As of today I have walked the equivalent of two marathons. How cool is that? I also continue to be pleasantly surprised by The Sensorites, which is also pretty cool. Today's episodes included plot twists and intrigue galore, and even some genuine teenage angst. Also: Ian does a particularly awesome pratfall. It really is a good day all around.
Let's talk about that.
When last we left our intrepid crew, Susan had unilaterally declared that she was going to go with the Sensorites down to their planet, the Sensosphere, because she was able to mentally communicate with them and she believed it was the best way to keep everyone safe. With that, the aliens escorted her from the bridge and closed the door. Dun dun DUN!
This situation was immediately reversed at the start of today's episode, with the Doctor basically saying, "Yeah, no," and then Ian and Barbara both agreeing with an emphatic "Nuh-uh!" The three of them chase after the departing group, and the Doctor has tumbled to the fact that the Sensorites have a very difficult time seeing in low-light situations. Also, they are easily cowed by aggression and loud noise. The Doctor orders Susan to come to his side immediately, she pouts and finally agrees, and when the Sensorites complain Ian turns down the lights until the aliens are completely despondent.
Even though they are complete pushovers, though, the fact remains that they hold the lock to the TARDIS down on the planet. Some further discussion also reveals that they are fearful of humans because several years earlier five humans visited their planet, and ever since then the entire Sensorite race has started dying off at an alarming rate. The Doctor negotiates that he, Susan, Ian, NavigatorLady and ZombieJohn will all come down to the planet, where the Doctor will help them solve the Mystery of the Dying Sensorites. In return, they will restore ZombieJohn to his previous mental state, and will return the lock to the TARDIS. Conveniently, Barbara will stay behind on the spaceship with PilotDude, which not coincidentally means that Jacqueline Hill will get a couple weeks off from work.
Down on the planet, we learn that the Sensorites have a rigid caste system in which there is a First Elder who wears to black crossed sashes, a Second Elder who wears a single black sash, and a City Administrator who wears a black collar. We also learn that the First Elder and Second Elder are both pretty sensible dudes who are willing to listen and negotiate, whereas the City Administrator is an aggressively ignorant racist who believes that all humans must die. He plots to kill the entire group while they are meeting with the First Elder, but he is ordered off by the Second Elder before he can execute his plans (not to mention the Doctor, Susan, and Ian).
At dinner, however, Ian drinks some tainted water from the public water supply, whereas everyone else drinks some "crystal water" from the First Elder's private reserve. Guess who does an awesome table-overturning pratfall while succumbing to the poison? (C'mon, you know it's Ian, right?)
A Race Against Death
So, Ian is dying, and it is a race to find a cure. The Doctor has deduced the obvious thing, that the public water supply is tainted and that is why the Sensorites have been getting sick and dying in droves. The First and Second Elders are in full support of the Doctor as he works with the Sensorite scientists to identify the source and type of poison. Meanwhile, the pig-ignorant City Administrator is convinced that the whole thing is a ruse by the humans, so he does the only sensible thing: He kidnaps the Second Elder's entire family, then kidnaps the Second Elder himself and threatens him to silence and inaction in return for the safety of the family. Then the City Administrator dons the Second Elder sash and begins to stage a coup.
The Doctor identifies the type of poison, gets an antidote to Ian, and heads out to the particular aqueduct pumping station that seems to be the source. Unfortunately, said station is both poorly lit and invested by monsters. As the Doctor finds a bunch of Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) plants growing in and around the pumping station, Ian and Susan rush to warn him about the monsters. Unfortunately they are too late, and the final shot is the Doctor being surprised by a loud growling/howling noise coming from the darkness. Surely he will die at the start of the next episode!
Did I mention how surprisingly fun I am finding this story? I was honestly dreading the six-parter, and now here I am actively looking forward to tomorrow morning on the treadmill to find out how it all wraps up. Whee!
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright
Episode(s): Hidden Danger, A Race Against Death
Does Ian Do An Awesome Near-Death Pratfall?: Yes, yes he does.
Steps Walked: 6,757 today, 119,932 total
Distance Walked: 3.05 miles today, 52.88 miles total
Weight: 300.40 lbs (five day moving average), net change -6.90 lbs