søndag den 15. marts 2009

Who Review #21 - the Myth Makers

Another lost story.

The TARDIS lands during the Trojan war. The story opens with Hector and Achilles locked in battle. Hector is distracted by the Doctor and is promptly runthrough and killed by Achilles. He assumes the Doctor is Zeus and the TARDIS his temple.

Achilles: He threatened to trim your beard should you descend to Earth.
Doctor: Oh, did he now? If you notice, I have no beard
Achilles: If you had appeared to me in your true form, I would have been truly blinded by your radiance. It is well known that when you come amongst us you adopt many different forms
Doctor: Oh, do I?
Achilles: To Europa, you appeared as a wolf. To Leda, as a swan. To me, in the guise of an old beggar.
Doctor: [indignant] I beg your pardon? I do nothing of the kind!
Achilles: But oh your glory still shines through.

The Doctor follows Achilles to the Grecian camp of Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus (who is married to Helen) - they have besieged Troy for ten years. But they meet Odysseus on the way, who takes the Doctor captive and delivers him to Agamemnon. Steven sets off after the Doctor, whilst Vicki rests her injured ankle in the TARDIS. He is captured too and taken to the camp. There the Doctor claims not to know Steven, saying Steven should be taken to his temple, where he will perform a miracle. Odysseus threatens to kill them if there is no miracle. Only the TARDIS has gone; the TARDIS has been taken to Troy.

The Doctor must admit he isn't Zeus, so they face execution. Unless the Doctor can come up with a plan in two days to help Odysseus and the Grecians take Troy. (The wooden horse is instantly dismissed by the Doctor.)

In Troy, Vicki meets King Priam, fortune teller Cassandra and Paris. She is renamed Cressida and taken under Priam's wing because she knows the future, much to the irritation of Cassandra. Vicki is enamoured by Priam's son, Troilus. Steven dresses as a Greek and allows Paris to take him prisoner but when Steven says Vicki's name, Cassandra oreders their execution. Paris intervenes because Steven has and keeps playing to Paris's vanity.

The Doctor eventually decides a wooden horse might be a plan after all. The Greeks apparantly leave, whilst Odysseus, the Doctor and some Greeks hide in the horse. The Trojans believe it to be the Great Horse of Asia. Vicki helps Steven escape. As the Trojan court goes to the horse, Vicki is entrusted to Cassandra's hand maiden Katarina. Vicki pleads to Troilus to leave Troy, pretending that he must capture Steven - who is in fact hiding in a temple. (Troilus and Achilles fight and Achilles is killed. Not like the poem of course, but still!)

As the Greeks start to attack Vicki tells Katarina to get Steven. He is wounded. The Doctor, Katarina and Steven depart. Vicki, who is in love, leaves the crew and finds Troilus, as Troy burns in the background. Priam and Paris are dead, and Cassandra casts a curse on Odysseus - it will be ten years before he sees his home again.

The Myth Makers is somewhat similar to the Romans in that it is humerous. The dialogue is witty. The exchange between Achilles and the Doctor above and the following are examples:

Cassandra: [prophecising Troy's doom] "Woe to the House of Priam! Woe to the Trojans!"
Paris: "I'm afraid you're are a bit late to say woe to the horse. I have just given instructions to have it brought into the city."

There are several great characters. Odysseus is threatening because of his mood swings. Paris has been described by one reviewer as a cross between Bertie Wooster and Blackadder. Menelaus is the butt of jokes; the Doctor uses his "divine" knowledge to say Helen is unfaithful, Menelaus is surprised, and Odysseus laughs saying everyone else knows that.

It is a sad story though. Troy is sacked, which makes episode four a gloomy affair compared to the proceeding three episodes. And we say goodbye to Vicki.

The show entered into something of what I call a companion crisis here, which was only fully resolved with the introduction of Jamie.


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