søndag den 15. marts 2009

Who Review #24 - the Ark

The TARDIS arrives in what looks like a jungle; Dodo runs out of the TARDIS and promptly sneezes because she has a cold. An irrate Steven runs out and chastises her for not waiting for the atmospheric checks. It turns out that they are 10 million years in the future, aboard a spaceship which is carrying the population of Earth and all its life - as well as an alien species called Monoids, who cannot speak and who are a servant class - to the planet Refusis 2. Earth is about to be swallowed up by the Sun, hence the exodus. It will take the spaceship 700 years to reach the new home. A monoid and the ship's commander are infected by Dodo's cold; the future humans and Monoids have no immunity to it. The travellers are arrested and charged for bringing the virus aboard and endangering the entire ship.

More and more Monoids and humans fall down with a cold, some die. Steven defends the TARDIS crew in a trial against the charge of deliberately bringing the virus aboard on the orders of the Refusians. The trial quickly finishes when it is reported one of the humans dies. The time travellers face ejection into space. The Doctor pleads for permission to find a cure. The commander overrules the court and allows the Doctor to carry out research. The Doctor finds a cure and immunises the crew of the Ark. They talk about a statue of a human form that is being carved, which will take 700 years to make. The TARDIS dematerialises only to rematerialise on the Ark. However, the statue has been finished and it has a Monoid head!

The Monoids can now speak, are armed, in control and have control over the humans. The cold wasn't cured entirely because it mutated, partly helping the Monoids to take over, The Monoid leader, who realises the TARDIS crew are the same people who arrived 700 years ago, goes on to explain that the humans were weak and inadvertantly helped the monoids take over. The Monoids want to take over Refusis 2 for themselves and blow up the Ark, killing all the humans. The Doctor and Dodo are sent on a landing mission to Refusis. Dodo works out the Monoid plan. The Refusans appear to be hiding but they are in fact invisible. They will share the planet but only with a peaceful race. The Monoid lander and a Monoid are destroyed by the Refusians, prompting Dodo to worry how they can get back to the Ark.

Steven and the humans escape from their cell, but don't know where the bomb is hidden. The Monoids land on Refusis. Monoid 4 questions the leader's plans; the Doctor overhears him talking about the bomb aboard the Ark. The Doctor persuades the Refusians to fly landers back to the Ark and speaks to the leader. The leader gives away the position of the bomb - it is in the statue. The Monoids begin to fight amongst themselves fbecause 4 want to take some back to the Ark and stop following the leader (1). A Refusian is able to life the statue into an airlock, and it is ejected into space. The Monoids and humans make peace in order to live on Refusis. Aboard the TARDIS, Dodo carries on the shortening skirts movement, started with Vicki, of female companions and the Doctor becomes invisible, saying they are under attack.

The story jogs along at a nice pace. I like the way we see what time travel can mean. Dodo is confused by it - they had only left the Ark a few seconds ago, she thinks. The idea of the TARDIS crew passing on an infection is good; it isn't touched on normally, presumably to by-pass all the technicalities of quarantine procedures et al for the sake of keeping the stories moving along. Another idea, never touched, is just how an ark is actually supposed to save the flora and fauna of Earth. It is obviously a difficult subject as we don't even understand fully biological systems on our own world, let alone transporting them through space and setting them down on another planet. It could be fun to see that tackled by a sci-fi writer.

Roy Skelton made his first appearance as a voice artist in this story (the Monoid voices). He was to become the voice of the Daleks later on, replacing Peter Hawkins and David Graham who had done the Galeks up til now. Skelton was also the voice of Zippy and George in "Rainbow".

It's not a classic but enjoyable.

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