The Chase

The Chase
The Chase Book.jpg
Season: 2
Episode: 8
Vital statistics
Air date 22 May - 26 June 1965
Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Richard Martin
Episode guide
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The Space Museum The Time Meddler

The Chase was the eighth story of Season 2 and featured the Daleks, beefed up in power for their third appearance. Now they have time travel, and they don't need static electricity, and their guns kill people instead of just kind of making their legs weak. Also, there's a comedy episode, because the Daleks were hoping to get a sitcom spinoff. Also, this is the one where they have their fight song "Advance and attack, attack and destroy, destroy and rejoice!" which is cooler than just saying "Exterminate" over and over again.

The Daleks know that the Doctor foiled their invasion plans for Earth, so they want to exterminate him so he can't do that. Notice that he already did it, on both his timeline and theirs, so killing him afterward won't actually do anything. But Terry Nation is not Steven Moffat.

Anyway, the Daleks have figured out how to send TV signals forward and back in time, which they use for reporting back to Skaro in the future while chasing the Doctor in the past. Too bad for them the Doctor nicked his own time TV from the space museum, and they're broadcasting on the same channel he happened to be watching, which leads to even more timey-wimey. So, they chase him through time and space, meaning each episode is set on a different planet and is basically a self-contained story.

All of fandom hates this story, except for a small group who claim it's the best Dalek story before Genesis (because trolls existed even before we had a word for them). In reality, it's not good, but not that bad. It makes no sense, Terry Nation clearly hated Vicki and wanted us to hate her too, the Robot Doctor is the worst thing ever, and all of the big twists are stupid, but on the other hand, the Daleks actually do kick ass here, the funny bits are kind of funny, some of the serious bits are even funnier, and Steven rocks. Also, the panda.

The Executioners

Ian and Barbara as burnt cinders floating around in Spain. At least they got to see the filming of The Two Doctors and... *cringes* Smile...

The Doctor's shiny new stolen Time-Space Visualizer means that, instead of having to watch the Doctor and friends go to Gettysburg and get involved in Civil War hijinks, we get to watch them watching Gettysburg on TV. Vicki asks to see the Beatles, and makes the "classical music" joke for the first time in TV history. And they watch Jimmy Savile.

They land on Tatooine. Vicki goes off to be plucky girl investigator, and the Doctor sends Ian with her (with a magnet, because that's how they found the TARDIS in the old days) so he can oil up Barbara with suntan lotion. But he left the TV on, and she gets distracted by hearing the Daleks reporting their plan. Quick, Barbara! If we're hearing that, it must have happened in the past, even if it's in the future, and that means the Daleks will soon be here! And that's when you realize that Terry Nation is not Steven Moffat.

Meanwhile, Ian makes fun of Vicki for being afraid to pull a ring, so she pulls it, they fall through a trapdoor, and tentacle monsters appear. Barbara and the Doctor look for them and find a Dalek coming out of the sand instead. Will the Daleks exterminate Vicki before they can be tentacle-raped? Cliffhanger!

The Death of Time

And people bash the fish people for looking cheap...

Everyone's being chased around by lizardmen now. Eventually, the lizardmen catch both groups and say, "Hey, we're good guys." Ian apologizes for killing some of them during the chase, but they're like, "Don't worry, Bob was a tool anyway". So they explain the history of their planet, and everyone joins in to help them kill the tentacle monsters.

So… what about the Daleks? Turns out they arrived in the past and enslaved some of the lizardmen and started killing the rest of them, and that's still happening. But they promise to stop if the lizards turn over the Doctor. They decide to hold a vote on it, but the Doctor escapes. The Daleks don't ask where he went or try to chase him themselves, they instead tell the lizardmen "You recapture him, and then go back to deciding whether to extradite him to us, we'll just sit here".

Meanwhile, the Daleks have captured the TARDIS, but they can't blow it up, so they leave a single guard on it. Ian covers up the same hole that he and Vicki fell through and lures the guard into it. Then they get in the TARDIS and leave and everyone lives happily ever after. But no, the Daleks announce they will not give up the chase! Cliffhanger!

Flight Through Eternity

This is the comedy one.

The Doctor and friends didn't see the cliffhanger, so they're partying and laughing about how stupid the Daleks are. But it turns out the Daleks are still broadcasting on BBC1, and they announce that they can now follow the Doctor anywhere he goes in time and space--but they're now 15 minutes behind him. Because that makes sense.

Anyway, the Doctor decides that, to make sure nobody gets hurt, the best place to lure the Daleks is the Empire State Building, New York City, 1966. There, they meet Morton C. Dill, a yokel played by Peter Purves. "Hmmm, if he just dropped that silly accent, I think this boy might make a good companion, what say you Chatterton m'boy?" Morton thinks the Doctor and friends are a Hollywood movie crew. He goes off trying to find Peter Cushing, but then the Daleks arrive. SInce he thinks they're props, he tells them where the rest of the movie crew went. Who doesn't talk to props?

The Doctor has already fucked off to his next location, a sailing ship, but the Daleks soon find them there. A bunch of goofy stuff happens, and all the sailors jump into the ocean. This is hilarious, especially the guy who's carrying a baby and drops the baby as he flees, because what's funnier than babies drowning?

Meanwhile, the Daleks are able to get from one deck to another without using the stairs. But everyone forgets that, so it'll be a big deal when they do it in Remembrance of the Daleks, and then everyone forgets again, so they can do the "El-e-vate" scene in Dalek.

As the empty ship sails off into the distance, we see that it's the Mary Celeste! OK, not all that exciting, until you realize that means the ship is canonically spelled "Mary" in Doctor Who but "Marie" in Sherlock Holmes, which means decades of slap-fights between their respective fans.

Meanwhile, somehow, despite getting farther behind with each stop the Daleks are actually closing the gap, and are only 8 minutes behind!

Journey Into Terror

This is the spooky one, because British Halloween is in the middle of the summer.

The TARDIS lands in a spooky house. Everyone runs around for a while, being chased by every Hammer Horror monster--Ghosts, Dracula, Frankenstein, Mad Scientists, Wolfmen, Americans. The Doctor cleverly deduces that they've landed inside their own psyche, and, because nobody had seen The Mind Robber or Amy's Choice yet everyone is relieved by this idea. But the Doctor and Ian are so busy high-fiving each other that they fail to notice that the girls are lost. And now, here come the Daleks.

The Daleks can't kill Frankenstein. They can't kill Dracula. They run into Frankenstein again and he kicks the shit out of them like Ace with a bat.

This episode introduced the idea that the TARDIS can never cross its own timestream. Except that this is only true because of a broken time mechanism, which would take a few months to fix. Seriously, the Doctor should fix it one of these days; it would make everything a lot easier.

This speaks for itself.

Anyway, now the Daleks have caught up so much that they're actually ahead of the Doctor, so they decided that, rather than exterminating him, they're going to use a Reproducer to make a Robot Doctor to do it for them. So, the Robot Doctor rolls out, and... it's William Hartnell's stunt double, who looks nothing like the Doctor if you can see his face, but I guess we're supposed to pretend otherwise?

Meanwhile, since they can't find Vicki, and don't know that she stowed away aboard the Dalek time machine, Ian insists they have to get back in the TARDIS and go where the Daleks were going to go next so they can steal the Daleks' time machine, which totally makes sense. The Doctor is busy building a secret weapon and also a special bomb, because pacifism, so he says sure, why not.

Everyone leaves, and it turns out that the spooky house was actually the haunted house ride at the Festival of Ghana, 1996, which totally explains why Frankenstein was immune to Dalek weapons and could smash the fuck out of them.

The Death of Doctor Who

Vicki running from the shrooms. Don't do drugs, kids.

Everyone goes to the jungle planet of Mechanus. Weird name for a jungle planet, but whatever. The Doctor, Ian, and Barbara run around avoiding the local fungoids. The Daleks run around exterminating the local fungoids. Vicki runs directly into one of the local fungoids and screams and faints, which Ian hears but the Daleks don't, so now everyone's back together again. But the Robot Doctor is stalking them.

Anyway, they have to sit around in a cave and wait for Vicki to wake up after fainting. While they're doing that, the Robot Doctor lures Barbara out of the cave by promising to give her candy or something. Vicki wakes up and tells them all about the Robot Doctor, and they all go off to rescue Barbara. When they get close to the Robot Doctor, instead of pretending to be the Doctor or something, he just bitchslaps Barbara and tries to fight Ian and gets his ass kicked.

But then Terry Nation remembers what the point of the Robot Doctor was, so suddenly everyone is together, and the Doctors are doing that whole "I'm the good one, kill him!" thing. Ian almost picks the wrong one, but the Robot Doctor accidentally calls Vicki "Susan", and Ian knows that the real Doctor never flubs any of his lines or forgets anything, so they kill the right one.

Ian suggests that the Doctor walk up to the Daleks and try the, "Hey, I'm totally your Robot Doctor, so can you remind me of all of our evil plans?" thing. Vicki points out that the Daleks aren't that retarded, but the Doctor decides to listen to Ian, because Vicki's a girl, so he tries it, and almost gets exterminated.

And then they discover that there's a giant city, and also scary robots, and suddenly the name Mechanus makes more sense. Cliffhanger!

The Planet of Decision

The Doc and friends follow this scary robot into the city, and he locks them in a room with Morton C. Dill. Only it's not Morton C. Dill, it's a rocket captain, without the comedy accent, named Steven Taylor. And, even more important, a stuffed panda named Hi-Fi.

Steven gives a bunch of exposition, and then reveals that he doesn't have the access codes that would make the robots think he's a colonist. Hi-Fi doesn't have them either. So they're held as prisoners.

The Daleks call home to Skaro to find out if the robots are as scary as they look, and are told yep. So they decide, fuck the robots, we're Daleks. They forget entirely about killing the Doctor, or guarding his TARDIS, or guarding their own time machine, because blowing up a useless incomplete city and fighting robots is so much more fun.

Anyway, it turns out that Hi-Fi had an escape plan all along, but Steven was too weak to pull it off. With Ian's help, no problem. Except that Vicki is afraid of heights. Seriously, she's so afraid of heights that just thinking about her fear of heights makes her faint. So they pull a get-Mr. T-on-the-plane, blindfolding her and tricking her into going over the edge. It actually works pretty well, until Steven remembers that Hi-Fi is more important than Vicki and drops her, meaning more screaming, and also meaning Steven gets left behind.

Ian and Barbara looking for a place to shag.

Ian and Barbara want to steal the Dalek time machine and go back home. The Doctor points out that he's spent two years trying, with a better time machine, which he knows how to pilot, and has completely failed to get anywhere near 1960s Earth. (They just went to 1966 New York. Isn't there such a thing as airplanes in 1966? Whatever.) Ian points out maybe that's just because the Doctor sucks. Vicki says, "Let them try", and the Doctor agrees, because it'll be pretty funny when they materialize in the middle of the Sun or something. But it turns out that the Doctor sucks after all, because Ian has no problem finding a perfect location in London, two years after they left. Ian recognizes that if he leaves the time machine working, Barbara will surely go off on lesbian adventures in time and space instead of marrying him and cooking his dinners, so h blows it up. They live happily ever after.

The Doctor and Vicki discover they can watch Barbara and Ian on their Time TV. Vicki is happy that they're OK, and the Doctor begins working out when Barbara's next bath time will be.

Steven and his panda were last seen caught between an exploding city full of Daleks and robots and a jungle full of ravening fungoid monsters, so they're obviously dead, right? Don't worry, this is Hi-Fi we're talking about; as we discover next week, they kicked all the alien ass, got to the TARDIS ahead of everyone else, recognized that it was the Doctor's time machine, broke in without leaving any trace, and went to go take a nap in the Doctor's bed, wearing the Doctor's best pyjamas. Oops, sorry, spoilers.

Reception

Even dumber than The Web Planet, but just as fun. Actually more so, The Web Planet is boring af.


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