Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Of Gods and Horses

First, I want to make it clear I'm doing this slightly out of order, and I know I am, but it's my blog, and that's what I want to do.  I'm skipping my review of "Mission to the Unknown/Dalek Cutaway" and lumping it in with my review of Dalek's Master Plan.

Now, that's just for the purpose of this Blog.  I have already watched it and written the review.  I just don't want to post it as a standalone.  So now, after watching it, I'm moving on to The Mythmakers, and I'm going to review that one.  Next post will have a special little segment for Mission. So yeah, I'm reviewing one single episode that is itself tied to the largest serial to date out of its broadcast order.


First Doctor  - 18th Serial

4 Episodes, Companions: Vicki, Steven

Summary: The Travelers arrive in ancient Greece, near the fields of Troy, where the Trojan war is happening around them.  The Doctor is seen by Achilles after Achilles takes an oath to Zeus to slay his opponent, Hector, and is thus mistaken for Zeus, masquerading as an old beggar.  Achilles takes Zeus back to camp, where Odysseus imprisons him until he can prove who he is.  We get to see Helen of Troy's beauteous legend turned on its ear as they discuss how he just wants to be rid of her, and the whole adventure has more to do with the wish to control Asia Minor than to recover the most beautiful woman of all time.  Steven is then captured as a Trojan Spy.  Zeus offers to perform a miracle by striking Steven down with a thunderbolt at his "Temple" (the TARDIS), but it has gone missing.  We discover it has been captured by the Trojans, and now the Doctor and his companions must rescue it to save Vicki.  The TARDIS takes the place of the infamous Trojan Horse, and even though Cassandra prophecies about it, they still fall for the original.

The Doctor: I love the Doctor as Zeus.  He clearly likes being admired, which is especially funny knowing how Steven questions and picks at him continually.  He is reasonably creative in trying to sacrifice Steven to himself, and I was kind of sad when the charade ended.

Companions: Vicki is fun in this one, too. She's flustered by the primitive Greeks, and her infatuation with Troilus makes for good drama and comedy.  Her knowledge of the future gets her wrapped up in the politics of Troy, and it's nice to see her not being menaced by monsters.  She gets forced into helping the Trojans win the war, which she knows they won't, and her struggle is palpable. Of course, she's pitted against the Doctor, who must help the Greeks win, which is another fun gambit.  I find Steven the weakest companion in this story, too, which continues to be my frustration with him.  His playfulness is ok, but the Doctor's already the big kid on this Serial, and we don't need two jokers.

Continuity: Vicki leaves the crew, to be replaced by Katarina.  She was a minor player until here, so I did not include her up to now.

Rating: Enjoy It.  This one, like the Romans, was played much for laughs.  As such the danger is light and playful, but the machinations and dramas are enjoyable.  The comedy weakens some in episode 4 of the Serial, but that's the climax of the Horse bit we have been waiting for since we discovered this was about the Trojan war, so that's ok.