Doctor Who Review: The Time Meddler

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“That is the dematerialisation control and, that over yonder is the horizontal hold. Up there is the scanner, those are the doors, that is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, dear boy! Now please stop bothering me”

Since the last episode I spoke of, we’ve lost Ian and Barbara. The Doctor and his new companion Vicki lament their decision to leave before the episode starts. The Hartnell era is full of firsts, it had to be. And the Time Meddler is the first time we see anyone else from the Doctor’s home planet. At this point neither his species nor his planet have names of their own. But here we see a man who decides to use a TARDIS and his ability to time travel in order to deliberately change things, and the consequences of that decision.

Episode 1 – The Watcher

  •  The Doctor knew Barbara and Ian would leave as soon as they could, yet it surprised him that they did
  • That’s a nice tangent Vicki’s gone off on about New York while the Doctor is actually trying to talk to her
  • There’s someone in the cupboard
  • “Doctor be careful, it’s obviously a Dalek!”
  • Someone wounded? A panda?
  • Peter Purves has collapsed!
  • I’d forgotten this is the first episode with Steven in it!
  • There’s a creepy looking Monk watching the TARDIS
  • “There are two things you can do. One: Sit down until you get your breath back and two, stop calling me doc!”
  • I can’t remember the significance of Steven’s panda. I think it’s a good luck token?
  • Steven doesn’t believe that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. Or that it’s a time machine
  • And here we have the Doctor mocking his new companion
  • “That is the dematerialisation control and, that over yonder is the horizontal hold. Up there is the scanner, those are the doors, that is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, dear boy! Now please stop bothering me”
  • Steven is not impressed
  • The Doctor is determined to show Steven that he’s wrong about the TARDIS
  • And for the first time we see people who are presumably from whatever time period the TARDIS has landed in
  • Still don’t know what time period it is. Or what’s going on. But these people have gone looking for the strange box that’s handed on the beach
  • “What do you think it is, a space helmet for a cow?” The Doctor is determined to mock Steven as much as possible while getting him to believe the TARDIS is a time machine
  • The Doctor is calmly throwing rocks at a monk
  • Wow, a companion that wants to do what the Doctor says!
  • The Monk’s lost his watch?
  • No matter what the subtitles say, that noise does not sound like a wolf
  • The TARDIS has been lost to the sea. Pity really
  • The Doctor has made a friend in the village. And is very excited to find that it’s 1066
  • “It’s a great pity that Barbara isn’t here” I do love the Doctor having a real acknowledgement of his companions’ knowledge and talents rather than just knowing everything himself.
  • Tape recording of Monks?
  • Vicki doesn’t appreciate Steven not listening to her. Especially when he’s being stupid and ends up hurt
  • I was only kidding when I said the Monk had lost his watch!
  • Creepy Monk cackling at the Doctor!!

Episode 2 – The Meddling Monk

  • Curse toasters not working properly in the 10th century
  • Though that is a rather nice breakfast tray the Monk has made for the Doctor. Who doesn’t seem to appreciate it much!
  • Not sure falling asleep in the middle of nowhere was a good idea, Vicki. There are some weird sounding wolves around here
  • Steven stop wandering off!!
  • The Monk isn’t exactly acting kindly to the people who just brought him food
  • Then again, he did kidnap the Doctor
  • Very long scene of the Monk putting his hood up then changing his mind
  • The Vikings are coming!
  • Steven starts to believe they’re in the past now that he’s been kidnapped by people who want to kill them apparently
  • Vicki is telling people off for arguing. And winning
  • Steven is so awkward and sullen!
  • The Vikings have landed, and climbed up the cliffs to make their plans
  • Though technically not lying, the Monk is not telling them the truth
  • Is the Monk really that stupid to give away that he’s got the Doctor?
  • This is becoming more and more convoluted by the second
  • What does the Monk actually want!
  • Damn those Vikings attacking women. At least they left her alive to tell everyone
  • I can never tell what’s going on in these big fight scenes. But there’s definitely a dead Viking
  • Everyone seems to be trying to enter the monastery at once
  • Good thing Steven can pick locks
  • The Doctor’s vanished!

Episode 3 – A Battle of Wits

  • Secret passages are the only option!
  • The Monk seemingly thinks that with the door left open, the Doctor is hiding under the blankets. Because…. logic?
  • Somehow the Doctor has made it back to the village
  • The Doctor making sure that everyone watching knows exactly what time period they’re in by explaining current events. Much to the confusion of the rest of the characters
  • They’ve all deduced going back to the monastery to see what the Monk is up to is a good plan
  • The Monk is on schedule for something
  • The wounded Saxon seems to be being stolen
  • The Vikings are already giving up and hiding. In the monastery
  • The Monk’s checklist is brilliant
  • The Doctor is very good at convincing the Monk that he has a gun! In fact, it’s a stick
  • Vicki and Steven have discovered that the TARDIS has gone. And that if the Doctor has moved the TARDIS they’re trapped for good!
  • As much as Steven’s attitude sucks, he has a point
  • “This may not be a gun, but I can still do you a considerable amount of harm.” I’d believe him if I were you. The Doctor isn’t afraid to hit people
  • “No more monkery” says the Doctor. Who is now dressed as a Monk
  • Oops. Angry Vikings. They locking him in the cell with the secret passageway again?
  • Taking out Vikings with a plank of wood. The Doctor and the Monk have the same sort of ideas!
  • So the Monk is going to use the men of the village for his nefarious schemes. Good thing the Doctor has already told the Saxons what’s going to happen
  • This Doctor has no problem with using weapons
  • Vicki and Steven poke around and discover the Monk’s TARDIS. Clearly he is another Time Lord. Even though the term doesn’t exist yet

Episode 4 – Checkmate

  • The Monk’s plan is to destroy the Vikings. So that history changes
  • The Monk has gone through a lot of time periods and tweaked all sorts of things
  • The Doctor is not impressed
  • Clearly, not impressed that the Monk’s TARDIS actually fits into the time period
  • Never mind the Vikings and Saxons running around
  • Doctor stop being sassy when people are trying to talk to you!
  • Confrontation over a TARDIS console
  • Aaaand the second they look away, the Monk is gone. Straight into the arms of the Vikings
  • Eldred stumbles into the village telling of Vikings in the Monastery while the leader is trying to convince everyone of the same. Splendid timings!!
  • Steven seems to be able to hop around easily enough. Perhaps these Vikings should have done a better job of tying them up!
  • Steven not only believes in the whole time travel thing now, but he’s also realised just how damaging messing with time is
  • Saxon invasion of the monastery! The Vikings and the Monk being chased in some strangely choreographed run
  • What’s the Doctor got planned?
  • Meddling with the Monk’s TARDIS?
  • That’s a really long piece of string
  • So the Viking invasion will go as planned. And the tide has gone down so they can all return to the TARDIS
  • “He’s the crew, we’re just the passengers!” “And very welcome you both are too”
  • What has the Doctor done? The Monk doesn’t seem convinced at any rate
  • He’s trapped the Monk in the current time by messing with the Monk’s TARDIS’s dimensions. Naughty. But funny

And the episode ends with the ghostly faces of the Doctor and his companions in the stars over the end titles. Hopefully the Monk has indeed learnt his lesson, that being said we never do find out if the Doctor goes back for him.

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