Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
I know, I know, it's Easter. But the two episodes I watched this morning were originally aired on Christmas Day and New Year's Day respectively. So they've got me in the holiday mood. And hey, it must be Christmas because tonight I get the awesome present of the first new regular Doctor Who episode in over a year. So that's pretty cool. But getting back to The Daleks' Master Plan, half of this morning's viewing was worth watching. The other half? Not so much.
Let's talk about that.
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The Feast of Steven
Ugh. Just, seriously, ugh. By happenstance, the calendar lined up in the winter of 1965-66 such that Doctor Who would air both on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. On that count, The Feast of Steven counts as the very first Doctor Who Christmas Special. In terms of storytelling, they clearly decided that they wanted to air something that would fit in with the flow of the story and yet be completely dispensable. In fact, when The Daleks' Master Plan was packaged up for foreign markets this episode was left out entirely. And rightly so, because it is a complete waste of time.
The first segment of the story is a farce in which the TARDIS materializes in front of a London police precinct on Christmas day, and hijinks ensue. The remainder of the story is a farce in which the TARDIS materializes on a sound stage where multiple movies are being filmed, and hijinks ensue. The story ends with William Hartnell breaking the fourth wall, turning to the camera, and wishing a Merry Christmas to everyone at home.
Getting back to the story at hand, the Daleks discover that the teranium core the recovered at the end of Coronas of the Sun is fake, and send for a Dalek time ship to pursue the TARDIS. Meanwhile, the TARDIS is already being pursued by some other unknown entity. After materializing on a volcanic world, we discover that the pursuer is... THE MONK! He's back, and he wants revenge for being stranded in 1066 with the Vikings. I was not expecting this! Whee!
There is some great interplay here, with the Monk fusing the TARDIS door shut in order to strand the Doctor, and then the Doctor using some kind of hand-wavey combination of the energy of the planet's sun plus the stone of his signet ring in order to neutralize the Monk's meddling. (ha! See what I did there?) The story concludes with the TARDIS back on the run with both the Monk and the Daleks now in pursuit. Good times!
It's worth pointing out that for the better part of two years, while Sir Ian, Knight of Jaffa, and Barbara, Goddess of the Universe, were trying to get back home, the Doctor was never able to get there. In the end they had to steal a Dalek time ship in order to make it back to (then) contemporary London. Now, over the course of these two episodes, the TARDIS materializes in front of a contemporarily London police station, in the middle of a contemporary British cricket pitch, and in the midst of a contemporary London New Year's Eve celebration. If only Ian and Barbara had stuck around a bit longer....
Companion(s): Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom
Episode(s): The Feast of Steven / Volcano
Time Lord(s): 2
Steps Walked: 6,771 today, 339,230 total
Distance Walked: 3.38 miles today, 155.61 miles total
Weight: 290.72 lbs (five day moving average), net change -16.58 lbs