THE CHASE continued
You know, this story is tripe... but tripe of the highest order. Ludicrously enjoyable, despite the fact that the plot essentially consists of the Daleks chasing the TARDIS to a different location every episode or so, everyone charging around and falling over the locals, then the TARDIS crew running away again. Thus we get a memorable scene on top of the Empire State Building, when the TARDIS manages to actually get back to contemporary (1965) Earth, and first its occupants then minutes later the Daleks wreak havoc with the sanity of an Alabama hick - played very amusingly by Peter Purves, who will turn up later in the adventure as space pilot Steven Taylor. Then we hop to the Marie Celeste, whose occupants are, to a man, scared overboard by the Daleks... well, that's one mystery solved, anyway! A swift detour via a 'haunted house' (which unbeknown to the characters is a funfair attraction) later, we have Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula fighting the Daleks, before both timeships rendezvous on the jungle planet Mechanus. Our heroes dodge deadly sentient fungoid things and a robot duplicate of the Doctor made by the Daleks to "infiltrate and kill", in the Daleks' words - almost as good a catchphrase as the Dalek troops' ecstatic "Advance and attack! Attack and destroy! Destroy and rejoice!"...! By good fortune they escape to the Mechanoid city high up in the clouds - only to find themselves imprisoned yet again. These robots turn out to be as heavily armed as the Daleks themselves, and while the crew and new ally Steven escape the city and ultimately destroy it utterly, the two bands of metal monsters engage in a truly spectacular conflict, all lurching camera angles and billowing clouds of smoke and explosions - brilliant!
Clear, finally, of danger and in possession of the Daleks' abandoned time machine, Ian and Barbara suddenly realise that they have in their hands at last a way to go home. The resulting exchange with the Doctor brings back all of his old intractability, the old man flatly refusing to help them work the machine, citing its inherent danger. Really, you see he's got fond of them in his own way... In the end, he relents, and the send-off turns out to be all the more affecting as we don't even get to see the goodbyes - instead Ian and Barbara emerge from the ship in 1965 London and, in a glorious bittersweet mash-up of still photographs we see them joyfully larking around back in their own place and time, darting amongst the pigeons and lions in Trafalgar Square, jumping on a bus and so on. Our last glimpse of the pair sees them pondering how on Earth to explain their two-year absence, which recedes into the picture on the Time-Space Visualiser as the Doctor and Vicki pilot the TARDIS - now devoid of all its original trio of 'companions' - off towards more adventure...
Episodes watched: 66
Episodes still to watch: 656
Only four episodes today, so I'm now a record 18 behind schedule... must do better tomorrow!