Thursday, October 4, 2012

Doctor Who-The Claws Of Axos
                            During the first couple of years or so of the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who,the doctor was stranded on Earth with his memory of how to run the TARDIS's dematerialization circuit blocked by the time lords. Not only that but,during this entire season of the show he was continually menaced by The Master,the Professor Moriarty to the doctor's Sherlock Holmes. This necessitated a lot more creative writing on the part of the Doctor Who staff. One major reason being the unavoidable fact that any alien encounters would have to come the doctors way rather than his usual method of either seeking them out or stumbling into them. This was particularly effective when human beings vulnerabilities were addressed directly in the story.

                            A group of rather petulant scientists from a nuclear plant supplying power to all of Britain are in the process of pressuring UNIT for assistance when UNIT is called upon to investigate a UFO crash in the same area. The scientists travel along and encounter an unusual spaceship belong to gilded,sculpture like golden skinned humanoids calling themselves Axos. They offer the team a substance called Axonite,which they claim will not only help refuel the Axos dwindling power and nutrition  supply but offer humans a nearly unlimited source of power. Before long one of the scientists Chinn,involved with the British government is ready to distribute Axonite to all the major powers in the world.

                            It takes the bio replication of Filer,one of the scientists,Jo Grants capture and a near catastrophic accident while studying Axonite for the doctor (and later UNIT) to realize the truth: the AXOS are not in fact humanoids but merely a part of a multi faceted living organism that is on Earth to drain the planet of all it's living energy to maintain it's nutritional needs. And the Axos,their ship and Axonite are all one and the same. Finding that the Master is being held prisoner by the Axos in lieu of him leading Earth and the Doctor to the slaughter via the parasitic alien UNIT,the doctor and the scientists all go out to stop Chinn from distribute the Axonite. In the end the doctor is forced into an uneasy alliance with the Master in order to use his TARDIS just enough to lock Axos in a time loop and stave off it's catastrophic hold on Earth.

                           This story  one of the most compelling and engaging of the Jon Pertwee era. As the faux humanoid Axos pointed out,while they were acting primarily on their biological imperative,that it was the greed of the humans as well as the egoism of the Master that were the real enemy. One is left to wonder if Axos were an invading race or a type of cosmic cleanup crew for psychologically doomed worlds. In this story you get the sense the doctor and the master's relationship is more co dependent than it seems too. The Master,when actually faced with a nearly sure fire attempt to kill the doctor in order to destroy Axos seems hesitant to do so. And although exercised as a deception,the doctor seemed genuinely protective of the Master's well being during their temporary alliance. This story not only has a great morality play on the consequences short term politics,but also gives us yet another glimpse into the character of the doctor (and for that matter the time lords) complex psyche.
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