be; they arrive on the Moon and she thinks The Doctor got them to Mars, as promised.  (I seem to recall that, in some serials, Polly was especially stupid, and in others, wasn’t stupid at all and actually quite useful.)

The second episode is video; it repeats the ending of the first, and we see a Cyberman carry out one of the patients from the sickbay.  Polly walks in and sees it, uttering a scream.  The Cyberman exits before others come in behind Polly, so they don’t see it.

She claims it was a Cyberman, but Hobson, the head of the Moonbase dismisses the claim, saying that was a thing of the past.  (Ben and Polly, of course, were the First Doctor’s companions during the introduction of The Cybermen.)  It’s interesting that the original show didn’t have Earth people continually forget every time there was an invasion of aliens.  It’s one of the few things about the new run that I really don’t like.

Some very silly shit happens in this episode, like The Doctor taking off a man’s boot while he’s busy working, trying to fix the malfunctioning weather control device.

Jamie, who’s taken a blow to the head (and is in the sickbay, as a result) is “fever-dreaming” of “the phantom piper”, some sort of Grim Reaper for him.  He sees a Cyberman twice during his less than lucid phase, thinking it’s said Grim Reaper.

Episode three is animated.  The voices of The Cybermen are really hard to understand, so I’m grateful for the subtitle function on the DVD.

Jamie and Ben argue, seemingly trying to impress Polly… and then when they go off to use Polly’s idea (acetone on The Cybermen), Ben tells her, “this is men’s work.”  Good for her, though, she ignores him.  (This episode is one where she’s more useful than others.)

Obviously, this was before gold/gold dust was determined to be the weakness of The Cybermen; they refer that radiation was used against them the first time, but this story they use a “Polly cocktail” of various chemicals, sprayed on the chest units of The Cybermen.

The animation gets a little cheaper/poorer quality in a couple scenes this episode.  Guess the budget got a bit tight.

Episode 4 is original video; it opens with The Cybermen marching across the surface of the Moon towards the Moonbase.  It’s a great scene… doesn’t compare to the CGI’d masses of Cybermen we get nowadays, but it’s still quite effective.

Apparently, travel time from Earth to the Moon in 2070 is just a matter of hours.  I look forward to that!

Anyhow, a fun serial with some significant flaws (common to the first several years of the show, sadly.)



So, Monday Nov 14th, I went and saw POWER OF THE DALEKS at the Regal Pavilion Stadium 14 & RPX in Port Orange, FL.

I really enjoyed it.  There was a few moments of adjustment to the animation style – the way they moved at times wasn’t the smoothest, but before long the story sucked me in and I didn’t notice or care any more.

Going into the show, I wasn’t 100% sure which story Power of the Daleks was; to be honest, I was thinking it was EVIL OF THE DALEKS – which introduced one of my least favourite (ie, most annoying/useless) companions, Victoria Waterfield.  (I didn’t check to confirm, because I didn’t want to “spoil” myself, as my recollection was obviously not the best.)  So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it wasn’t, that it was the first story of Patrick Troughton as The Doctor, and had Ben and Polly as the companions (much more palatable than Victoria, believe that.)

Seeing this on the big screen was great fun; there wasn’t a big crowd, sadly, as I was one of maybe twenty, twenty-five tops, in the theatre.  But it was good to do it in the theatre with others.

I imagine they’ll be putting this out on Blu Ray; I certainly hope so.

A six part serial, only episodes 1 and 3 remain in full video – for the rest, I have the reconstructed Loose Cannon episodes. The intro is with Anneke Wills, and sadly she gives a big spoiler about the story right off – so if you watch it, you may wish to fast forward through her intro until after you’ve watched the serial.

Episode 1:

 The opening sequence shows an airport and the TARDIS appears on the runway. Jamie sees a plane coming in for a landing and thinks it is a “flying beastie” and he and The Doctor and companions run from it. Being spotted by a police officer, the four scatter.

 In the control tower, they receive word from the pilot of the plane that there’s a police box on the runway, but find it hard to believe. The Commandant callls in a report to the airport police to investigate. Two cops/security get on motorcycles – they’ve got realy cool long coats and helmets, looking rather stormtrooperish. (Not so much Star Wars stormtroopers, more the fascist militia kind.)

 The TARDIS is place on the back of a lorry, and brought in. Jamie and The Doctor are together, hiding among the planes. We see Polly by herself and she ducks into a hangar marked Chameleon Tours. Two men enter, but she hides behind some crates. They seem to be arguing and the one man dressed as a piot shoots the other (wearing civilian garb) with a futuristic looking pistol. Presumably he’s dead, and the pilot covers the body with a tarp.

 The pilot then goes into another room while Polly watches. He opens a secret door and steps into a small room, where he contacts someone via a video device, saying there’s been trouble. He explains that someone found “the post cards”. Polly triggers an alarm and the pilot exits to pursue her. She was checking on the body and we see the corpse’s hand sticking out – it looks strangely disfigured. Polly runs and escapes.

 The motorcycle cops bring in the police box and report via phone to the Commandant, who is amazed that it is, in fact, a police box. His assistant questions if it might be a student prank.

 Polly reunites with Jamie and The Doctor and tells them about the murder. She whines a bit, but we’re used to that by now. Aren’t we?

 The murderer and the man he called for assistance (also in a pilot’s uniform) check the body – it turns out the victim was a Detective Inspector of the police department. They arrange for the disposal of the body. The detective’s wallet are put into some unit, along with some suitcases, to be destroyed.

 The two men are back in the secret room, when the alarm is triggered – on the security screen, they see The Doctor, Jamie and Polly. The Doctor discovers that the detective has been electrocuted and says that such a weapon hasn’t been invented on this planet yet. The two men hear this and are concerned about his knowledge. The murderer’s associate (apparently his superior) gives him orders to “get the girl”, and they’ll deal The Doctor later.

 Polly is grabbed as she follows The Doctor and Jamie as the three of them head towards the main building. She’s kept from crying out and they have no idea she’s been grabbed. The murderer (I think his name is Spencer) brings her back to their secret room for interrogation.

 Jamie and The Doctor are seen returning back to Chameleon Tours, but they find no sign of Polly and leave to report everything to the authorities. At the immigration desk, they run into an officious bureaucrat, Jenkins, who detains them and calls the Commandant.

 Ben is spotted skulking around and happens to slip into the hangar for Chameleon Tours. He runs into the murderer, but pretends to be a new member of airport staff and Spencer escorts him out.

 The Commandant questions The Doctor and Jamie, but he finds their story hard to believe, but eventually agrees to go to the hangar to see the body. When they get there, the body has been removed. The Commandant brings them back to the immigration desk while he calls the police, and Polly shows up as if getting off a flight – she doesn’t seem to know them and says her name isn’t Polly.

 The two conspirator pilots are seen escorting a man into a medical station in the airport. The person’s arms are heavily bandaged and his(?) head, seen from the back only is inhuman looking… and the credits roll.

 Interesting start, lots of mystery, thumbing the nose as bureaucracy. I’m quite interested to see where this goes…

 Long story short, it’s a very good episode, a lot of fun. Many of the incidental characters are well written and acted and there’s character growth in these six episodes.  It’s interesting to note that there’s a connection between this serial and one of David Tennant’s episodes, but it’s not a story connection, but an actor one.  You’ll have to read through to the end to find out, though.

Episode 2:

 In the medical station, we see a man is on one of the beds, unconscious.

 The Commandant questions Polly, who insists she is from Zurich. She provides a passport, proving her identity. She even has a work permit. When the Commandant calls the police, Jamie and The Doctor run. 

 Back at the medical station, Spencer’s associate/boss (his name is Blade, though I don’t know that’s come up in story yet) and Spencer tend to the faceless humanoid (it’s like he’s been skinned) who is in one bed. Next to him is the man we saw earlier. A nurse is present and seems to be part of their little group. She fetches two armbands, one attached to Meadows (the man, an air traffic controller) the other the faceless one. Headbands with electrodes and discs are attached to both. Blade says Meadows may be useful to them because of his position.

 They activate some machinery; Meadows body twitches, the other is completely still.

 In the concourse, two policemen search for Jamie and The Doctor. Jamie and The Doctor sit nearby, each holding a newspaper up to obscure their faces. (Jamie’s is upside down.) The policemen move off.

 The Doctor explains that he doesn’t think it was Polly at all that they met earlier, much to Jamie’s confusion.

 “You don’t want to believe everything you see, Jamie.” – The Doctor.

 The Doctor notices an advertisement in the paper about Chameleon Tours for budget tours for the younger crowd – 18 to 25 year olds. The Doctor suspects the ad is bait. He explains to Jamie what a chameleon is, and feels there’s something strange.

 Ben shows up and The Doctor says they need a place to hide. Ben says he knows the very place and they head off.

 The faceless one’s face changes, becoming identical to Meadows. Blade and the nurse help him sit up. The chameleon has difficulty speaking and Blade adjusts a dial on the chameleon’s armband. He is able to speak properly. They test his sense of smell and eyesight. Then, he’s quizzed on who he is – he answers all the questions properly – apparently the transfer is more than physical.

 The Doctor and his companions spot “Polly” working at the Chameleon Tours desk. He approaches her and confronts her, questioning her; this confuses her and some of Polly’s memories seem to break through whatever’s been done to her. The Doctor and Ben and Jamie head off to talk privately. Blade had been watching from an office and calls her in – she’s apparently one of the faceless ones, from the way they talk.

 Meadows is seen relieving a controller in the tower. The Commandant is watching from his perch, attended by his assistant Jean. The Commandant has a visitor, Detective Inspector Crossland. Crossland is looking for Gascoigne (the man Spencer murdered earlier) who was, ironically, investigating a disappearance of a passenger from a charter flight (obviousy, Chameleon Tours.)

 Ben’s great hiding place is a photo booth, where all three men jam in. Jamie is confused about where they’re hiding. The Doctor isn’t sure whether Polly is Polly or someone else. There’s a “comedic” moment as someone pulls open the curtain so the three men pretend to be posing for a photograph (well Ben and The Doctor do, Jamie just looks around.)

 They split up – Ben is free to walk around (the police are not looking for him), and The Doctor wants to speak to the Commandant. Jamie is told to keep an eye on Polly.

 Jamie wanders around, quite overwhelmed by his surroundings.

 Polly is approached by a woman about her brother, who’s disappeared from the tour. She mentions receiving a postcard from Rome from her brother – obviously part of the cover-up, since Spencer killed Gascoigne because he found “the postcards”. Polly asks the woman to wait and goes into the back office, where she uses the video device to try to contact Blade, but is told he’s not available. The young woman is asked to wait and she goes and sits next to Jamie, who starts asking questions about her missing brother.

 Jean tells the Commandant there’s a man to see him about a dead body. The Commandant gets on the phone to summon the police. When the police arrive, The Doctor pretends to pull out a grenade and throws it at them; he runs off, but it’s only a small rubber bal.

 Polly is given instructions to get rid of the girl, “close the kiosk and get on the next flight.” She brusquely dismisses Samantha, who goes back to Jamie and tells him what happened.

 Ben returns to the Chameleon Tours hangar. He opens one of the large cases there, only to find Polly inside! She’s motionless, eyes wide open. He runs into the office and uses the phone to try to reach The Doctor.

 The Doctor arrives at the kiosk and Jamie tries to introduce him to Samantha, but he’s intent on talking to Polly. He goes in the back office, sees the video communicator and searches around, finding postcards and unused foreign stamps.

 The video monitor comes on and shows Ben on the phone. Spencer appears on the screen behind Ben and The Doctor calls out. Spencer blasts Ben with the same device he used to capture Polly and Ben is rendered immobile. The Doctor calls out helplessly to his companion.

 Spencer and Blade talk about expecting The Doctor.

 Crossland is talking to Jenkins at Immigration Desk #5 (he’s the officious guy who gave The Doctor and Jamie a hard time.) Crossland is asking about Brian Riggs (Samantha’s missing brother) as well as his colleague, Detective Inspector Gascoigne. Jenkins fills Crossland in on the disturbance that morning involving The Doctor and Jamie.

 As Jamie and Samantha talk, a flight attendant enters the kiosk and makes announcements for Chameleon Youth Tours flight to Zurich. They wonder what happened to Polly.

 The Doctor has arrived at the Chameleon Tours hangar, searching for Ben. He finds the weapon that Spencer used on Ben on the floor (great place for it.)

 The flight attendant is talking to the youth tour travelers, saying they have postcards for them – if they want, they can fill them out in advance and she’ll post them for them from Zurich. Samantha asks one of the travellers for his post card and realises that this could explain how she got one from her brother.

 As they’re about to try to find The Doctor, Crossland appears and tells Jamie he wants a word with him.

 The Doctor opens one of the crates as Spencer watches over the monitor. In the crate, The Doctor is shocked to find Meadows sitting there, motionless. Spencer uses the PA to trick The Doctor into a room, where he is locked in and gas is pumped into the room – gas that has a freezing effect… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 (the other full video episode)

 The Doctor plugs the gas flow and covers the camera with his jacket, forcing Spencer to come up. Feigning unconsciousness, he blasts Spencer with his own weapon, freezing the pilot and then flees the hangar.

 Jamie and Samantha are talking to Crossland when The Doctor arrives. He identifies the picture of Gascoigne as the corpse they found in the hangar.

 Spencer recovers as Blade returns to the hangar. He informs Blade that The Doctor escapes. Blade is preparing to fly to Zurich. He orders Spencer to stay behind and kill The Doctor, to make up for his incompetence.

 Crossland tells The Doctor to come with him to talk to the Commandant. They leave Samantha and Jamie behind, but she talks him into coming along with her while she goes to check out the hangar.

 The Commandant finally believes there was a body, but both he and Crossland have trouble believing The Doctor’s story. But he finally makes some headway.

 In the hangar, Samatha finds a folder of postcards, all previously filled out. She and Jamie leave to go to the Commandant’s office. They burst into the control room to deliver them to The Doctor and he shows them to Crossland and the Commandant.

 Meadows reports back to Spencer, informing him what happened in the control room. Spencer gives Meadows a device to attach to The Doctor – he has a remote device he can use to activate it that will “take care of him”.

 Meadows returns to the control room and attempts to place the device on The Doctor. After several botched attempts, he finally manages to do so, just as The Doctor, Samantha and Jamie leave.

 Crossland questions Spencer at the Chameleon kiosk; he wants to speak to the man in charge, who Spencer says is Captain Blade. He says Blade is getting ready to depart on a flight, but gets permission from Blade to send the detective out to the plane.

 Crossland gets on the plane as the youths are boarding and ends up being taken prisoner by Blade and the flight attendant.

 The Doctor and Jamie find the secret room in the Chameleon hangar. The use the monitor set and see the first aid post. They leave to head there, but Spencer activates the disc on The Doctor’s back. He falls down in pain, but Jamie removes it and stomps on it.

 The plane is in flight on the way to Zurich. As Crossland watches (from the seat he’s tied up in) Blade activates some dials and all the youths in the seats disappear… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 Spencer confronts Jamie in the hangar, holding him at gunpoint. Samantha tries to help Jamie, but in the struggle he hits both of them with his freeze pen. He lays their immobilised bodies next to where The Doctor is on the floor and sets up a laser cutter, which starts a beam across the room, moving towards them. Like a villain in a badly written comic book or spy novel, he then leaves the room, assuming the death trap will work without staying behind to make sure.

 Jamie and Samantha discover they can talk but not move. So can The Doctor, though he wasn’t hit by the freeze ray. The laser comes closer… and Samantha discovers she can move one arm.

 We see Jenkins in the medical room, being fitted with the machinery to allow the nearby Faceless One to transform into his likeness.

 Samantha hands Jamie her compact and, since he can use his hand now, too, he’s able to use it to reflect the beam against the laser generator to destroy it. They slowly recover their ability to move and get up. The Doctor and Jamie head off to find the medical post while Samantha is sent to the Chameleon kiosk to watch for Spencer.

 “Jenkins” comes to and is given the same exam/quiz by the nurse. In the waiting room, The Doctor and Jamie arrive, the latter pretending to be ill. He tries to take Jamie into the X-Ray room, but the nurse won’t let him use it. Spencer and “Jenkins” watch from presumably the kiosk back room and see The Doctor talking to the nurse. They make plans to deal with The Doctor.

 The Doctor and Jamie show up at the control room, where Jean tells them Scotland Yard is trying to get in touch with Crossland. She tells them that Samantha went to the kiosk and The Doctor is upset about this – though, that’s precisely what he told her to do in the first place. He specifically told her to go and keep an eye on the kiosk to see when/if Spencer left it. He sends Jamie to go assist Samantha.

 Jean reports to the Commandant that all the destinations that Chameleon fly to report that they take people from there but never have any arrivals – and she’s checked many cities, all confirming the same. The Commandant calls the Roya Air Force, planning to have the planes followed, thinking they’re diverting to some private air field.

 The Doctor confers with Jean, telling her his suspicions about the medical center being somehow related to whatever’s going on.

 Jamie and Samantha are over by the kiosk. She’s planning to fly on the next Chameleon Tours flight, which is going to Rome, and she feels it’s better to do something than sit around. Jamie suggests going along with her, but he doesn’t have the lolly, the brass, the money. He kisses her, surprising her. They kiss again and he lifts her ticket from her bag while they’re kissing.

 After the Commandant has made arrangements for a jet to tail the next Chameleon flight, Jean pretends to faint. Nurse Pinto (from the medical centre) is very unhappy, but leaves to attend to her in the command room. This allows The Doctor the chance to slip and enter the X-Ray room, where he finds the transference chairs – obviously, far more advanced than X-Ray machinery.

 While The Doctor is poking around, he flicks a switch that, unbeknownst to him, opens a cabinet where the real nurse Pinto is stored. He closes it, poking around some more and collects several of the armbands. Jenkins slips in from another room, armed with the energy pistol and is aiming it at The Doctor, but just then a passenger enters the medical centre and Jenkins has to slip his gun in his pocket. The Doctor explains to the woman that he’s off duty, but indicates Jenkins, “This gentleman will be more than pleased to attend you.” (Well played, Doctor.)

 Nurse Pinto is checking on Jean, and when The Doctor returns, she claims to be feeling better. She says she didn’t have a lunch and the nurse scolds the Commandant for not letting his employees eat.

 The Commandant quickly catches on that Jean wasn’t sick, but The Doctor shows him the armbands, saying he’s not sure what they are but knows someone there would recognise them. He approaches Meadows’ work station, but the ‘man’ is not there. The Commandant says he’s off duty.

 Samantha is at the check in desk, but she cannot find her ticket. She finds out that an “S Riggs” has already checked in and was a boy. Ann receives a call from Spencer, who is watching from the back room, and Samantha is invited in. She recognises him and gasps, but he has a gun pointed at her.

 The Chameleon plane is allowed to take off, and the Commandant says they’ll be followed this time. The Doctor asks, “How high can a jet fly these days?” When he’s told ten miles, plus, his response is, “How futile.”

 On the plane, we see Ann making her way amongst the passengers, telling them they can unfasten their seatbelts. She sees Jamie isn’t feeling well and asks how he’s doing, but he says he’s fine… then covers his mouth and dashes for the bathroom.

 The RAF jet radioes in that he’s following at 10K feet.

 Captain Blade tells Ann that something is following them. He switches on a monitor and sees that it’s a fighter jet. Ann gives him a radar reading and he fiddles with some switches. There’s a flash of light and the jet spins out of control.

 As the control room watches the jet spin out of control on the radar, The Doctor points out that the Chameleon plane is standing still, it’s not moving at all.

 In the passenger area, Ann moves amongst the seats, pulling a small object off each seat and putting them in a box. She’s summoned into the cockpit, where Blade asks her some questions. She returns to collecting, but apparently has missed Jamie’s seat. (So the passengers are turned into these objects? Also, I was thinking Jamie was going to be in the bathroom still and not teleported off, which was my first guess what was happening… or turned into some small object, if that’s what’s going on.)

 The Commandant and The Doctor argue whether or not the Chameleon plane crashed or was taken upwards, into outer space.

 We see a (modern, done for the recon) animation of the plane flying straight up, where a space ship awaits. It opens bay doors on its bottom and the plane flies up into it. As they close, the credits roll. (Can only imagine what was done in the 60s for it – probably little model plane and big model space ship.)

Episode 5:

 Ann and Blade discuss how the Earth people are comparable to animals on their home planet. As they do, we see one of those animals (named Jamie), watching from a hiding place. (I had a feeling…)

 He starts to leave his spot after they leave, but two Chameleons board and start removing the hand luggage. Carefully, Jamie slips past them and out of the plane.

 Ann pours the contents of her container into a drawer (one of many drawers) in a storeroom. Jamie watches her depart and is about to follow her, but decides to go into the room instead. He finds the rack of drawers (three wide, tall as he his, each about five inches tall) and he opens one to find miniaturised humans inside!

 Ann catches him, and armed with a pistol, he’s taken prisoner by her and a Chameleon.

 The Commandant receives a call that the RAF pilot did not survive the crash of the plane. Just then Meadows comes in and The Doctor confronts him, demanding him to roll up his sleeve, to see if he has an armband. Meadows makes a break for it but Jean pushes a chair in his way and he falls and is caught.

 On Meadows’ left arm is a black armband with dials. The Doctor threatens to mess with the dials, but Meadows is horrified at the prospect. He answers The Doctor’s questions and we find out that his people had a horrible accident on their planet and they need 50,000 people… but not exactly what for is specified.

 Meadows agree to accompany The Doctor to the medical centre, to see where Nurse Pinto keeps her original (the person she was copied from.)

 Pinto is strapping Samantha down to a table. She contacts Spencer, who orders her to prepare Samantha for transference. The screen goes blank when The Doctor enters the medical centre. He’s accompanied by Meadows and two policemen and they confiscate her freezer pen weapon.

 Inside, The Doctor finds Samantha (whom he calls Sam) and frees her. Meadows helps The Doctor find the original nurse. Chameleon Pinto pulls out a gun and shoots one of the cops, but Meadows helps immobilise her. The original Pinto is placed on one of the beds and starts to recover.

 Samantha fills The Doctor in on the fact that Jamie was on the plane and he bemoans, “First Polly, Ben and now Jamie.”

 Jamie is seen in a room, where Crossland greets him; as they talk, we discover that the food and drink on the plane are the first step towards miniaturisation. It’s obvious that Crossland is actually a Chameleon, and we discover not only is he one, but he is their leader, the Director.

 The plane departs the satellite and flies downward to Earth. (It’s obviously been modified for traveling so far away from the surface of Earth.)

 The Commandant is giving a list by The Doctor of the Chameleons and is about to give an order to have them arrested. Since there’s only one Chameleon flight left, The Doctor wants to use the plane to get to the satellite.

 When Blade returns, he and Original Pinto (pretending to be Chameleon Pinto) bluff, saying that The Doctor is Meadows, re-transfered. Blade says the flight leaves in fifteen minutes. He leaves and the two head off to board as well.

 The Commandant receives a report that The Doctor and Nurse Pinto were seen boarding the plane, and that everyone else who boarded was airport staff of some sort. The Commandant has the airport security searching the premises for the original bodies of the humans the Chameleons took the identities of.

 On the satellite, we see Jamie has been copied and Crossland (The Director) is running him through the tests. Blade enters, to report that they’ve got two intruders – Nurse Pinto and The Doctor. Chameleon Jamie is asked what he knows of The Doctor and informs them that “he’s not of this Earth or this century, he has traveled through time and space. His knowledge is even greater than ours”. The Director denies Blade’s desire to kill The Doctor saying that he needs to live on, as one of them.

 The Doctor and Nurse are skulking about when Blade and several Chameleons confront them… and the credits roll.

Episode 6:

 The Commandant and Chief of Security are getting frustrated at their lack of finding the copied people. The Commandant gives an order to divert all planes (presumably to other airports) and goes on the PA to order all airport personnel to report to airport police for instructions, and apologises to the public for the temporary suspension of all outgoing flights. A massive search effort is then organised.

 Aboard the satellite, The Doctor is brought before the Director. The Director claims that his race is “the most intelligent race in the universe”. The Doctor comments on the Jamie Chameleon, saying it wasn’t a very good copy. He almost gets the Director to slip up and give out the location of the original Jamie. He tries to stir up resentment with Blade and Spencer over their not knowing where their originals are. He bluffs that the Commandant has the bodies and unless The Doctor speaks to him, he’s going to start processing the originals, starting with Blade’s.

 The Chameleons contact the Commandant; he’s quick enough to realise he needs to bluff, and does so.

 Jean and Samantha return to the Chameleon kiosk, looking for some paperwork about twenty-five cars.

 The Director has found out about Blade contacting the humans and orders the communication to stop. Blade’s figured out it was a bluff after all and admits as much to the Director, who orders for The Doctor’s processing to begin. The Doctor causes the processing unit to explode, but only postpones things as the Director sends the order for another unit to be brought there.

 Jean and Samantha are moving among the cars in a parking area, checking tags with a list. Meadows is skulking nearby and grabs Samantha. Jean rushes over and the two girls struggle with the Chameleon, eventually overpowering him.

 They discover that the original bodies are being kept in the cars in the parking lot. Police arrive and more are recovered.

 The Doctor and a Chameleon are hooked up for transference. Gatwick tries to contact the Chameleon ship to let them know they really found the bodies this time, but the Director says ignore them, they’re bluffing. The Commandant gives orders for a message to be sent and they release Jenkins from the device on his arm.

 On the ship, Chameleon Jenkins disintegrates, leaving only a pile of clothes and an armband.

 “They HAVE found them. They WEREN’T bluffing!” – Blade, talking to the Director.

 The Director is not terribly sympathetic to the danger his subordinates are in. Blade does not take kindly to this, and he and Spencer raise their guns at the Director and Chameleon-Jamie, demanding they contact Gatwick.

 Gatwick confirms they have found the bodies and then demands to speak to The Doctor, else Captain Blade is freed next. The Doctor makes a deal – the Chameleons can stay alive by returning the miniaturised people to their original state and deprocessing the originals they were copied from (safely, so they aren’t disintegrated). Blade and Spencer agree to The Doctor’s terms. When the Director and Chameleon-Jamie try to flee, Blade shoots them both.

 Original Jamie is recovered from a cabinet. Crossland is found in a nearby cabinet as well.

 The Doctor returns to the command centre, asking the Commandant for the return of his police box. He and Jamie say their farewells to the Commandant and Samantha… but Jamie finds it hard to say goodbye to the lass. They kiss again… and honestly, I thought she might be tagging along.

 Ben and Polly arrive with The Doctor at the hangar where the TARDIS is. Ben and Polly are reluctant to leave so soon. While they talk, they discover the date is July 20, 1966 – the same day they inadvertantly accompanied The First Doctor after helping him defeat WOTAN’s war machines.

 The Doctor is reluctant to see them stay… and Ben even offers that they’ll leave with him, “…if you really need us.” Polly says it’s their home and The Doctor replies, “Yes, I know. You’re lucky, I never got back to mine.” It’s a poignant scene. He tells them “Go on. Ben can catch his ship and become an admiral and Polly… Polly, you can look after Ben.”

 Hugs and handshakes all around and the two companions turn and leave, stopping to look, their faces a mix of happy and sad.

 The Doctor tells Jamie they’ve lost the TARDIS, it’s not where it was taken, and they set off to find it… and the credits roll.

 It’s always sad seeing companions leave, as long as they’re not annoying – I won’t (Vicki) name any (Vicki) names, though. (Vicki) Even when Susan left, it was sad and touching.

 A fun episode, I think it could have been done in four, maybe five episodes tops, by cutting out some of the bouncing around – this show does suffer at times from that (see especially The Dalek Master Plan, or even The Chase, though the latter was more entertaining in its unnecessary diversions.) Again, I find it ironic that I’m complaining that a British show is using too much time for a story, when these days, the British television programs tell much more powerful stories in half (or less) the episodes that most American tv shows have in a season. 

As promised – the actress who played Samantha, Pauline Collins, has a connection to a David Tennant episode. Now, before we get there, it’s worth noting that she was offered the chance to be a companion on the show after this serial, going off with Jamie and The Doctor, but she turned it down. She did return, many years later, to take the role of Queen Victoria in “Tooth and Claw”.  

A lost serial, only stills and fragments exist of all four episodes. Fortunately, Loose Cannon comes to the rescue.

Episode 1:

 We start with the first new opening sequence of the show – until now, it’s been the same opening sequence, but now this incorporates Patrick Troughton’s face into the sequence (a tradition that will last through the Seventh Doctor.. okay, the Eighth Doctor. But we do not like to talk about that horrible FOX movie.)

 The first scene is a group of drum majorettes performing for a group of people. There’s music and drum majoretting. The observers, workers at a colony, stand about, watching. Someone gives a little rallying speech, obviously some sort of leader type. Then an angry man is brought, or comes forth, not sure – definitely need a bit of narrative text here – he’s yelling “Out of my way!” Okay, I guess the guards were trying to restrain him, he broke free and ran out of the colony and the guards are sent after him. His name is Medok.

 Someone, a doctor seemingly, explains that Medok refused treatment in front of the guards, so he dismissed them and Medok made a run for it.

 Outside the colony, Ola (the doctor-ish person) and two guards give pursuit. Medok runs, the guards not too far behind. He slips behind a rock ledge just as the guards (men wearing uniforms with helmets and carrying what appear to be weapons) come around the bend and they pass his hiding place by.

 Just then, the TARDIS materialises; Medok hears it and goes to investigate. He watches as the travellers emerge. Jamie is carrying a large wooden club, explaining that he’s ready for the creature they saw on the time scanner. Medok charges out of hiding and tackles Jamie. Ben rushes to help his fellow traveller, while Polly screams uselessly. They subdue Medok as Ola and the two guards arrive (presumably brought by Polly’s shrieking.)

 Ola explains that Medok is one of their patients, and they’ve tried their best, but he keeps getting worse. Ola sends one of the guards back to report to the “pilot” of the colony what has happened. Medok is bound and Ola introduces himself as the Chief of Police. He’s a bit of a self-important poop.

 Ola brings the travellers to the Pilot, who thanks them and invites them to the “Refreshing Department” – Ben takes this to mean food, but the Pilot corrects him, “Oh, you will eat later, but here we refresh the body!”

 Jamie turns to Polly, quietly saying to keep her eyes open, he’s getting a bad vibe from them.

 At the Refreshing Department, an audio greeting from the Controller is played (while an image of him is projected on the wall, much to Polly’s appreciation of his dashing good looks. Does this mean she’s leaving during this serial? So far, just about every time a female companion has been attracted to a native, it ends with them staying behind… there’s only been a couple exceptions, and I think Polly had a connection earlier… hmm, not sure now.)

 Everyone here is very cheerful, very gleeful – too polite, too happy to see everyone. The Refreshing Department offers them some spa treatments and the like. (I understand that Anneke Wills got a haircut before this serial and they wrote in a haircut for her, though she wore a wig prior to the in story haircut.) The Doctor stands in a clothes reviver, which polishes his shoes, tidies up his clothing. He then, against recommendation, gets in a machine to tone up his muscles. He comes out, clothes rumpled, hair awry. I guess that’s more of the comic relief segment? Doesn’t seem very funny to me.

 Polly compliments Jamie heavily on his appearance.

 Elsewhere, Medok is brought through and everyone is told to stand back. Medok yells that they don’t know what’s going on in the colony. One of the colony workers tries to talk to him, saying they’re old friends. Medok goes on about creatures that infest the colony and things that he can see. The Controller’s voice comes over a PA and orders everyone back to work, and announces a reception for the strangers.

 Medok rants on about everyone “having fun while you can, before they CRAWL ALL OVER YOU!” as he’s taken away.

 We shift scenes and Medok is being placed in a cell, and for some reason The Doctor is there. Medok says to him, “You don’t belong here,” and The Doctor replies, “Do you belong here?” Ola and his guards lock up Medok and leave. The Doctor pokes around to make sure he is alone. He’s examining the lock (presumably on Medok’s cell?) and a young woman comes over to ask if she can help. He says no, but thanks her, and she smiles and moves off.

 Like Jamie, I can sense that there’s something quite odd about these people.

 The Doctor picks the lock to Medok’s cell and enters. He tells Medok that he’s going to set him free and cuts his bonds. The Doctor is curious about what Medok sees, but he is suspicious. They struggle and Medok dashes from the cell. An alarm is sounded and Ola and the guards try to apprehend The Doctor, but the Pilot intervenes.

 The Doctor drops a line about “things that crawl” and is warned to be careful of talking like that, it could get him taken in for treatment – much like Medok.

 The Controller’s image and voice plays for everyone, informing that all is being done for them, but Medok has escaped again. Ben complains that he’s like a politician and one of the colonists defends the honour of the Controller, saying he’s there to support them and bring them encouragement. Ben quips that he’s nothing like a politician, then.

 When Jamie asks the colonist what they do on the work shifts, his first response is “we work very hard”. When pressed for details, he explains they tap natural gas, but not just for heating, for many things. It is essential to the colony.

 The Doctor slips away from everyone and goes to where he saw Medok hiding earlier. He says he wants to know about the creatures. Medok tells him they only move at night and look like giant insects. The Doctor asks if they have big claws, which Medok confirms. Others have seen them too, but Medok says they have been reconditioned.

 Before their conversation can go much further, they hear Ben and the others calling out for The Doctor, and he slips away before Medok’s hiding spot is found out.

 Reunited with his companions, The Doctor explains he likes to wander at night. Ola informs him that there is a curfew as wandering at night is dangerous. They are escorted to their sleeping quarters back at the Refreshing Department. After their escort leaves, The Doctor slips out. The Controller’s voice/image comes up and announces to everyone that everyone will stay in – a dangerous man is on the loose and the patrols have been ordered to shoot on sight. “Happy Sleep Time, everyone.” – The Controller.

 The Doctor slips out of the colony and we hear strange sounds. He avoids a patrol of guards by hiding in the shadows. The guards definitely look like the stormtrooper type of guard – helmeted, with mirrored goggles, black uniforms. I bet they have jackboots, too. And of course, their weapons (guns, I gather.)

 The Doctor heads to the construction site, where Medok was hiding. We get some REALLY melodramatic music. Medok is peering through scaffolding, watching Ola and some guards arrive. Ola splits the group up, giving them orders to kill.

 The Doctor arrives where Medok is and tells him he’s there to help. Ola hears something and approaches with his guards. As they slip out through a crack, they stop and a giant crab-like creature is crawling towards them in the darkness… and the credits roll.

 Seems like we have another dystopian setting here, which always leads to a good story – see The Savages or The Ark. It’s been a while since we’ve had any Big Monsters, though usually they’re not so integral to the story, where in this one it seems they’re more essential and not incidental.

 This episode had a strong connection to a Tenth Doctor episode, but you’ll have to read through to find out, if you don’t already know it.

Episode 2:

 Medok starts ranting about how they have the proof, and Ola and the guards hear them. Ola isn’t interested in hearing The Doctor’s words to support Medok’s claims. Ola says they’ll be taken before the Pilot.

 The Pilot is dictating a letter to a secretary, who is transcribing it on a machine. An emergency call comes in, informing him that Ola has captured Medok as well as one of the strangers together.

 The Pilot informs The Doctor that he’s been accused of a crime. Medok claims that The Doctor wasn’t helping him, but trying to talk him into surrendering himself. The Doctor plays along and the charges are dismissed. Medok is taken away for reconditioning.

 When The Doctor asks why it’s important for Medok to be conditioned to be like everyone else, the Pilot explains that the colony was founded centuries ago from people from Earth and the values they established are held in high regard to this day. Everyone is to be happy and healthy and a viable part of the colony.

 The Pilot dismisses The Doctor, who is taken back to his sleeping chamber. The Controller informs the Pilot that The Doctor and his companions are to be conditions immediately. We only see The Controller’s image as a still, and I wonder if he’s somehow not human? Is he someone or something else pretending to be The Controller? When the Pilot informs him that his orders are being carried out, The Controller goes on a rant, “There is no such thing as Macra! Nobody believes in Macra! Macra does not exist! There are no Macra!” Very, very curious.

 We see Polly sleeping, and there’s a hypnotic voice telling her to believe that all in the colony is good, that she must obey orders, that the leaders know what is best. We see Ben and Jamie, also sleeping, also subjected to the hypnotic conditioning, telling them they will be glad to obey the orders they will receive in the morning to work, that they will “question nothing in the colony”. Jamie stirs uncomfortably, and wakes, rousing Ben.

 Ben is deeper asleep, and doesn’t want to wake up. Jamie says he heard an evil voice, but Ben says, “Get some sleep, we’ve got a hard day’s work in the morning.” Obviously, Ben has fallen prey to the conditioning. They both go back to sleep. Sleeping gas is in the air, and the voice tells them to breathe deeply. “In the morning, when you awake, you will obey.”

 The voice suddenly stops when The Doctor opens the door to check in on Polly. He pokes around the room, and sets off a device in the wall with a piece of wire. He’s obviously on to what’s going on. He wakes her up and tells her she’s been listening “to some very bad advice”.

 He leads her to the men’s shared cubicle and wakes them up. Ben argues with The Doctor’s attempt to find the device in the wall; Ben is obviously well under the sway of the hypnosis, and tells The Doctor “it’s not rubbish – Control knows what’s best for us.” He goes to turn The Doctor in, but Jamie restrains him. The Doctor orders Jamie to let Ben free.

 After Ben leaves, he explains to Jamie that Ben’s been affected, it’s not their friend betraying them. Ben returns with Ola, who is pleased to have evidence sufficient to arrest The Doctor. Jamie stands in his way and when Ola gives him an order to stand down, the clansman replies, “I take orders from no one but The Doctor!” That’s my boy!

 The Doctor tels Jamie to stand down, and the two of them are taken away by the guards.

 In the hospital, we see Medok strapped down, being subjected to coercive hypnosis, but it doesn’t seem to be working. The Pilot is supervising and receives a call that The Doctor has been brought to see him.

 Ben and Polly argue, back at their chambers. Polly rushes off, Ben gives chase. It looks like she ends up in the construction area. Ben is searching for her, calling out that she’s going to get in trouble. She’s apparently in the construction area – if they don’t want the colonists going out at night, why not make it harder to get out?

 Ben catches her and they struggle. She screams and he stops and asks “what’s the matter with you?” She says she saw a giant crab or something, but Ben sees nothing. She says it had claws like they saw on the time scanner. She can see it but Ben cannot see it, because of his conditioning. One of the creatures grabs her foot and she falls and flails and screams. Ben tries to help her (I guess he can see it now), hitting it with a sledge hammer or something and it lets go of her and scurries off.

 Polly cries (finally, a situation that actually makes sense for her to cry.) They’re surrounded by several, and she screams (again, understandably) as they try to escape.

 The Doctor and Jamie are in the Pilot’s office, being questioned. The Doctor admits to the Pilot that he destroyed the “nerve circuits” and while talking, finds one in the Pilot’s office, and shows the Pilot how he did it. The Pilot is very unhappy with him. As he’s scolding The Doctor, Ola arrives to say that Ben has another report for them, an urgent one.

 Ben and Polly are brought in. Polly explains that she was attacked by one of the crab creatures and Ben saved her. The Pilot questions Ben, specifically asking, “Did you protect her from one of these creatures… and were there such creatures?” Suddenly, Ben’s story changes, “No, there were no such creatures! There are no such creatures as Macra!”

 When The Doctor says that Ben has fallen under the spell of the evil in the colony, The Pilot insists that Control acts in the best interest of everyone. The Doctor asks, “Who is Control,” and the Pilot turns on the image of The Controller, who speaks to them, saying Polly has had a hallucination.

 Jamie says that’s not a Controller, it’s just a picture of a man. The Doctor says he wagers The Controller doesn’t exist and demands to see him. The Pilot is reluctant, but asks Control if the strangers might see him. The image of the young dashing Controller moves aside and we see an old man. The voice says, “This is your Controller!”

 The voice orders the Controller to speak and the old man looks about nervously.

The voice demands, “Tell the strangers to believe and obey!” He seems very confused, timid, almost terrified. He’s afraid of something, and from the side of the screen, a clawed hand reaches forward. The Doctor, Jamie and Polly exclaim about this while the Pilot presses a button and Ola and two guards enter.

 The Pilot tells the guards, “Take them away, they’re condemned to the pits!” and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 Ola and the guards push The Doctor, Polly and Jamie out of the room. The Pilot calls to the workship to instruct them to await the strangers. Control comes on the wall and tells him his orders are correct. Control orders Pilot to forget all that he saw. Piot obeys and gives Ben orders to keep an eye on his friends. (Which makes no sense, if they’re being sent to the pit to be slave labor.)

 Happy music is playing and The Doctor makes a joke about the rhyming in the song, “The man who wrote that should be sent to the danger gang, not us.” Jamie laughs, but Polly isn’t in laughing spirits, though. Jamie asks if it’s like a coal mine, and the technician there starts to explain about the gasses, but Ola cuts him off, barking orders not to waste time.

 Jamie (still talking to the technician) says, “Well, you don’t send an old man and a lassie down a mine to dig.” The Doctor takes offense, “Old? I’m not old, Jamie!” Ola leaves and Medok is brought in – he’s been working in the pit already, as part of the danger gang.

 The technician is ordered to take them down, and Polly and The Doctor argue over whether the other should stay behind as a supervisor. Eventually, The Doctor sees the wisdom of his staying above in the supervisor position while the others go below.

 Ben is there, apparently to keep an eye on them. The Doctor notices him skulking about and calls him over. The Doctor asks him what Control wants to know, since Ben is obviously there to spy on him, but Ben will not answer.

 We get a few video clips here and there and it’s wonderful seeing Patrick Troughton as The Doctor. His Doctor is so more… well, human, than the distant, crotchety First Doctor was. There’s a childlike wonder to this Doctor (a trait just about every following Doctor has, though some more than others.)

 In the mines, Jamie, Polly and Medok are working, dealing with a high pressure gas strike. They barely get it tapped off. The gas is poisonous, but Medok says nobody knows what it used for.

 The Doctor is poking about, and quite interested in some instrumentation. With some chalk, he starts writing formulae on the wall, working out an equation. The Pilot arrives while The Doctor was working out the equation, which apparently seems to be a secret known to only three people in the colony. The Pilot refuses to believe The Doctor worked it out on his own and accuses him of breaking into the secret files. The Pilot is adamant that The Doctor erase the equation before anyone else sees it.

 Polly asks about some other workers and Medok says they’re probing for more gas. Medok is working with the high pressure strike from before and the technician fiddles with it, tightening it too much and it bursts, engulfing the technician in gas.

 Jamie takes the technician’s keys. Ben arrives and helps the technician up and away. Jamie and Polly wonder if Ben saw him take the keys. Jamie tries to use the keys on a nearby lock. Polly is called over to help Medok as Jamie opens the door and slips into an unused shaft. When Medok finds out Jamie’s escaped, he dashes off to follow, and Polly stands there yelling, “Don’t leave me here!”

 Back in the supervisor’s area, Officia (the technician) hears the escape alarm and sends an order for the guards to search and kill on sight.

 Jamie is exploring the shaft. Medok is searching for Jamie, but is grabbed by a giant claw and cries out. Jamie hears the scream and asks who’s there, but nobody answers.

 The Controller countermands the order to go in the forbidden area, even to pursue the escaped prisoner(s). Ben announces that the escaped prisoner is Jamie – he did see Jamie take the keys, but he’s not sure why he didn’t report it. Ben seems to be fighting the mind control.

 Jamie finds Medok, but the colonist is dead. Jamie looks around, warily. In the darkness, he can see the faint shape of a Macra creature.

 Polly has returned to where The Doctor is. The Doctor is fiddling with test tubes and tubing, trying to analyse the gas.

 Ben is in the Pilot’s office, waiting for him. He’s still fighting the voices in his head. It seems he’s almost broken free of their spell over him.

 Jamie throws a stone at the Macra, but it advances.

 Officia says he’ll have The Doctor reported. The emergency alarm stops and Officia tells Polly that means the guards are closing in on Jamie.

 Jamie is squaring off against the Macra, prodding it with a large stick. Its eyes flick open when he does so.

 Ben is talking to Pilot and has apparently reported this. Control reinforces the order that nobody should go in the old shaft, even though Jamie is there. Control orders Officia to route gas into the old shaft. Polly hears it and is worried about Jamie, but The Doctor says the gas is too valuable to do so just to kill Jamie, there’s another reason.

 Jamie backs up from the Macra as it approaches. Jamie turns from the Macra to move away but finds another creature at the far end of the tunnel.

 Annoying music/song is piped over the PA at the same time there’s chiming and orders from Control coming over, too. The song is obnoxious. At Control’s command, Officia activates the gas. Jamie is coughing from the gas, but the Macra seem to gain strength from it.

 More gas, higher pressure is pumped in. The gas make the Macra less sluggish, more active. Jamie finds himself pursued by both Macra, and he’s trapped between them. This is so obviously the cliffhanger scene… yep, they close in… and the credits roll.

 Good tension in the scenes with Jamie, even if this is only a reconstruction with stills for the most part.

Episode 4:

 The Doctor and Polly are amongst the pipes, trying to find a way to help Jamie. The Doctor struggles to sort it out.

 Jamie has found a small crevice to wedge himself into. Salt crumbles from the walls.

 Officia is tinkering with instrumentation while The Doctor begins messing with one of the pipes, which Officia notices. The Doctor tries to play it off as helping. The Doctor gets Officia to reveal the inflow pipes and adjusts various settings.

 One of the Macra grabs Jamie by the foot and starts to pull him out of the crevice. Jamie’s struggling causes salt to come down in greater amounts.

 Officia calls for the guards, but Polly takes Officia’s keys and lock the doors (I thought Jamie had the keys.)

 Jamie’s struggling causes a partial cavefall, which seems to render the Macra unconscious or even dead.

 Control demands to know why the gas flow has ceased. Officia explains the travelers are to blame and Control says guards are on the way. There’s banging outside as the guards try to get in. The Doctor and Polly escape through another door, trying to lock it. The guards have broken in, but The Doctor manages to lock the second door. He and Polly find themselves in a chamber full of pipes. Polly starts whining because they suspect these pipes carry the poisonous gas.

 Jamie hears the hiss of gas start up again and hurries down the shaft, until he comes across some grating. He levers the grating enough to squeeze through and continue along the shaft.

 We see the colony cheerleaders being through their paces with some really obnoxious cheers. “We all know that Control is right and we must obey!” Jamie comes staggering out of a cupboard – that’s a great place for “forbidden area” to end up at, isn’t it?

 The head cheerleader takes Jamie to be a dancer, and just as Jamie is about to deny it, two guards poke their heads in, so he plays along. Jamie dances a “Highland Fling” which ends with himself flinging himself out the door, but unfortunately Ola, Ben and some guards are there.

 Ben identifies Jamie, but only with some difficulty… and he’s obviously troubled by his actions.

 The Doctor and Polly are moving along, when they hear voices. As they get closer, they hear Control’s voice ordering that the strangers must be taken, dead or alive! They peer through a porthole and see a Macra operating a console, and giving orders for the main shift to start working.

 The Macra operates the console and gas flows into the control room – the Macra are obviously dependent on the gas for survival. They decide to get the Pilot and bring him there – they feel if he sees this he cannot deny it any more.

 Ola brings Jamie to the Pilot and the two men get into an argument. As Ola accuses the Pilot of incompetency, saying there’s still two strangers missing, The Doctor and Polly show up. The Doctor razzes Ola and Pilot for having differences of opinions in such a happy colony.

 As The Doctor asks the Pilot to accompany him, Control comes online and orders everyone back to work, including the Pilot. The Pilot stands up to Control and Ola, and The Doctor and Pilot head off. Polly and Jamie talk and notice Ben has gone, too.

 We see Ben high in a gantry, watching as the Pilot and The Doctor enter. They push aside the heavy door and enter. Control announces the Pilot has no more authority and places Ola in charge. The order for Pilot’s arrest is announced and he and The Doctor hear it, as they approach the porthole.

 Pilot looks through and sees Control is a Macra. He is horrified and says they must be killed. The Macra realises that The Doctor and Pilot are there and announces it. The Doctor talks Pilot into rebelling.

 The Doctor and Pilot exit, to find Ola and a guard waiting. Pilot tries to explain about the Macra, and Ola says now he can deal with him. Control comes on, and Pilot accuses him of being Macra. Ola is ordered to lock the strangers in the pipe room. Control orders for the guards and workers to assemble in the meeting hall. He says that it will take precisely four minutes.

 Pilot, Jamie, Polly and The Doctor are in the pipe room and the room is flooded with gas. Control drones on, gloating.

 Outside the door, Ben bangs on the door. The Doctor gives him instructions on what to do with the pipe controls. Control yells helplessly, ordering Ben to stop, trying to convince him not to do it, but Ben is fully himself again, and he throws the lever as instructed by The Doctor. There’s a loud noise…

 Later, the drum majorettes and band are performing in the great hall again. There’s much applause and happiness. When the music comes down, the Pilot gives public thanks to the strangers. There’s a dance tournament announced, and the winner will be given the Stranger’s Trophy.

 Ben tells The Doctor there are plans to make him the next Pilot, and this is hardly what he wants, so he and his companions dance the Highland Fling out of the hall and out of the colony… and the credits roll. 

 Not bad, some pretty hinky concepts – secret shafts ending up in a cupboard, for instance… but overall, enjoyable enough. Ola was played to sinister perfection by Gertain Klauber.

 The Macra appeared in the Tenth Doctor story, “Gridlock”, as well. Yay for continuity connections!  

 This serial exists in 2 episodes with 2 reconstructed episodes by the folks at Loose Cannon – seriously, if you’ve ever wanted a chance to watch the missing serials, this is one of the best ways to do it right now.

Episode 1:

 The TARDIS is out of control as the episode begins, but quickly lands. The Doctor had tried to prove that he could land the TARDIS wherever he wanted and chose Mars as the destination, but for some reason, the ship seem to go wildly out of control. They land and looking at the scanner, appear to be on an alien terrain; Polly says it must be Mars, but Ben says otherwise – it looks like the surface of the Moon.

 Dejectedly, The Doctor admits Ben is right, and says, “Let’s move on, while we can.” The sadness, the letdown in his voice is almost heart-breaking. I suspect he actually thought he could control the TARDIS…

 The companions protest leaving, Ben and Polly saying that they can’t just pop over to the Moon and then leave. Jamie is questioning “How can that be the Moon, the Moon is way up in the sky!” The Doctor agrees to let them put on space suits and explore, but only for half an hour. Jamie wonders if they’ll meet the Man in the Moon, but Ben laughs at him.

 We then see scenes of a colony or base on the Moon, before going back to the companions, in space suits with plastic bubble helmets. They explore about, and Polly sees something in the distance, but Ben dismisses it as her eyes adjusting to the light. The Doctor agrees in his words, but his tone suggests he’s not too sure.

 The companions start jumping about, revelling in the weaker gravity of the Moon, but The Doctor warns them not to puncture their suits else they suffocate. Apparently not heeding him, the three of them jump up to a crag top, but Jamie overshoots. From their vantage point, they see Jamie laying near the base. While they watch, two men exit the base (also wearing space suits, obviously) and take Jamie inside.

 There’s some really haunting music, not much more than a few notes repeated, drawn out… it really helps set the atmosphere, even in a reconstruction made from pics and the audio track.

 The Doctor and his companions make their way down to the base and find their way in.

 We shift to a scene inside the base, a control room of sorts, men sitting around at consoles, operating their computers. Out of the blue, one of the men collapses onto his console. As a result, a large electronic map of the continents of Earth set on the wall begins to flash and an alarm goes off. The other men go to the collapsed man, but there are dark veins/marks spreading on his face. They carry him out to the sick bay, though there’s talk of having to wait for the next shuttle for a doctor to arrive.

 The men seem to be at least somewhat familiar with it – they talk about finding the source of the infection. Hobson, the man in charge, starts barking orders. The Doctor, Ben and Polly are brought before him (no longer in their suits), and the man accompanying them informs him that there’s a fourth man, taken to the medical unit – seems Jamie knocked himself out. (Wonder if Hines took a vacation during the filming – seems it was a common thing for an actor to take a break in the middle of a serial and be written out for an episode.)

 The crew seems to be a mix of international diversity. Hobson allows Polly to go check in on Jamie, while he brings Ben and The Doctor with him. They discover it’s a weather control station – used to control the weather on Earth – and The Doctor theorises that the device they use is what caused the TARDIS landing to be so ungraceful.

 They discover the year is 2070 AD. The Gravitron (the device) has been used for 20 years. Hobson finds out The Doctor is a doctor, and says they need a doctor. Hobson makes introductions; they’re all scientists, though they pull multiple duties.

 Suddenly, in the Gravitron room, another man collapses, struck sick. The alarm sounds off, and they take him out, replacing him with another man.

 International Space Control contacts the weather station; it seems the station was “guiding” a hurricane, but suddenly is off-course and threatening Hawaii. Hobson informs ISC about the illness – they’ve had three men struck down in the past few hours, including the station’s doctor! (Quite convenient that… or was it intentional? Hmmm…)

 One of the men plays back the communique, and points out a background noise – he says that’s proof that they’re being listened in on by someone nearby.

 ISC announces the moonbase is under quarantine until blood has been sent for evaluation. The next shuttle won’t be there for a month. Visually, we’re listening to the communication from another place – obviously, in the place where whomever is listening in on them is at.

 The Doctor and Ben join Polly at Jamie’s bedside. He’s in a bed, tended to by an automated machine. They start looking at the other men in the sick bay, including the station doctor, Doctor Evans. The Doctor muses that the symptoms of this illness don’t quite add up – he’s not sure it’s a real disease.

 Ben is sent to the control room, to help out, but to keep an ear and eye open for anything. Hobson gives Ben a hard time, but Benoit, the second in command, says he could use an extra pair of hands, so the station manager okays it, somewhat reluctantly. Seems pressure is high in the station – there’s a lot of responsibility for maintaining the weather and with the illnesses, tension is up.

 Hobson goes to retire to his chambers for some rest but mentions in passing two more temporary drops in pressure during his shift. Obviously, there’s something going on here…

 In the food store room, Ralph is collecting items for a list. He picks up a bag of flour, but there’s holes in it, and the flour pours everywhere. To himself, he bemoans, “You’d think we have rats up here!” He hears a sudden noise, and calls out, “Who’s that?” We see a momentarily flash of a shadow that looks very, very familiar. (And I’m all like SQUEEEEEEE cuz I had NO CLUE that this serial had them in it.)

 Ben, who was sent by Benoit to help out, arrives, to say that the noise was him. Ralph is very on edge and goes off on him a bit, but Ben gets him to chill out. He asks Ben if he’s responsible for the broken bags, and Ben replies, “I’ve just arrived, haven’t I?” Ralph acknowledges the logic of this and asks Ben to help collect items on the list. They split up and Ralph is attacked by something or someone.

 Ben calls out for Ralph, but can’t find him anywhere.

 Back in the lab, Polly is startled by The Doctor entering through the door. (Which makes no sense, as she was the first one there, and The Doctor and Ben both have come in since then that we know of. Yeah, I know, it’s the 1960s, women weren’t often written to be much more than whining and crying and jumping at shadows… it’s still annoying.)

 The Doctor has been roaming about, apparently, and found a piece of silver paper, though he doesn’t know what it’s for. The lights dim (and of course Polly has to all but scream “What’s happening?!!” when the do… jeez) and The Doctor explains that it is likely an automated feature to help simulate day and night on the moonbase.

 “Oh, I see what you mean, how stupid of me!” – Polly. Can’t argue too much with you, girl.

 Suddenly, Evans screams out from his bed. This doesn’t freak Polly out, for some reason. Lights dimming will, though. Really? REALLY? Evans says, “Don’t touch me… the silver hand…” and then he dies.

 The Doctor goes off to report this to Hobson. We see Hobson talking to Ben, who’s reporting that Ralph is missing. The Doctor comes in to the control room to inform Hobson about Doctor Evans’ death. Hobson orders his men not to report it to Earth yet, until he gets more details.

 Polly is tending to Jamie, who seems to have regained consciousness. We see a shot of the sick bay, but neither Jamie or Polly are in this view, and cast upon the wall is another very familiar silhouette. Oh, yes, the clues are there (I’m being terribly vague, I know…) Jamie tries to point, presumably at the silhouette, but passes out again.

 In a fragment of video, Polly turns and sees the door shutting, but not what went through and she screams. WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SCREAM AT A CLOSING DOOR? The Doctor, Hobson, Ben and others arrive as she’s screaming, but they find nothing there.

 Evans’ body is missing! Hobson yells at The Doctor, asking if it’s a joke. Before he can get too mad, he’s informed that another man has fallen prey. Hobson leaves after instructing The Doctor to find Evans’ body or he’ll kick them all out of the moonbase, quarantine or no.

 The Doctor leaves Polly in the sick bay, “just for a minute” – I’m surprised she doesn’t scream again. Jamie starts moaning for water and Polly goes to get him some. In a video fragment, we see Jamie lift his head. He sees a CYBERMAN!!! SQUEEEEE!

 The Cyberman has been retooled slightly – the disc on their forehead has been removed and they look a bit more like the Cybermen of the 80s that I grew up on.

 Jamie looks at the Cyberman, gasps, “It’s you… the phantom piper,” referring to a legend of his clan, and passes out… and the credits roll.

 Well, I’m totally stoked – it’s a fun serial so far, love the setting, love the characters… and of course, Cybermen. (Important to note, Cybermen being behind an apparent illness is something that’s done again later on – guess it was an homage to this serial?)

 Over all, there’s some hit or miss aspects to the writing of this particular serial. In whole, it’s enjoyable enough, but some of the writing is horribly uneven, and some of the mentality of the time period makes for bad writing, too.

Episode 2:

 (full video, yay!)

 Jamie thinks the Cyberman is the “phantom piper”, and starts crying out, “No, I’ll not go with you.” The Cyberman comes to his bed and seems to inspect him, but then moves on and grabs another man, one of the sick ones, and carries him off.

 Polly comes back in and screams (and I now see that this video is used in the reconstruction – so… wish they’d gone with some narrative text on that previous scene to explain why she screamed.) The Doctor and men are there with her and she tells them that there was a Cyberman!

 Hobson demands that Polly tell him what happened; he’s dismissive about “the Cyberman part”. Hobson is dismissive about the Cybermen, because to him it’s history – “there were Cybermen once, every child knows about that, but they were all wiped out!”

 Hobson makes some connections between the sudden illness, disappearances and The Doctor and his companions. Ben is more than happy to go, but The Doctor says no, they must stay and fight the evil. Hobson gives The Doctor 24 hours to try to find out the cause of things or he’ll kick them off the Moon. 

 The Doctor starts taking some samples from the remaining men (man?) in the sick bay. Polly helps him and when the man jerks uncontrollably, she almost screams again. SIGH.

 Back in the control room, Hobson and the others struggle to sort out a problem – apparently, callibration is off. They’re struggling to fix it so they can keep control of the hurricane in the Pacific. As they work with it, ISC calls from Earth. Controller Rinberg, who Hobson has been trying to get to speak to for a while, finally is on the phone (so to speak.)

 Hobson explains they’re trying to realign the probe, there’s an error in the servos; Rinberg says Miami had blue skies, now has a hurricane directly overhead. (Okay, please to be explaining that one?)

 Benoit suggests shutting down the Gravitron, but Rinberg gives an order that under no terms should the Gravitron be shut down. He then goes off on a rant about all the political reasons why it has to be fixed, stat. The men jump to it, checking every little detail, every relay, every reading.

 The Doctor appears, taking samples of everyone’s clothing, hair, etc, while they work. Guess that’s the comic relief segment.

 Jamie moans about the piper, how he can’t be alive. He sits up, shocked to see the piper. The Cyberman zaps Polly in the head with a bolt of electricity, and then does the same with Jamie. He picks up another man from the sick bay and walks out with it. Shortly thereafter, The Doctor returns to find Polly unconscious on the floor.

 Hobson and the crew keep trying to locate the souce of the misalignment, when oen of the men reports another air pressure drop – lasting five seconds, apparently like the previous ones.

 Shortly after, Hobson gets information leading him to believe that The Doctor and companions must be responsible for the Gravitron’s failure. Just then, Ben arrives to inform him another patient is gone.

 We see two men go outside, through the airlock. Again, we hear the haunting music from the first episode.

 The Doctor is frustrated that he cannot find any sign of illness – he says that his tests have concluded that everything is quite sterile. Polly questions his being taught by Joseph Lister in 1888 – again, the show is still operating under the premise that The Doctor is a human being. It’s always curious to see this. I wonder when the translation from The Doctor as a human to a member of an alien race happened? (Again, I know it happens during the course of the Second Doctor’s tenure.)

 Hobson arrives, with Ben, and others. The Doctor pretends to be busy at the microscope, while Hobson accuses them of being responsibe for the trouble. The Doctor then bullshits about possibly finding something but needing room to work. With them dismissed, The Doctor tells Polly to make some coffee.

 Wow. Again, it’s a sign of the times, but wow.

 Cybermen attack the two men who went outside to inspect the machinery.

 The Doctor exits the lab, to admit he found nothing. Hobson gloats. Polly brings out a tray of coffee. I’m almost expecting it to be laced with a sedative or something. As they talk, one of the men drinks his coffee first and falls over, suddenly stricken by the disease. The Doctor figures out it’s the sugar that carries a “large neuro-tropic virus”.

 The Doctor tells Hobson that he believes it is the Cybermen behind it all. Hobson argues that his men have searched every inch of the base, “there’s no room to hide a cat, much less a Cyberman!” The Doctor then gets very, very serious and asks, “Did they search in here?” Hobson says no, there’s always been people in the sick bay… The Doctor walks around the bay, counting the sick men… and discovers one of them has big boots! (Yep, so all this time, he’s been there, and nobody wondered who it was?)

 They back up slowly but the Cyberman throws off the sheet over him and comes towards them, menacingly… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 (back to a Loose Cannon reconstruction episode)

 The Cyberman says something, but I have no idea what. It speaks in a super electronic voice that is completely unintelligible to me. Compounding things, the still photo has a moving mouth (dunno about you, but I find that sort of ‘animation’ to be useless. I’d rather have a still photo and an audio track.)

 Hobson states the obvious, “You’re right – it is them.” I’m glad the writers felt it necessary to include that line. It adds so much to the scene. Another Cyberman enters and kills Bob. One of them contacts their ship. Something is said, I don’t know what really.

 One of the Cybermen in the sick bay says that the men taken have been “altered”. The other Cyberman checks out Jamie; when Polly says his head has been hurt, they decide that he is of no value to them. They make Hobson take them to the control room at gunpoint; as they leave, one of the Cybermen tells Ben and Polly they must stay there – if they leave, they “will be converted like the others”.

 Now is this full-on Cyberconversion, or some half-step?

 In the Cybership, we see Cybermen attaching devices to crewmen’s heads. They then give them verbal commands, and the men respond as ordered. Obviously some half-step. The men are then led into some capsules.

 Benoit, in charge in the control room, tries to contact the service party, to no avail. We see two spacesuits lying on the surface. Suddenly, the control room is invaded by the Cybermen, with The Doctor and others with them.

 Announcing their plans (sigh), we learn that the Cybermen plan to use the Gravitron to destroy the surface of the Earth and everyone living on it. Hobson compares them to children, seeking revenge. The Cyberman corrects them – they are doing this to “remove all dangers” from the Earth.

 “Only stupid Earth-brains like yours would have been fooled.” – The Cyberman. That’s GREAT writing there.

 In the sick bay, Jamie tries to sit up, but nurse Polly gives him a hard time. Ben and Polly talk to Jamie, and the three of them try to sort out a way to fight back. Polly explains an idea, but Ben thinks it’s “as clear as mud”.

 In the control room, the converted men, including the “dead” Doctor Evans, arrive. The Cyberman orders the technicians to move from their places, which they do, fearfully. Under duress from the Cybermen, Hobson orders the men in the Gravitron room to come out and not to try anything. The converted men are sent in to take their place, but Benoit says they cannot go in without the protective headgear, or else the sonic fields will drive them insane in as short as twelve hours. The Cybermen are not worried – their purpose will be achieved in less than twelve hours and the men will be disposed of afterwards.

 All the while, The Doctor is checking out the control box they use to control the men. He fiddles with a knob on a nearby control panel.

 Polly and Ben get some acetone – her idea is to use that on the plastic chest units on the Cybermen (housing the machinery that replaces the Cybermen’s heart and lungs.) Ben suggests that acetone might not affect the particular plastic, so they start mixing up a cocktail.

 Watching the Cybermen, Hobson wonders to his technicians why the Cybermen have to use the converted men, why not do the work themselves – a thought process we saw back in The Tenth Planet.

 The Doctor keeps fiddling with the knob, causing interference in the control box, thus learning that the converted men are controlled by sonics. The Doctor, also, has the same thought that Hobson had – but he takes it further, speculating that perhaps gravity has something to do with the Cybermen’s need of the converted men to do their work.

 ISC calls in at this point; the Cybermen order them to not answer. The ISC calls for them to launch a flare rocket. Hobson tells the Cybermen if Earth doesn’t see the flare rocket, they will assume they’re all dead and send a relief rocket.

 Ben and Polly work on their makeshift weapon – using a spray bottle to dispense the cocktail. Jamie is up and wants to help, and when they say he’s not in any shape to help, he retorts, “It takes more than a wee crack on the head to keep a MacCrimmon down!”

 Ben and Jamie butt heads, but go off to use their weapon. When Polly tries to tag along, Ben tells her to stay, “Not you, Polly – this is men’s work!” Good for her, she goes along with them anyhow.

 The Doctor keeps messing with the knob, causing the converted men to freeze up. At that moment, the companions enter and start spraying the Cybermen in their chest units. The Cybermen flail, grabbing uselessly at their chests and collapse.

 The technicians rush back to their places, hurrying to get the Gravitron down to safe levels. Benoit goes out to check on the service party and reports at finding their suits on the surface. He’s then confronted by a Cyberman, who draws a gun on Benoit, but the gun doesn’t work in the atmosphere-less surface of the Moon. Benoit flees and the Cyberman gives chase.

 Ben suits up and goes out.

 Benoit runs, the Cyberman giving chase. Benoit is nearing the airlock as Ben emerges from it. Ben helps Benoit in, and throws a flask of Polly’s cocktail at the Cyberman, who goes down.

 Hobson orders everyone to take defensive measures – lowering shields and the like. From an observation deck, the crew watches as a large group of Cybermen exit their ship and start walking across the surface of the moon towards the base… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 The Cybermen march across the surface of the Moon. It’s hard to tell how many there are. They contact the moonbase and tell them they’re surrounded and resistance is useless. The Cybermen are interfering with the moonbase’s communications, keeping them from contacting Earth.

 I’m still having great difficulty understanding everything the Cybermen say. Even as annoying/grating the Cybervoices were in The Tenth Planet, they were at least easy to understand.

 The Cybermen have the control box on the surface and they activate it. We see Doctor Evans sit up and replace the headset back on his head, and attack the man watching over the converted men in the sick bay.

 The Gravitron has stabilised. Ben is helping out in the control room… and Polly is making coffee. She brings in a tray of coffee, Ben makes a crack about no sugar. Evans is amongst them, but nobody notices, and he enters the Gravitron room and attacks the man inside, taking his place.

 The relief ship is spotted on the scanner – soon to arrive in a matter of minutes. As they watch, the ship is somehow rerouted to head towards the Sun. The Doctor realises that the Gravitron is the only way the rocket could have been deflected towards the Sun. They realise that Evans is in control of it now. The Doctor sends Ben and Jamie to the sick bay to stop the other converted men from leaving.

 Hobson tries to rationalise with Evans but he fails. The Cybermen contact the control room and tell them to let them in. Hobson goes the tough guy routine and the Cybermen puncture the dome. Everyone gets rebreathing tubes. Benoit and Hobson plug the hole in the dome with a shirt. (Really. Really. No, really.) It pops out after a few moments (ya think?) and they cover it with a flat surface that seems to hold this time.

 (Of course, what’s to stop them from putting another hole in the dome? This really makes no sense.)

 They realise that the Gravitron has stopped, and The Doctor, Ben and Jamie rush in to take out Evans and the injured man.

 Another Cybership lands – they haven’t explained where these Cybermen are from, whether they survived the destruction of Mondas or what. They bring out a small cannon, one that must be used by several Cybermen, but the force field from the Gravitron deflects the beam from the cannon.

 The Doctor suggests using the Gravitron as a weapon, and Benoit (the only remaining healthy/alive/conscious/unconverted operator) gets inside. We see another plethora of Cybermen coming across the surface. (This episode is full of washed out footage – they must have spliced it together from multiple sources?)

 They finally manage to get the Gravitron pointed at the Cybermen and fling them all into space. There’s a lot of cheering and huzzahity, and then Hobson starts barking orders – they’ve got to get the Earth’s weather back under control and it’s going to take 2 hours.

 The Doctor and his companions skulk off during this, and when Hobson turns to say something to him, he laughs at seeing them going. “Perhaps it’s for the best – we have enough madmen around here.” – Hobson

 Suited up, The Doctor and his companions move across the surface and return to the TARDIS. Polly points out a shooting star, asking if that could be the Cybermen. The Doctor replies, “Possibly… and I hope it’s the last we see of them.” They enter the TARDIS and it dematerialises.

 In the console room, The Doctor suggests having a look at the “time scanner” – not the normal scanner, but one to get a glimpse of the future. (One of those “hey, let’s add this to the TARDIS” ideas.) In a cute moment, Jamie warns that second sight is “very dangerous”.

 The Doctor turns it on, saying, “I haven’t used it very often… it’s not very reliable, but we shall see.” Polly whines (shocker) and points, and we see a giant claw… and the credits roll.

 The story itself was a lot of fun. I really liked Hobson and Benoit, and the Cybermen were cool. There were a lot of negatives – Polly being a big one – they way they wrote her was uneven – she went from whiny and useless to helping save the day and back again. Some of the story elements were horrible, but in all it was a good serial.

Another partially lost serial, the first, second and last episode (of four) only exist in stills and fragments. I’m watching the Loose Cannon recon of the lost episodes.

Episode 1:

 The episode opens with a prologue, introduction filmed with Joseph Furst (who plays the bad guy in the serial, apparently.) We learn that this serial was originally “Doctor Who Under The Sea”, but was shelved for budget concerns. After the replacement serial “The Imps” fell through due to the writer becoming ill, they pulled out this serial, which was now under the working title “The Fish People”. It had to be majorly retooled – to cut down the budget costs and to work in the new companion, Jamie McCrimmon. Eventually it became “The Underwater Menace” and here we are.

 Since we have a new companion, we have to start with Jamie being confused, gazing around the TARDIS control room in slack-jawed bewilderment. (I’m not complaining, I like this particular trope of the show a whole lot.) Ben and Polly explain to Jamie that they don’t know where they’re going. (Which, if you think about it, it was awfully irresponsible for them to bring him along…)

 Jamie doesn’t believe them about the time-travelling; he’s not even sure what to believe. The Doctor announces they’re about to land and tells everyone to “hold on” – that’s a first. Polly hopes for Chelsea, 1966. Ben grumbles it’s probably going to be Daleks. The Doctor is hoping for “pre-historic monsters” and Jamie wonders, “What have I come upon?”

 The TARDIS appears on a rocky area, and after checking the readings, The Doctor and companions depart. Polly guesses they’re in Cornwall. After examining a rock, The Doctor proclaims they’re not in the British Isles, as it’s a volcanic rock. They see a nearby volcano shortly thereafter. The Doctor lays back to take a nap while his companions explore.

 Shortly after they depart, he lifts his head, checks his watch and consults the sky, as if making some calculations.

 Polly gets nervous, thinking she’s seen something moving in the distance, but Ben and Jamie push ahead, and she watches them climb up the rocks. She checks out some nearby caves and finds a bracelet. Exploring further, she comes across some robed figures and screams.

 Ben and Jamie rush down and head to the cave entrance, calling her name.

 The Doctor is sitting by a pool and finds a shard of pottery. He gets up and heads in the direction his companions went.

 Ben and Jamie are attacked and captured and thrown in a cell with Polly. Shortly afterwards, The Doctor is thrust in as well. The entire room begins to descend, like an elevator. It goes very far down, and The Doctor speculates they’re below sea level already.

 They have trouble breathing and all four pass out.

 We next see them four of them in a different room, laying on slabs, all in a row. Ben wakes up and looks around. He wakes everyone else up. The Doctor is rumbling about troglodytes, speculating about cavemen, trying to determine what time period they’re in.

 Polly says she knows they’re somewhere about 1970. She produces the bracelet she found, which is stamped with the Mexico Olympiad, which was in the year 1968, so it has to be later than that. This only perplexes Jamie even more, but before any more can be said, an armed guard enters.

 Polly tries several languages, to no avail. The guard gestures with his spear, which as The Doctor says, is clear in any language. They’re marched down a winding corridor, ending in a room with a table where a girl is setting out some food. The guard is rough with her, but The Doctor “stumbles” in between the guard and the girl to prevent him from hurting her.

 The Doctor sits down and starts pigging out, making a big deal out of how good it is. The companions hesitantly taste the strange food, asking what it is. The Doctor says it’s plankton. Polly is turned off at the idea.

 Men arrive, announcing they’ve been expecting them. “The Living Goddess knows and sees all” and had informed them to expect the arrival of strangers in time for their Festival of the Vernal Equinox. The man, Rano, says they have “an important part to play in the ceremony”, and by his tone, The Doctor takes that they’re meant to be a sacrifice.

 The Doctor says he has something important to impart, but his companions are taken away. The Doctor says he has to say something about Professor Zaroff, and Rano seems to know the name. The Doctor claims that he knew through the food – Zaroff is well known for making food from plankton, apparently. The Doctor writes a note, but Rano refuses to take it to Zaroff; The Doctor hands it off to Ara, the girl he interfered on the behalf of earlier, instructing her to take it to Professor Zaroff.

 We switch to a temple scene, dominated by a large idol. In the center of the temple is a pool or tank with sharks in it. There is a great ceremony going on, one of pomp and circumstance, and the companions are ushered into the temple. They are bound tightly with ropes and placed on slabs, their heads pointing towards the shark tank.

 Polly whines about The Doctor not coming, and Ben tries to reassure her, “As long as he’s not here, there’s still hope,” but as he says that, The Doctor is brought in by another guard.

 Ara delivers The Doctor’s note to Damon, another scientist, after being turned away by a guard from seeing Zaroff.

 The Doctor is tied and placed on the fourth slab. The high priest begins his prayer to Ando, their god. The slabs tilt and slowly the four travelers slide down head first towards the sharks.

 Damon brings the note to Zaroff. “Vital Secret will die with me. (signed) Dr. W.”

 At the last minute, Zaroff arrives, demanding to speak to The Doctor. The Doctor demands his companions be released before he imparts his information to Zaroff; strangely, Zaroff accepts this at face value and insists to the others that this happen.

 The Doctor and Zaroff talk; apparently, the world believes Zaroff dead some twenty years prior. His disappearance led to “the East blaming the West, the West blaming the East”. The Doctor calls him the greatest scientific genuis since Leonardo.

 The Doctor confesses that he doesn’t have a vital secret, but Zaroff decides he likes The Doctor’s sense of humour, and thus will allow them to be spared.

 The companions are brought before Damon, who decides that Ben and Jamie will work in the mines. He keeps Polly with him and takes her to a viewing window. Outside is undersea scene, where people are swimming undersea. Damon explains they have been given plastic gills to breathe underwater. Damon informs Polly she will undergo “the operation”.

 The Doctor and Zaroff are talking, and The Doctor discovers they are in the ancient kingdom of Atlantis. A guard summons Zaroff away, and Ara comes to The Doctor to tell him that Polly is going to be operated upon to make her a fish-person.

 Polly struggles in the med lab as they prepare to operate on her. She’s given a sedative and the credits roll.

 Interesting concept, so far. I’m enjoying Jamie’s confusion with the TARDIS and time travel and Ben and Polly’s amusement with him.

 Not the best serial, not the worst.

Episode 2:

 Zaroff is showing The Doctor around his laboratory; The Doctor swipes a pair of wire cutters and starts cutting wires (discreetly). This causes the lights in the operating room to dim, putting a halt to the operation on Polly.

 Damon arrives in Zaroff’s lab, accusing Zaroff of hogging all the power. Zaroff tells Damon, “I made you, I can break you!” He’s quite the megalomaniac.

 The assistants leave Ara in charge of watching Polly. Once they’re gone, Ara leads Polly away to safety.

 Zaroff and Damon confront The Doctor about the wires; he feigns ignorance, claiming that he must have ‘bumped into it’. Damon doesn’t buy it, and seemingly, neither does Zaroff, but the latter is pleased having someone to boast to. (Megalomaniac, remember?) Damon leaves, promising The Doctor that this will not save “the girl”.

 Zaroff tells The Doctor that he plans to “lower the water”, since Atlantis cannot be raised to the surface. When The Doctor points out that his plan will crack the crust of the Earth and potentially blow up the world. Zaroff is not turned off by it, but gloats that it is his dream – to blow up the world, the scientist’s ultimate dream. (Yup, total whack job.)

 Ben and Jamie arrive in the mine. As they’re brought before the overseer, another miner is accused of hiding something on his body. When a guard is called over, the item is passed several times, eventually to Jamie. It turns out to be a compass.

 The Doctor manufactures an escape while Zaroff is busy with one of his technicians.

 Ara leaves Polly in the temple, where she hides behind the idol.

 Ben and Jamie are taking a break, talking to the other workers – two shipwrecked sailors (Sean and Jacko), who seem to be planning a breakout. The miners have found another shaft, but they don’t know where it leads – it’s a bit of a last resort. Before too much can be said, the overseer arrives to assign men to a special detail. The conspirators feel this is an opportune time to make their break – if they’re on the detail they won’t be missed right away.

 I’m a bit confused, as the overseer refuses to pick them for the duty… but they seem pleased nonetheless.

 Guards search for The Doctor, who is on the run. He finds Ara and asks her where he can find the chief of state. The Doctor takes some of the clothing she has and steps into the shadows when others come near. From the shadows, The Doctor hears Ramo and Damon speaking – Ramo does not trust Zaroff and says so freely; The Doctor tells Ara he needs to speak to him. Ara steps forward and tells Damon she may have seen Polly at the market. She leads him off, and The Doctor approaches Ramo.

 Ben, Jamie, Jacko and Sean reach a fork in the tunnel (they’ve made their break, obviously.) They split up to go fifty paces up each fork to see where they go.

 Polly is asleep in the temple. Ramo leads The Doctor there, so that they may talk discreetly. The Doctor tells Ramo about Zaroff’s plan and what will happen should he succeed. Ramo leaves The Doctor there, to go talk to the Atlantean King. The Doctor pulls out his recorder and begins to play.

 Jacko comes back and finds Sean and Ben; he says Jamie has gone on. Sean agrees to meet them in ten minutes at the fork. When they find him, he’s stuck somewhere, and Ben has to help him out. (Even with the good recons, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on at times…)

 In the temple, Polly has woken and come out from behind the idol. Ben, Jamie, Sean and Jacko emerge from the tunnel into the temple and are reunited with Polly. She tells them The Doctor went off with Ramo.

 The Doctor and Ramo wait to see the king. The Doctor is wearing a silly headdress (just like Ramo.) The king, Thous, comes in and The Doctor asks to speak to him. He tells the king that Zaroff is “mad as a hatter”. The king says he will take their words under consideration and dismisses them.

 Ara has brought food to those hiding in the temple. They hear music and the sound of others approaching and head back into the tunnel, leaving Ara there.

 The king announces he has given much thought to their words, and gestures to the doors. The doors open and Zaroff walks in. “There is your answer!” Zaroff gives a sinister smile and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 (Yay, video! This is the earliest video of Patrick Troughton as The Doctor I’ve ever seen, outside of a few fragments from the first two Second Doctor serials.)

 Zaroff has the guards take away Ramo and The Doctor. He then tries to reassure the King, but the King can’t help but gaze into his eyes (which The Doctor had mentioned while appealing to the king – he said Zaroff’s eyes showed his madness.)

 Ramo and The Doctor are brought to be sacrificed, but instead of the sharks, it looks to be a beheading. Just as the executioner lifts his sword (not the best weapon for beheading, mind you), there’s a scream from the idol of Amdo and a voice booms out, “This is the voice of Amdo! Fear me! Bow down your heads that Amdo might accept your sacrifice!”

 Ben peeks out from behind the idol and waves The Doctor forward. The Doctor brings Ramo with him, and they escape. There’s a happy reunion and introductions to Sean and Jacko.

 The high priest runs to the king to tell him of the miracle, but Zaroff obviously doesn’t believe that Amdo took the sacrifices. Zaroff rants about Amdo, oblivious to the damage he’s doing to his credibility with the Atlanteans.

 The Doctor and his associates conspire; The Doctor suggests that they cause chaos by getting the fish people to stop harvesting food for the Atlanteans. Sean and Jacko go off to do that, while The Doctor and his companions plan to kidnap Zaroff.

 We see a market scene full of many Atlanteans, buying and selling trinkets and food and the like. The Doctor is disguised (I guess disguises are one of the Second Doctor’s things) as a musician or something. Polly (also in disguise) and Ara meander through the market and make contact with him. The girls panic when guards start searching through, and Polly hides under some carpets.

 Ben and Jamie are disguised as guards (wonder where they go their gear) and take places. Zaroff storms in and demands to know where the musician is, apparently he knows he’s The Doctor. He orders the two nearest guards, Ben and Jamie as it happens, to assist him. The Doctor runs by and they give chase. Polly joins in as they leave the market.

 The Doctor meets up with Ramo at the temple, who distracts Zaroff until The Doctor can blow some powder in the scientist’s face and they take him prisoner.

 Sean and Jacko starts riling up the fish people, first by mocking them and insulting them, and then giving them the idea to start a ‘blockade’.

 We see underwater ‘swimming’ scenes (apparently done by wire-fu and slow motion to simulate swimming in water) with different fish people apparently spreading the word? They don’t talk normally, but through odd sounds, and we get an annoying musical soundtrack behind it all, so who the hell knows.

 Zaroff, while ranting on (like a megalomaniac), seems to have an attack/seizure of some sort. The Doctor, Ben and Jamie head off while Polly and Ramo stay behind to watch over Zaroff. While they’re gone, Zaroff uses chicanery and bests Ramo in combat, stabbing him with a spear.

 Outside in the temple, The Doctor and companions are delayed by worshippers. The Doctor sends Jamie back to switch places with Ramo, but Ramo staggers out to let them know, with his dying breath, that Zaroff has escaped.

 Jamie catches up to Zaroff and Polly, and with Sean and Jacko’s help, they free her from him, but the mad scientist escapes.

 Damon is reporting to King Thous the revolt by the fish people; Thous wishes Zaroff were there to tell him what to do, but Damon insists that Thous must take charge. (What a spineless king.)

 Zaroff returns and through his megalomaniacal rants, the king sees what The Doctor said was true. The two men turn against each other, and Zaroff pulls out a gun and shoots the king dead… and the credits roll after he declares the following:

 “Nothing in the world can stop me now!” – Zaroff, gleefully. He’s very, very, VERY over the top. Almost to the point of painfully so. Almost.

Episode 4:

 (Back to reconstruction, sadly.)

 Ben and The Doctor enter the throne room and discover that the king’s been shot but isn’t dead.

 Jacko and Sean are with Ara, waiting at the idol, when The Doctor and Ben bring King Thous there. Ara tells The Doctor that Polly and Jamie went to the laboratory, looking for The Doctor. The Doctor has a plan – to break the sea wall and flood the lab.

 A scientist with a heavily receeding hairline is taking notes as Zaroff receives a report from the generation station. He gives them orders that they don’t like – his lack of security concerns his men. He then receives a report that the workers in another station have walked out, looking for food.

 Ben and The Doctor have made it to the generation station, but stop when they see an armed guard. Ben is still wearing the guard’s outfit and they try to bluff their way past. Even though Ben doesn’t know the password, they manage to convince him to let them in.

 They come across another guard, but The Doctor had gotten the first guard to give up the password (really? REALLY?) so they use it to get past him. Once inside, they start cutting wires. (Hey, didn’t they do this scene before?)

 The reactor starts to overload. Ben asks The Doctor if he knows what he’s doing and his response is “Of course I don’t! There’s no harm in trying.” I think this is very telling about the Second Doctor.

 Jamie and Polly are meandering through tunnels; they’re a bit lost on their way to the laboratory. They see a nearby wall glowing and starting to crumble and know that the sea is on the other side. As they watch, the wall bursts open and water pours through.

 Sean and Jacko hear the sea breaking in. Ara tends to the king, who moans about raising Atlantis being the dream of a madmen. Water is flooding the temple as Damon enters. Damon is bemoaning the loss of a life’s work, that it’s all washed away. The king promises Damon they can start again, and he helps the others move the king.

 Jamie and Polly are trying to evade the water. She’s doing a lot of whining. This isn’t anything new.

 The temple begins to collapse. The idol crumbles under the power of the water. Damon asks the king how his wound is, and he replies “a little better”. Must be nice, regeneration. And here I thought that was for time lords only.

 Playing the typical nutjob card, Zaroff announces to his men that nobody shall leave their station. The Doctor and Ben arrive and when The Doctor informs Zaroff’s technicians and guards about Zaroff’s plans and the sea wall breaking, they all run. Zaroff presses a button and a barrier drops down between Zaroff and the heroes; he then announces, like a badly written comic book villain, exactly what he must do to detonate his bomb. (That’s up there with putting the hero in a death trap and then explaining it so they can figure how to break out.)

 Polly and Jamie are trying to find a way out. She almost drops her lantern and whines when Jamie snaps at her over it. This is gripping storytelling, let me tell you.

 Ben pretends to leave The Doctor, and Zaroff taunts him that his friends have left him, too. The Doctor has access to a power control and turns off the lights, which leads Zaroff to raise the barrier to restore them. Zaroff has his gun pointed at The Doctor. Ben has snuck by and lowers the barrier, keeping him away from his detonation controls. He fires his gun at them but they run off safely.

 After escaping, The Doctor feels bad about leaving Zaroff to drown and wants to go back. Ben insists they keep moving along, and apparently resorts to physicality to stop The Doctor from going to help Zaroff.

 Polly whines some more. And some more. Jamie argues with her and she whines EVEN MORE. Oh, dear god… what inconsistent characterisation with her – last serial she was all strong and making decisions, this one, whine and cry and cry and whine.

 Okay, I’m confused, because Ben and The Doctor are apparently going back to help Zaroff, when the tunnel collapses and their path is blocked. Ben is still arguing with The Doctor about leaving Zaroff behind.

 We see Zaroff, still struggling to reach through (though honestly, the bars look wide enough that he could easily squeeze through if he really tried) and reach the plunger on the detonation box. The water is waist deep now.

 Jamie and Polly make it to the surface. Does she whine some more? Do we even care? She wonders about Ben and The Doctor, but Jamie isn’t too confident about their chances of surviving.

 Zaroff is shown again, to his neck in water, then the power level drops and the water goes up past his head and he presumably drowns.

 Damon and Thous and Ara talk, believing The Doctor dead. King Thous proposes that a memorial be built in honour of The Doctor, but Damon, who suddenly got a dose of personality and character, goes on a speech how they need no more temples, no more religion – it was that which allowed them to follow Zaroff (a connection I’m not sure I follow). Instead, they need to build a new Atlantis.

 “Yes… that shall be his memorial.” – King Thous.

 Ben and The Doctor are climbing towards the surface. Ben asks about Polly, but The Doctor gives no answer. They come out of a cave, just feet from where Jamie and Polly are sitting – what are the chances? The four, happily reunited, head back to the TARDIS.

 Sean and Jacko are nearby and Sean says, “I can’t believe it… a flaming English policebox!”

 Back in the TARDIS, where Jamie and Benjamin (as Jamie called him) tease each other for smelling of fish. Jamie tellse everyone that he’s rather impressed with the TARDIS and feels safe there – “It’s just the things outside that are a wee bit alarming.”

 When questioned, The Doctor claims that he can control where the TARDIS goes. They all laugh, and he says he’ll show them, “Let’s go to Mars!” He sets the coordinates and the TARDIS begins to rock and lights flicker…

 The Doctor announces, “I’m sorry everybody, but I’m afraid the TARDIS is out of control,” and the credits roll.

 A mixed bag, this serial. I’ve seen talk online about this one and I think there are a lot of people who are trying too hard to like things about it that aren’t really that good. Like Joseph Furst’s performance as Zaroff. I’m sorry, but it was really bad. Not campy fun bad, just bad. Like, not acting, just reading lines bad. (I know we don’t like to talk ill of the dead, but I’m just talking about his performance.)

 The LOOSE CANNON edit ends with Joseph Furst (who has an eyepatch in the recording, which was filmed shortly before Furst’s death in 2005) pretending to be Zaroff, giving a “You thought I had drowned, Doctor” monologue thing… and it’s really not that impressive.

 Then there’s an interview with Furst, which honestly, I’m not terribly interested in.