First things first, if you want to watch along, the episode I’m reviewing is available from Amazon. Additionally, a lot of these old Doctor Who episodes are available on YouTube or on services such as Netflix. I encourage you to watch along with me and leave your thoughts in the comments!
Secondly, a big spoiler warning for anything I say after this sentence. I’m not sure if it’s still common courtesy to put spoiler warnings on content that is almost 50 years old, but I’m going to air on the side of caution.
Disclaimers out of the way, lets watch some Who!
Quick recap: Doctor Who and his granddaughter Susan accidentally kidnap two of her teachers, Ian and Barbara, and take them on a trip through time. After defeating the Daleks, silly robot aliens, the group leave in the TARDIS, presumably back toward Earth, but before they get there, there’s an explosion inside the ship and everyone falls down.
This episode was a trip, man. I thought most of the episodes before this made very little sense, but this one raises the bar!
One by one, the characters wake up. Ian and Susan seem to have amnesia. Susan is magically in a brand new outfit, but Barbara is still wearing someone else’s pants.
Not only has everyone seemingly forgotten everything that’s happened in the last 2 months, but they seem to also have forgotten other things, like how to walk and how to talk without shouting or mumbling.
Susan shambles off to get water (out of the magic food machine) and a magic bandage for the Doctor, who has a rather nasty cut on his head. When she comes back, the doors to the ship seem to have opened themselves.
The doors are electric, and are opened and closed by pressing a button. However, as Ian walks toward the open doors, they close all on their own without anyone pressing anything. As he walks away, they open back up. Remember this moment. This is the moment when everyone SHOULD have figured out what was going on.
Susan attempts to close the door with the button and faints again. Ian slings her over his shoulder and drags her unconscious body into the bedroom. I joked around with the wording there a bit to make him sound like a creep, but in reality his intentions were noble; just a teacher doing his best to tend to an ill student. Susan apparently did not get that memo though, because she wakes up and tries repeatedly to stab him with scissors. Then she stabs the bed a bunch of times and passes out again.
Barbara, Ian, and the Doctor have a discussion about what might be causing all the problems on the ship. The Doctor of course blames Ian and Barbara, but Barbara thinks it might be alien ghosts.
The Doctor volunteers Ian to help with ship repairs. Ian suggests that maybe the doctor shouldn’t touch the main console since it seems to be electrocuting people. The Doctor then concedes that not being electrocuted is probably a good thing, which would be out of character for him to admit a mistake, except that he immediately says “Good idea. Glad I thought of it”, thereby claiming the good idea as his own.
Ian tells Barbara to go check in on Susan, and to not tell her that there is something on the ship. He doesn’t want to worry her, I guess, but the real reason not to tell her that is that THERE AREN’T GHOST ALIENS ON THE SHIP. That was one theory with no evidence behind it; it has more evidence than “my companions are plotting against me”, but only barely. Unfortunately Susan, who has changed clothes once again, into a space snuggie, overhears the whole thing and grabs the scissors again.
Once they get the scissors away from Susan once again, Susan proposes an even crazier possibility. Not only ghost aliens, but BODY SNATCHING GHOST ALIENS. One of the people on the ship is not who they say they are, but is actually a body snatching ghost alien! It makes PERFECT SENSE.
More weird things start to happen around the ship. The door opens by itself again (with everyone in sight of nobody touching the button) and the shipboard TV starts showing photographs of everywhere it’s been.
Doctor Who reiterates his “you guys did this because you’re jerks” theory. He does this loudly and in as dickish a way as possible.
Then there’s an important scene where there’s close up shots of an antique clock, and everyone’s watches break. You can tell it’s an important scene because really jarring music plays.
Then the Doctor has a change of heart and brings everyone drinks. It’s implied, but not stated, that the Doctor slipped drugs into them. Honestly, it would make more sense if he did. What we have here is a show with a main character who it is more believable that he would slip roofies to his only friends and granddaughter than that he would just do something nice like bring people water. That’s why this show rules!
Everyone falls asleep (due to being tired or being roofied, we may never know) and the Doctor creepily checks every bed to make sure its inhabitant is asleep. Once he is confident that he is the only one awake, he goes back to the bridge, where out of nowhere he’s attacked by somebody offcamera. Who could it be?
That’s it for Serial 3, Episode 1! Check back soon for more Who!
Miss one? Check out our previous episodes below:
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 7 – The Rescue
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 6 – The Ordeal
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 5 – The Expedition
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 4 – The Ambush
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 3 – The Escape
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 2 – The Survivors
Serial 2 – The Daleks; Part 1 – The Dead Planet
Serial 1 – An Unearthly Child; Part 4 – The Firemaker
Serial 1 – An Unearthly Child; Part 3 – The Forest of Fear
Serial 1 – An Unearthly Child; Part 2 – The Cave of Skulls
Serial 1 – An Unearthly Child; Part 1 – An Unearthly Child
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