Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Doctor Who-Four To Doomsday

                         On his first attempt to get Tegan back to Heathrow airport to continue her life on Earth as a stewardess  his attempts to give Adric control of the TARDIS backfires as it ends up inside a spaceship with far more advanced technology than any human could have during the 1980's. Upon investigating the area in oxygenated helmets due to the obscure air elements on the ship,the doctor notices that a small black floating sphere with a lens has been shadowing them. While Nyssa stays behind to investigate the technology available to them the doctor,Tegan and Adric find themselves in the company of three amphibian humanoids led by one who referred to himself as the Monarch of the Urbankans-along with his two ministers who address themselves as Enlightenment,who is female and the male Persuasion. They mention having only met humans far in the past and found them primitive. When asking at Tegan's stewardess uniform,she sketches out at their request a male and female human in casual attire from her era. Meanwhile Nyssa is confronted by a man in ancient Greek attire. Upon arriving back to check in on Nyssa, the man greets them by the name of Bigon.

                  Bigon is soon followed by members of many other Earth cultures-including Aboriginal Australian China's Futa dynasty and a native Mayan. Soon after Persuasion and Enlightenment re-emerge to speak to the TARDIS crew-interestingly enough now appearing exactly like the sketch Tegan had drawn of humans. With the revelation that the Urbankans possess great technological superiority,the doctor and Nyssa soon come to believe that these "humans" are in fact advanced androids,since they come from periods of Earth history separated by millennium and couldn't have survived so many thousand years. This is confirmed, after witnessing a "recreational" featuring various human tribal dances,Bigon reveals this to be true. Not only that but only the leaders of these human sects of androids have advanced programming-many only possess basic motor skills. It is also revealed when Nyssa is captured,while Adric is nearly seduced by the Urbankans superiority,that the Monarchs are talking of using these androids to convince humanity to embrace similar android bodies while they regain more energy.

                 This  is masking their true intent to plunder the Earth of electromagnetic energy because of the Monarchs,who is convinced he is god belief that travelling beyond the speed of light will allow him to meet himself in the center of the universe. Because the only living matter on the ship is plant life created from the bio matter of the bodies used to program the androids and lower order animals used to create the poisonous substance the Urbankans plan to use to miniaturize all human life on Earth instantly so they'll be no threat, the doctor devises a plan to go to the TARDIS,which a frightened Tegan is attempting to pilot to safety herself,utilizing his ability to survive for six minutes within a vacuum, in order to allow these Urbankan androids to return to their homes to resume a quality of life. By the time the Monarch tries to stop them, both Persuasion and Enlightenment are killed in the skirmish. Though all of them appear to have been androids,the shrinking poison works on the Monarch when the doctor,Tegan and Nyssa proceed from the ship in the TARDIS while Bigon and his companions elect to stay behind.

                 On many levels,this is a very telling story on many levels. Though taking place shortly after the fifth doctors regeneration, this was actually Peter Davison's first filmed story on the show.  Their is a quality to the Urbankans that brings to mind something of an implied take on the decaying state of the Soviet Communist regime in the early 1980's. While the Monarch is perfectly content in his concept that his conception of life has reached perfection and others should follow it,characters such as Bigon-literally a walking,thinking machine realizes all of the faux cultural education and consistent lies to those still living in "flesh time" as the Monarch calls it, are  being denied access to their souls so Monarch can gain control. We also learn a lot about the characters here. Adric's willingness to accept the intellectual superiority of the Urbankans while ignoring their emotional suppression points to his psychic immaturity . We learn that what Tegan lacks in knowledge of history and emotional control she gains in language-as she speaks Aboriginal Australian. Nyssa, with her measured attitude and love of science is revealed to be very much a kindred spirit to the doctor himself. Overall a wonderful,involving and meaningful story that goes to the core of its message and the characters.
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