September 28, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Ghost Monument”

The Doctor and her new companions enter a race to find the missing TARDIS.

Seeing as how often Doctor Who has filmed in and around Great Britain, I watched this episode and was wondering where they filmed the outdoors scenes since it was an actual desert.  A little research told me they filmed those scenes in South Africa.

Man, this show has a budget the original series only wishes it had…

So, what is the Doctor without the TARDIS?  That seems to be an issue, and it doesn’t help when the Doctor accidentally teleported herself, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz into the middle of open space.  Fortunately, they don’t stay there long.  The group is rescued by a pair of racers, Angstrom and Epzo.  They each thought the Doctor and her friends were objectives in the race and each racer rescued two members of the group.  And neither are happy to learn that the planet they are searching for isn’t in the location it’s supposed to be or that the people they rescued weren’t race objectives.

See, Angstrom and Epzo are the final racers in a large scale race for a massive prize.  It will eventually come out Angstrom is racing to help her family while Epzo doesn’t believe in trusting anyone because his own mother taught him as much.  The race, it seems, has some rules in that all of the racers start with nothing, they have to beg, barter, or steal what they need to get to the next finish line, and anyone who doesn’t prevail is left stranded.

Since the Doctor and her group are now there, they are also racing…maybe.  The planet, once found, is a desert planet, and the race organizer is a projected hologram in a tent.   It’s the sort of thing the Doctor finds really neat.

So, the final leg:  get to something called the Ghost Monument a bit of distance from the tent.  Avoid the sun as much as possible.  Don’t go out at night.  Don’t drink the water.  And no hurting the other contestants.  Seems simple enough.

Particularly since the Doctor realizes the Ghost Monument is the TARDIS materializing in and out of the plane of existence.

So, everyone has a reason to go, and the rules makes sense when the Doctor gets a look around.  The water they find is laced with flesh-eating microbes.  The sun is a killer, but a solar-powered boat provides some shade.  And since this is the Doctor, she manages to talk Angstrom and Epzo into working together rather than adopting an “every person for himself” strategy.  Graham had suggested as much in the name of human solidarity, but he didn’t know that not only were Angstrom and Epzo not human, they’d never heard of humans before either.

Essentially, the planet is revealed to have been a big weapons-testing world a particularly nasty-sounding group forced a group of scientists onto to build weapons.  Everyone on the planet is dangerous.  Robot snipers?  Ryan tries to play it like a video game, but they don’t stay down.  Should have listened when the Doctor said she didn’t like guns because they don’t actually solve problems.  An EMP will work instead.  There’s even deadly, talking pieces of cloth, and the atmosphere fills with explosive gas at night.  The Doctor’s endless optimism and inventiveness must be infectious because she actually talks Angstrom and Epzo into splitting the huge cash prize and calls the organizer’s bluff when he tries to cancel it.

That just gets her and her friends left behind on the deadly planet, but fortunately, she was right about the newly-redecorated TARDIS.  So, now she can take everyone home.

Somehow, I doubt they will be getting there right away.

So, as regular episodes go…this is still a much darker version of the show compared to other incarnations, but the Doctor herself is still a bit on the goofy side.  I can get behind that.

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