Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Doctor Who-The Space Museum

                            On route from their encounter during the Crusades of Earth's 13th century the doctor,Vicki,Barbara and Ian find themselves abruptly out of their costumes of the period and into their normal clothing. When Vicki gets the doctor a glass of water she drops it,after it jumps back into her hand water and all. Realizing after this that the TARDIS is experiencing some level of time displacement,the doctor lands on the planet Xeros where they find a collection of spacecraft from different places and era's at what they determine to be a museum. After finding they make no footprints on the surface and,upon entering the museum find themselves in a maze of rooms that look exactly alike and are able to put their hands through solid objects they encounter one room where the doctor,Barbara,Ian and Vicki are on display as embalmed exhibits. After experiencing a brief physical fluctuation in time, the doctor determines that all of them have jumped a time track,keeping them locked outside of linear time in a fourth dimension and are now back in sync with themselves-as well as being suddenly vulnerable to the events that led them to be put on display in the first place.

                        With their exhibited bodies now vanished, the doctor finds himself taken prisoner by Lobos,head of security for the former Morok empire who has used this planet to construct this museum to display its former glories. He fails in vain to get the doctor to reveal secrets he's learned before taking the time lord away to be embalmed in preparation for his display with his companions  Meanwhile Ian has taken up arms against a couple other Morok guards while Barbara and Vicki,split up along with the rest of their companions encounter a group of native Xerons,whose people were destroyed to create this museum and of whom they are the children enslaved by the Moroks for labor there. While Barbara and Zeron Dako are gassed while trying to locate the doctor and Ian, Vicki encourages Xeron leader Tor to take up revolutionary arms against the Morok.  By Vicki using her technical skills to unlock a Morok doorway with the secret code, and by Ian's taking hostage of the Morok guards they are able to rescue the doctor from the embalming process,reunite with his companions while Tor destroys the museum-ending the cycle of events and saving the lives of the doctor and his companions before giving them a parting gift of a space time visualizer from the museum.

                    For a reason I only partially understand,probably due to the low budget effects (typical of a lot classic Doctor Who stories) as well as William Hartnell's growing difficulty with his lines ( a result of his arteriosclerosis induced dementia so its said), this story has been maligned as the weakest of the first doctor era of the program. In terms of plot and direction, my opinion is that its actually among the stronger. Maureen O'Brien shines in particular as Vicki-a plucky young lady who often challenges the doctor with her great knowledge,and shows her bravery by encouraging revolutionary arms by the Xeron's against the Morok. The Morok are the ideal caricatures of the last remnants of a decaying and bloated imperial system-so intent on being egoist about their past glory that they are in no position to defend it effectively. In addition to William Russell's Ian getting a lot of time as the stories main action hero of course,Hartnell gets a chance to show his absurdest humor with some of the earliest indications of the doctor as a "cosmic troll" as it were-baffling Lobos and his mind reading computers with images of old time bicycles and manatees,as well as hiding from them in empty Dalek armor.

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