After the wonderful first episode, I was disappointed to discover that our first journey in the Tardis would take us to a paleolithic landscape inhabited by prehistoric man. Have we traveled back in time on Earth, traveled through space to planet in an earlier stage of development, or is it something else? The Doctor says that we’ve gone back in time but that he needs to take some samples to be more precise. Wherever we are, I didn’t enjoy it. Not at all. I’m not sure if I would have continued watching the series back in the 60′s.
Here is some of what we are subjected to for 3 episodes.
After they land, Ian doesn’t believe that they’ve traveled back in time and ridicules the Doctor. Barbara is a little more open to the possibility. Susan is, as always, annoying. We discover that not only does the door to the Tardis make a very strange noise when opened and closed that they have in fact traveled somewhere and are no longer in a London junkyard. Oh … and they have a yearometer. Since I don’t get to time travel, I don’t need one.
Barbara refers to the Doctor as Dr. Forman because that is Carol’s last name. Ian replies that they don’t know his name or who he is – and calls him Dr. Who. I suppose the name sticks from that point on.
Another piece of Dr. Who lore that we learn after landing is that the Tardis didn’t change – it’s still a police box. Apparently, it’s supposed to blend into whatever environment it is on and this is broken. And apparently, it is never fixed – the Tardis is still a police box in the modern episodes.
Before the Dr and his companions learn where they are and who is there, we have a scene with the ‘cavemen’. They look British but are wearing furs. It seems that things aren’t going so well as they have lost the ability to make fire. One dude is upset because his father could make fire but he can’t. And a scary sort of witch or shaman woman says that it’s better if they live without fire – the way they have always done. I don’t know about you but I’d rather my food were cooked.
After leaving the ship to investigate, the Dr. is abducted, Carol freaks out, overacts, and runs off to find him. I’m sure that will turn out well.
The Doctor is taken to the cave and the cavemen argue about fire some more and discuss what a strange creature the Doctor is. “He wears strange skins.” There is also a power struggle going on over who should be the leader of the tribe. The Doctor wakes up, tells the tribe that he will make fire for them and that they don’t need to be afraid of him because he is an old man. But, the Doctor has lost his matches and won’t be able to make fire – he’s going to be in big trouble. Plus, the tribe is cold.
Ian, Barbara and Carol show up, a struggle starts and a lot of screaming happens – it must be Carol as she is the expert screamer. The entire group is taken to the cave of skulls – that doesn’t sound like a fun place. And it is full of skulls and other bones.
I have to admit that I enjoyed this episode more when I watched it a second time while writing this article. I still don’t care for the setting and the screaming but a lot is learned about Doctor Who and the Tardis that we now take as all being part of Dr. Who, such as the ship being stuck in the form of a police box. So, I like it a little bit more that the I did the first time I watched it. I think, however, that it’s a let down after how much I enjoyed the very first episode of Dr. Who.
Ugh … and there’s still 2 more episodes in this story arc.