Wednesday, August 26, 2009

classic who: the deadly assassin

As if there's really any other form of assassin.

So! We finally got the next ep working, and settled in for a good old romp through the Whoniverse... except this one's weird. Sarah Jane's just gone, and he's been called back home with a vision of the President being assassinated as if he's the one doing it, and it's just the Doctor, talking to himself because he has no Companion for four episodes. And really, alot of the third episode could have been gone and it would have been the same story, to whit:

As soon as the Doctor is back on Gallifrey, he's taken prisoner, which he immediately breaks out ofand quickly gets framed-- while trying to stop the assassination, he gets caught up in it and goes wonky, and starts thinking he's in the vision (or something?), and then he's arrested again, and tortured for a bit. Turns out he was aiming for the real killer down amongst the High Council, and set up to take the fall.

Chancellor Goth (who isn't wearing nearly enough eyeliner for that name, and seems to be the only one comfortable in the roll and the clothes), starts a trial, and the Doctor calls on paperwork to get himself entered into the running for the presidency, which buys him time in the trial. He manages to convince Spandrell that he isn't the assassin, despite the evidence, and they turn up various suspiscious clues: The gun's sight was off, so there's no way he could have fired the actual death shot, the person running the camera that should have recorded it is missing, and when he's founf, he's compressed a la the master, the last reels are stollen, there's no record of the Master, and the Doctor's record has been tampered with. And then they hit on the fact that the vision the Doctor had can only be explained by being the result of the Matrix-- the shared memories of thousands of dead Gallifreyans that work together in a computer to predict the future-- rerouted to him so that he'd come play patsy and it wouldn't be recorded.

So the Doctor goes into the Matrix to get the Master, who's all gross and buggy-eyed and somewhat like Mum-Ra now that he's come to the end of his regeneration cycle and is holding himself together and alive by force of will alone, and that's when there's a whole episode of the Doctor stuck in Vietnam. ::sigh:: It's like getting captured and escapingand getting captured again, except there's no Companion to talk it through with, and escaping is replaced with the Doctor sliding down quarry walls. Repeatedly.

Eventually, he stops the one coming after him, and it's Goth! ::dun dun DUN:: He manages to make it out of the Matrix just in time, but Goth is still tied in when the Master tries to kill the Doctor, and he gets the worst of it. The Doctor traces the Matrix connection back to the catacombs, where they find the Master dead, and Goth not there enough to answer their questions, only enough to say that he brought the Master back and couldn't stop him from taking over. And he has a doomsday plan, but he doesn't say what it is before he dies.

Back in the offices, they tell Borusa waht happened, and he tells them a better story that will keep the faith in the Time Lords whole, and orders that the bodies be altered and so on to make the story fit. But the Doctor still wants to know waht the Master had planned, and why it mattered if his patsy was President, The only thing different than being any other Time Lord is access to the symbols of office, which the Doctor realizes are old relics of the sort of power that would let the Master regenerate all over again, and destroy Gallifrey and the Time Lords in the process.

Oh, and, you know, the Master's not dead.

So there's a whole one-on-one where the Master is releasing the Eye of Harmony that's the source of all Gallifrey's power (which has apparently been forgotten by this point), and the Doctor's stopping him. It ends with half the Citadel collapsed, but the world intact, and the Master down a fissure. Spandrell and Engin see the Doctor off, and witness the Master disappearing into time without trying to stop him, and that sort of spoiled the ending for me.

So here's a picture of the Doctor looking shifty in the 'seldom worn ceremonial robes' that they always seem to be wearing:
What I take away from this story are the following details:
- From the beginning, the Doctor was considered a renegade, but Borusa (an old teacher at the Academy) probably likes him anyway.
- Time Lords are, as a whole, pretty dumb. They don't know where their power comes from, they aren't the top of the technological totem pole anymore, and they live for ages and never do anything with it. Also, they're divided into assholes and doddering old men.
- There aren't any Time Ladies at all in this story, which seems odd.
- The Citadel is something like Superman's Fortress of Solitude and something like the Tok'ra crystal bases, and something like a melted freezy-pop.
- The Doctor wears long johns.
- I miss the presence of a Companion, and I'm glad this is the only one without one.
- Goddess above and below, I'm sick of the Master.

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