Monday, 15 February 2016

Warriors Gate

50dw50@50dw50 be merciful, this is the only series 18 story that I actually like!

The story opens in a darkened room, filled with leonine figures prone on life support equipment.

As the camera slowly stalks onwards, we hear a countdown, and get the impression that the ship's seen better days.

The crew pass the the time with a game of cards.
50dw50@50dw50 the orange jumpsuit is an unfortunate look these days.

On the ship's bridge, Captain Rorvik orders takeoff...

...but Packard can't plot a course because their Tharil navigator isn't visualising the timelines.
Simon G@SHGB001 They need Scotty to fix it.

Just what kind of ship is this?

Rorvik decides he can force the Tharil, Biroc, to show them the way to go home by ramping up the power.
Crewmen Royce and Also reckon Biroc won't last long at this rate, and bet on the toss of a coin. 
50dw50@50dw50 the crew are lovely and human, a novelty for 18.

Time goes awry as the ship hits a time rift.

As time begins to flow again, and the penny drops...

...Biroc visualizes a familiar shape crossing the timelines.

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana aren't having much better luck either. They're still stuck in E-Space with Adric.
Simon G@SHGB001 Stuck in E-Space they can cope with. Stuck with Adric they are doomed.
atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan I don't know which one is worse. Oh hang on. Actually I do :-)
"We've got to do something."
"Have we?"
Maybe they can just drift out of E-Space.

Crewman Lane, looking quite like Peter Ustinov, inspects the damage to the ship's hull. 

The Doctor admits he doesn't know what he's doing.

Romana describes the I-Ching first as "Superstition" then "Astral Jung".

K9 explains it as random sampling to Adric.

Adric doesn't need twlling twice when invited to start tossing.
Simon G@SHGB001 Definitely a complete tosser. Poor K-9 stuck babysitting Adric.

Rorvik accuses Biroc of knackering the warp drive on purpose.

The overalled crew and talk of bonuses rips off Alien a whole season before Eric Saward.

When the supposedly burnt out Biroc is hauled away to the medical unit...

...he makes his escape, though not before giving Lane a surprise.

Romana isn't keen on the Doctor's plan: "According to your theory we just press any button and hope for the best!"

His choice of buttons would have had them on the Edge of Destruction, probably.

"Maybe subconsciously I wanted to press that button..." 

The influence of the Black Guardian catching up with them?

Romana is still keen to avoid Gallifrey. "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it."

The Doctor says Adric will "love it on Gallifrey".

Another non-Sarah Jane Smith companion he's happy to take to his homeworld, then.

Xander@Rednax42 perhaps he liked Sarah too much to take her to Galifrey - 4 didn't exactly have a good time when he visited.

atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan maybe the Doctor is just protecting Sarah. The last time he took his friends to Gallifrey they had their memories wiped!
Love that trail effect as Biroc runs through the void.

They're flung to the floor as the TARDIS doors open.

Smoking the time winds is bad for K9.

It's bad for the Doctor's hand, too.

The cowardly lion's fiddling with the TARDIS controls now.

atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan people just can't help it can't they? Salamander. Harry. Now Biroc. Just come into the TARDIS and press buttons.

Rorvik & co. have detected the TARDIS.

Not quite sure why it appears to be upside down on their screen, though.

Biroc was able to enter the TARDIS because he's out of phase with their timeline.

Lane will have to use a portable mass detector to locate the TARDIS in the white void outside the ship.

Aldo & Royce might actually have to do some work here.

Biroc's apparently a bit of a racist, telling them they shouldn't believe the others just because "they are not of Biroc's kind!"

He's also "a shadow of my past, and of your future."

They've landed somewhere with zero co-ordinates.

50dw50@50dw50 Blackpool?

The Doctor goes out for a mooch...

...while Romana tries to fix K9s crumbling memory.

Romana hints that she might not return to N-Space with the Doctor & Adric.

K9 might be a bit erratic, but he's still able to warn them that Rorvik & his crew are approaching.

Fixing K9's going to be difficult if all they have to rely on is the TARDIS tray of bric-a-brac.

The Doctor has followed Biroc to a stone doorway.

Within is a great dining hall, covered by centuries worth of cobwebs...

50dw50@50dw50  comparisons to the cleanliness of my house will not be appreciated.

...and a large mirror, which the Tharil is able to walk right through!

Rorvik & Packard can't believe that the TARDIS could be a ship.

The Doctor finds his way into the Haversham Dining Hall.

When he straightens the helmet of a nearby suit of armour... of its neighbours springs into life.

As the Doctor examines the mannacles that Biroc shed as he stepped through the mirror...

...the reanimated armour raises its axe to kill him! Cliffhanger!
Simon G@SHGB001 In JNT's series, the Doctor gets threatened with an axe lots and in the end it was Michael Grade & Jonathon Powell that wielded it on the show.

Tim Gambrell@Mr_Brell pt2 was the only episode I know I missed from Season 17 onwards. Went to a do at the village hall. Dad stayed home & told me what happened. He lied & said the Gundan chopped the Doctor's head off! Finally got to see it on a friend's pirate copy in the early 90s...

I dunno, he does them a favour by clearing away a few cobwebs, and the armour prepares to chop his head off! There's gratitude for you.

Simon G@SHGB001 They heard he was leaving and wanted to hurry the regeneration :D

The Doctor evades the robotic armour with some Scooby Doo hiding in line.

Beat you, cock!

Kessler, Ustinov and Hopkirk (undeceased) think the TARDIS is a ship for midgets or a giant's coffin.

Romana tells Adric to stay put, especially if she gives the signal.

Romana meets the traders, and learns that they are Biroc's pursuers.

They're surprised to learn she doesn't use Tharils to navigate through time.

She's less than precise about where Biroc went. "That's an interesting philosophical question."

K9's suffering from Yoda syndrome. "Wafers memory compatible have may they."

Romana agrees to help the traders repair their warp drive, but gives Adric the signal.

Rorvik thinks he can use Romana as a replacement for Biroc.

The Doctor's fortunes take a turn for the worse when a 2nd suit of armour begins to stalk him.

K9 & Adric set out to help Romana, even if K9 has everything back to front.

Romana says the freighter has a "certain legendary quality".

The Doctor outwits his attackers... bowing his head and letting them cut each other down to size.

Rorvik is nearly locked out of his own freighter by an incompetent crewmember, resulting in a threatening phonecall from Packard. Just another example of silliness in a season supposedly bereft of any fun.

K9's accuracy is "below zero", or as Adric puts it, "You mean you're worse than useless?"

Rorvik shows Romana the ropes, then shows her to her new chair.

Aldo & Royce don't think she'll last five minutes.

K9 explains that Adric doesn't have the ears to get about in the void.

Rorvik's plan to find out if Romana is a time sensitive sounds very much like drowning witches.

Adric takes one of K9's ears to see if they can get a better triangulation on the mass of the freighter.

Romana can just about perceive the gateway, but Rorvik is impatient.

Instead he orders another Tharil be revived.

"This is a democratic ship, right?" Pull the other one.

The Doctor decides to try his hand at some robot brain surgery.

"No Tharil shall outlive the day of the feast!"

Rorvik is certain the stone gateway is the key to their escape.

Royce & Aldo cry off the graft again.

The robot identifies itself as a Gundan...

...and says it was created to free slaves from their brutish rulers.

Just when the robot's battery conks out, in trundles K9!

Adric's tossing in public again.

Aldo & Royce attempt to wake another Tharil...

...but something goes badly wrong. 
50dw50@50dw50 this is incredibly nasty.

They pull the plug, but the Tharil has been injured.

K9 helps the Doctor power up the Gundan exposition-bot. 

It tells of the rise of an empire, built on the backs of slaves, whose masters rode the winds of time.
50dw50@50dw50 nicely poetic, it must have escaped the Bidmead uber rational approach
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland  This Bidmead 'uber rational' is a popular misconception amongst Who fans. His stories are the most poetic ever.

"There are three physical gateways and the three are one." Helpful.

Rorvik & his mob arrive, and are as desperate to find the way out as the Doctor.

One of the other Gundans destroys its chatty friend before the secret is revealed... 

 ...then does a runner though the mirror.

Back on the freighter, the injured Tharil rises... 

The Doctor gives Rorvik the slip, carrying K9 away.

The traders spot him in an upper gallery and give chase.

The Doctor makes a getaway through the mirror...

...but K9 is left behind, at the mercy of the traders.

On the freighter, Romana desperately tries to free herself... the Tharil reaches towards her! Cliffhanger!
50dw50@50dw50 great scream!

The Tharil was actually reaching to free Romana. 

On the other side of the mirror, Biroc explains that the Doctor was able to pass through because the time winds touched his hand. 

Even though the time winds blasted K9, he can't pass through until "the time is right."
50dw50@50dw50 The poor Doctor is useless in this story, as everything is pre-ordained.

Rorvik kicks the mirror in frustration; then K9. 
50dw50@50dw50 this is such an ignoble last story for K9.

In the void, Adric is still tossing away.

Royce & Aldo assume Romana's burnt out...

...but as soon as they leave, her new returns to free her.

The memory wafer the Doctor took from the Gundan has been repaired, just as his hand has been healed. 

K9 will be restored in the same way.

The Doctor begins to understand how the gateway can open onto the whole universe, but Biroc has disappeared again. "It's like talking to a Cheshire Cat!" 

Romana interrogates the hapless Royce & Aldo.

Rorvik contacts the ship to break out the big guns, ordering the dispatch of "the MZ".

When the readings indicate the distance between the gateway and the freighter is shrinking...

...Lane says the machinery's packing up because "It's bad luck having that girl on board."

Those black and white photographic backgrounds could have been rubbish, but they're so effective. 
50dw50@50dw50  they look stunning and gives the story a haunting quality.

Hopkirk (not deceased) is being mean to K9, refusing to heed his warnings that the void is contracting. 

The Doctor continues to follow Biroc.

Adric dodges past Lane...

...and is soon joined by Romana, and they hide beneath the MZ's covering.

"Either we're getting old or this is getting heavier."

"Bit of both, I reckon."

Romana & Adric watch as Lane notes the extent of the damage to the warp drive.

The engines are 3 times as large as a ship that size should need. Wonder why? 

The hull's made out of dwarf star alloy, that's why!

K9 starts jabbering and gives Romana away.

Adric heroically legs it, and Romana is captured by Lane and Packard.

Romana is taken aboard... 

...but is freed by the burnt Tharil.

They touch hands, and fade into the void. What the...?
50dw50@50dw50 it's all gone very Sapphire and Steel.

Elsewhere, the Doctor is led through a gallery by a female Tharil.

M.R.Michael@The_Cybermatt She's Biroc's daughter Felttippi.

Ha ha! Love it.

Adric is still hidden under the MZ's covering, with K9.

The Doctor sees a past iteration of the great dining hall, with the feast of the Tharils in full swing. 

Romana arrives in the present, cobwebbed, version.

Rorvik is busy trying to brief the lads on safety procedures for the MZ... 

...when he's amazed to see Romana & the burnt Tharil descend the stairs and disappear through the mirror!

Aldo & Royce rock up with the packed lunches.

On the other side of the mirror, the Tharil's burns have healed.

At the feast, the Doctor notes that the Tharils live like kings. "We ARE Kings."

Rorvik has to hold his crew at gunpoint to get them to listen. "We are in a terminal situation. A dead end."

The Doctor sees first hand the decadence and cruelty of the Tharil empire... the Tharils abuse their human slaves. "They're only people."

As the Gundan robots enter to slaughter the Tharils...

...Romana rushes to the Doctor's side.
atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan  give it one more ep and eighteen months and I don't think she'll be doing it again...

The timelines align, and the Doctor & Romana are back in the present... the gunpoint of Rorvik.

"Well, Doctor, this is a surprise!"
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland The most underrated cliffhanger of all time in the most underrated story of all time

Rorvik demands the secrets of the mirror.

The Doctor seems prepared to help the traders. "We're all in the same boat and they know it." 

He gives up in the face of Rorvik's obstinacy. "Can I have one of your pickles, I had a rushed lunch?"
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland Best eating scene in Who. Hurndall's sandwich eating antics in Five Doctors a close second.

I also enjoy Pertwee inhaling sandwiches throughout The Sea Devils! :-)

Davad@davadsteel There's talk of bacon sandwiches in Remembrance but I don't think they ever appear sadly.

Not when Ace first orders them, but I think she gets some later. So to speak.
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland The Doctor and Rose's jam eating bit in 'Fear Her' is also worthy of a mention.

Just about the only bit of Fear Her that is worthy of any mention...!

Romana explains that the ship's hull is made of dwarf star alloy to contain the time sensitive Tharils and stop them phasing away as she and her rescuer were able to do once the hull was breached.

K9 warns them of the dimension's contraction. "Mathematical vanishing imminent!" Future echoes of Logopolis?

As the Doctor stands by the mirror, he's able to converse with Biroc once again.

Biroc admits "we abused our power. But judge whether we've not suffered enough."

"The weak enslave themselves."
"The time of our enslavement is over. We will be free."

Rorvik still won't believe that time is running out and threatens the Doctor...

...but Adric is at the controls of the MZ, which allows the Doctor to pick up K9 and escape.

"You poisonous runt!"

The Doctor holds the traders off while he and his friends make their escape, telling them the MZ is set to automatic.

"It doesn't have an automatic!"

The micro-universe has now shrunk so much that finding the TARDIS again is a doddle. 

With the MZ knackered, Rorvik decides to use the freighter's engines to shatter the mirror.

Adric wants to leave but Romana & the Doctor can't leave the enslaved Tharils to die in the freighter's back blast.

They order Adric to stay behind. 

They're not soft.

Rorvik wants a take off "that wouldn't ripple the skin on a custard."

He orders a new Tharil so they can navigate after take off. 

Having seen the effect on the last Tharil, Royce & Aldo duck out of the revival process.

"It'll all end in tears, mark my words."

When Rorvik leaves the freighter, Biroc helps the other Tharil, Lazlo, sneak back in.

The Doctor and Romana make it in through the hull breach.

When the Doctor reaches the top of the ladder, Rorvik stands on his fingers.

Wouldn't it be terrible if the Doctor fell from a great height?
50dw50@50dw50  dont worry i am sure they will think of a much better end for him... oh.

Rorvik won't listen to his warnings that the engine blast will just be thrown back by the mirror.

"Everything breaks eventually."

With the engines rigged to blow, Biroc phases the Doctor and Romana away to safety.

Rorvik's completely off his rocker now. "I'm finally getting something done!"

Romana's rescuer, Lazlo, overpowers Sagan... 

...and sets about reviving his people.

With the Tharils freed, the Doctor and his friends can leave E-Space.

Those that want to...

"I'm not coming with you."

"Inside - that's an order!"

"No more orders, Doctor."

It's rushed and a bit abitrary, but Lalla actually looks happy and relaxed for once as she tells him she's off.

She's got to be her own Romana.

 The Doctor entrusts K9 to her; he'll be repaired once behind the mirror.

"You were the noblest Romana of them all. All two of them. Sorry, Mary." 

Romana, Biroc and K9 make it to the safety of the mirror.

The TARDIS dematerializes in the nick of time too.

As predicted, the freighter explodes on take off...

...taking the gate, or at least this dimension's manifestation of it, with it.

The TARDIS flits through the gardens as Romana sets off with Biroc to free the Tharils enslaved on other worlds.

"You shall be our Time Lord, and we will travel far."

Sure enough, the Tharils begin to escape the smoking remains of the freighter and make their way back through the gate.

The TARDIS' image translator stops functioning - meaning the Doctor & Adric are back in N-Space!

"One good solid hope's worth a cart-load of certainties!"

"Will Romana be alright?"

"Alright? She'll be superb!"

John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland  If I was JN-T I'd have asked Lalla to stay on. S19 crew would be Romana, Adric and K9. Romana is nearly killed in Earthshock and regenerates. The Doctor takes her back to Gallifrey where we'd have a better story than Arc of Infinity.

Oh, I like that idea, that would've been very strong. Would've been interesting to see her reaction to the 5th Doctor.
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland  People say that Warriors Gate is too complicated. But I'm not even from London or work in media and I understand it...
Also, in S18 Tom is at his most commited since S14. Probably in spite of the new production team rather than because of it. But it doesn't matter. He's no longer invincible both off and on the screen. No one's putting up with his nonsense anymore.
Simon Hart@Si_Hart I've long thought we see the definitive fourth Doctor in season 18- every facet of his Doctor is on show.
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland This is stuff not seen since The Deadly Assassin - dreamscape, cynical spacemen, lords of time, a particularly nasty fight... And Tom rises to it. He's brave, funny and clever in way not seen since The Talons of Weng-Chiang. He's acting rather than performing in S18.
Davad@davadsteel  Warriors Gate's so imaginative. I don't think it's equalled until Ghost Light
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland On TV, yes. But DWM's "Voyager" should get a mention here.

Good shout; The Tides of Time has some surreality to it, but Voyager really has that dream-like quality.
Davad@davadsteel It's amazing to think that they managed Warriors Gate and then a few years later made Timelash. Baffling actually.
Warriors Gate's a real oddity; a unique atmosphere & look that's memorable & atmospheric, but my opinion hasn't been changed - for me it's the 3rd best E-Space story, and not really deserving of its reputation as the high point of the season!

Coming Soon: Day of the Daleks

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