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Nov 24, 2005

Rassilon (and on, and on...)

Chunk the second…And this time - in tribute to the amount of regenerations a Time Lord is allowed to have (at least until RTD and co. no doubt rewrite the rules) - here are thirteen things I noticed about ‘The Five Doctors’ episode (sic) two.

1. ‘Oh K-9, why didn’t I listen to you?’ Because he’s an irritating know-all who you seem to find ample compensation for not having a boyfriend. Let the f**ker rust for about twenty years, already.

2. And while we’re on the subject of how useless Sarah-Jane is in this story, are we really meant to believe she can’t traverse that incline without the help of a bleeding car to pull her up? It’s like when Bob Mortimer used to ‘fall’ (often incurring chaffing) on Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out (except not an ounce as funny).

3. ‘Teeth and Curls’ couldn’t make it as he was sulking about the fact there were ‘other Doctors’.

4. How do Susan and Doctor One fail to see the TARDIS when (only seconds later) Susan suddenly exclaims ‘Oh look, there’s the TARDIS’? Back in the sixties, we could have put this down to the lack of studio space - but here we’ve got the whole of freaking Snowdon to move about in!

5. ‘What are you young people doing in my TARDIS?’ Obviously no-one’s told Doctor One about JNT’s ‘youth-oriented’ policy (he should just be glad that Adric’s already space-dust). And Tegan’s clearly been watching ‘The Three Doctors’, seeing as she’s the only one clued-up enough about the first law of time.

6. ‘I am the Doctor…the original you might say’. Whereas Doctor One clearly hasn’t seen ‘The Brain of Morbius’.

7. At this point an obligatory joke about the Master’s ‘cloaking device’ is required. I’ll leave Neil to fill in anyone who doesn’t get this…

8. Basically this ‘chunk’ is all about double acts (and you have to remind yourself at times that the great Robert Holmes did indeed pass on writing this, leaving ‘el Tel’ to concoct something coherent out of arguably the most ridiculous pitch in Who history: ‘Right, Terrence, I want every Doctor (even the dead one), Daleks, Cybermen and pretty much most of the companions seen in the past twenty years. And I want a fast-paced, exciting story in just ninety minutes. What do you mean ‘likely bloody story?’

9. But the double acts are on the whole very good (maybe Holmes had more input than history dictates?): Doctor Two and the Brig, Doctor One and Tegan (unlikely I know, but seeing as Carole Ann Ford has clearly forgotten what acting is over the previous nineteen years, a welcome relief). And Doctor Three’s confrontation with the Ainley Master barely conceals Pertwee’s contempt for JNT recasting the character.

10. If you’ve never heard of Rassilon before this story, then you will do now - The Tomb of Rassilon, The Game of Rassilon, The Tower of Rassilon (obviously ‘the greatest Time Lord who ever lived’ was also big on patents). Such blatant name-dropping is not often heard outside of a Doctor Who convention.

11. So that’s why the Daleks got such a pitifully poor appearance - all those treacherous hillocks which Liz Sladen had such trouble with are clearly more suited for Cybermen. But compared to ‘Earthshock’, this lot’s a pitiful bunch (with even David Banks failing to instil any of the characterisation of his previous attempt). And they get some of the limpest lines (‘I have found the ones from the TARDIS’; ‘He is an alien…aliens are not to be trusted’…I could go on) And d’you reckon that the Master might have overheard them planning to use and betray him, seeing as the Leader and his cybernetically-challenged lieutenant went all of three feet away to discuss their plans? Excellent, my arse!

12. Peter Davison pointlessly presses the same TARDIS console buttons three times while setting up the ‘computer scanner‘. And what’s with the Lewis Carroll reference? (which I prefer to remember as ‘Like Alice, I try to watch three episodes of ‘Colony in Space’ before breakfast’). Sentiment’s the same…

13. Susan - stands around, smiles a lot, looks at the young, blond-haired man who used to be her Grandfather as though she wants to go to bed with him and (to cap it all) manages to break her ankle on a shrub. How did she survive in the post-apocalyptic London of 2164?

14. (whoops, like the Master I’ve had one incarnation too many. Still, if it’s good enough for him). This week’s edge-of-the-seat cliff-hanger: Susan and Turlough (while seemingly slipping into a shared coma) observe some Cybermen very sloooowly laying out cable. And, believe it or not, by the end of the next ‘episode’ they still haven’t finished what they’re doing!

(‘The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts (Anniversary Edition) has this to say about the second twenty-five minutes (or so) of ‘The Five Doctors’: seemingly deluded by having been off TV for nearly twenty years, Carole Ann Ford thought that Richard Hurndell was a dead ringer for Hartnell. Honest.)


One thing I have ALWAY'S wondered...Why not use the time scoop to pick up the "Future" Doctors as well as the 5 pre exsisting ones. Why not have the 12 Doctors or the 10 Doctors or by some weirdnes the 516 Doctors.

My theory on that is that within the causality they haven't happened yet. That in effect any changes to the timeline created by The Doctor turning up in other places has its own chronology. So the 9th Doctor hasn't happened yet so he isn't picked up. I think somewhere there is an essay which also ties this in with Gallifrey's own history the causality of which happens outside the normal ebb and flow of normal time.

Or something.

To my understanding, there's a "control point" to Who-related time travel, that being Gallifrey's timeline. ie- if it hasn't happened on Gallifrey yet, it hasn't happened. According to Gallifrey local time, Big Cricket was the current doc, so Baker/McCoy/McGann/Eccles/Tennant don't exist quite yet. And, taking it a step further, current continuity couldn't exist today if they'd brought the others in, as I'm sure either McGann or Eccles' Doctors(depending on when in their lives they were yanked out) would put the Laws of Time(tm) straight out the window and warn the Time Lords(or at least his past self) about the Last Great Time War(tm), hence ret-conning himself/themselves out of existence. And yeah, I caught Carol Ann Ford's exclamation about how much Hurndall and Hartnell looked. Bollocks. Hurndall looked like a tittering old woman, Hartnell looked like a crazy old man. They didn't even dress the same.

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