Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Doctor Who-The King's Demons

                          The TARDIS lands the doctor, Tegan and newly arrived Turlough in 1250 AD in England during the medieval jousting of King John. All three are surprised when the King welcomes them as "demons with a blue engine" to the castle of loyal subject Sir Ranulph Fitzwilliam. When the trio are escorted to their quarters  Turlough is mislaid when he's taken prisoner on suspicion from Sir Ranulph's resistant son. In the meantime quite a bit more is amok. Sir Ranulphs wife Isabella and his son are soon taken prisoner by the kings mysterious new French champion Sir Gilles Estram along with Geoffrey de Lacy-another loyal subject of King John. Recognizing these mysterious actions are taking place as the King is about to sign the  famous Magna Carta he takes up Sir Gilles on a duel-during which Gilles reveals himself to be The Master having escaped from Xeriphus prison.  The Master continues to confuse the subjects of King John,whom even they notice is acting irrationally. 

             The doctor, Tegan and a freed Turlough then manage to convince Sir Ranulph of the truth: that The Master is planning on continuing the crusades in order to keep Magna Carta from getting signed and a democratic parliament from developing in ancient England. Upon searching the castle after, he overhears what sounds like King John's lute playing and locates an unknown silver android. The Master,also present addresses him as Kameleon, an artificial life form used by The Master to escape from Xeriphus and who is subject to the mind control techniques of a time lord. The doctor faces off the Master in a battle of wits-at which time Kameleon transforms into Tegan and the doctor and his companions take the android into the TARDIS with him and leave. Unable to accomplish his plan on Earth,The Master is left to wander unknowingly with his TARDIS as Kameleon uses his own judgement to take up the doctors invitation to join him,Tegan and Turlough on their journey to the Eye Of Orion.

            Anthony Ainley and Peter Davison person incredibly in this brief historical story whose only real science fiction element is the new, and sadly short lives, companion Kameleon. A combination of the later Star Trek characterizations of Data and Odo, this shaft shifting android is believed by the Master to have no mind. And he uses Kameleon to mislead the 11'th century royal families, themselves divided still by clan chiefs and honor guards, to prevent the beginnings of a more democratic political info structure on Earth. The Master's plans to use this power struggle to enact his own totalitarian regime is contrasted by Kameleon exercising his democratic right, before the doctor whose intention isn't to manipulate him, that he wants to journey with the doctor in his TARDIS and with his companions. An excellent sociopolitical tale about the difficulty it takes to maintain democratic freedoms. 
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