In and Out of Prison. Oh, and In Again.
I really didn't want to get on the treadmill today. I had a very late night of work with a recalcitrant software release, and this morning I just didn't feel up to it. It is only out of my commitment to you, my imaginary readers, that got me up and walking. So, thank you. You may only be a polite fiction I have created in my mind, but you surely do keep me motivated.
As for today's viewing, let's talk about that.
A Change of Identity
The Doctor finally arrives in Paris, and decides that since the title demands it he should probably change his identity. He finds a tailor and brokers a deal in which he trades his entire current outfit for a new one, trading away his ring as well for some parchment paper and a pen. Now dressed as a Regional Officer of the Provinces, he heads down to the prison to rescue his companions.
Meanwhile, while Barbara and Susan are en route to their execution they are rescued by some French freedom fighters. Unfortunately Susan has taken quite ill with something she contracted while in the prison cell. As for Ian, he manages an escape from his own cell due to the drunken incompetence of the jailer.
This means that the Doctor arrives for the rescue, only to find all of his companions already gone. During his bluff, he winds up being forcefully invited by Lemaitre, a high official of the Revolution, to attend a meeting with the Tyrant himself, Robespierre.
The Tyrant of France
The Doctor meets
President Trump Robespierre, who rails on about how awful the people in power were before he took over, and about how France is flooded with dangerous terrorists who must be rooted out and executed. The Doctor, being a waspish prick, effectively calls him a tyrant and a psychopath. Somehow he is not executed on site, but instead invited back for a future visit.
It turns out that the person who rescued Barbara and Susan is also the person that Ian's cell mate said to contact. After a small bit of drama, Ian winds up in the same home reunited (briefly) with Barbara and Susan. The next morning arrangements are made for Barbara to take Susan to see a physician about her growing illness, while Ian is sent off to meet with another spy who may be able to connect him to James Sterling, the British agent he promised his dying cell mate he would find.
Bad news on all fronts. The Doctor is effectively imprisoned at the jail, although not in a cell, because of his obligation to return to see Robespierre the next day. Also, the tailer with whom he traded earler has come to the jail to announce his suspicions that the Doctor is a fraud. Barbara and Susan are turned into the police by the equally-suspicious physician, and so both wind up back in jail. As for Ian, his meeting turns out to be a trap, and the final scene finds him surrounded by French soldiers.
Dun dun DUN!!
One thing that I have really noticed: The early historical stories on Doctor Who were intended to be educational, that was part of the pitch. They would alternate between the historicals and the science fiction stories, so the kids would be hooked and would learn some things along the way. As such, the historical stories are just that -- purely historical. In the modern series, I can't think of a single story set in a historical setting that doesn't also have some kind of alien invasion or runaway robot or some other science-fictional element. As fun as that may be, it really isn't necessary. There is plenty of drama to be had in world history without ancient Venice needing vampires or Victorian England needing werewolves and lizard people. I really would love to see the show take on a purely historical story again. It would be a welcome change of pace.
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright
Episode(s): A Change of Identity, The Tyrant of France
Steps Walked: 6,501 today, 139,690 total
Distance Walked: 3.05 miles today, 62.03 miles total
Weight: 298.84 lbs (five day moving average), net change -8.46 lbs