The third story of the second season is a two-parter penned by David Whitaker and airing on the 2 and 9 of January 1965. The Doctor (Hartnell) is napping, and I think dealing with his depression of leaving Susan (Carole Ann Ford) behind in the previous story, when the TARADIS materializes on Dido (the planet not the singer) in the year 2493. There’s a nice moment when he mistakenly asks for Susan to open the doors, and you can see that he’s truly bothered by her departure. Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian (William Russell) set off to investigate, though the two get separated fairly quickly, and the Doctor joins up with Ian to look for her.
Barbara discovers that there is a crashed ship sending out a distress beacon with two survivors, Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) and the reclusive Bennett (Ray Barrett), who are awaiting the imminent arrival of a rescue craft. Unfortunately they are being menaced by a sinister looking creature known as Koquillion. But there may be something more going on here…
The Doctor is rather confused, as he’s been to Dido before, and have met with its peaceful inhabitants, totaling 100 souls, and the violence and the existence of Koquillion trouble him, as it doesn’t jibe with what he knows of the planet.
As the first episode, The Powerful Enemy, ends he and Ian are in dire straits, having triggered a booby trap in a series of caves, Ian is about to be forced into a pit with a strange-looking, presumably dangerous creatures.
In part two, Desperate Measures, Ian and the Doctor make a quick escape, and join up with Barbara and Vicki in the crashed ship.
Going off to chat with Bennett, the Doctor finds an escape hatch the survivor has been using, and puts together what has been going on, a tale of heroic survival becomes the cover for murder and violence, and the Doctor must put an end to it.
As the story wraps up, Vicki is invited to join the Doctor and company on their journey, though she doesn’t quite believe that they can travel in time yet, she signs up, and I think her joining them provides the Doctor some comfort in dealing with the loss of Susan.
There is some cute model work that opens the first episode, featuring the wreckage of the spacecraft, but it didn’t push me out of the story so much as make me smile, and marvel at how far we’ve come not only in model making for science fiction series and film, but also in regards to visual effects in general.
I can’t believe we’re in 65 already, albeit just started it. The Doctor’s regeneration is still a ways off, but as long as the stories remain as entertaining as they have been, I’m in no real rush!
Next time around, the TARDIS finds its way to ancient Rome, for what they hope will be a bit of a holiday, but I bet that doesn’t last long…