The Invasion of Time part 3

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  • #67547
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    And for our third instalment… The Doctor welcomes the shimmering (or bacofoil) “new masters” of Gallifrey but, as Leela says to Rodan, “He always has a plan”.

    Maybe that’s why the Doctor seems to be fixated on his office decor and K9 is still roaming the corridors of the Citadel and doing … eh, something in the TARDIS.

    Leela and Rodan go on the run. While Leela can cope with anything life throws at her, Rodan struggles with the outside world.

    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.

    #67559
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    This is a much better paced, more ‘fun’ episode than last week. Probably because they now have a lot of plot to get through – get Leela and Rodan outside, bring Borusa in on the plot, develop a resistance movement through Andred.
    And room for some terrible puns. ‘A matter of time,’ indeed.

    The weakness of the Time Lords; they’re utilitarian rationalists. Reason (greatest good of greatest number) suggests that they should submit to their new Bacofoil overlords, so Rodan acts as spokeswoman for that point of view. They’re not big on subtext; no imagination. It’s noticeable that the leaders of the revolutionaries are Andred, retconned years later as a failed Time Lord and Leela; a warrior of the Sevvateem, trained to act instinctively. The other ‘unreliable element’ is the Surgeon General, Gomer, – a doctor. Little bit of a joke, there. 🙂

    And yet Leela is reasoning based on her experience – the Doctor, her experience tells her, is up to something. So if he wants her outside, outside she has to go. Only to discover that Rodan has never in her life left the Citadel – a real city girl – and hasn’t a clue how to survive out there.

    Again, interestingly, the Doctor’s later backstory develops the idea that he didn’t grow up in the Citadel. Whether the Barn was part of a Time Lord prep school or an orphanage, both he and the Master seem to have grown up amongst the ‘outsiders’ in a quite literal sense. The Master/Missy as a privileged child of a great landowner, the Doctor as … not. They didn’t grow up among the rebels. But neither of them come from the closed world of the Citadel.

    The set designer seems to have gone bonkers on the clockwork motif for the shielded office – and we have an ‘explain the plot’ session. The Vardans are (like the Time Lords) semi-telepathic. They can read minds – which explains why the Doctor’s mind has been imitating a grasshopper. He was probably working on the theory that his mind would be just too irritating to read.

    I’m now wondering why they decided to give Louise Jameson that giant cloak – was the weather too bad for her to be filming in her normal skimpy leather? All the ‘outside’ actors seem to have been given rather warm costumes – given that they had to do the location filming after the studio work, instead of before, and it was heading into November, they may have simply been dressing everyone for the weather. Gallifrey itself got to be a sand quarry rather than a chalk pit – later retconned as ‘the Drylands’.

    We will now establish that one never hires Milton Johns unless his character is going to stab another character in the back. Possibly several characters. Nobody does it better. 😀

    Leela and Rodan meet the people who live outside – fairly comfortably, though at a much lower tech level. At the moment they seem to be in the hunter-gatherer phase of civilisation (Leela would fit right in), but the outsiders we see during the Moffat era appear to be farmers. The difference may be ‘rebel hunters’ vs ‘not rebel farmers’ Either way, Rodan has just stepped into a part of Gallifrey where she has no useful skills whatsoever.

    Whatever the Doctor’s plot is, it seems to involve getting the Vardans to fully materialise and sending most of the rebels outside the Citadel. There’s a slight plot hole in that we don’t know how the Doctor knows the Outsiders will help; again, that’s something Moffat’s retconning will later make clear. In the meantime, Rodan (now dressed in even warmer clothing) helpfully points out that the Outsider Time Lord rebels have been ‘whispered about’, so maybe we should just guess that the Doctor had heard the whispers.

    Yup, as @craig says, K9 is doing … something. Padding, perhaps, or maybe filler. It involves data, somehow, and probably connects with the point carefully made by Borusa earlier – everything the Doctor knows is now part of the Matrix. Meanwhile, we establish that Andred is a rebel, even though he might seem to be on the side of the Castellan. He’s going to assassinate the traitorous Doctor! I’m pretty sure Tom Baker ends the episode by saying ‘oh, bugger’. 🙂

    #67561
    Whisht @whisht

    I am soooo glad of two things:

    1) the story is beginning to make a bit more sense and be less shouty/ silly;
    2) I clicked the link to watch via the dailymotion site where I don’t suffer the “here’s an ad for unicef” every 3 minutes.
    I mean, Unicef is great, but…. ahem.

    #67565
    janetteB @janetteb

    @bluesqueakpip Another excellent overview. Finally got time to watch the episode. Things are speeding up a little. The Doctor in his element, or should I say, Tom Baker is in his element, being the eccentric, enigmatic hero who is at least three jumps ahead of everyone else. He can switch from clown to evil dictator in the flick of an eyelid. I loved the jelly baby scene. Orange are indeed the best.

    The bacofilm baddies are still in the running for “Least Convincing Villain Ever in Dr Who” award.  More on that next week…

    Leela also shines in this series. She is able to use her warrior skills combined with what she has learnt from the Doctor to best effect. Rodan, as someone raised within a glass bubble, suddenly exposed to the reality of life outside is convincingly shattered but she has a strength of character which will enable her to survive. In Rodan we finally see the kind of quality that accounts for Gallifreyan society being so advanced.

    Lastly, I know this is Dr Who and it is made on a very tight budget but it would have been nice if they had managed to convey some sense that people actually lived in the citadel. Thus far Rodan is the only female we have seen in the citadel. Just as well they live so long as there does not seem to be any possibility of reproduction. I do like the sense that Time Lord Society is ossified.

    And lastly Andred. He is beginning to appear somewhat less of a noodle. In this episode at least..

    cheers

    Janette

    #67566
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @JannetteB – yes, I agree that this story, hurriedly written as it was, plays to the leading actors strengths. It takes advantage of Baker’s unpredictability, and Louise Jameson has a good, strong role to play as Leela – who, as you say, shows off how she’s grown while she was with the Doctor.

    Rodan does indeed have an inner strength. She has her moment of complete meltdown as she realises she’s stuck in a howling wilderness and will starve to death if these people don’t help her – and then recovers from it and later takes an intelligent part in the ‘what do we do now’ discussion. Though, Presta’s immediate ‘there, there’ reaction suggests Rodan isn’t the first exiled Time Lord to have a meltdown when realisation hits. 🙂

    The retcon that all candidate Time Lords are sent to the Academy (or a prep school for the Academy) at age eight goes some way to explaining why we don’t see the children, but there was a New Adventures theory that Time Lords didn’t have children. They were all genetically engineered in Gene Looms, with Susan being the first child born for millennia.

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