Wednesday, May 27, 2009

classic who: the pyramids of mars and the android invasion

This week, we took a lazy day and watched two episodes. The first was Pyramids of Mars, which finds Sarah Jane playing in the wardrobe and wearing Vickie's dress, which is convenient, as the Tardis crashlands in the early 1900s, just after an eminent English archaeologist uncovers and untouched Egyptian tomb that turns out to be full of badness, rather than mummies.

The contents of the tomb have been sent home, and a moderately racist but not terrible Egyptian is taking care of it all, waiting for his return-- and praying to the slightly crap-looking sarcophogi. Turns out he's a loyal worshipper of Sutek / Set (which makes me think of the sumb first-season villain from Stargate, because that's what they've done to Egyptian myth in my brain), and he's working to un-trap him from his 7000 years of prison that the Osirian aliens put him under. Because he's not a god, he's an alien war criminal.

So the Doctor has to stop him. There's much creeping around in and out of windows, the Doctor gets help from the archaeologist's brother, there are really pretty neat robot-mummies, and there's a plot to bomb Mars and get the pyrimidal preison deactivated. At one point, the Doctor poses as a mummy and sneaks explosives into the rocket the mummies are building, and Sarah Jane turns out to be a sharp shooter-- even after she's been captured and used against the Doctor. Eventually, the Doctor has to face Sutek on his own, and winds up under the evil influence to save Sarah Jane, but when they reach Mars, all is well because Sutek, though powerful enough to control people in England from Egypt, has trouble concentrating on two mind-control victims at once, and lets the Doctor go, thinking his robomummies have killed him. 

The Doctor prevails, of course, though trickery and misdirection, and all is well.

And it's a good episode. There's almost no backing up at the beginning of the next episode, and there's a minimum of getting caught / breaking out / getting caught again. The story is tight and makes sense as much as Classic Who ever does, and in the end, there isn't alot of that weird morally ambiguous feeling it sometimes leaves you with. 

Then, on to The Android Invasion.

Sarah and Four land on earth, but something weird is going on, with all the townsfolk acting like pod people, and all the money being newly minted and none of the phones working. Turns out they're all androids. Through various runnings around and splittings up, sarah Jane loses the Tardis, the Doctor figures out that things are wonky and why, Sarah Jane gets duplicated and sent to trap the Doctor, they're foiled, Sarah twists her ankle, and both barely escape the end of the simulation before the aliens take off-- because, you see, none of it is real. These aliens that look like Sontarans with really blobby heads and tricerotops noses are building a perfect simulation to test out how best to conquer earth, now that they've ruined their own planet, and they have a lost human astronaut to help them-- a guy who feels he's been betrayed by the humans who never came to look for him, and who's been in contact with earth for months, telling them his daring and made up story. The aliens told him they'll live in peace, but in reality, they're just going to infect everyone with a virus they're trying to test on a captured Sarah Jane.

She, of course, totally randomly uses the water to conduct electricity to escape instead of drinking it (which is great, because she both gets to be techy and gets to note be poisoned in the cliffhanger, which is what I was expecting), and doesn't even know about the virus. 

There's running around on the ship and on the real earth, where key people, including Harry, Benton and Not!TheBrig have been replaced by duplicates already, and they have to exit the ship the way the robots do, which leaves more duplicates of them-- though Sarah's is killed by just knocking it over. I got confused as to who was a robot and who wasn't in the last part, because isntad of acting like emotionless doids, they're acting like their real confused selves, but in the end, the Doctor reprograms his own duplicate offscreen and uses it to stop the baddies and the invasion never comes. 

Yay earth!

This one was good, too, but there's the introduction of the idea that Sarah Jane wants to go home and that the Doctor keeps having to find reasons why she can't, and that makes me sad. Sarah's my fav so far except for Rose, and it'll be rough watching her go. But the story was pretty well-paced and except for that one part when I had no idea who was who, made as much sense as a show full of doppelgangers can. And it was entertaining. I like when Classic Who is in space; that's where it seems to belong.

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