Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Doctor Who-Terror Of The Zygons

                          Responding to his distress call to the TARDIS the doctor,Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane Smith reunite with Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart in a small town of small Scottish town,after being driven there from their arrival point by the Duke Of Forgill-head of the surrounding area who is not particularly fond of Huckle,an official at Hibernian Oil,who owned one of the three oil rigs that have just been destroyed mysteriously. This is also apparently the reason that the doctor has been called back to Earth. When the Brigadier brings the doctor and his companions to Hibernian Oil headquarters for a briefing,Harry checks in on the injuries in the sickbay as Sarah elects to return to the inn to do some further investigating of her own.

                         At the inn Sarah meets up with Angus,landlord of the Inn,who describes how the Duke Of Forgill had not been himself of late. Meanwhile while driving along the coastline Harry observes a man coming out of the sea. He is Munro,apparently a survivor of the last oil rig to be destroyed who describes something monstrous having destroyed it. A man while a rifle shoots at both of them-killing Munro and injuring Harry. Harry is taken back to the Hibernian sickbay while the doctor investigates a destroyed part of the oil rig that he found at the sight. A plaster mold reveals two holes in the part to be the giant teeth of a type of as yet unknown massive subterranean creature. 

                          As Harry begins to regain consciousness,Sarah Jane returns to check on his progress and is soon set upon by an bright orange,invertebrate type creature while talking to the doctor by phone. The doctor follows her screams to find Sarah Jane in some type of decompression chamber,and Harry no longer in his sick bed. The doctor places her and himself in a trance while their oxygen supply is cut off. Harry is bought to the underwater spaceship headed by Broton,warlord of the Zygons. Their species planet was destroyed in a recent catastrophe and they are planning to repopulate Earth with their own species-preparing it for the arrival of the rest of their vessels in a few centuries.

                          One of the methods they use in an attempt to do this is by imprinted the physical form of different humans onto themselves. They've done this with the Nurse attending to Harry,the Caber who shot Munro as well as the Duke Of Forgill himself. They are also intending to use the use a giant cyborg-called the Skasaren,under their control to intimidate humanity into conceding to their demands. And whose lactic  fluid they are dependent on for their survival. Meanwhile the Brigadier and everyone at Hibernian HQ have been knocked out by some kind of nerve gas. While Benton has discovered Sarah and the doctor and taken them out of their trance,they learned the entire town have been knocked out in the same manner.

                     Once revived,Huckle gives the doctor some type of device found at the wreckage site of yet another oil rig that has been destroyed. After Sarah Jane is accosted by what turns out to be a Zygon using Harry as a template the doctor,Sarah Jane and Huckle notice the device moving on its own. The doctor takes the device with him to the Tulloch Moors while the Brigadier traces its homing signal on route. When the device fastens to the doctors hand he encounters he finally comes into contact with the serpentine Skasaren and,after the real Harry inadvertently trips the device on the Zygon ship,it unfastens from the doctors hand-by which time the Brigadier traces the original signal to Loch Ness.

                      The Doctor and Sarah then go to visit Forgill Castle,near the lake where the Sarah decides to stay behind,despite the skepticism of the Duke,to investigate any information on the Loch Ness Monster,whom of course the doctor is now convinced he has discovered. When she pulls out one book,a door opens from behind the bookshelf and after a bit of exploring she finds herself aboard the Zygon vessel. She manages to rescue Harry-after which the doctor surmises the mastermind behind the Zygon's plans for Earth was the Duke himself,of course already known to Harry as actually being Broton,warlord of the Zygons.

                      While the Brigadier and Sarah launch a series of charges to uproot the underwater spaceship once she and Harry have escaped,the doctor remains on board-rescuing each of the humans the Zygons had been imprinting and enlisted their help in setting off the ships self destruct mechanism before it lands. While Broton escapes,the other Zygons are destroyed while the doctor and the humans he rescued-including the actual Duke of Forgill,escaped and then reunited with Sarah Jane as well as the Brigadier and Harry.  Remembering reading in the castle how the Duke was president of the Scottish Energy Commission,the actual Duke explains the important world energy conference taking place at Stanbridge House in London. 

                   After arriving there to face down and kill Broton,the doctor feeds the Skasaren the Zygon signaling device to satisfy its energy needs-after it briefly gives London a mild scare. The Brigadier and the Duke Of Forgill decide that,while a few people had seen what occurred,neither men would reveal knowing anything about what had happened-in order,among issues of government,to keep the nature of the Loch Ness Monster a secret. The doctor than takes all of them back to see his TARDIS depart-this time with Sarah Jane alone as Harry's experience with the Zygon's left him to realize he wished to stay on Earth and continue his medical work for UNIT.

                    Probably the enormous vitality of this story comes from its synergy of production factors. There's the return of the Brigadier-who is revealed here to be a proud Kilt wearing Scotsman,and the UNIT family in general. There's also the enormity of strong supporting characters-each with unique motivations and the Zygons whom,despite the very rushed special effects of the first 26 years of Doctor Who was fairly well realized. Again there's also the element of the historical back-round of Scotland-with the Loch Ness Monster revealed as alien and not fully biological in nature. Even as the doctor explains it,there is a complete logic to all of it.

                   Another vital element of this story is the ecological ideas it presents. Very much in the spirit of The Green Death from three years earlier,there's a strong thread in this story about the stability of crude oil as not only a power source but a political bartering tool as well. The Zygons,who think of humans as weak and helpless,intend to use the position of The Duke Of Forgill in his nations Energy Commission to effect the sort of changes they wish to enact par the rest of their species arrival to conquer the Earth. Mention of plans to melt the polar ice caps also bring out some of the modern day conspiracy theories surrounding Earth's very real climate change. Featuring every known hallmark that made Doctor Who so successful in the mid 1970's,this is additionally a superbly written example of science fiction fantasy with contemporary intrigue and mystery.
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