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

Let the Chains of Fenric Shatter

Mar 10 2018
Let the Chains of Fenric Shatter

Two weeks ago I added pushups to my workout routine, using an app called 100 Pushups. I had tried using it a couple years ago, but couldn't even do a regular pushup. I had to do modified pushups with my knees on the ground. It was pathetic and embarrassing, and I gave up (probably too quickly). Oddly enough, losing sixty pounds makes doing regular pushups quite a bit easier. Even so, on the first day of this new attempt I could barely do three. This morning I did thirty four. It remains to be seen if I will achieve the 100 pushups in six weeks promised by the program, but so far it is going well. As I told my wife this morning, give me four months and a Hollywood budget and I'll go all Chris Pratt on you.

From zero to hero only takes a few months, a few million dollars, a squadron of personal trainers and nutritionists, and no day job or other responsibilities...

Anyway, I also started watching the next-to-last Classic Who story this morning. It's a good'n. Let's talk about that.

The Curse of Fenric - Parts 1 & 2

(TARDIS Data Core recap)

Shot entirely on location with no studio sets at all, right off the bat The Curse of Fenric is lovely looking. I've mentioned before that I always pictured the Seventh Doctor era as being sadly cheap-looking, and I could not have been more wrong. No question the budgets in the final years of the original series were strangling, but holy cow did the production crew make the most of what they had.

In this case the story is set during the Second World War at a secret British naval base in Northumbria (which, for the non-Anglophiles in the room, is the north of England leading into Scotland). There, a scientist is working on the ULTIMA machine, a very early computer to be used for breaking codes. Nearby a group of Russian soldiers have landed, on a mission to steal the ULTIMA machine. Just off base is a local village which contains refugees evacuated from London, and also another scientist investigating a set of Norse runes carved in the stone walls of a local church's basement. Into this setting strides the Doctor, with Ace in tow (and in an absolutely lovely period gray costume).

Of course it wouldn't be Doctor Who without some kind of monster lurking. Something from under the water is killing the Russian soldiers, and by the second episode that something has turned two young ladies into some kind of vampire-looking things. Just before the midpoint cliffhanger, a group of archaic undead vampire monsters come striding up out of the water in a scene very reminiscent of The Sea Devils

With all the creepy goings-on, there is also a surprisingly touching scene in which the Doctor has a brief conversation with a young mother as she cares for her baby. She asks the Doctor if he has any family, to which he grimly replies, "I don't know."

"Oh, I'm sorry," she says softly. "It's the war, isn't it? It must be terrible not knowing."

"Yes," mutters the Doctor darkly, clearly thinking about his granddaughter Susan, left behind in the aftermath of The Dalek Invasion of Earth so many years ago and yet so many years in the future. Or perhaps, given the nature of the Seventh Doctor, he is already aware of the great Time War that must already be brewing. It is such a simple scene, so understated, and yet weighted with so much gravitas that it is easy to forget that this is just a silly children's show about a madman with a box.

My admiration for Sylvester McCoy has continued to grow each and every day for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I had the good fortune to meet him last year, his autograph is right there on my Time Treadmill inspiration poster, and now I truly regret that when I met him I had not yet fully appreciated his contribution to the series. I do hope he comes 'round again so I can tell him properly how fantastic I think he is.


Doctor(s): Seventh
Companion(s): Ace
Episode(s): The Curse of Fenric - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,623 today, 2,506,880 total
Distance Walked: 4.21 miles today, 1,300.45 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 34 today, 211 total
Weight: 249.88 lbs (five day moving average), net change -57.42 lbs

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