tirsdag den 31. marts 2009

Who Review #68 - Frontier in Space

The TARDIS makes a forced materialisation when it nealy crashes into an Earth spaceship in hyperspace. A sound is generated and the humans see a Draconian battlecruiser; when Jo and the Doctor meet some of the crew, Jo sees a Drashig and the crew see draconians. Back on Earth, the Draconian ambassador and the President of Earth argue: they accuse each other of breaking a peace treaty and of attacking each other's ships. The Doctor and Jo are held in a cell; there, the Doctor suggests the sound is used to trigger a fear response, so people see what they fear most. The attacking ship docks, Jo and the Doctor are led to the hatch and Ogrons break in. The Doctor is shot with a stun gun; the Ogrons steal the cargo, including the TARDIS. The Earth rescue ship docks and Jo and the Doctor are accused of aiding the Draconians.

The Doctor and Jo are arrested and locked in a cell again. The ship returns to Earth; and there, the prisoners are taken before the President, Ge. Williams and the Draconian Ambassador. The accusations continue whilst the Doctor tries to explain a third party must be at work, wishing to cause a war. The Draconians discuss the attacks at the embassy; they plan to break the Doctor and Jo out of detention so they can question them. They capture the Doctor, whilst Jo remains in the hands of the humans. The Doctor tries to convince the Draconians but they believe him to be working for Williams; the Doctor fights his way out and is recaptured by humans. Back at the cell, Jo hears the same noise as she did on the Earth ship. Ogrons blast their way into the complex.

The Ogron attack is foiled. The humans saw Draconians, not Ogrons, and so the diplomatic relations break down further, whilst the Doctor is subjected to the Mind Probe. (Good old Mind Probe! A classic in the show.) The Doctor destroyes the mind probe when he tells them the truth; but he is still not believed. The Doctor is sentanced to imprisonment on the Moon. There the Doctor meets Professor Dale and Patel, who are imprisoned for membership of the anti-Govt. Peace Party. The President sees the commisioner from Sirius 4, who has come to collect Jo and the Doctor - it is the Master! He takes Jo and tells her that he was surprised to see the Ogrons return to their home planet with the TARDIS. The Doctor begins planning an escape with the Professor and is believed when he explains the third party at play. One of the guards, Cross, has left two space suits ready for the two of them. Cross locks the airlock and starts to pump out the air; the airtanks are empty.

The Doctor and the Professor are saved by the Master. The Doctor is released into the Master's custody and is reunited with Jo on the Master's spaceship. The Master is taking them to the Ogron planet and intimates that his employers are interested in the Doctor. The Doctor cuts his way out of the cell they are in; then he dons a spacesuit and goes outside the ship. The Master makes a slight course correction, leaving the Doctor stranded. He uses his air as a rocket to propel himself back. Back on the ship, Jo, the Doctor and the Master are captured by Draconians. Ogrons track the ship and follow.

The Draconians lead the prisoners to the Emperor. There the Doctor, as a noble of Draconia, addresses the Emperor, explaining what he has seen. Ogrons raid the throne room and retrieve the Master; one is left behind, though, and the Emperor sees that the sound has been used to trick the Draconians. The Doctor, Jo and the Prince head back for Earth with the Ogron. However, the Ogron ship picks them up. They recapture the Ogron and take Jo, just escaping an Earth Battlecruiser. The Prince, General Williams, the Doctor and soldiers plan to head for the planet of the Ogrons. The Master tries to hypnotise Jo but she has learnt to avoid that since the last time (Terror of the Autons). So the Master starts to use the fear inducing machine.

Despite seeing a Drashig, a Mutant and a Sea Devil, Jo overcomes the machine. Ogrons destroy two more ships and the cry for war grows stronger. Jo gets food and begins to dig her way out of her cell. The Doctor gets closer to the planet, after they all narrowly escaped being destroyed by an Earth cruiser. Jo radios her position and the trap is sprung as the Master counted on her escape. The Earth group is attacked but the Ogrons run when a creature they fear attacks them. The real force behind the plan to cause war arrives - the Daleks! The Master is allowed to keep the Doctor, whilst the Daleks return to their invasion force. The humans and Draconians escape, and will tell their governments about the Master and Dalek plan, when the Doctor uses the fear inducer, only reversed, to appear as a Dalek to an Ogron. Jo and the Doctor find the TARDIS but he is seriously injured in a struggle; he sends a message to the time lords

This episode would be the last to feature the Master for a number of years - very sadly, Roger Delgado was killed in a car crash shortly after filming. Delgado was the best Master in my opinion - he had such striking, dark features, a marvellous voice and his character wasn't as camp as later versions of the Master.

Frontier... drags a little in places (the Doctor and Jo spend a lot of time being moved about from one prison cell to another!) but is an enjoyable bit of space opera. The Draconians are nice monsters; they aren't really evil or enemies at all, and they are portrayed as an honourable race. (Their culture is based on samurai, really.) Jon Pertwee was particularly fond of the Draconians.

I wonder why the Peace Party were mentioned at all in the script because we don't hear anything at all about them after the Master takes the Doctor into custody. It's all a bit strange really given the people sent to the penal Moon base are political prisoners and there because they protested against the Government.

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