Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dodo Chaplet is a Smallpox Blanket

The Ark
What are you playing at, girl, the Crusades?

First Doctor  - 23rd Serial

4 Episodes, Companions: Steven, Dodo Chaplet

Summary: When the TARDIS next materializes, Dodo runs recklessly out and into some strange jungle.  Like any new companion, she is unaware of any real travel having occured.  Soon she sneezes, and begins to exhibit symptoms of having a cold.  This becomes the lynch-pin of the problem in this episode - Dodo's cold begins to kill the humans on the ship they have landed on.  For thousands of years, the cold has been extinct, and these people have no medicine or resistance to it anymore.  The Humans aboard the Ark (for that is what it is) have banded with a race called the Monoids for safety.  Both races hail from dying worlds, but now, thanks to Dodo, the Ark is itself dying...

The Doctor: He seems annoyed at Dodo, but is enthused about the Ark and the Monoids themselves.  He becomes as protective of her as any other companion until now, so his character is now consistent.  His commitment to nonviolence shines through, as he works with the Refusians to make peace with the Humans and the Monoids - although some of that is making amends for his past actions.  I do think we had a huge opportunity to see the Doctor deal with the moral issues of his travels, and it almost happened, but not quite.

Companions: Dodo is now the comedy bit that Steven had been, and Steven is now being fatherly - or at least authoritarian.  Dodo runs off without hesitation, steals silly clothing from the Doctor's wardrobe, and gallivants about like.. well.. a Dodo.  She finally begins to understand when they land on the same Ark 700 years later, to find the Monoids in charge, and the Humans about to be destroyed before the two races can land on Refusis.  And where Dodo might be being comic relief here, she's not, she's just impulsive and not aware that this is real yet.  Let's see how she does - I like her more than Steven on my first meeting of him.

Continuity:  Dodo steals her outfit from the Doctor's wardrobe, and he insists that she ask permission.    At this point I cannot recall if this is the first appearance of the wardrobe, but it certainly wasn't there in the Crusades, when the companions had to steal period clothing.  It is, then, ironic that the outfit Dodo steals from the wardrobe is one that the Doctor claims is from the crusades, and yet is not an outfit worn or acquired during that adventure.  Off-screen upgrades have clearly occurred.

Rating: Enjoy it.  It's not as strong as the previous Serial, but it continues to be a lot of fun.  The apparent drama of the trial seemed to be over, and so the next 2 parts would be a different story, except that the second half of the serial was fixing the consequences of the first half! It's remarkable to this point because, to the best of my ability to recall, even though there's a Monoid villain, One, team TARDIS is ultimately as much antagoinst to itself in this one.