March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Velvet Web”

The First Doctor. "The Keys of Marinus," Part Two.

So, Barbara is in trouble, right?

Um, yes and no.

OK, why did Barbara’s teleporter have blood on it?  She got disoriented the first time she used it, scratched herself, and dropped it.  So, really, she’s not in trouble, right?


See, it doesn’t take long for the others to find her after they try a door behind where they teleported in, and inside there are a lot of strobe lights and Barbara…being treated like some old timey queen.  And I mean really old timey.  Like Roman Empire old timey.  It seems the foursome have found the city of Morphoton, a place where the residents are super-generous and will give you anything you ask for, whether it’s food, dresses made from the finest fabrics, or the lab the Doctor requests.

There’s just one problem.  Though Ian (because of course it would be Ian) is suspicious, they fall asleep and then a woman walks in and puts a disk on everyone’s forehead.  Susan, however, rolls over in her sleep and knocks it off.  She then wakes up to more loud noises and strobe lights the others sleep through.  And when she wakes up in the morning, all the fine stuff she saw the day before now looks like broken down crap.  She’s the only one who sees it that way, though.

Lousy hypnosis…

Yes, it seems the city is run by disembodied brains in jars with eye stalks that stick straight up.  All the people are hypnotic slaves, and they’re trying to add the time travelers.  Barbara knows the truth, so it won’t work on her, but she does manage to escape while the Doctor and Ian admire the “laboratory” which is actually an empty room.  The woman who messed up with the disks is sent to be punished, but Barbara finds her and gets her to remember her name (Sabetha), that she is maybe Arbitan’s daughter, and she has the key around her neck.  That’s all she can get out of the woman, and during a break for help she finds Ian deeper in the spell, but he takes her to the brains.  And there, well, since Ian isn’t that tough, she’s able to get out of his attempt to hypnotically strangle her, smashes some equipment, and kills the brains.  That frees everybody from the hypnosis, and man, people are pissed.

See, I sleep on my side.  I might have been a tough sell on their mind control technique if it requires putting an easily-knocked over disk on my forehead.

As it is, Sabetha and a male former slave named Altos were both sent by Arbitan to find the keys and offer to help.  The Doctor has figured out how to skip a location and wants to go on ahead to a city that is supposedly highly civilized, letting the others search a jungle that apparently can’t shut up.

Wait, does this mean we might not see the Doctor for another episode or two?  Bah!