It's My Birthday Episode!
In the entire fifty-four-year history of Doctor Who there is precisely one episode that initially aired on my birthday.Escape Switch first broadcast on January 15th, 1966 -- two years before I was born -- and, as luck would have it, is one of the few surviving intact episodes from The Daleks' Master Plan. On top of that, the two episodes I watched this morning really played well together as a single unit, both taking place during a side trip to ancient Egypt at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Oh, also: this morning marks my 100th episode watched since starting this project.
Let's talk about that.
Golden Death / Escape Switch
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The basic thrust of these two episodes is that the TARDIS materializes in ancient Egypt in order for the Doctor to repair the door lock damaged in the previous episode by the Monk. The Doctor had been able to do some kind of hand-wavey thing to open the lock, but in the process broke it. Now he needs a little time to repair it. Of course the Monk shows up to do some additional meddling, and the Daleks along with villain Mavic Chen show up as well to do some general exterminating. Hijinks ensue, Steven and Sara Kingdom are captured by Egyptians, escape, are recaptured by Daleks, and ultimately are traded by the Daleks to the Doctor in exchange for the teranium core needed for the big doomsday weapon. Along the way the Doctor steals the directional unit from the Monk's TARDIS, thus leaving the Monk to wander aimlessly in time.
In the closing scene the Doctor puts in his Brainy Specs and installs the purloined directional unit into his TARDIS. Unfortunately, as soon as they throw the lever to dematerialize there is an explosion and everyone is thrown to the ground as the TARDIS veers wildly out of control. Roll credits!
There's actually quite a bit more that happens, with a delicious cat-and-mouse struggle between the Doctor and the Monk, as well as Mavic Chen's maneuvering amongst the Daleks to remain in power. There are a couple of big action scenes as well, although as you might imagine ancient Egyptians with spears and stones don't fare very well against a squad of Daleks. Oh, also, at the midpoint there is a cliffhanger with a mummy.
Source: Doctor Who Amino - the entire missing Golden Death episode is adapted here in comic form
I really loved these two episodes, they are just everything that Doctor Who is supposed to be. Even William Hartnell was seriously on point in these, only fumfering one line that jumped out at me. The Monk was a delight as usual, and I am mystified that he has never returned in the TV series after this story. I know he has shown up in various audio plays and novels, but the last shot of him stranded on an ice planet near the end of Escape Switch. Actor Peter Butterworth was a delight as the Monk in both stories in which he appeared. Fast talking, quick thinking, and not really evil like the Master will be in a few years when he shows up, but rather more of an amoral opportunist. In recent years the show has brought back a lot of legacy characters and monsters. How about it, Chris Chibnal? Why not give the Monk another go-around in Series 11? Just drop me a line, and I'll have a story pitch ready for you by next weekend.
Companion(s): Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom
Episode(s): Golden Death / Escape Switch
Time Lord(s): 2
Brainy Specs: Yay!
Steps Walked: 6,711 today, 345,941 total
Distance Walked: 3.38 miles today, 158.99 miles total
Weight: 290.18 lbs (five day moving average), net change -17.12 lbs