Friday, June 14, 2013

Doctor Who-The Creature From The Pit

                      As the doctor and Romana are cleaning out the TARDIS, an unknown gravitational force pulls them to the floral surface of the planet Chloris. When there the two find a gigantic artificial egg emitting an unusual signal. The doctor is suddenly set upon by seemingly carnivorous wolfweeds and a native named Karela, who is taking the doctor to her matriarch Adrasta since he himself landed in what the natives refer to as a zone of death. Romana is separated from the doctor and finds herself in the company of bandits seeking metal, a rare commodity on Chloris and holding her for ransom. She tricks them into calling after K-9,who pursues Romana-intimidating the bandits and allowed her to escape them. She finds the doctor in the company of Adrasta,who insists on forcing him to enter into a pit in this death zone in order to kill a mysterious creature who has been "eating" her people. The doctor himself enters the pit after Adrasta fends off a defensive attack by K-9. There he meets up with a local astrologer Oganon, who himself lives in fear of this creature.

                     Adrasta meanwhile convinces Romana and K-9,with his special laser blasting skills to themselves enter the pit to destroy the creature. What they don't know is the bandits,aware from spying that Adrasta's palace will be unguarded,are planning to rob Adrasta of all her previous metals. As Adrasta demands K-9 and Romana's obedience in her mission, the doctor has been taken aside by the creature and is attempting to communicate with it. Two of the bandits have stolen a piece of metal from Adrasta's palace which,through hypnotic suggestion leads them into the pit,where they place it on the creature-who promptly begins to communicate with the doctor using his larynx as it has none. It addresses itself as Erato,a Tythonian ambassador who came to Chloris to negotiate a trade agreement for the chlorophyll it needs to survive,which the planet has in abundance, in exchange for continual supplies of metal for the planet.  

                     With Erato and Adrasta both present, the doctor is now able to decipher the obvious that Adrasta kidnapped Erato in order to maintain her monopoly on the planets metal that kept her in power. Erato kills Adrasta much to the delight of her guards and even henchman. The doctor agrees for Erato to leave the cave-even as Karela is trying to bribe the bandits over the metal they stole from Adrasta in exchange for the egg which, as the doctor now knows, is the rudimentary space craft with which Erato came to Chloris with. Upon release Erato reveals that his people plan to destroy Chloris with a neutron star to absorb its sun due to one of their ambassadors being kept imprisoned. The doctor offers up an alternative of using the TARDIS's tractor beam to repel the approaching Neutron star before it reaches the planet-with Erata risking himself to build one of his defensive webs around the star to keep it in balance. While nearly destroying the TARDIS, the mission is successful. The doctor leaves Adrasta's seemingly reasonable former henchman in charge along with Organon-who appears to have at last correctly predicted something: the renegotiation of Erata's original trade agreement.

                         One of the aspects that makes this story such as success is the witty repartee between Tom Baker's doctor and Lalla Ward. Time and again, Romana continually uses her gut instinct as the doctor would in her negotiations with Adrasta to free her and K-9 from the bondage of having to kill Erato-in the end as everyone learns only to maintain her secret bondage of the Tythonian ambassador and maintain power. While somewhat typical of Doctor Who's megalomaniac villains, the Lady Adrasta is set apart in some ways. Her motivations are largely based on economy. Not only that but she is caught between her perceived strength of character and,as we all see,her very real terror that the normally rational Erato will kill her for her crimes against himself and his people-which he does do in the end. Some rather dislike Tom Baker's portrayal of the doctor as a witty practical joker during the programs 17th series, which they also condemn in general. However this is probably the most influential characterization of the doctor-especially with David Tennant and Matt Smith: the characters use of humor to belay their own high intelligence. 
Post a Comment