lørdag den 4. april 2009

Who Review #74 - the Monster of Peladon

A mine worker is killed below the citadel on Peladon; it is the spirit of Aggedor returned to strike down those who will help aliens extract minerals. Peladon is now part of the Federation; in that role, it is now engaged in a war with Galaxy 5. The Doctor and Sarah materialise in the mines; the Doctor had hoped it would be the citadel. The Queen of Peladon views the demonstration of new Federation mining equipment. Nexos is killed and the miners run again, in fear of the curse of Aggedor. The Doctor and Sarah are taken before the Queen by guards. Ortron, the high priest and chancellor, charges the two with sabotage and sacrilage. Thankfully, Alpha Centauri enters and recognises the Doctor, who is well known to the Peladons from his previous visit. The Queen releases the Doctor into Centauri's custody; the Doctor is still regarded in some suspicion. Gebek and fellow miners discuss the situation and begin talking of rebellion. Gebek seeks an audience with the Queen; he begs her send the Federation aliens home. The Doctor talks with a human, Eckersley, and learns of the situation - the war, the need for trisilicate and the miners' grievances. The miners enter the citadel. The Doctor captures the miner Preba and takes him to the Queen. Ortron orders Gebek and Preba's execution; the Doctor lets them escape. The Doctor believes the appearances of Aggedor are trickery; Ortron orders his guards to search and capture/kill miners. Some miners blow up a cavern the Doctor and the Queen's champion examine; the Doctor, trapped, sees Aggedor's spirit kill the champion.

Gebek begins to dig the Doctor out. Sarah rushes to the caves. The Doctor says he will help improve the miners's conditions. Sarah sees a figure behind a foggy glass; she touches a door and is knocked out by a force field. The Doctor goes with Gebek and Preba to negotiate. One of the miners though continues talking of insurrection. Ortron says the Doctor is working against them to the Queen - he advises the reevolt be crushed and the Doctor eecuted. A miner knocks out Eckersley and takes Sarah and Alpha captive, ordering them to open the weapons store. Guards race to the armoury. The miner (Ettis) takes Sarah with him but is then seized by the guards. Sarah is taken to Aggedor's temple. The Doctor arrives in the temple too. Ortron sentences the time travellers to be thrown in a pit to face the judgement of Aggedor; he rears up before Sarah and the Doctor.

The Doctor quitens Aggedor with a Venusian lullaby and a spinning crystal. Ortron is ordered to lift the Doctor and Sarah out by the Queen. Alpha calls in the federation. Vindicated, the Doctor says the Queen should talk with Gebek about better conditions and that membership of the federation means a good life for all. Sarah tells the Doctor about the refinery and the figure, figuring whoever is controlling Aggedor must be there. The Doctor tries to leave the citadel but is arrested and taken to the dungeons. Sarah heads for the tunnels to warn Eckersley that the rebels are going to take the mining lance but too late. Gebek lets the two go. Sarah, lpha, Ortron and the Queen discuss the federation troops; Sarah has a plan to get tjhem to leave again. She then heads off to find the dungeons; she meets Gebek who goes instead and springs the Doctor. They go to the refinery. The federation troops have nearly arrived; Eckersley sees the Doctor on CCTV and Sarah reassures him as to the time lord's intentions. The Doctor disarms the defence mechanism; the door opens and an Ice Warrior steps out.

The Ice Warriors place Peladon under martial law. Azaxyr orders hostages to be taken and killed if the miners refuse to work under armed guard: the Ice Warrior says the trisilicate is essential. Gebek and Ortron stand united against the Ice Warriors; Azaxyr threatens Peladon will be blasted to bits if necessary. Miners try to get Gebek but are killed by Ice Warriors. The Ice Lord learns that the Doctor and Gebek have worked closer; he instructs the Doctor to convince Gebek. The Doctor deduces that the Ice Warriors were on Peladon before Azaxyr arrived; they are up to something. The Doctor gets Gebek to motivate his miners working as a ruse in order to play for time. The Doctor is sent back to the communications room, where he turns up the heat. Ettis plans to kill the Queen and chancellor as well as the Ice Warriors. The miners and guards attack the Ice Warriors in the mines. Gebek tells the Doctor of Ettis's plan; the Doctor has a sword fight with him. Azaxyr views the fight on CCTV; he tells Sarah and Alpha that the sonic lance is booby-trapped. Ettis knocks the Doctor out and turns on the lance, which explodes.

The Ice Lord instructs Eckersley to turn off the ventilation in the mines. The Doctor slowly gets to his feet; he meets up with Gebek and they head for the refinery. Sarah and Alpha plan to send an SOS to the federation; Otron and the ueen cause a distraction. Sarah and Alpha run but Ortron is killed and the Queen captured. Sarah looks at the refinery room - the Ice Warriors and Eckersley are in league, sending trisilicate to Galaxy 5; this is also heard by Gebek and the Doctor. Eckersley is using a machine to create an Aggedor that kills the miners. Sarah sees the Doctor is alive and rushes after him. Azaxyr and Eckersley return to the communications room and the Doctor attempts to enter the refinery. Alpha fobs of the Ice Warrior, and Eckersley turns on the refinery alarm. Azaxyr and Eckersley go to the throne room; Alpha tells the truth of the situation to the Queen. Alpha blurts out the whereabouts of the Doctor and Sarah to the Ice Warriors. Eckersley wants money and power, whilst Azaxyr is part of an Ice Warrior break away group. The Ice Warriors start to break through the refinery door.

The Doctor manages to operate the Aggedor weapon and kills two Ice Warriors. Sskal makes it back to the throne room and reports to Azaxyr. Gebek tries to rally the miners and with a little help from the Doctor and Ageddor, they agree. Eckersley turns on his security system in the refinery; Sarah is instructed to go to Gebek. Despite the attack, the Doctor continues to use Aggedor to kill Ice Warriors. He is unable to hold on though and collapses, unconscious. Sarah tries to stop Eckersley but is too late and is locked in the communications room. Azaxyr is killed when the miners storm the throne room. Eckersley takes the Queen and moves off into the tunnels. Sarah is shocked when the Doctor opens his eyes; he put himself into seåf induced sensory deprivation. The Doctor uses the real Aggedor to track Eckersley. He is killed but so is our old friend Aggedor. Gebek is made an advisor to the Queen. Alpha announces the war is over and Galaxy 5 are negotiating, now that Azaxyr and Eckersley's plan was exposed and foiled.

The story has been panned quite a lot, although it isn't as bad as all that. Still, it doesn't come close to the charm of Curse of Peladon.

The obvious political element is the miners - the UK, early 1970s; what else was being talked about? Well, the Common Market but that was of course the metaphor in Curse...!

Once again the freedom loving Doctor shows himself to be a bit of an old bourgeois really, by wishing to maintain the class differences of Peladon and preventing an insurrection by the miners to overthrow the ruling class. Strangely, the first episodes centred around the Doctor's efforts to negotiate better living and work conditions for the miners; that plot element is completely forgotten by the last few episodes. Gebek's elevation to chancellor is symbolic I guess; miner's/union leader gets knighthood and "sells out" is pretty much what happens these days.

The Ice Warriors always look impressive, I think. It's a shame this was their last story. The miners look bloody ridiculous with their badger hairstyles!

The story drags at places and is ultimately a disappointment.

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