Monday 1 August 2011

252 The War Games: Episode Nine

EPISODE: The War Games: Episode Nine
TRANSMITTED: 14 June 1969
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke & Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Derrick Sherwin
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The War Games

The Resistance is taken away. The Doctor works out the War Chief needs him to work on his travel machines, guessing that the improvements the War Chief has made will shorten the life of the capsules and that he needs the Tardis. The Doctor convinces the War Lord he can improve the processing machines and is told to use them on the resistance. The Security Chief takes the Doctor to the resistance but leaves no guards. The Security Chief reviews recordings he made of the Doctor & War Chief conferring. The Doctor tells the resistance he betrayed them to save their lives from the planned Neutron Bomb drop. They attack him but he is saved by the War Chief. The Security Chief finds the evidence he's looking for. The Doctor demonstrates the reprocessing on Jamie who goes along with the Doctor's plan pretending to be in the Doctor's thrall. The War Chief is arrested by the Security Chief. Arturo Villa does not go along with the pretext nearly giving the Doctor away. Guards come for the Doctor but they are overpowered allowing the resistance to take the War Chief captive who tells them where the guns are. They attack the war room where the War Chief kills the Security Chief. The Doctor stops the fighting with help from the War Chief but they are unable to return the soldiers home because the capsules life has expired. The Doctor places a message to the Time Lords in a communications box he carries appealing to them for help. The War Chief escapes but is captured by the War Lord, who has heard the recordings, and killed by his guards. The guards are overcome by the resistance. The Doctor sends the message to the Time Lords. He intends to flee by himself but Jamie & Zoe insist on coming with him. Carstairs comes too to try and find Lady Jennifer. Villa tries to stop the Doctor threatening to kill him but he's held back from doing so. The War Lord says when the Time Lords find the Doctor he will wish he had been killed. An eerie wind fills the alien complex. Arriving in 1917 the Tardis crew bid farewell to Carstairs, but as they make for the Tardis they find it hard to move as if they are swimming through treacle: The Time Lords are arriving!

This episode wraps the main storyline up nicely with the aliens overcome and everyone promised to be taken home. But the Doctor's paid a huge cost, he has surrendered his location to the Time Lords and they're coming for him. You feel he is genuinely scared of what they are going to do to him. Both the Security and the War Chiefs die in this episode. Their constant bickering during the last few episodes was really getting on my nerves, but other than that I've enjoyed Edward Brayshaw's performance as the War Chief, a more obviously evil villain than Peter Butterworth's Monk who you felt was more mischievous than outright evil. The War Chief in many ways can be seen as a forerunner for a much more famous evil renegade Time Lord. Having seen the Doctor change when he wore his body out at the end of Tenth Planet the War Chief's death shows us that members of the Doctor's race can be killed.

At 10 episodes the War Games is one of the longest Doctor Who stories. The Longest is Trial of a Timelord at 14 episodes though you could argue that this is three 4 parters and a 2 parter put together. Dalek Masterplan is second with twelve, effectively 13 parts if you count Mission to the Unknown. War Games is third with ten, and The Invasion, earlier this season, is fifth with eight. From then on there are several stories with most of the different episode counts:

14 The Trial Of A Time Lord
12 Dalek Masterplan
10 War Games
8 The Invasion
7 The Daleks, Marco Polo, Evil of the Daleks, The Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno
6 numerous
5 The Daemons
4 too many to name
3 Planet of Giants, Delta and the Bannermen, Dragonfire, The Happiness Patrol, Silver Nemesis, Ghost Light & Survival
2 Edge of Destruction, The Rescue, Sontaran Experiment, Black Orchid, King's Demons & The Awakening
1 Mission to the Unknown

1 comment:

  1. This is a great episode - moving at a tremendous clip to wrap up the previous plot and start off the plot of the epilogue into the bargain.

    The build-up that the Time Lords get is good as well. It really sells them as a force apart, even compared to cosmic entities like the Great Intelligence, when the Doctor's entire plan boils down to "panic and run away very quickly".