On His Own For the First Time
I really gotta start writing these things earlier in the day. It's after 11pm, I have an early day tomorrow, and I still need to talk about Doctor Who. Good thing I am weirdly obsessive about getting this done. So let's talk about this monumental and singularly unique story so that I can get some sleep.
The Deadly Assassin - Parts 1 & 2
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
This story is unique for any number of reasons. First and foremost, is the one and only televised story in the entire fifty-plus year history of the show in which the Doctor does not have a companion in any form. There are some stories where he has a "companion surrogate", someone who only appears for that story, but it is still at least one other person with whom he interacts as a direct accomplice. There are a couple of stories in the modern series that come close, such as Midnight where he has an entire adventure without his regular companion. But in that story, Donna Noble is there at the start and finish. The Twelfth Doctor story Heaven Sent comes very very close to having no companion, except that Clara Oswald appears at several points (albeit as a figment of his imagination). In The Deadly Assassin, however, there is no companion at all.
Also unique to this story is that it is the only televised story in which every single character is the same race. Set entirely on Gallifrey, this story has the Doctor among his own people with no humans or other alien species to be found. As an extension of that, this is also the story that cements huge portions of Gallifreyan lore in the series. The Time Lord costumes with the high curving collars are seen for the first time, as well as the first usage of the Seal of Rassilon. The Time Lord Academy is described, along with the Prydonian, Arcalian, and Patrexian sects. Most significantly, this is the story that defines the rule that Time Lords only get twelve regenerations.
And on that note, this is the first story to feature the Master since Roger Delgado's untimely passing three years earlier. The entire story revolves around the premise that the Master has reached the end of his allotted regenerations, and he remains alive by pure force of will. His undying hatred of the Doctor compels him to draw his nemesis back to Gallifrey and then frame the Doctor for the assassination of the Gallifreyan president. From there it is a race for the Doctor to prove his innocence and reveal the Master's plot in order to prevent his own execution.
It's a good'n.
Some other interesting things about the story: It is a sausage fest. There are no female characters at all throughout the entire four episodes. At one point there is a female computer voice, but that hardly counts. Also, part one opens with a voiceover narration that is also read in a voice-over by Tom Baker, which is the only time that device has ever been used (at least so far, and I am not aware of it being used in any future episodes).
This is just a truly bold and innovative story, and easily one of the most significant in the history of the show. I am absolutely looking forward to watching the second half tomorrow.
Episode(s): The Deadly Assassin - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 6,225 today, 1,498,150 total
Distance Walked: 3.17 miles today, 745.15 miles total
Weight: 257.08 lbs (five day moving average), net change -50.22 lbs