Weighing in at an impressive 800 episodes, Doctor Who has been entertaining audiences for the past 50 years. Yet, despite this vast backlog of content, I know next to nothing about the actual series. For that reason, I’ve decided to watch this unusual show from the beginning, to discover the source of its unique appeal. Come with me as I tackle this daunting sci-fi phenomena from the very beginning in The Complete Doctor Who.
Warning: the following contains spoilers.
Doctor Who: Serial 7 The Sensorites, Episode 5: Kidnap
It’s something of an understatement to say our last episode covered a lot of ground. Ian was poisoned and the Doc went to work creating an antidote. The astronaut John began the process of recovering his sanity with the help of an alien brain-get-better ray, while the City Administrator broke out what might be the strangest supervillain plot of all time, stealing his boss’ shirt sashes in an attempt to impersonate him. Finally, the Doctor struck off alone to get to investigate the Sensorite’s water supply only to stumble onto may or may not be a giant monster growling in the distance. Then, Ian got better and ran off with Susan to go help him.
Everybody still with me? Good, because it actually gets even more complicated from here.
We pick up with Ian and Susan arriving at the aqueducts where they overhear the same monstrous growling. Following the source of the sounds, they stumble upon the Doctor, who is passed out along the ground.
Then, we make a quick stop over at the Sensorite palace, where John continues to receive mental health treatments from what looks like an industrial grade hair dryer.
As he continues to recover, his girlfriend Carol makes a futile attempt at talking the Sensorites into going out after the Doctor, but they’re too freaked out by the monsters that patrol the aqueducts.
So hey, small aside here. One of the key things established last episode was that the Sensorites tell each other apart by the various sashes and collars that denote their occupations.
With that in mind, check out the adorable little logo this guy gets to wear.
What is his job exactly? Director of crazy science? President of leaky bottles? In any case, it’s a winner. I expect to see a good dozen of you rocking that look come cosplay season.
Anyway, back at the aqueduct, Ian and Susan tend to the Doctor, who, aside from a shredded coat, seems surprisingly unharmed.
After that, it’s a quick cut to the palace again, where the Chief Administrator delivers another one of his fantastic, strangely poetic screeds about earthlings, “Their pleasant smiles conceal sharp teeth, their soft words hide deadly threats.”
In addition to spinning xenophobic couplets, he’s also hell-bent on getting his hands on that radical disintegrator ray from the second episode and forces his captive, the Second Elder, to summon someone called the Senior Warrior so that they can get their hands on the weapon’s firing pin.
This culture is all about iconography, so what do they use to denote a badass title like Senior Warrior? A large sword? Perhaps a pair of crossed pistols on his chest?
Nope, just a couple Charlie Brown stripes across his wrists. Kind of a huge fumble there guys.
With the firing key en route, the Administrator dons his boss’ sash and heads out to retrieve it. Unfortunately, his choice of meeting spot puts him directly in the path of the Doc and his friends, who as luck would have it, desperately want a word with the Second Elder. So, faced with discovery, the City Administrator makes a break for it, narrowly managing to escape.
Then, back at his base, he breaks out his best He-man impression, hefting the key while exclaiming, “Now I have the power!”
That’s apparently the last straw for the Second Elder who suddenly jumps into action mode, fighting off the administrator, then straight up bending the key with his bare hands.
Yes, it is truly the Second Elder’s finest moment…for roughly thirty seconds or so. Then, the Administrator’s stooge walks over and conks him on the head.
Needless to say, the firing pin is a complete loss, leaving only the one in the First Elder’s possession, an alien who tends to frown on things like first-degree murder.
Oh, and it turns out they’ve got another problem too, since the lackey killed the Second Elder good and dead.
But that’s okay, the Administrator’s full of plans and decides to pin the alien’s murder on the Doc and his friends.
And hey, speaking of the First Elder, what’s he up to these days? Well, he’s spared no expense for his new friends, breaking out the card tables, then presenting the doctor with a fancy new cloak.
As Doc stands there modeling, the Administrator’s toadie bursts in and accuses him of killing the Second Elder.
A key part of his testimony is the fact that he saw the Doctor draw the murder weapon from his coat, which he then amends to a cloak when he notices what the Doc is wearing.
Seeing that the Elder gave him the cloak roughly 40 seconds ago, it doesn’t take long to see through this subterfuge and the lackey is immediately hauled off to jail.
That does leave the matter of certain other criminal dealings unresolved, for instance, who intercepted the antidote Doc sent to Ian last episode?
The Administrator is quick to salvage the situation though, blaming the various traitorous dealings on the now dead Second Elder.
With that settled, the First Elder turns his attention to his subordinate’s vacant position.
The Doc and his crew, who as off-worlders, shouldn’t really have any say in the matter whatsoever, nominate the Administrator for the job, hoping to curry some favor with him.
The First Elder agrees and because it just wasn’t hard enough telling these characters apart, the Administrator becomes the new Second Elder.
Then Ian walks over to congratulate him and gets a whole lot of sass from the former administrator.
“When you address one of the elders, you call him sir!”
Meanwhile, John has completed his brain treatments and meets up with Carol and the rest of the group for a touching reunion.
During their conversation, Susan asks him about the numerous warnings he gave while still insane, but it seems that John can only recall vague details. As he starts putting the pieces together, the old Administrator shows up to massage his story, convincing John it was the now dead Second Elder that was behind everything.
Then, having covered his ass, old Admin takes a brief moment to wise off to the Doctor, because honestly, what’s power if you can’t abuse it?
As he leaves, the entire group takes a moment to connect over what a dick he is, until Susan interrupts them, having worked out that the Administrator is the real traitor.
Her theory is soon backed up by John who remembers the Administrator’s collar when he stopped by to taunt him several episodes prior.
Then, since he can’t go more than three minutes without breaking a law, the old Administrator stops by to spring his lackey from jail and has him monkey around with those weird ping-pong paddles they use as weapons.
Back in the palace, Doctor and Ian work out a plan to prove the Administrator’s guilt. Doc figures the water supply is being deliberately poisoned and proposes going back to the aqueduct for another search.
They run their plan by the First Elder, who agrees to give them weapons and a map and also signs off on letting Barbara come down to the planet’s surface.
Unfortunately, the Administrator intercepts the map and has it altered before giving it back to them, along with the sabotaged weapons.
As they get ready to leave, Doc and Ian decide to leave Susan in the dark, so she isn’t tempted to accompany them.
Then, John and Susan get ready to make dinner. Carol leaves for a moment and gets abducted giallo-style by someone off-screen.
Wow. That was pretty dense.
I think the real takeaway here is that the Administrator is the Steven Hawking of hatching plots. There’s an entire genre written around people trying, then failing to get away with murder, but for the Administrator it isn’t even a speed bump. He quickly puts together a plan to have the victim discredited by a false witness, then, when that falls apart, he still salvages the situation by pinning his crimes on the dead guy, then breaks out his lackey to carry out a sabotage plot. Hats off to you administrator.