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

Progress is a very flexible word. It can mean just about anything you want it to mean.

Nov 11 2017
Progress is a very flexible word. It can mean just about anything you want it to mean.

After so much rapid weight loss in the last two weeks, the inevitable bounce-back has finally happened and I am somehow simultaneously disheartened and relieved. Ideally tomorrow it will drop down again slightly (unless I ate too many of the delicious cookies my wife baked today, oops). Aside from my regular workout I also did the yard work plus spent several hours today walking around the Magic Kingdom with my son, so I have certainly burned calories today. Today was also the third consecutive day I have held a plank position for sixty seconds, tomorrow I am shooting for 90. We'll see how that goes....

Anyway, let's talk about today's new Doctor Who story.

The Power of Kroll - Parts 1 & 2

(TARDIS Data Core recap)

Tell me if you've heard this one before: Workers from an energy conglomerate have traveled to a remote location searching for a new source of their preferred energy source, where there is a tribe of primitive people who worship a giant animalistic deity. There is a woman who is not a part of the expedition but who has blundered into the situation, and she is captured by the primitives to be sacrificed to the Big K. Fortunately she has a heroic friend who comes to her rescue...

Basically, Robert Holmes was asked to write a story with a monster of epic proportions, and he more or less took King Kong and filed off the serial numbers. Kong becomes Kroll, and instead of a giant ape it's a giant squid. Same difference. Instead of an island, it is an entire moon. The natives were originally inhabitants of the planet itself, but were moved off onto reservations on the third moon of Delta Magna when the planet was settled by colonists from Earth's Great Diaspora. A few hundred years later, though, it turns out said reservation has valuable quantities of methane. Humans in the future apparently have no greater ethics than humans of the 20th and 21st century, reservations and agreements be damned. Not only have they built an experimental Methane Catalyzing Refinery right smack on the edge of the reservation, but they are deliberately plotting to spark an attack by the natives and thus creating a public justification for a full military response to wipe them out and claim unfettered access to the valuable resource.

What they don't count on, however, is two things: First, the god the natives worship really does exist in the form of a gigantic and very angry cephalopod, who is awakened from it's long slumber by the methane drilling. Second, of course, is the arrival of the Doctor and Romana. K9 is nowhere to be seen, having been left on board the TARDIS due to the extreme difficulty of his navigating in the swampy environment. Soon enough Romana is kidnapped by the natives and tied up to be sacrificed to Kong Kroll. Also soon enough, the Doctor rescues  her. By the end of the second episode the refinery is under tentacular attack, and the natives are (as they say) restless.

All kidding aside, this is a great story. Yes, the similarities to King Kong are clear and abundant, but the differences are plentiful and serve to make it its own thing. One bit of fun is that John Leeson, who normally voices K9, wound up being cast in his only on-screen role in the show as one of the human engineers. Apparently the person who was initially cast in the part had to drop out at the last minute, and Leeson was right there to pick up the slack. It happens. He gives a solid performance.

Another familiar name in the cast is Philip Madoc, who in this story plays another of the human refinery workers. He had previously appeared as the main bad guy in The Brain of Morbius, the main bad guy in The War Games, and (keep up with me here) the main bad guy in The Krotons. The dude knew what his wheelhouse was.

I do feel bad for the actors who played the native "Swampies". They are all green-skinned, which apparently involved special ordering a particular body paint from Germany. You know what the BBC failed to order, however? The special solvent needed to remove the body paint. The poor actors had to go to the local Royal Air Force base to use their chemical showers to wash off the paint, and even that didn't work well. Apparently more than a few of them just wound up having green-tinted skin for several weeks until the paint finally wore off. How's that for a paycheck?

After the disappointing Stones of Blood and the bland Androids of Tara, I am enjoying this story immensely. It may not be Peak Who, but it is pretty darn good and brought to us by the guy who wrote and/or script edited most of Peak Who. I will be the first to admit I am a sucker for tentacled creatures (have I mentioned my other blog Octopodal Motion lately?), so that may be a part of it. It just feels like there is a lot more going on in this story, on multiple levels, than in the last few. It's a welcome return to form, and I am eagerly awaiting tomorrow's viewing.

STATS:

Doctor(s): Fourth
Companion(s): Romana
Episode(s): The Power of Kroll - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,588 today, 1,719,385 total
Distance Walked: 4.17 miles today, 864.66 miles total
Weight: 253.36 lbs (five day moving average), net change -53.94 lbs


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