Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doctor Who-The Daemons
                                    During Doctor Who's eighth season,a single adversary was chosen for during this entire season who'd present a challenge for the Doctor. This was The Master,a renegade time lord only with the opposite agenda of the Doctors. He used his intelligence and adept mind control abilities to manipulate others,including human beings,into facilitating his attempts to have absolute power over all living beings and destroy the doctor. Up until this point the character had focused much of his energies on economically oriented corporations on Earth. As the season went on his attempts at completing his mission of achieving absolute power began to grow quite a bit broader in scope. In this final story of the eighth season,The Master begins to tango with powers that were in fact somewhat beyond even his control.

                               The BBC is televising a broadcast about a legendary Pegan legend revolving around evil doings at a place called Devils End. Interrupted only by a lady announcing herself as a local  white witch named Olive Hawthorne,the members of UNIT watch the program for amusement while the Doctor seems to take news of an evil occurrence is to take place very soon involving the opening of a rock door known as Devil's hump. Upon the doctors arrival,he and the BBC reporter are frozen by a message freezing wind. Surprised by the sudden TV blackout,Yates and Benton go to investigate. Once the doctor is recovered,he and Jo return to the dig site to find a tiny space ship in the shape of the cavern surrounding it though weighing tons. Meanwhile the area church has a new Vicor known as the Magister,actually the Master using the latin peculiar of his name.

                               It is at this point the Doctor realizes that the Master is conjuring the power of an ancient alien race called the Daemons who,for thousands and millions of years have been assisting humans in their technological progress as part of a scientific experiment for their own benefit. They are depending on the power hungry emotions of the Master and the spiritual fear of the members of the local cult he's surrounded himself with in order to summon the Daemon Azul,in part by striking terror through the autonomous stone gargoyle Bok,to gain the power he seeks. Even as these locals attempt to murder the doctor in a May day ritual it's up to him and ally Hawthorne to convince the fearful locals they are facing science and not magic. In the end it's not the psionic amplifier the doctor constructs that stops the Master,but rather Jo Grant's plea of sacrificing herself to save the life of the Doctor before the resurrected Azul that defeats him and saves the planet from destruction and at last brings the Master to justice,at least for now.

                        This particular serial is said to have been Jon Pertwee's personal favorite. And it's easy to see why in it's captivating,provocative plot,well written story and uncommon use of convincing special effects-such as the murderous stone gargoyle Bok. In terms of the story line,this is also a creationists nightmare. Over and over it champions that what people consider the demonic is,in fact,ancient science and with the idea that even the Devil himself is only a mythological understanding of an ancient alien race. The people of Devil's end are seemingly incapable of understanding this,until the Doctor is able to explain to them-even the benevolent Olive Hawthorne that "magic is only the science of the mind" as Pertwee himself once put it in song. The significance of Jo's relationship with the doctor is confirmed when she selflessly offers her life in exchange for the doctors. This is not only the event the is the defeat of Azul but exposes the townspeople to the Master's exploitation of them. This is one of the very finest episodes of Doctor Who from it's time,as well as a wonderful treatise on how,through religion and superstition, the power of fear to overcome knowledge.

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