Sunday, December 8, 2013

Doctor Who-Time Flight

                         Concord flight 192 Victor Foxtrot out of Heathrow airport mysteriously disappears off of airport radar. On board the TARDIS the doctor plans to take Tegan and Nyssa,still mourning the death of Adric to the 1851 London Exposition when the TARDIS buckles and accidentally materializes directly over the runaway of Heathrow immediately after the disappearance of Victor Foxtrot. Landing in the airport terminal,the doctor is at first suspected of being responsible for the missing airplane. Upon submitting his UNIT credentials to the airport officials,he then proposes to one Captain Stapley that he take the TARDIS aboard another Concord to search for Victor Foxtrot,which he believes was caught up in in a time warp that caused the TARDIS to fly off course to begin with.

                   The plane believes itself to have landed back at Heathrow,but its all an illusion-the real Heathrow perceives Stapley's plane as too going off the radar. Nyssa is the first to notice what the doctor convinces Stapley and his crew by seeing a glimpse of dead bodies: their surroundings are a telepathic projection. Their actual surroundings is a desolate Jurassic period ice age Earth with a crashed spaceship. While viewing a mysterious citadel in the back round Nyssa,Tegan and Stapley find the doctor absorbed briefly by what the doctor soon reveals to be Plasmatons-manifestations of strong biophysical energy emanating from a given source. At that point they spot the crew of Victor Foxtrot hauling away the TARDIS,apparently believing they are on a standard flight while the doctor and his companions follow suit.

                     Along the way the encounter hypnotist Professor Hayter,the lone passenger on Foxtrot who is aware what he is seeing is an illusion. Though uncertain of the doctors identity,he elects to join them. They arrive at the citadel,overcoming one series of illusions after the other when Nyssa falls ill before arrival-apparently overcome by another life form taking over her mind. The doctor leaves Tegan to look after her as the doctor and Stapley proceed to find an unusual alien calling himself the Kalid within,who is using the crew of Victor Foxtrot to commandeer the doctors TARDIS using advanced telepathic suggestion. When Hayter notices along with the doctor Kalids device is made from spare TARDIS parts the Kalid reveals himself as the Master,locked on ice age Earth after a failed escape attempt from Castrovalva.

                        The Master has located a central power source in the Citadel,that both Nyssa and Tegan have by this time arrived at and are unable to penetrate,to power up his TARDIS and return to his time. He attempts to brainwash Stapley and his crew mates the same as he had Foxtrots crew to facilitate his needs,though Stapley is able to recover in time to do some makeshift work of his own on the TARDIS before the Master escapes to his own TARDIS with time controls from the doctors. The doctor and Hayter arrive with Nyssa and Tegan at the central power source,which he recognizes as belonging to a war torn race called the Xeraphin,who had processed their physical bodies into plasmonic energy to be stored there. When Hayter attempts to access that knowledge,his body is similarly processed as two conflicted Xeraphin-one wishing to work with the doctor and the other for the Master,end up in conflict.

                     Realizing it was the Xeraphin who possessed Nyssa to begin with,and their plasmonic energy source would give the Master a nearly exhaustible level of power,the doctor pulls a switch on the Master as Stapley,his crew and Tegan plunder the functional parts of Foxtrot to repair their own plain-even after the Master attempts to materialize his TARDIS around it. With the original crew of Foxtrot long out of the Master's control,the doctor makes the switch and returns-inside the TARDIS,with Stapley on their plane back through the time warp to Heathrow safely-luckily materializing a few moments before the Masters TARDIS is blow into oblivion by the dual presence of both TARDIS's in the same dimension. As the doctor bids Stapley and his crew goodbye,Tegan elects-at least for the time being,to resume her position as a flight attendant at Heathrow as she originally planned.

                          Though not ranking very high among many Doctor Who admirers,this is actually a very compelling story blending the idea of one of the numerous and mysterious airplane disappearances of the late 20th century with the concept of time travel. Of course the Masters deception is at the heart of the matter-even inventing his own character disguised as the mystic Kalid. Stapley makes a more than effective one off companion,learning quickly about the TARDIS and even saving the doctors nose on more than one occasion. Nyssa's psychic vulnerability to the Xeraphin consciousness points to advanced mental equity that was not fully hinted at again during her time in Doctor Who,and helps guide the doctors and his companions in their mission. My own interpretation of Tegan's reasons for staying on Earth for a time might have to do with her feelings over Adric's death. But in the end this is a compelling and scientifically sweeping story.


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