First things first: Oof, the treadmill really kicked my butt this morning. My alarm went off, I ignored it. I laid there thinking of a million reasons why I could really, just this once, take the morning off. And then, mostly because of this blog and my own manufactured accountability, I dragged my sorry self out of bed and got to work. I'm glad I did, but wow was it a fight through the last few minutes. So... thank you to all of you (probably imaginary) readers, you are keeping me motivated even if you are just phantoms in my brain.
As for Doctor Who, today's viewing was the first two episodes of my first reconstructed episode (a.k.a. "recon"), the much-lauded Marco Polo!
The Roof of the World
The TARDIS has successfully returned to Earth, but in 1289 and high in the Himalayas -- otherwise known as the titular Roof of the World. As per usual, the ship has broken down. In this case, badly enough that there will be no power or water until the Doctor can repair the damaged circuit. That "no water" thing will become very important in the next episode. Fortunately, a passing caravan led by none other than Marco Polo himself rescues the group. Unfortunately, although Mr. Polo seems like a decent enough guy he also sees an opportunity to free himself from service to Kublai Khan by making a gift of the TARDIS. His faulty reasoning is that, if the Doctor was able to make one "flying caravan" then he can make another eventually. In the meantime, the TARDIS is loaded up on a sledge and the caravan continues down the Silk Road out of the mountains to a trading post on the edge of the Gobi desert.
Watching the reconstruction is a really interesting experience. The audio is complete, but the video is made up of color (and some colorized) photographs taken during the production combined with minimal onscreen descriptions. The story is easy enough to follow, but robbed of the nuance of the performances. Tragically this means that there is no opportunity for Ian to demonstrate any of his expert pratfalls, more's the pity.
The Singing Sands
The entirety of this episode is set during the caravan's trek through the Gobi desert. There is a big set piece in the middle when Susan and Ping-Chau, a young woman Susan has befriended, get caught in a sand storm together. Honestly, as that was happening I was so worn out from the treadmill that I thought it was going to be the big cliffhanger. You can imagine my despair when I realized that it was only the mid-point of the story, and I still had another fifteen minutes of walking to do.
Of course the young girls are ultimately rescued, oddly enough by the man who is actively sabotaging the caravan. He later cuts open almost all of the water bags and lets them drain into the desert, in order to force the caravan back to the previous outpost where they will be destroyed by raiders. Rather than turn back, at Ian's suggestion the caravan presses on towards a waiting oasis although they may well all die of dehydration before they can get there. The last scene is of the turncoat riding ahead on his own to the oasis, assuring the others that he will return with water, when in fact he simply abandons them all to die.
Oh, the bitter irony of Marco Polo wasting away in the desert with no water at all to be found!
"But if I die in the desert, how will I ever become swimming-pool famous?"
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright
Episode(s): The Roof of the World, The Singing Sands
Obvious Pratfalls: 0, it's hard to pratfall in a still image
Steps Walked: 6,453 today, 53,965 total
Distance Walked: 2.85 miles today, 23.49 miles total
Weight: 304.66 lbs (five day moving average), net change -2.64 lbs