Doctor Who Television

Doctor Who – The Claws of Axos – Episodes 3 & 4

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BBC

 

Episode 3

Originally Broadcast March 27, 1971

When we last saw the Doctor and crew, the Axos ship, the Axons and the Axonite monsters had been revealed as all parts of the same gestalt being. The Axonite monsters had invaded the Nuton Power Complex where the Doctor, Jo Grant and UNIT had been stationed. Axos is desperate for to get all the power it needs in order to take over the world.

As the Axonite creatures invade the lab, Bill Filer is knocked out. The Doctor looks for an escape, but he and Jo are surrounded. The Axons hypnotize them and lead them away. The Brigadier, still under arrest by the British Army, gets on the phone with HQ demanding his release. Meanwhile, gaseous windbag and government official, Mr. Chinn rushes to the lab and is told by the Axons that Winser was killed by radiation and that the Axonite has been taken away. They warn Chinn that this must never happen again. The Brigadier helps his soldiers carry Bill Filer out of the lab.

The Doctor and Jo Grant wake up inside the Axon ship. The Axons tell them that they plan on taking over the world and draining it of its resources claiming that the “Earth will be sucked dry!” (Oh the double entendre of a rampaging villain!)

The Captain from the British Army tells Mr. Chinn that the Brigadier and UNIT are back in charge with orders directly from the Ministry of Defense. We get to enjoy watching Chinn nearly blow a gasket over this news.

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BBC

 

The Doctor explains to Jo that Mr. Chinn might have actually done the right thing by ordering all the Axonite to remain Britain instead of spreading it worldwide, which is what the Axons want. But Chinn’s boss calls him (on a video screen, very high tech for the early 70s) and informs him that there has been a catastrophic security leak. The United Nations has got wind of the news about Axonite and they want it distributed worldwide. Chinn is told to make it happen immediately and if he fails, he’s fired.

Bill Filer wakes up in the medical bay that is conveniently part of the power station. He tries to warn people about the Axonite and the Master. The TARDIS arrives at the power station riding on the back of a truck and is brought to the laboratory just in time for the Master to arrive in disguise and gets himself alone with it. He pulls a little doohickey out of his pocket and unlocks the TARDIS doors with it. I’m not sure why he doesn’t have this on him in later stories, but it’s a good thing he didn’t.

The Axons have to Doctor tied down and are interrogating him. They tell him that they can remove the blocks the Time Lords have placed in his mind. They can give the Doctor his knowledge of time travel back but only if he shares it with them, and they threaten to kill Jo if he doesn’t. He begs for her release and promises to help them.

The Master tries to get the TARDIS working, but the Doctor has done such a hack job on it trying to rediscover the secrets the Time Lords took away from him, the Master has some repair work to do first. The Brigadier is with Chinn and an Axon refusing to distribute anything without a report from the Doctor. But he’s still on the Axon ship getting mind probed. He gives Axos the information they need to send Axonite through time, but they do not have the ability to generate enough power to do it. But if they use the power generated by the complex next door, it is possible.

Chinn has succeeded in getting the Axon ready for distribution. The Brigadier visits Bill and finds an Axon lurking the halls of the power complex. The monster makes it outside where it kills it’s way past the guards. The Brigadier runs back to the lab where he finds the Doctor’s TARDIS and tells the head scientist that an Axon has just walked into the main reactor. The power output begins to rise to unsafe levels, and if gone unchecked will cause a nuclear meltdown.

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BBC

 

Inside the TARDIS, the Master is trying to get it operational, but the controls blow up in his face. “Might as well try to fly a second-hand gas stove,” he complains and walks out. The Brigadier and company catch him red-handed toying with the particle accelerator. The Master is easily arrested as having guns pointed in your face is a little daunting even for an evil Time Lord. The Master doesn’t give a damn about the Axons or their plans, he just wants to get away from Earth before it’s destroyed. The Master bargains with the Brigadier for his freedom, reminding him that the entire power complex could go up like a giant nuclear bomb. Reluctantly, the Brigadier agrees to his release and has his handcuffs removed. The Master plans on using the TARDIS to leech off the excess power coming from the reactor.

On the Axon ship, the Doctor watches as the power coming from the complex is increasing and suddenly goes down. As the Axon ship is distracted by this turn of events, the Doctor takes the opportunity to find Jo and escape.

In the laboratory, the Master has one last switch to throw. It will destroy the Axon ship and everything in it, including the Doctor. There is no choice, the Master tells the Brigadier, either he destroys Axos or Axos destroys Earth. As he flips the switch, we see that the Doctor and Jo are still trapped on the ship. End of episode 3.

Episode 4

Originally Broadcast April 3, 1971

Jo Grant and the Doctor fight to escape the Axos ship before it explodes as the Master has shunted all the excess power from the TARDIS into it. Axos is going berserk, doing everything it can to keep its captives from escaping while trying to save itself from imminent destruction. Just as the living ship gives a final effort to control their minds, the Doc and Jo make it to the exit and haul ass back to the power complex.

Just as the Master asks the Brigadier from his congratulations and freedom, Axos succeeds in forcing the power back into the complex focused on the particle accelerator with the intent of blowing the place sky high. Scientist Hardiman gives his life disconnecting the accelerator from the system. The Master takes the opportunity to make an escape, but the Doctor bursts through the door and stops him in his tracks.

The Doctor explains that the Axonite is still active and is ready to consume the Earth. The only way he can stop Axos is if the Doctor can get the Master to help him. While UNIT places the now dormant Axos ship under constant surveillance, Mr. Chinn is still throwing his weight around trying to make himself important. Bill related his frustration to Jo about how the Doctor and the Master are working together. He doesn’t trust the arrangement one bit. Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor tells the Master if they don’t work together, they will both be prisoners on a doomed planet. If they cooperate, they can both escape the Earth. But why does the Doctor need the Master’s help? He reluctantly tells the Master of the mental blocks the Time Lords put in his mind. The Master agrees and they set about repairing the TARDIS in the first instance of the Doctor and his arch-enemy working together.

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BBC

 

The Axos ship has repaired itself and is back to full power and has sent minions after the Brigadier’s two trusted right-hand men, Captain Yates and Sargent Benton. These two were in almost every UNIT episode of this era, but in this story didn’t have any major scenes until now. They try to escape from the Axonite monsters in a UNIT truck but are foiled by a simple tree across the road. Their only recourse is to dive from the truck as it rolls downhill with the monsters on it and pull the pin of a grenade, tossing it into the driver’s seat.

In what seems like a bit of a dick move, the Doctor tells everyone that he and the Master are leaving Earth, giving his farewells to everyone in the room. “Goodbye Jo,” the Doctor said “I shall miss you.” He enters the TARDIS and dematerializes just as his human friends are attacked by the Axons. Yes, the Doctor has abandoned his friends just as they are up to their necks in trouble.

Turns out, it was all an act to throw the Master off as he lands the TARDIS inside the Axos ship. The Doctor strikes up a deal with Axos: Leave Earth and join forces with him and the Master against the High Council of the Time Lords. All the Master wants is to return to his TARDIS and quietly leave, but Axos isn’t ready to let him go just yet.

Back in the lab, the Brigadier and his troops have set up a defense. A major power surge comes through as Axos regains its hold on the particle accelerator. PLOT HOLE: I’m not sure how it accomplishes this as the connecting cables were removed by Hardiman just before he was killed.

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BBC

 

In the TARDIS the two Time Lords work to link up with Axos. Unbeknownst to the Master, the Doctor has sent Axos into a time loop. The Master spazzes out over this because his TARDIS is still inside the Axos ship and demands Axos do something about it. The Doctor is risking his own life to destroy Axos and the Master wants to get the hell out.

UNIT takes a few casualties fighting off the Axonite monsters, but just as the Doctor activates the time loop, they fade out and return to the ship. Leaving UNIT wondering just what happened. The energy in the particle accelerator is still building and is about to reach critical mass. The Brigadier orders everyone to leg it outside and away from the power complex as fast as they can. As they evacuate, the TARDIS returns to the lab. The Doctor sees the whole place is about to blow and practically dives back into the TARDIS and takes off just in time.

The Nuton power complex blows up, but thanks to the Brigadier’s efforts, everyone who was alive after the fight with the Axonite monsters is still alive now. The day is saved, but the grim realization that the Master has escaped once again sets in. But the Doctor cannot escape. The Time Lords have programmed the TARDIS to always return to Earth.

“It seems that I’m some kind of galactic yo-yo,” he complains as this story ends.

If you, dear reader, do not mind a bit of editorializing on my part, I would like to point out that this is one of the better invasion stories of this era. The problem of the Axons wanting to take over the world are dealt with using realistic solutions. There is no deus ex machina, maybe a plot hole or two, but no magic solution. The Doctor doesn’t even use the sonic screwdriver in this story. This is the type of story I would like to see the new series return to with problems solved by thinking them out using solutions that make sense and less relying on flights of fancy.

I know how much people love the new series, but these classic episodes hold a very dear place in my heart. My wish is for the young fans to be able to enjoy these old stories as much as I do because they are too good to be missed.

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