The Invasion of Time part 2
30 March 2019 at 20:07 #67521Craig @craigEmperor
It’s been almost a year since part 1. My apologies. But let’s pick up where we left off. Time is relative after all.
The Doctor, back on Gallifery, has been given the ‘everything-you-can-think-of’ of Rassilon, crowned as Lord President of the Supreme Council and given ‘The Matrix’. But he doesn’t have a very good reaction to it being crowned on his head. Leela has to go on the run after the Doctor orders her to be banished from the Citadel.
After recovering, the Doctor, with the help of K9, starts putting his plan into place – but what is he up to?
And after an episode and a half we finally get to meet a female Galliferyan – Rodan. Leela’s first reaction – “The Doctor’s always said…”.
For the best viewing experience this story is available to buy with lots of extras. You can get it from Amazon for less than 8 of our British pounds – other retailers are also available (except the BBC, which has sadly closed its online store). It may also be on your Netflix, Prime or Hulu, or whatever else you subscribe to.
Remember, we’re discussing this story one episode per week, as it was originally broadcast. If you’ve seen it before, for the convenience of anyone approaching this for the first time, NO SPOILERS for subsequent episodes please.30 March 2019 at 20:35 #67528
Yippee! Will watch this tomorrow – which is kind of appropriate, given the Sunday slot for the Whittaker Doctor.
Glad you’re back, even if you did have to take a year-long detour to get here. 🙂31 March 2019 at 00:34 #6753731 March 2019 at 03:24 #67538
And I will watch on Monday morning while on the exercise bike, just for a refresh. I have watched this episode many times but always best to re watch before discussing.
Janette31 March 2019 at 19:36 #67539
Inside this episode is a perfectly good plot, screaming to get out.
Unfortunately, that perfectly good plot would only take up about twelve minutes of screen time. Given that the two writers – Anthony Read and Graham Williams – were struggling with both the after effects of a production strike and having to write a replacement script in no-time-at-all, it’s not surprising that they went for the old Who standby of padding-by-corridor. Lots of corridors. When they’d finally run out of corridors, they used the old ‘banter in the TARDIS’ standby.
@craig summarised the good plot rather neatly, so instead, I’m going to work my way through the episode.
First rule of padding – have everyone argue with everyone else. We can waste loads of time if people argue about everything. Hence Borusa starts up an argument with Gold Usher, Leela AND the Surgeon General. Quite some going. The Surgeon General, by the way, manages some impressive diagnosis by merely waving his hand vaguely in the direction of Tom Baker – but I remain convinced that Gallifreyan medicine mostly consists of ‘take two painkillers and call me if you haven’t regenerated by the morning’.
A continuation of a theme from Deadly Assassin – Time Lords are a bunch of racist gits, which the Doctor makes use of to get Leela out of the Citadel. Why he needs her outside is as yet unclear. Naturally, since the Doctor hasn’t bothered explaining his plans to Leela, she escapes. Yay, padding!
In case any of the audience suspects the Doctor has gone genuinely mad, there’s another argument – this time between Borusa and the Doctor. Borusa isn’t having a good day. Neither is Andred, who’s having to cope with a Castellan (Milton Johns at his slimiest) who takes all the credit and leaves him to do all the work.
“Even the Sonic Screwdriver won’t get me out of this one” – that was a total aside to the audience, a real ‘breaking the fourth wall’ moment with a momentary flick of the eyes straight to the camera.
Corridors. Plus more Time Lord infighting. The Castellan wants to be Chancellor, I think. And the Citadel Guards are genuinely thick – later retconned by explaining that qualifications for the army included failing your Time Lord exams. Presumably, the ordinary guards have also failed their officer’s entry exams, their NCO exams … 😈 Poor Andred is beginning to look like he’s got this week’s ‘only sane man’ role.
We will now have a short break for padding as Leela tries desperately to get into the TARDIS, the guards approach very, very slowly, K9 hangs his head in a meaningful manner, and the Castellan looks at a video screen and does absolutely nothing. Oh, yeah, and we forgot the keys.
Did I mention that the first rule of padding was to have everyone argue with everyone else? The Doctor and K9 will now have a row to stretch out the scene explaining the Doctor’s cunning plan. 🙂
Rodan. The entire reason we’re having this rewatch. She is, unbelievably, the first female Gallifreyan seen for thirteen years since Carole Ann Ford bowed out as Susan, and for nine years after the Doctor was specifically identified as being from a race called ‘Time Lords’. It’s probably difficult to understand the impact seeing this perfectly ordinary young Time Lady had on me back in 1978. I was too young to remember Susan. I didn’t really remember either Troughton or Hartnell. Time Lords were men. They were always shown as men, and that reflected the way things were in real life. The people in power were, basically, men. Male doctors, male Doctors. Male Prime Ministers, male Time Lords. My brother could have an ambition to be an RAF pilot. I … couldn’t. Legally couldn’t.
That ‘men only’ era was starting to break apart, and again, that was reflected in Doctor Who’s increasingly assertive female assistants, showing a level of competence that hadn’t been seen since Verity Lambert. But they were the assistants.
And then, suddenly, Leela turns a corner, and there was Rodan, complaining that she’d passed the Seventh Grade and had been shoved into a post as a glorified traffic warden. I remember it as mind-blowing, that realisation that Time Lords don’t have to be men. 😀
The introduction of Rodan is deliberately ambiguous – Leela’s ‘The Doctor’s always saying’ could be referring to Rodan telling her she’s going to hurt herself with that knife, or it could be a joke that ‘but he said they were all men’.
And back to the plot (and the padding). Nice bit of juxtaposition with the transduction barrier, followed by extensive jellybabying. We can spend a bit of time sorting through the keys, as well. How about some Time Lord infighting? Milton Johns is so good at being conniving. 🙂
Actual plot in the last four minutes. An alien fleet is heading to Gallifrey, the transduction barrier needs raising to max (pity K9 is blowing it up).
And Gallifrey is being invaded – by a collection of Bacofoil special effects. I bet the Castellan, for one, will welcome his new Bacofoil overlords.1 April 2019 at 05:44 #67540
@bluesqueakpip Wow. I not sure what is left to say after that detailed breakdown. I think you have nailed it.
I watched this episode straight after watching Hell Bent. I have been doing a Gallifrey based re-watch in the past week so this was very timely. Gallifrey is recognisable but very different. Love the blow up plastic seats, but they are a clear Health and Safety hazard. Maybe they are deliberately placed to test the reflexes of the guards. The rediculous head pieces are indeed rediculous but really sum up TimeLords, arrogant, excessive and with very poor taste.
It is nice that the script writers finally acknowledged that there might indeed be some females on Gallifrey, a realisation long over due. I often think men don’t deliberately overlook women, they just don’t realise that there is another gender. Dr Who in this era is a clear demonstration of that. It is nice to finally meet a female Time Lord and at the time I could relate to her frustration. I think most of us of a female persuasion could. (one would hope less so now) Rodan is clearly very intelligent and underappreciated.
The guards are rather pathetic but I guess their role has been almost entirely ceremonial for a very long time. The entire society is complacent, smug, and extremely irritating. One understands why the Doctor ran away. He had sense.
The Bacofoil special effects are what one does when not given enough time to decide just who is invading Gallifrey. After all such a powerful society should have powerful enemies.
What really does sustain this episode is the humour and the dialogue. Doctor offering Andred jelly babies, Doctor outwitting Borusa, Leela talking to Rodan and of course K.9 But then I watched this when I was 16 and Dr Who was the highlight of my day. I remember this story fondly and am willing to forgive all the faults, even the plastic chairs in the bacofoil corridors.
Roll on the next episode.
Janette2 April 2019 at 10:25 #67541
I didn’t mean to be so detailed I stopped anyone saying anything!
Yes, the Time Lords have terrible taste in hats – though I did rather like the more ‘working class’ headgear used in The Day of The Doctor. The purple, embroidered taqiyahs managed to be both practical and recognisably ‘Gallifreyan’.
The guards are completely useless, yet Andred is – in this episode at least – a competent officer suffering a boss playing office politics. It could well be that the Citadel guards are ceremonial and therefore they dump all the duffers there. Andred’s been transferred to the Commander role because they need at least one person who knows what they’re doing. 🙂
I often think men don’t deliberately overlook women, they just don’t realise that there is another gender.
I did a very interesting course on Unconscious Bias last year – it was compulsory for everyone – and the current research is that we tend to pick ‘people like us’. So, yeah, a lot of it’s unconscious. Male producer, director etc picks male actors for the Time Lords – until someone makes a conscious decision to include a woman and reference sexism. As the joke goes, if ‘Lord’ is gender inclusive, how many women do you think of when asked to name ten Lords?
But I was certainly aware of ‘you can’t do that, you’re a girl’. It wasn’t all unconscious bias – some of it was legal discrimination. Older teachers who were unmarried, because they’d started teaching in an era when married women couldn’t teach (or hold most jobs, for that matter). If they’d married, they’d have had to leave teaching – and it was all perfectly legal. Certain areas I couldn’t go into. The future PM saying she didn’t think there’d be a woman PM in her lifetime. 🙂
So I also forgive this story a lot. Rodan was important – a small crack in ‘you can’t do that, you’re a girl.’ I could be a Time Lord. And if girls could be a Time Lord, what else could we do? 😀2 April 2019 at 13:34 #67542
@bluesqueakpip It may be that there was more (and certainly in some areas less) gender equality in Australia. Most of the female teachers I had were married but they were also mostly young, ie, post “Gough Whitlam” generation. Australia had a seismic shift in the 70s that catapulted us into the future and from which we have been regressing ever since. For instance I saw recently that “no fault” divorce is a recent thing or not even yet a thing in the U.K. That was introduced in the 70s here. The minister at the church I went to as a child was female, and the women in my family tended to be very dominant so I grew up expecting to be treated as an equal and was always shocked when I wasn’t. The greatest gender-based barrier I encountered was when travelling alone. There were some places where a single woman simply could not go. It was often hard enough when travelling with a female friend. That annoyed the hell out of me.
I suspect that Britain’s history and class system makes change harder and Gallifrey is very much a reflection of this, a society with an ancient and deeply ingrained class system. It is clearly a highly segregated and rigid society, though we only see a snap shot of it. The Time Lords are obsessed with maintaining status quo, rather like the House of Lords I imagine.
Yes I agree Rodan was important because we finally see that there are women in this supposedly advanced society and they can be time lords and Rodan is the inspiration for Romana.
(And your detailed breakdown was excellent.)
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