Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Day of Darkness - Tales From The TARDIS

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement…
Another Saturday Is Upon Us, Thus it’s Time For Another TALE FROM THE TARDIS!

This week, we’re wrapping up The Aztecs with part 4, titled The Day of Darkness, so let’s get to it!

We open with Ian trapped, but finding a moveable slab and what luck, by going through the tunnel it reveals, he makes his way back to Yetaxa’s tomb and the TARDIS! Now all that needs to happen is to get everyone there so they can get the hell out of dodge… but it’s never that simple. Ian ties a rope to a decoration on the door that leads out and takes the other end with him so that he’ll be able to open it to leave, which shocks Barbara, who is wondering how he got in there.
The Doctor soon arrives and a plan is formed that  Ian will go rescue Susan and then they’ll leave. Simple in theory, but the road to that goal is a bit rocky. Elsewhere, Tlotoxl congratulates Ixta on murdering Ian and assigns him to guard Susan. As he brags about killing her friend, Susan watches as Ian comes up behind Ixta and knocks him out. They head back to the Yetaxa’s chamber, but as they along with the Doctor and Barbara try to open the door… the rope breaks… and on top of that, Ixta recovers and Tlotoxl is on the warpath… so for the second story in the road, Ian is framed, this time for assaulting Autloc and planting him in the Garden of Peace.

Obviously unaware of this, Ian and Susan go to the hatch so that Ian can once again enter the tomb from the long way around, they come across Autloc, find Ian’s club… and he’s promptly arrested. This is kind of odd that the ‘frame Ian’ bit is done in two consecutive stories and both times it’s in the final leg of the story. Things get better, or rather worse, as Autloc declares Yetaxa / Barbara to be a false goddess…
So everything is going Tlotoxl’s way, but he’s still plotting to get rid of Barbara… his plan? To lock her in her room so that people would thing she vanished during the pending eclipse. I don’t think this is a cunning plan… then again, unlike Tegana in Marco Polo, Tlotoxl is basically a one-note antagonist

Now At the same time, The Doctor is trying to rig up a pully system in the Garden of Peace to get the hatch open, and Cameca says she’ll do anything for The Doctor in order for Ian to be saved… but the Doctor says the only thing that might help is if Autloc has a talk with Barbara… which actually happens, as Barbara convinces him that he wasn’t attacked by Ian… but that situation is out of his control now and Ian is on his own, but he can find a way to free Susan.

Despite this Autloc’s faith has been shattered, he goes to the Garden of Peace and gives Cameca his badge that symbolizes his position as High Priest of Knowledge, plus his home and possessions so that she can use it to bribe the guard over seeing Susan… and with that, Autloc leaves. So yeah, that’s it for him… not exactly a great ending for him, he gives away everything to save Susan and just… leaves… I can’t imagine how that looked in the 1960s, but for me, it comes across a guy whose entire life was destroyed.

Later on while Tlotoxl gleefully tells Babrara that the sacrifice  is being prepared and that Autloc has left, implying there is no hope for her or her friends. At the same time, Autloc’s plan works, as Cameca distracts the guard, Ian knocks him out and Susan escapes. Ian also proceeds to take the guard’s head dress to disguise himself. They head back to the tomb where Cameca and The Doctor say their good-byes, with Cameca giving him a seal to remember her by

Elsewhere the unconscious guard is found and Tlotoxl, thinking that our heroes is going to disrupt the sacrifice rushes off to stop them, where he tries to kill Barbara. Ian intervenes and we finally get the fight between him and Ixta. The fight is pretty well done in my view, and ends with Ian throwing Ixta off the top of the tomb. During the fight the door to the chamber where the TARDIS is is opened and our heroes escape, while Tlotoxl, being more concerned about the sacrifice, goes to perform it, much to Barbara’s dismay.  And here is where we reach why this story gets ‘praised’ as being important, is The Doctor reassuring her that even though she could not change the civilization, she did change Autloc’s life to make him see the truth… and somehow causing the former High Priest of Knowledge a crisis of faith cheer’s Babrara up and they enter the TARDIS to leave.

The episode comes to an end with the Doctor making note that TARDIS has ‘landed’ and is stationary, but they are moving, leaving Ian to wonder if they landed on something and Barbara worriedly pointing out they could be IN SOMETHING, which sets up the next story the Sensorites…

But that’s for next week… The Aztecs for me is a story that totally falls apart in it’s final chapter for me, Ian getting framed again, Autloc’s faith being shattered and him going off into the unknown, Tloxtol still making power plays even though he’s in control of the situation makes no sense, and despite the build up, the parting of ways between The Doctor and Camerca is basically an after thought. But it’s the fact that Autloc being forced to see the truth because they exposed him to it being the reason why Barbara isn’t depressed about this entire experience is something I can’t buy… since her entire motivation was to ‘change history’, sure the ‘change one man’ deal may seem great, but it’s not like Autloc hung around!  He flew the coop! Honestly, I don’t get how this story remains a ‘favorite’ among Doctor Who fans and gets shown repeatedly to as the 'best' of the First Doctor Era

So yeah I’m not a fan of how this story ended… anyway, as noted, next week we begin our look at the Sensorites, which is a six-part story, so that will take us up until mid-August… so till next time my friends, have a good one!

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