The Crusade

The Crusade
The Crusade.jpg
Season: 2
Episode: 6
Vital statistics
Air date 27 March - 17 April 1965
Written by David Whitaker
Directed by Douglas Camfield
Episode guide
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The Crusade is the sixth story of season 2 of Doctor Jew, where the eponymous character drags his prisoners Barbara Right-On and Iam Englishman and their current overseer Cuter Susan on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Two of the four episodes are mostly missing, and even the audio isn't complete for one of them. Source?

Trigger Warning: Continuity Porn

If you hate the JNT era or Gary Russell novels, be warned:

  • Barbara describes half the previous stories.
  • Meta joke about insect swarms.
  • Inside jokes about other characters played by the same actors in other season 2 stories (which is like half the cast).
  • The Doctor quotes his most famous line to Barbara while talking to Vicki. (Or to Ian, if you read the book.)

Trigger Warning: Diversity

While people at the time considered it a serious and thoughtful historical, in retrospect it's pretty clear that it was created entirely to troll /pol/ in the 21st century:

  • Instead of hiring white actors in blackface like a proper 1960s British telly production, they gave most of those acting jobs to brown people because of quotas or something.
  • They turned Princess Joanna from the incestuous fucktoy that a true alpha like King Richard deserves into a feminist lesbo.
  • Joanna insists that wymyn have the right to marry whoever they want, not be traded around by the so-called "patriarchy".
  • The story pretends that Akir having sex with his wives is "rape" even though they're married.
  • The brown Muslim Jihadist terrorists are portrayed as pretty good guys, except for a few bad apples.
  • The white English Christians have just as many bad apples, and even the good ones are assholes (except the wymyn, of course).
  • The whole message of the story is a warning that if we declare war on Muslims because of a few bad apples we will lose, and deserve it.
  • This is the story that establishes Vicki as the first trans companion. She dresses as a boy a few more times from here on out, and, even though she never looks the slightest bit convincing, everyone in the universe is part of the SJW conspiracy so they respect her choice and treat her as male when she wants to be male and female when she wants to be female and let her use whatever bathroom she wants.

Cuck beta snowflake Whitaker.

The Lion (But Not an Actual One)

"So you see Julian my dear boy, that's why I want to whip those no-good coloureds with my good old fashioned belt!"

The TARDIS lands in a forest. Is there a lion? No, but there are two swordfights right off the bat, which tides us over for it a bit.

Barbara gets captured by the Saracens, along with a guy named Sir William, who pretends to be King Richard so he'll be ransomed instead of killed, and tells the Saracens that Babs is his sister Princess Joanna. But Akir, the evil Muslim, is pissed off that his boss Saladin is treating the enemy so respectfully, so he lets off a string of insults and delivers them to Saladin's brother, Saphadin, instead. Which might not have been as good a plan as he thought, because Saphadin knows Joanna and calls Akir a fool for believing Barbara is her. And then, while Akir is suggesting they could torture the fake Joanna for amusement, Saladin shows up at his brother's camp to dump further shame on Akir and to explain why torture is not something a good Muslim should find amusing. That Saladin seems like a pretty cool guy. Akir, meanwhile dedicates the rest of his life to getting revenge on Barbara for accidentally making him look bad. So, not such a cool guy as Saladin.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and friends have replaced Barbara with a different Sir William, because there are enough Sir Williams in this story that nobody will miss one. They sneak into Jaffa, one of the Crusader towns, to pick up disguises. The Doctor teaches young Vicki the important lesson that it's OK to steal something if you think it's already been stolen before.

He also dresses up Vicki as a boy named Victor, for reasons he'll sort of explain later.

Eventually, they get themselves to the court of great English hero King Richard the Lionheart, played by Scaroth. Who's a ranting asshole, so pissed off that his brother and his nobles want to make deals with Saladin instead of exterminating all of the Muslims that he doesn't thank the Doctor for rescuing one of his Sir Williams.

The cliffhanger is that Richard refuses to allow Ian to either ransom or rescue Barbara, which is not all that dramatic of a cliffhanger.

So, the episode ended without a single lion. Probably they meant King Richard the Lionheart, but "The Lionheart" would have been just as good a title as "The Lion", and wouldn't have led to any false expectations, Whitaker.

The Knight of Jaffa Cakes

Sir William tells Richard that the other Sir William is pretending to be Richard, and the Doctor points out that they can reveal to Saladin that he has a fake king, and his giggling over this trolling of Saladin is so infectious that Richard calms down. He offers to make the Doctor a member of his court and Ian a knight, and, even more importantly, becomes now amenable to the idea of marrying his sister, Princess Joanna, to Saladin's brother, Saphadin, to make peace.

So we meet Joanna, and it's not Barbara at all, it's Sara Kingdom. She likes the Doctor too, so when she hears she's being sent on a mission to meet Saladin and Saphadin, she wants the Doctor and his party to be part of her escort. But before they can go, the shopkeeper they stole their clothes from turns up and demands justice. Fortunately, it turns out that he bought the clothes from a thief, and there's something about a plot by the Chamberlain (I think he's stealing clothes from Richard's army, pretending that Muslims did it, and then selling them to shopkeepers?), and that means it was perfectly legal for the Doctor to steal them, just as he'd explained to Vicki. English law is weird.

Meanwhile, in the Saracen camp, Barbara has been doing a 1001 Nights thing, changing history by telling Saladin a bunch of famous English literature that hasn't been written yet, like Shelley's poems and Gulliver's Travels, and also recounting the plots of the previous 13 stories of Doctor Who. But evil Muslim Akir works with evil Christian Luigi Spaghetti to steal Barbara away from Saphadin for some purpose they never explain: Luigi pretends to help Barbara escape, but delivers her straight to Akir. This works, but then… I'm not sure exactly what happens here. I think Luigi comes back to the camp for no good reason, tells a bunch of people (including Sir William) what he and Akir did, and then tries to run away for even less good reason, which looks kind of suspicious, so they shoot him. Meanwhile, Barbara escapes from Akir and runs for a few seconds before getting captured for a third time. Cliffhanger!

The Wheel of Fortune (Featuring Vanna White)

Actually, Barbara wasn't being recaptured, she was being rescued by a nice Muslim guy named Haroun. All he asks in exchange is that she watch out for his daughter—or kill her rather than let her be captured, if it comes to that—while he goes on a mission to take down the evil Akir. Pretty intense, actually. Babs does a good job of protecting the daughter, but she does end up getting herself captured for the fourth time in under an hour.

Meanwhile, Ian apparently got sent ahead to meet Saladin and Saphadin in Lydda and announce the coming diplomatic envoy or something that I missed last episode. Now he's on his way back, but he gets attacked by bandits and captured. Since William Russell was on vacation, the 5-second attack is his entire story for this week.

Vicki reveals that she's not Victor but Vicki, and Joanna is really excited about this and gives her a long look up and down and then a big smile.

Richard announces the wedding peace plan to his key nobles. Some of them are surprised, but they're mostly happy, except for Leicester, who liked it better when Richard wanted to genocide everyone, so he and the Doctor have a big debate on the true meaning of courage, which almost turns to fisticuffs when the Doctor calls Leicester a fool and he has no comeback.

So Richard makes the offer to Saladin. Saladin is a bit worried that it could be a trap, because this is a bit out of character for a childish asshole like Richard, but Saphadin convinces him to go with it. It's not entirely clear whether it's because he knows this is the best way to achieve the peace his brother desires, or because he thinks Sara Kingdom is hot, but either way, he's a wise man.

Then the Princess finds out about the plan. She thought she was a diplomatic envoy, not a bargaining chip, and she's not having any of this. Richard can't believe that a woman could figure out what's going on and have an opinion about it, so he decides a man must be to blame, and turns on the Doctor, to Leicester's delight.

Back to Babs, Akir has her again, and he twirls his mustache and says "The only pleasure left for you is death… and death is very far away." Which would have been a great cliffhanger, except that the director yells "Cut!" and he then stands there looking like he's wondering what he's supposed to do next and they decide to leave that in as the cliffhanger because editing is really hard.

The Warlords (But No War Chief)

Akir's plan is to bribe his guards with a big pile of gold so they'll rape Barbara. Maybe don't hire homogays for your rape squad, and you'll save a bit of gold, Akir. Anyway, Barbara knocks the gold all over the floor, and as they all crawl around picking it up, she escapes into the harem. Akir and the guards follow her to the harem door, and ask whether anyone's come in, but the lead harem girl says she's never seen a 5'8" pale-skinned English-speaking woman named Barbara Wright, so Akir goes away to search elsewhere. Everyone in the harem hates Akir and, even though they've long since given up any hope of escape because they'd only be killed if they tried, they're willing to risk their lives on a plan to help Barbara escape. One of the harem girls is the sister of the girl Barbara protected earlier, so Barbara is able to console her by telling her that, even if she's doomed to a life as a sex and torture slave, at least her sister may or may not be safe.

Meanwhile, the bandits who caught Ian are led by the other evil Muslim, Ibrahim. Ibrahim demands Ian's Jew Gold, but Ian doesn't have any because he's not a Jew. So Ibrahim decides to strip off most of Ian's clothes, rub honey all over his body, and stake him out on an anthill to make him talk. Or at least he says it's to make him talk, I'm not 100% sure. And really, if the money isn't in Ian's clothes or on his horse, and he's halfway between the Lydda and Jaffa, there's really nowhere it could be. Well, I suppose it could be in his boots, since it's revealed Ibrahim didn't bother to take them off or search them. So Ian says it's in his boots, and if they'll just loosen his ropes, he can hand it over. Ibrahim falls for this and gets a richly deserved boot to the head for it, and Ian forces Ibrahim to take him back to Lydda at knifepoint.

I'm not sure why he wants to go back to the place he just left, but it's a good thing he does. One of the harem girls betrayed the rest of them to Akir, and he's about to kill Barbara, when suddenly Ian and Haroun—the guy who wanted to kill Akir earlier for kidnapping his older daughter for the harem—show up at the same time and take out everyone Liam Neeson style. They free all the girls, and then, for some reason, give all of Akir's gold to Ibrahim, the evil guy who wanted to rob, rape, and/or kill Ian and only came along on threat of death, rather than taking it for themselves or, say, giving it to the escaped harem girls with no prospects who are probably going to end up as daytime hookers now.

Meanwhile, since Richard accused the Doctor and Vicki of treason, Leicester is telling them off in pretty much the same way Akir acted when he thought Saphadin was on the same side as him. But Richard has apparently had another one of his bipolar changes of heart. He apologizes to the Doctor and Vicki for doubting them, and he knows Leicester must be the man who made up Joanna's mind for her. But Leicester is a good general and the troops love him, so his punishment will be to lead the Arab-killing battle he's been begging to lead.

The Doctor has had enough of this and decides it's time for him and Vicki to just go back to the TARDIS. And let Ian and Barbara fend for themselves, I guess? But Leicester captures them on their way, and goes back to accusing them of treason. Fortunately, Ian shows up and claims that he owns the right to the Doctor's head because the Doctor killed a bunch of his troops. Leicester agrees to this, so Ian takes his prisoners off to a blue box, which then disappears. (Spoiler: It's the TARDIS.) Leicester and his men exclaim that poor brave Sir Ian of Jaffa has been captured by witches, but Leicester convinces them that they should never speak of this again.

You may be wondering what happened to Barbara. Apparently she transmatted to the TARDIS or something, because she's there after they take off. And suddenly, everything goes dark except the central console and they all freeze into immobility. Which is a much better cliffhanger than any of the ones during this story, even if it doesn't have a lion in, and also much better than the story it's leading to.

Reception

This is a GOAT story, with interesting (and well-acted) characters on both sides, great dialog, a detailed look at a different culture (actually, two, because Outremer Palestine is treated pretty realistically, making it as foreign as Saracen Palestine) with great sets and costumes, and an unexpected (especially for a 60s kids' show) take on the Crusades as an unfortunate tragedy. While things do get a bit slow at times, it feels like a good director adjusting the pace for contrast than a hack padding out a script without enough ideas to sustain 100 minutes.

Unfortunately, the missing episodes really do let things down, especially the conclusion. What can you do about that?

Unfortunately, in spite of being far less racist (and far more intelligently written) than The Celestial Toymaker, this one may not be due for an animated adaptation just because it has Muslims in it, and even though most of them aren't any worse than most of the Limeys in this story, just having Muslims in anything at all, with any depiction (even a very neutral-with-both-positive-and-negative outliers depiction), is somehow offensive to Muslims. So even though this is the story that treats everybody fairly, there is no way in Hell that the Beeb are going to adapt it.

Recon

Loose Cannon does a good job with what they have, but it gets a bit hard to follow in episode 4, right where it's most important. The bonus bits with Julian Glover giving a history lesson (although he mixes up Richard I and III at one point) and talking about both this story and City of Death are cool as hell, but for the actual story… well, you already know that most recons are only for dedicated fans, and this one is no exception.

BBC Video

You've come to the wrong neighborhood, motherfucker.

Russell's narration as an older Ian reminiscing about the story is brilliant. But at the end, it really feels anticlimactic when he's describing what we don't get to see. -Also, I don't know if you can get this on DVD, or only VHS (bundled with The Space Museum), but I'm sure you can pirate it somewhere.- If you have the Lost in Time set(and if you don't, are you really a fan) and hit play all on disc 1 you get the old Ian bits. It's just like having a real Crusade DVD, except it's not like that at all, and the BBC could easily release this on its as it hits the 50% survival mark. But instead were left with an incomplete season 2 on our shelf. Cri evritim

Target

For old farts, the novelisation is how you remember all the stories anyway. I know that you kids today don't roll like that way, or however you say it, but really, this one is a great adaptation of a great story, and it isn't missing the ending, and the cover (on the original pre-Target version, or the recent BBC reprint) looks like they stole some clip art from the same place as a lot of early RPGs.

Trivia

  • Originally, "The Knights of Jaffa" was called "Damsel in Distress", but "The Warlords" was called "The Knights of Jaffa". Whitaker really wanted to use that title, even though the only Knight of Jaffa in this story is Ian. It's probably the name of his old band when he was at uni or something.
  • Whitaker actually did include the Richard-Joanna incest story, but Hartnell convinced him that might not be a good plotline for a kids show.