Just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets
It was a rough day today. My wife and I stayed out way too late on a weeknight, but all in service to help prepare for and promote a show I am doing in a few weeks. The upshot, though, was that neither of us got enough sleep last night, and I definitely felt it on the treadmill this morning. On top of that, we are still wafting for an initial evaluation of the damage done to our house by Hurricane Irma. We almost certainly need a new roof, and that's not going to be cheap. But still, things could be worse. We weren't injured, we didn't suffer any catastrophic property damage, and we didn't have to face down a giant robot bent on the destruction of all humanity.
Speaking of which, let's talk about that.
Robot - Parts 3 & 4
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
What to say about the second half of this story? The secret society of Nazi Scientists have used the titular robot to steal the launch codes for every nuclear warhead in the world, due to an extremely convenient plot device. Also, the crazy scientist who created the robot turns out to be a bad guy who was in league with them all along, although he does have second thoughts about it all (roughly thirty seconds before he is murdered by his own creation). The bad guys retreat into their secret bunker and demand that the entire world bows to their command, otherwise they will launch the nukes. Oh, and they have Sarah Jane and Harry as prisoners. The robot uses the disintegration gun on a few soldiers and a tank, and pretty effectively holds off UNIT. Fortunately, the two prisoners escape and get the bunker doors open, and the evil scientists are captured before they can nuke the world. Unfortunately, the robot takes a hit from the disintegrator gun, which for some reason makes the robot grow to gigantic proportions due to an extremely convenient plot device. In the end the Doctor develops a fast-acting metal-eating virus that corrodes the giant robot, and the day is well and truly saved (although not before the Brigadier laments the fact that every threat that UNIT faces seems to be impervious to bullets). The last scene has the Doctor cajoling Harry Sullivan into entering the TARDIS, although we do not get to actually see his "bigger on the inside" moment.
And that pretty much wraps it up for UNIT stories. There is one more in the next season with the Loch Ness monster, but other than that from here on out the show gets back to its original DNA with the Doctor knocking about the universe in his TARDIS and a few companions, facing whatever dangers may arise.
On its own, Robot is not a particularly great story. It serves as a vehicle to introduce Tom Baker to the role, and also to bring in Harry Sullivan as a new male companion to counter-balance Sarah Jane Smith. Beyond that, the plotting is not awful but also not all that good. There was an attempt to make the robot a tragic character in its own right, but that gets defeated by the end sequence where it goes full-out King Kong and relegates Sarah Jane to being a low-rent Fay Wray. It is Robert Holmes' first turn as Script Editor, and he has a bit of growing to do in that role. But boy howdy, does he definitely grow into it very quickly in the upcoming stories. Besides, it almost universally takes a new Doctor a few stories to settle in. In the case of Tom Baker, in just a few days I will arrive at what is arguably the single greatest story in the series' entire 50+ year history, so he doesn't take long to grow into the role either.
And on that note I am going to bed. Hopefully a good nights' sleep will make tomorrow's treadmill session a bit more productive. Maybe I'll even hear from the insurance adjuster tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath.
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Episode(s): Robot - Parts 3 & 4
Steps Walked: 6,419 today, 1,315,966 total
Distance Walked: 3.13 miles today, 651.00 miles total
Weight: 260.48 lbs (five day moving average), net change -46.82 lbs