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This week we begin the overlook of 'The Keys of Marinus", a six part adventure that first aired April 11 to May 16 in 1964. Now unlike 'Marco Polo', this whole adventure is intact and can be found on DVD.
Now every story has a beginning, and in this case, the beginning is called 'The Sea of Death'.
The Doctor and crew (Barbara, Ian and Susan) arrive on an island, where the beach is made of glass and the sea is acid... so basically they arrived in Atlantic City. Now would they find out the sea is filled with acid? Well one of Susan's shoes gets knocked into the water by Barbara, and it dissolves. So correction, they aren't in Atlantic City, they are in Ocean City. Susan goes to the TARDIS to get a new pair, but is followed by a strange creature... of course she is! Because if someone is going to be followed it's going to be Susan... oh and insert your own American Horror Story Rubber-Man joke here.
The monk introduces himself to Ian as Arbitan, he says the creatures are called Voords and that he is the Keeper of the Conscience of Marinus , a computer that was developed over two millennia ago as a justice machine to keep law and order on the planet... insert your own Law and Order joke here folks....Everyone is reunited as Arbitan explains that for seven hundred years, Marinus was kept things under control until a Voord named Yartek worked out how to resist it. Well it was bound to happen sooner later, but now the Conscience has been upgraded (probably to Windows 10) and is ready to be activated again... but there's a problem. When Arbitan saved the Conscience from the Voord, he separated the five keys that regulate it, he has one but the other four are on other locations on the planet. Ain't that just typical... you place your keys somewhere and when you need them, you need volunteers to get them back.
The Doctor flat out refuses and goes to leave for the TARDIS, but when he and the others arrive, the police box has a force field around it. Arbitan isn't going to take no for an answer, forcing the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan to do the task. They are given travel dials which are pre-set to take then to different parts of the Marimus and their quest begins... as they are teleported to their first destination, Arbitan is attacked and killed by a Voord... but that's not the end.... for the real cliff hanger is when our heroes reach their first destination, and Barbara is missing.... only her travel-dial is left... and it has blood on it!
This episode does what it sets out to, establishing the plot for the new adventure, explaining why our heroes can't jump back into the TARDIS and leave, and gives us an idea of who the villains are. As I said, I really like Susan's attire in this episode, but let's talk about the sets. Because of budget limitations of the time, the show was done a lot on a sound-stage, so the use of matte paintings and building of props to create an alien word really shows the effort and creativity needed at the time to bring things into reality.
Anyway, that will just about do it for this weeks episode, next week it's part two and the Velvet Web