Sunday, October 18, 2009

classic who: The robots of death

This is frequently considered one of the best eps of all time. I don't know about that, but it's not bad, and the robots, though generally idiotic and easy to confuse, have a really awesome design that is now in action figure form. I might need to get them.


The Doctor and Leela wash up on a ship that's out mining sandstorms in search of riches. Miners again. ::sigh:: The crew of the ship are a mix of high-class and low-class from some planet where that's really important, but it can be evened out by bringing home enough lucanol (which sounds like an expensive medicine). Except that their whole society is dependent on robots, and there's many more of them then there are people. The robots apparently have enough of a reputation for harm that one of the crew members mentions that he heard of one ripping a dude's arm off once, but it's considered an urban legend... until people start turning up dead.

Then there's a bit of the ol' The There Were None while the Doctor and Leela get blamed for the crimes and talk their way into solving them. Like you do. It seems that one of the robots that's supposed to be a basic and mute labor drone has been modified to be much more intelligent and to figure out what's up with threats on the home world of a robot revolution-- started by a sceintist who was raised by robots and doesn't like people, and is thought to be aboard. Several more people are murdered while the survivors alternately believe and disbelieve the Doctor, and eventually the engines get sabotaged; they have to cut power so they can not explode, which makes them sink, which forces them to ask the Doctor for help. Once that's sorted, they start looking for the cause of the robot malfunctions and find that they're being reprogrammed with a giant glitter-pen syringe to the brain. (they call it a laser of some sort)

It's revealed that the engineer is actually the terrorist they're looking for, and they start looking for ways to shut him down.

They manage to get all the robots except the crazy ones and the helpful one shut down, and the Doctor builds a machine to bust up the rest while he gives Leela the task of releasing helium gas to change Taran's voice so the robots won't recognize him. He's offed by his own reprogrammed robots, and D84, the helpful one, triggers the Doctor's device, which offs the rest, and all of a sudden, everything's fixed.

I have trouble remembering the Doctor in this episode. I mean, he was there, but it was mostly miners fighting with eachother and cool-looking robots getting reprogrammed and killing people.

Leela's kind of boring so far, and not terribly useful on a ship. I miss Sarah Jane.

Miners, ugh. I'm getting so tired of miner politics. It's like the fallback when they can't think of anything more interesting.

There's a lot about this ep that are mirrored in Voyage of the Damned. It doesn't' really make it more interesting, but it's nice to see continuity over such a long stretch of time.

And then it just ends. The old eps seem to have issues with the idea of ending a show...

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