One fat geek's attempt to regenerate into a not-so-fat geek by watching the entirety of Doctor Who while walking on a treadmill

Who Goes There?

Oct 05 2017
Who Goes There?

Today marks five consecutive days under 260 lbs, and for three of those days I came in at more than fifty pounds lost since I started this project. I keep saying I don't have any specific weight goal for the project, and that my motivation is to feel better and not just specifically to lose weight, but I also have to say that it feels mighty good to have consistently crossed that fifty pound line the past few days. Any further weight loss from here is almost certainly going to be incremental and hard-fought, but I do have a fantasy that I will get below 250 before Thanksgiving (at which point I will probably shoot right back above it for at least a few days [I really seem to have a fondness for parentheticals {I should probably do something about that}]).

Anyway, Doctor Who, let's talk about it.

The Seeds of Doom - Parts 1 & 2

(TARDIS Data Core recap)

There is no mistaking the fact that the first third of The Seeds of Doom is inspired by John Campbell's classic science fiction short story Who Goes There? Of course, that short story was also the inspiration for the classic 1951 film The Thing From Another World, and seven years after The Seeds of Doom first aired it would be made into John Carpenter's crowning achievement The Thing (and then roundly shat upon in 2011 in the terrible CGI snooze-fest The Thing, which has the distinction of being confusingly titled the same as the previous film but which acts as a prequel and not a remake [and there I go with the parenthetical again {I need help}]).

With all that being said, it's hard to watch parts 1 and 2 of this story with post-Carpenter-Thing eyes and not see all the parallels. A remote scientific station in Antarctica discovers something of alien origin, that something goes on to infect one of the resident scientists, and lots of bad things happen.

Where this version of the story deviates is with the fact that two seed pods are found. Back in England Harrison Chase, a wealthy plant enthusiast (which here would be analogous to referring to Steve Jobs as a wealthy software enthusiast), learns about the discovery. Unfortunately, Chase is not only insanely wealthy but also completely amoral and bug-nuts crazy about plants. He sends two of his minions down to Antarctica to steal the seed pods, and one of his minions is all about killing everybody on-site, digging a mass grave, and then blowing up the entire facility to cover their tracks.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is consulted about the seed pods since he still remains a scientific advisor to UNIT. He immediately recognizes the pod as being dangerous, and as such he and Sarah Jane fly down to the frozen base right away. Why don't they take the TARDIS? As a writer i would pass it off as the Doctor not being positive that the TARDIS can get them there reliably. Mostly, from a plot perspective he and Sarah Jane need to be placed in peril without the opportunity of escape-via-TARDIS.

Before they arrive one of the seed pods germinates and infects one of the three residents of the base. Shortly after they arrive, Chase's muscle arrives under the guise of lost explorers. From there it all goes sideways as expected. The infected scientist turns into a shambling walking plant zombie called a Krynoid, and murders one of the other scientists before running out into the snow. The bad guys hold everyone else hostage while they search for the second seed pod, and once they have it they blow up the base at the second episode climax as they fly away with the purloined pod. The Doctor and Sarah Jane survive, the first Krynoid is destroyed, and the rest of the base is blown to smithereens along with the other remaining scientist. Now the Doctor and Sarah Jane are trapped, about to freeze to death at the bottom of the world, while the titular seed of doom is en route to England. Oh no!

Seriously, I love this story so much! This is yet another of the original novelizations that I read as a child before the series was available to be seen in my area. I ate it up, and when  I finally got to see the actual story on tv a few years later it was everything I had imagined and more. This story, along with Genesis of the Daleks and Revenge of the Cybermen is one of my fixed stars of Classic Who. I loved it then, and watching it again today it still holds up every bit as well.


I wish I still owned this book

The story is a six-parter, and we will see how the next two days of viewing hold up, but it really doesn't drag at all largely because the first third acts as a kind of self-contained prequel. The practical effects are perfect -- the germinating seed pod shooting out its vines to wrap around the arm of its unwitting victim is a spectacular scene, and the subsequent bits with the shambling plant monster are on point. The claustrophobic location with permanent twilight is gloomy and threatening all on its own, even without adding a VeggieZombie to the mix. Ont op of all that, the explosion of the entire base at the end of the second episode is huge and surprisingly well-executed for the budget. This is just great, great stuff.

With tomorrow's viewing the action shifts back to England, and the story proper gets going and shifts away from The Thing and towards The Day of the Triffids. But I will get to tomorrow... tomorrow. 

STATS:

Doctor(s): Fourth
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith
Episode(s): The Seeds of Doom - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,253 today, 1,448,903 total
Distance Walked: 3.75 miles today, 719.69 miles total
Weight: 257.76 lbs (five day moving average), net change -49.54 lbs


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