Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Review - The Caves of Androzani/The Twin Dilemma
by, 21st August 2013 at 03:52 AM (484 Views)
Sorry, been swamped with work and didn't have a chance to do a review blog. So, here we have a master piece, and a disaster piece. The Twin Dilemma! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to review this piece of crap!
PLOT: The Caves of Androzani (4 parts)
The dangerous desert planet Androzani Minor is the only source for a powerful drug called spectrox created by bats that inhabit the planet's caves. Spectrox is highly valued by the population of nearby Androzani Major due to its capacity to extend one's life. The spectrox mining interests are controlled by Trau Morgus, a business conglomerate leader on Androzani Major, but the operation has been threatened by the masked Sharaz Jek and his army of androids, causing public tension on Androzani Major due to limited supplies. Morgus has publicly funded a military operation by the Androzani Major's government against Jek's androids, but at the same time has secretly backed a gunrunning group to deliver weapons to Jek to profit from the war.
The TARDIS lands on Androzani Minor, and the Doctor and Peri decide to explore a set of tracks that lead into a nearby cave. As they explore, they are briefly caught in a ball of an unknown sticky substance, but they easily break free. Further into the caves, they discover a hoard of weapons, but are then captured by General Chellak's forces, believing the two to be working for gunrunners Stotz and Krepler. Morgus orders their execution after seeing that Chellak's "gunrunners" are not his own men over holographic communication. When the two are brought to the execution squad, they are found to be androids, as the Doctor and Peri have since been rescued by Jek who had been watching the two enter the caves and was able to prepare duplicate androids.
At Jek's base, the two complain about rashes and cramps in their bodies where they touched the sticky substances, Salateen (also a prisoner) realises they have been subjected to the first stages of spectrox toxemia from exposure to unrefined spectrox, and that while there is an anti-toxin, it requires the milk of the queen bat. Unfortunately, due to the mining activity, all the bats have migrated to deeper levels of the caves where there is no oxygen. Before leaving to meet with the gunrunners while leaving the two under his androids' guard, Jek explains that he is seeking revenge against Morgus as it was his actions that left his face disfigured. After Jek leaves, the Doctor is able to reprogram the androids and allows for him and Peri to escape, but they quickly encounter Chellak's forces; Peri is recaptured while the Doctor is caught by Stotz. Stotz decides to take the Doctor back to Androzani Major to see Morgus directly. As Stotz discusses the situation with Morgus via holographic communication en route, Morgus sees the Doctor still alive, and fearing deception, kills the President of Androzani Major and makes his own plans to travel to Androzani Minor to put the situation right himself. The Doctor is able to gain control of the ship from Stotz and crashes it back on the surface of Androzani Minor; weary from the spectrox poisoning, he makes his way into the caves to try to save Peri.
Meanwhile, Chellak plans an assault on Jek's base, luring him to believe an attack lies elsewhere. The battle kills nearly all of the military forces including Chellak, the gunruners, and Jek's androids; Jek is able to rescue the unconscious Peri from the military base and return her to his base amid the chaos. The Doctor arrives, struggling to hold off his body's attempt to regenerate to rid itself of the spectrox. Jek provides him with a limited air supply and equipment and directions to find and milk the queen bat. As the Doctor departs to get the milk, Morgus arrives on the planet, finding that his shrewd secretary has deposed him from power. Morgus quickly deals with Stotz to kill all the remaining gunrunners, including Krepler, and then plot to secure Jek's private stash of spectrox so they may disappear quietly to another planet. The two make their way to Jek's base, lured by fans that Jek is using to try to keep the base temperature cool for Peri. A brief fight breaks out, and Jek, Morgus, and Stotz are killed. The Doctor arrives just after the battle and takes Peri back to the TARDIS on the surface as the planet erupts around them. While unlocking the TARDIS, the Doctor accidentally spills some of the bat's milk.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor gives Peri the remaining bat's milk and collapses. Peri quickly recovers and finds him lying in pain on the floor. The Doctor explains that there was only enough bat's milk left to cure her, but his body will shortly regenerate, though it feels different from his previous regenerations. The Doctor begins to hallucinate images of his past companions urging him to continue to fight for his life, followed by The Master laughing at his state. The Doctor says 'Adric' before the regeneration completes, with the Doctor suddenly alert and active though with a new face. When Peri asks what is happening, the Doctor replies, "Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon..."
VERDICT: Performance, direction, script and music are all turned up to eleven, a truly gripping story. 10/10
PLOT: The Twin Dilemma
After his regeneration from their previous adventure, the Doctor starts behaving erratically. He goes to the wardrobe looking for a new outfit and finds a glaring, mismatched, brightly coloured coat to which he immediately takes a shine. Peri tells him that he could not go outside wearing such an awful garb, to which the Doctor takes offence.
Two twins, Romulus and Remus Sylveste, receive a visitation from a mysterious old man called Professor Edgeworth. They question how he managed to get inside their house; he tells them he will return when their father is there, then proceeds to abduct them and the trio disappear. They arrive on a spacecraft in deep space. Edgeworth then communicates with his superior, a slug-like creature called Mestor, who instructs Edgeworth to take the twins to Titan 3.
In the console room, the Doctor has a funny turn, quoting a poem about a Peri — a good and beautiful fairy in Persian mythology, but one which used to be evil. The Doctor accuses her of being evil, and of being an alien spy before rushing toward her and throttling her. He catches a sight of his own manic face in a mirror and collapses in a heap, releasing Peri. When she tells him that he tried to kill her, he initially denies he could be capable of such an act, but seeing how terrified of him she is, decides he must become a hermit on the desolate asteroid Titan 3.
The twins' father contacts the authorities; he found Zanium in their room — a sure sign of intergalactic kidnap. A Commander Lang begins the pursuit and soon finds a suspicious ship previously reported missing. He tries to contact it, but it enters warp drive — something that class of ship is not designed to do.
On Titan 3, as the Doctor contemplates a thousand years of solitude and Peri expresses her disapproval, they hear the crash landing of a craft. Examining its wreckage, they find the concussed body of Commander Lang. They take him back to the TARDIS where he reveals his whole squadron has been destroyed. Believing the Doctor to be responsible, he points his gun at the Doctor and threatens to kill him...
Peri pleads with Lang, telling him that the Doctor had in fact saved him, but he faints away. The Doctor is not keen to treat Lang, more concerned for his own life, but eventually agrees to Peri's persuasion.
Edgeworth argues with Romulus and Remus, making them do Mestor's work. He scolds them for setting up a distress signal, so they are not allowed to use electronic equipment to solve the equations they have been set. An image of Mestor appears and gives the twins a more blunt threat — work for him or have their minds destroyed.
On the TARDIS scanner, the Doctor and Peri see a building — something which has no place on an uninhabited asteroid. Leaving Lang behind, they find a tunnel which may lead to the building, but on exploring find two aliens wielding guns. The Doctor cowers in fear and pleads with them not to shoot him. They are led off and are brought before Edgeworth. The Doctor claims to be a pilgrim to Titan 3, but Noma, one of the aliens, says they are spies and should be shot. The Doctor suddenly recognises Edgeworth as an old friend - Azmael, master of Jaconda, whom he last saw two incarnations ago. When the Doctor sees Romulus and Remus and discovers it is Azmael who has abducted them, he is disgusted. Azmael teleports away with the twins and the aliens, leaving the Doctor and Peri locked in the building. The Doctor starts to break the lock's combination, but Peri discovers Noma has set the base to self-destruct. The Doctor improvises a solution to teleport them back to the TARDIS. Peri makes a successful return, but the Doctor has not appeared when she sees the base explode on the scanner...
A glimpse of the Doctor is seen appearing in the TARDIS; he was delayed returning because he was using Peri's watch to synchronise their arrival, but the watch had stopped. The Doctor is surprised at Peri's compassion when she thought he had died.
On Jaconda, Mestor is seen putting one of the bird-like Jacondans to death for a petty offence of stealing a few vegetables. Soon, the TARDIS arrives, but instead of the expected beautiful planet the Doctor is expecting, he, Peri and Lang find a desolate wasteland covered with giant Gastropod trails. The Doctor is reluctant to go to the palace, scared for his own life, but is persuaded to take Lang there in the TARDIS. In the palace corridors they see murals depicting Jaconda's history, depicting the slugs of myth - but it appears that they are now all too real. After avoiding Gastropods, Lang gets stuck in their slime trail.
Azmael takes the twins to his laboratory and shows them a store room full of Gastropod eggs. Mestor arrives and tries to persuade them that his aims are benevolent. Azmael begs him to stop reading his thoughts and stop Noma watching his every move. He agrees and leaves. Azmael explains to the Twins that Mestor usurped him as leader of Juconda and outlines a plan to draw two outlying planets into the same orbit as Juconda. The Twins' genius is required to stabilize those planets in their new orbit. The Doctor, leaving Peri and Lang behind, finds Azmael's lab. In a manic fit of pique, he attacks Azmael, but is restrained by a Jucondan and the Twins. The Doctor apologises to Azmael but demands to know what is going on.
Meanwhile, Peri is captured by Jucondan guards and brought before Mestor. When Lang escapes to Azmael's lab and informs them what has happened, the Doctor finally shows compassion for her when he thinks she might die...
Mestor refrains from killing Peri immediately, finding her appearance pleasing. Jucondan guards arrive in Azmael's lab and seize the Doctor. The Doctor tells Mestor that he ought to allow him to assist with the dangerous operation of moving the planets, as a single mistake could blow a hole in that corner of the universe. Back the laboratory, Azmael informs the Doctor the details of the plan to bring the planets into the same orbit — they will be placed in different time zones using time travel technology that Mestor stole from Azmael. The Doctor realises that, as the other planets are smaller than Juconda, bringing them closer to Juconda's sun will lead to catastrophe. The Doctor enters the egg storeroom, and is disturbed that they have no nutritional mucus. He tries to cut one open with a laser cutter; the shell is impenetrable, but the egg reacts slightly to the heat. The Doctor realises they have been designed to withstand the heat of an exploding sun — the explosion of the Jucondan sun will scatter the eggs throughout the universe. When they hatch, the Gastropods will conquer the universe.
The one remaining Jucondan, Drak in the lab collapses dead, his mind burnt out. Mestor had been using him as a monitor, and knows the full details of what has been discussed. Peri, Lang and the Twins return to the TARDIS, whilst the Doctor and Azmael go to confront Mestor. When Mestor refuses to abandon his plans, the Doctor hurls a vial of acid taken from the lab at him, but a force field protects Mestor from any harm. Mestor threatens to possess the Doctor's mind and body, and demonstrates by taking control of Azmael's body. Azmael tells him to destroy Mestor's body before he can return to it, which he does with a further vial. Then Azmael, in his last regeneration, forces himself to regenerate — killing himself — and in doing so destroys Mestor. Dying, Azmael says he has no regrets and that one of his fondest memories was a time spent with the Doctor by a fountain.
The Doctor and Peri return to the TARDIS; Lang decides to stay behind on Juconda to assist with their rebuilding. When Peri tells the Doctor off for being rude, he reminds her that he is an alien, with different "values and customs", and that: "No matter what else happens, I am the Doctor... whether you like it or not!"
VERDICT: Utter tedium. 2/10
Total Trackbacks 0