Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Review - The Time Warrior/Planet of the Spiders
by, 20th July 2013 at 04:16 AM (642 Views)
So here we begin series 11. Jo left to get married at the end of last series. Series 11 is Pertwee's final series and Elizabeth Sladen's first. And what a series this is. We see dinosaurs, Daleks being blown up, Peladon again, and finally giant spiders and Tom Baker in Pertwee's last regular appearance, Planet of the Spiders.
PLOT: The Time Warrior (4 parts)
In the Middle Ages, the bandit Irongron and his aide Bloodaxe together with their rabble of criminals find the crashed spaceship of a Sontaran warrior named Linx. The alien claims Earth for his Empire then sets about repairing his ship, offering Irongron “magic weapons” that will make him a king in return for shelter. They strike a bargain, though Irongron remains suspicious.
The Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart are investigating the disappearance of several scientists from a top secret scientific research complex. They do not know Linx has used an Osmic Projector to send himself forward eight hundred years and has kidnapped the scientists then hypnotized them into making repairs on his ship. The Projector only lets him appear in another time for a brief period. While the Doctor investigates he meets an eccentric scientist called Rubeish and a young journalist called Sarah Jane Smith, who has infiltrated the complex by masquerading as her aunt. Later that evening Rubeish disappears and the Doctor uses the data he has gathered to pilot the TARDIS back to the Middle Ages, not realising new companion Sarah has stowed away on board.
Irongron has stolen his castle from an absent nobleman, and relations with his neighbours are appalling. Indeed, the mild Lord Edward of Wessex has been provoked into building an alliance against him and, when this is slow in developing, sends his archer Hal on an unsuccessful mission to kill Irongron. The robber baron is in a foul mood when a captured Sarah is brought before him. His mood improves when Linx presents him with a robot knight which is then put to the test on a captured Hal. The archer is only saved when the Doctor intervenes from afar, shooting the robot control box from Irongron’s hands. The ensuing confusion lets both Hal and Sarah flee, and they head for Wessex Castle.
Meanwhile the Doctor has realised both that Sarah is in the time period and has been captured, and also that she previously supposed him to be in league with Irongron. The next morning the robber baron and his troops assault the castle using rifles supplied by Linx but the attack is repelled by the Doctor’s cunning. The failure further sours the relationship between Linx and Irongron, which has deteriorated since the robot knight fiasco and the point at which the robber saw the Sontaran’s true visage beneath his helmet.
The Doctor now decides to lead an attack on Irongron’s castle, and he and Sarah enter dressed as friars. He makes contact with Rubeish and finds the human scientists in a state of extreme exhaustion. Linx catches the Doctor in the laboratory once more, but this time is rendered immobile when a lucky strike from Rubeish hits his probic vent – a Sontaran refuelling point on the back of their necks which is also their main weakness. Rubeish and the Doctor use the Osmic Projector to send the scientists back to the twentieth century. Sarah now invites herself into Irongron’s kitchen, using the opportunity to drug the food, thereby knocking out Irongron’s men.
A recovered Linx now determines his ship is repaired enough to effect a departure. Once more he encounters the Doctor, and they wrestle in combat. A crazed and half drugged Irongron arrives and accuses Linx of betraying him: the Sontaran responds by killing him. As Linx enters his spherical vessel Hal arrives and shoots him in the probic vent, and the Sontaran warrior falls dead over his controls, triggering the launch mechanism. Knowing the place is about to explode when the shuttle takes off, Bloodaxe awakes and rouses the remaining men and tells them to flee, while the Doctor hurries the last of his allies out of the castle. It explodes moments before the Doctor and Sarah depart in the TARDIS.
EPISODE RATING: 9/10
Personally, I hate medieval settings. I didn't enjoy it in this story, but that aside, Elisabeth Sladen performed excellently for her first story. And we welcome the Sontarans to the series. Without this story we wouldn't have Strax! :3
PLOT: Planet of the Spiders (6 parts)
Following the events of Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Mike Yates was discharged from UNIT (Aaaww yisss) and is now attending a Tibetan meditation centre in rural England. Sarah Jane Smith visits him and they witness some curious happenings at the centre, seemingly organised by a resident called Lupton, a middle aged former salesman, and his cronies. Mike and Sarah stumble across Lupton performing an incantation, which conjures up a giant spider into the middle of the basement room. It jumps on Lupton’s back and then disappears. The spider manifests itself in Lupton’s head, telling him to seek out and locate a certain blue crystal.
The Third Doctor has developed an interest in psychic ability, but his testing of a clairvoyant called Professor Clegg backfires when his subject has a heart attack. It is triggered when Clegg comes into contact with a blue crystal from Metebelis Three (sent back from the Amazon by Jo Grant), which caused him to see the image of deadly spiders. Sarah returns from the retreat, having left Mike to watch things there, and she and the Doctor swap spider tales. Meanwhile Lupton has also arrived at UNIT HQ and steals the crystal from the Doctor’s laboratory. A multi-vehicle chase ensues which Lupton escapes by teleporting himself back to the monastery. Once there, the spider reveals that it is plotting against some of its sisters back on Metebelis Three. The spiders and the crystal originate from the same blue planet in the Acteon Galaxy, which was none too hospitable to the Doctor the last time he visited (during The Green Death).
The Doctor and Sarah now make for the monastery and tell the deputy abbot, Cho-Je, that something is very amiss. The crystal now strays again when it is taken by Tommy, the simple-minded handyman of the retreat, whose mind is opened and improved by the power of the crystal. Lupton is teleported to Metebelis Three, subconsciously allowing Sarah to follow him. She soon meets the human slave inhabitants of the planet, a generally dispirited bunch, other than the rebellious Arak, who is now in hiding.
The planet is ruled by the Eight-Legs or giant spiders, and their Queen is the supreme ruler. They govern using guards chosen from among the planet's Two-Leg (human) population and their own phenomenal mental powers, amplified by the blue stones of the planet. The Doctor arrives on the planet and he makes contact with Arak, who explains that the Metebelians are the descendants of the crew of an earth space ship, which crashed hundreds of years before. A spider on board found its way to the Blue Mountains where, through the effect of the crystals, its progeny grew larger and larger and cleverer and cleverer. The Doctor works out that a “negative” stone can absorb and reject the power of the blue crystals and starts a revolt among the humans, but this is defeated and the Doctor ventures to the Blue Mountains. There he encounters the Great One, a giant spider which controls the world of Metebelis and desires power over other domains too. She knows the crystal is still on Earth and sends the Doctor there to get it for her. He flees back to Earth with Sarah – not knowing the Queen spider has now implanted itself in his companion's mind.
Tommy has given the crystal to the abbot, K’anpo Rimpoche, who is an elderly Time Lord and the one-time hermit mentor of the Doctor. He now lives in peaceful exile on Earth. He tells the Doctor of Sarah's control and they work together to expel the Queen Spider. A fight breaks out in the monastery between Lupton’s cronies and the Abbot’s men. The Abbot advises the Doctor to take the crystal to the Great One: the Doctor started this chain of events by removing the crystal in the first place, and it is up to him to put it back. He departs in the TARDIS with the crystal.
On Metebelis Three, Lupton has been killed by the spiders after falling out with the Spider Queen. When the TARDIS lands, the Doctor heads to the cave of the Great One and gives her the crystal, which she uses to complete a lattice that begins to magnify her mental powers. However, the forces unleashed are too strong for the Great One and the feedback kills her and the other spiders. A vast wave of deadly radiation floods the cave. The Doctor, now very weak, staggers back to the TARDIS and teleports away.
Three weeks later, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Sarah are in the Doctor's laboratory when the Doctor finally returns and promptly collapses. Believing him to be dead, Sarah Jane cries as she tearfully closes the Third Doctor's eyes. The abbot K’anpo arrives in his new body, having regenerated into the form of Cho-Je, who was a sort of forward projection of his soul. He tells them that the Doctor will change too and before their eyes the Doctor starts to regenerate into the Fourth Doctor.
EPISODE RATING: 10/10
A top leaving party for Pertwee. It's a top performance from the man himself and it's a typical Pertwee story, car chases, UNIT, the Brig and Bessie! And that's no bad thing, that's what makes it so brilliant! Though I wouldn't recommend watching it if you have arachnophobia.
NEXT REVIEW: Robot/The Hand of Fear
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