Sunday, 22 October 2017

FIXING CONTINUITY GLITCHES: QUICK FIXES 5

With Silurian History properly sorted out, I am tempted to do another Unsung Classics piece. But I continue to fear that this site will just become another one of those Doctor Who blogs that are purely about opinion. So, as much as it behooves me to not balance things out with a review of a Classic Series episode that I think hasn't been celebrated as well as it should, I'm going to - instead - discuss a few minor continuity issues and try to get them to work. 

Occasionally, I just pick a few random seasons to re-watch and enjoy them for a bit. Recently, I did that with Seasons Five to Eight. An era that many fans consider to be quite "Golden". I definitely felt that about Season Seven (one of my favorite seasons in the whole history of the show) and quite a bit of the Troughton stuff, in general. But I stopped around Season Eight because I really start disliking the formula that starts kicking in around that time. However, I did find a few continuity issues that I felt I should address and try to fix. 




WHY AREN'T THINGS LOOKING THE WAY THEY DID IN ENEMY OF THE WORLD?

The Enemy of the World tries to present a version of the near future from the vantage-point of the mid-60s. Various clues and references seem to indicate that the story is taking place sometime around 2017 (or, quite possibly, 2018 - at the latest). The predictions that they try to make regarding fashion, technology and even geo-politics are quite amusing and gives an extra entertainment value to the story now that we are actually living in that time.

The big problem, of course, is how do we justify Enemy of the World now that it is that date and things look nothing like the way they do in the story. Women are not running around in plastic dresses and security guards don't have big radio antenna sticking out of their helmets. So, what happened?

We could use the usual argument that Doctor Who takes place in a universe that is slightly different from our own and that's why things look different. However, that particular trick won't work, this time. We can assume that contemporary Earth-bound stories in Series Ten are meant to be taking place in 2017. We didn't see any plastic dresses or antenna helmets in those stories. In fact, we saw a reality that looks - pretty much - the way our reality looks (we don't have any destroyed Monk monuments - otherwise, both versions of 2017 look the same). How does Enemy of the World fit in, then?

I think we justify the existence of this story by accepting the idea that the Doctor's many visits to Earth during the late 20th Century/early 21st Century have ripple effects. That, without even meaning to, his frequent visits make tiny alterations to the timeline and change the evolution of human society during this era. Other times, of course, he even makes big alterations. He topples Harriet Jones, for instance, when she was meant to serve multiple terms as Prime Minister. These minor and major alterations take larger, more noticeable effects when he re-visits these periods later in his life.

So, when the Doctor visits 2017 in his second incarnation - this is the way reality is meant to look. But, because he keeps coming back to Earth and making minor or major alterations both intentionally and unintentionally, he changes the course of human evolution. So that when he starts hanging around 2017 in his twelfth incarnation it looks the way it does, now. His many visits between those two incarnations have altered the timeline so that things look radically different by the time he visits 2017 in Series 10.

This explanation makes the best sense to me. I would imagine that, though he's altered the timelines, certain patterns still remain. For instance, it would be awesome if we saw a story that takes place on contemporary Earth in Series 11 that mentions "The Salamander Scandal". This way, we know that Enemy of the World still happens in some sort of way. The show doesn't have to dwell on it, of course. It can be quickly mentioned in a conversation or heard in a news broadcast on a television in the background. A throwaway reference would make a tonne of us hardcores very happy. Like seeing the Macra in Gridlock!



LANGUAGE, PLEASE...

At long last, in the first few minutes of End of the World, a popular fan theory is confirmed. The Doctor reveals to Rose that the TARDIS is able to translate all languages and make everyone understandable to everyone else (the Doctor, sort of, made a similar revelation in Masque of Mandragora but he goes into better detail, here). This is a great continuity point to finally have cleared up but it does, at the same time, present a bit of a sore point. There are moments in the Classic Series where languages don't seem to be translating properly. Quite a few of them occur in the era I was watching.

Towards the end of The War Games, we see the Resistance having a hard time speaking to a French soldier they've recently converted. This shouldn't be a problem if the TARDIS has a translation circuit. We see things like this happen a few more times after the Doctor regenerates. He has to build an actual translation device to understand the captured alien ambassadors in Ambassadors of Death. In Mind of Evil, he has to use several Asian dialects to communicate effectively with various characters. At one point, he even admits he's a bit rusty at his Hokkien. If the translation circuit were working properly, he should not feel like he's fumbling. His words should be coming out smoothly. He is obviously making an effort, here, to speak a language he hasn't used in a while. Rather than just having what he's said instantly changed into the appropriate language by the TARDIS.

The Time Lords sent the Doctor into his exile with his TARDIS - but disabled it. They also wiped some of his memory. The things they did to his vehicle and mental faculties interfered with the translation software. Particularly since the Doctor indicates that it's a sort of telepathic link that enables the whole process. Perhaps altering his memories broke the link. This gets the language issues he's having in his exile to make sense, now.

But what of the French soldier in The War Games that no one can talk to properly? This happens before the Time Lords actually get their hands on the Doctor. So how do we explain that one?

As I just said, things were done to the TARDIS to restrict its movement after the Doctor's exile was imposed. Those alterations meddled with the translation device. When you do things to a time machine - the effects can, sometimes, ripple backwards in time. So the translation circuit still goes a bit faulty even before the exile because side effects can work that way when meddling with time travel equipment. All those SIDRATs that we see in The War Games may have had an influence, too. The presence of so many other interdimensional crafts may have exacerbated the problem. So, most of the time, the translation issue only happens after the exile begins. But it can ripple back a bit, too.

There are, of course, instances outside of this particular era where the translation circuit also seems to be failing (Tegan talking to the Aboriginal in Four to Doomsday, for example). I would label them as moments where the translation device was just having some troubles that day. Perhaps - because it was disabled for so long during the exile - it plays up, now and again.



WHY GIVE THE DOCTOR HIS TARDIS DURING HIS EXILE?

This one is a bit baffling. It's almost like throwing someone in a prison cell but then giving them the key (or throwing an Osirian in a pyramid but providing him with all the means he needs to escape it). Why would the Time Lords let the Doctor keep his TARDIS when he's meant to be exiled to Earth?!

One might say they needed something to transport him from Gallifrey to Earth and that the TARDIS was as good as anything. But we see a Time Lord arrive on Earth in Terror of the Autons without the use of any sort of capsule. He just materializes out of thin air. So a TARDIS was hardly necessary to make such a trip. It doesn't help that we see time scoops and time rings in future stories that would have done the same trick and would not have, necessarily, provided the Doctor with a means of escape. To make matters worse, he is getting pretty close to escaping his exile in The Time Monster. That TARDIS is just-about working properly as he tails the Master to Atlantis.

So are the Time Lords just not all that bright?! The Doctor has stood out from his society because he is so much more imaginative than the average Time Lord. Which would indicate that his people might be lacking in certain intellectual attributes. But, surely, they can't be this dim!

My guess would be that the Time Lords already had plans for the Doctor. That his exile would only be so firmly written in stone and that they would need him from time-to-time to undertake secret missions for them. He does exactly this in, at least, three televised stories (Colony In Space, Curse of Peladon and The Mutants) so that seems to back up the idea pretty good, right there.

If you subscribe to the idea of Season 6b, then you believe he was undertaking missions for the Time Lords before the exile was finally invoked (The Two Doctors). So the Time Lords were using the Doctor to accomplish their dirty work for them even before his exile. If something was going on in the affairs of lesser civilizations that they felt needed their intervention - the Doctor was their "go-to guy". He would keep it quiet for them, too. Particularly during Season 6b. The Doctor being given his freedom after his trial is meant to be kept a secret from most of the eyes of Gallifrey. If the Doctor doesn't accomplish these missions, the organization of Time Lords that were using him (most likely the Celestial Intervention Agency) would probably make this fact public and he'll, at last, have to serve his exile.

How, exactly, the main population of Time Lords found out about what the Doctor was up to during Season 6b - we'll never know. But, no doubt, the Time Lords that were sending him on these secret missions  knew they could still use him after he was caught and properly sentenced. Any little bit of freedom they could offer him he would take. Even if it meant he was still dealing with their messes. So giving the Doctor his TARDIS during his exile now makes perfect sense. More than likely, the CIA were able to make some sort of political deal with the Tribunal in charge of carrying out the Doctor's sentence. They insisted that the Doctor was sent to Earth in his TARDIS. The time capsule would be disabled and the Doctor's memories of his ability to pilot it would also be wiped (perhaps, along with certain other memories that might implicate the CIA in things that they didn't want to be called out on). With his TARDIS, the Doctor could still be used at any time to accomplish missions for them. This way, he could still be useful to them.

So the Doctor being sent to his exile on Earth in his TARDIS foreshadows the fact that the exile was not meant to be too strictly enforced. He was still going to be a pawn for the CIA...



A few more plot holes fixed. Hope you enjoyed my silly fan theories. 

Like the Quick Fixes? There's four others for you to enjoy, if you so desire. Here are the Links:

Quick Fix 1: 
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/08/fixing-continuity-glitches-quick-fixes.html

Quick Fix 2:
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2016/02/fixing-continuity-glitches-quick-fixes-2.html

Quick Fix 3:
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2017/01/fixing-continuity-glitches-quick-fixes-3.html

Quick Fix 4:
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2017/05/fixing-continuity-glitches-quick-fixes.html


























Sunday, 8 October 2017

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES: SILURIAN HISTORY - PART 2

After a quick break to look at an Unsung Classic, we resume our regularly-scheduled blog entry! 



During Part One, we looked at most of the Re-Awakenings that occurred during the Twentieth Century. We have just one more to examine. Then we need to speculate a bit before properly moving into the Twenty-First Century.

From a chronological standpoint, the adventures of Lady Vastra constitute the very first Re-Awakening that we've seen in the series. But if we go according to transmission order, it's Doctor Who and the Silurians, first. Which means that the initial foundations of Silurian society were established in the 1970s 7-Parter. The next transmitted story, The Sea Devils, is the next phase in their history . Both in terms of transmission and linear continuity. It also adds some interesting new dimensions to their culture.




THE NATURE OF SEA DEVILS

Only a year or two after the tragedy at the Derbyshire caves, the Doctor experiences his next encounter with Homo-Reptilia. We speculated in Part One that he may have met Silurians prior to Wenley Moor but the adventure was not televised. From what we can gather, though, the species he encounters in The Sea Devils is entirely new to him. He seems to be expecting the three-eyed version that he met previously and is quite surprised by the appearance of their aquatic cousins.

While I have noted some savage qualities to the Silurians, their brutality doesn't seem to compare to what we see in the Sea Devils. In many ways, they come across more as traditional Doctor Who Monsters. Like Daleks, they just seem to be out to harm anyone who isn't the same species as they are. Only the leader of the group that Re-Awakened near the island the Master was imprisoned on will consider the Doctor's plea for peace. The rest seem dead-set on hurting humanity in any way they can.

We will see warrior classes among the Silurians, themselves, in a future story. But the viciousness of the Sea Devils in this story and Warriors of the Deep suggests to me that the aquatic species is an actual warrior race. The battle armor they wear in Warriors certainly re-enforces this idea. But even the fishnet version in this story seems to move in a very militaristic fashion. Particularly when you consider their blind obedience to the Sea Devil Leader. The Silurians had very flexible policies on how to handle authority whereas the Sea Devils follow orders without question. Which indicates we are witnessing an army at work in The Sea Devils rather than a group of civilians trying to handle a volatile situation like we did in The Silurians. Since we don't see any Sea Devils in either of their stories that don't seem to be made for fighting, I am prone to believe that their sole purpose is to engage in battle. They are bred exclusively for the purpose of war.




THE NOTORIOUS UNSEEN STORY

Before we move on to the next televised story that fits into our timeline, we have to delve into the idea of an adventure that must have happened even though we never saw it on our screens. In order to get some of the continuity to work in Warriors of the Deep, we have to believe that the Doctor dealt specifically with Silurians at some point after The Sea Devils. It may have been another incident during his exile or it could have even occurred during his fourth incarnation (it couldn't have happened during his fifth since Icthar doesn't recognize the Fifth Doctor).

During this unseen story, the Doctor encountered several things that he recognizes again during Warriors of the Deep. He gets well-acquainted with Silurian warfare since he immediately knows what their battle cruisers look like. He's also met a Myrka, at least, one time before he battles one in Sea Base Four.

He also seems to have gotten involved in Silurian politics during this particular adventure. By Warriors, he is aware of the existence of the Silurian Triad. He appears to have had some interaction with one of its members. A Silurian named Icthar. More than likely, he met all of them, though. Apparently, Tragedy struck the Triad since the Fifth Doctor believes them to be dead.

Actual dialogue in Warriors of the Deep refers to two previous experiences that the Silurians had with humans. This would lead one to believe they are referring to Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Sea Devils. But since neither of those stories deal with Myrkas, battle cruisers or the Triad - we have to believe that an unseen story took place and that this branch of Silurians are unaware of the Re-Awakening of Sea Devils that took place during the Doctor's exile. So when they talk about these two earlier incidents, they are talking about The Silurians and this unseen adventure.

It's entirely possible that they never heard about the business at Wenley Moor Power Station, either. There may have actually been two two untelevised adventures involving the Silurian Triad. And that these are the two past incidents that they refer to throughout Warriors of the Deep.

Fans will, sometimes, point out that the Missing Adventure novel: The Scales of Injustice does an excellent job of filling out this continuity issue. But, if we go back to the "rules" I've laid down in my very second entry, (https://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/03/doin-it-with-style.html) we'll see that I don't consider the novelizations to be canon. Instead, we can just use our imaginations to envision what exactly happened in the unseen story(ies). As long as those visions involve battle cruisers, Myrkas and Icthar with his Triad getting killed - then they work!




WELCOME TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY!

We can't say, for sure, whether the unseen adventure(s) took place in the 20th or 21st century. We only know it took place prior to 2084. I like to think late 20th Century, myself.

Which means that, according to dates given, the next televised adventure is Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. As the Doctor emerges from the TARDIS with the Ponds, he informs them that it is 2020. In my opinion, this is our first Re-Awakening that happens in the 21st Century.

We are dealing, once more, with Two-Eyed Silurians. We also see hints of savagery, again. When Malohkeh and Restac clash - there is a fair amount of physical posturing. Restac does, eventually, murder Malohkeh. But it is done in secret. So we don't know if there would have been legal consequences to her actions had they become public. Like the usurping of the Old Silurian in Derbyshire, this could all be acceptable behavior in Homo Reptilian culture. It really does seem like the Doctor's claim that they are a peace-loving race might be something of an exaggeration!

This, of course, is the first time we see a special defense that this branch of Silurians possess. Aside from blasters that look very similar to the ones the Sea Devils use, their tongues can also be used as a weapon. They can extend to great lengths and possess a limited quantity of lethal venom. The tongue can be used as a sort of long-range stinger than can actually kill an enemy. They can only manage one successful attack per day, however. It takes sometime for their tongues to "re-load".

Vastra also has this ability. But we only saw her use it once. Perhaps, because she wishes to blend more with human society, she's reluctant to do something that would make her seem so "freakish". Instead, she prefers wielding swords.

This branch of Silurians also like to wear special masks that enhance certain senses for them and can feed them data concerning the environment around them.

All in all, the two-eyed Silurians seem far more deadly than a lot of other versions that we've seen of this species.




THE RETURN OF THE COLD WAR

As we move on into the Twenty-First Century, Humanity discovers a new way to destroy itself: the proton missile. It is a unique weapon that destroys life but leaves structures intact. At this point, there is still some form of national division - but countries seem to be referred to as Power Blocs. All the Blocs get their hands on this technology and a new sort of military deadlock begins. One that resembles the same sort of scenario we had with nuclear weapons during the Twentieth Century.

A group of Three-Eyed Non-Telekinetic Silurians see this political landscape as their ultimate opportunity to eradicate the apes that have overrun their planet. They are led by Icthar - last surviving member of the Triad. The Doctor has, of course, met this group of Silurians in a previously unseen adventure (or, quite possibly, two unseen adventures).

A date of 2084 is given in the dialogue of Warriors of the Deep. If the unseen adventure(s) in question took place in the late 20th Century, we can't say for sure what this group of Silurians have been up to all this time. Perhaps they went back into hibernation or they could have been hiding out somewhere throughout most of the 21st Century - waiting for the right moment to try to take their planet back. It's difficult to ascertain with the information we're given in the story.

The Three-Eyed Non-Telekinetic Silurian doesn't have much in the way of natural defenses. But it has grown a protective shell that is, at least, a bit resistant to attacks. They are definitely the most vulnerable of all the branches we've seen. There also seems to be a slight variation in the Sea Devils of this story. They don't seem to possess the long fins that the stringy Sea Devils had around their heads and necks. Possibly, the fins are concealed beneath their armor.

Warriors of the Deep gives us a pretty bleak ending for Homo Reptilia. The Triad is now wiped out and the entire attack force seems to have died from the toxic effects of hexachromite gas. The fact that the story takes place so late in their timeline doesn't offer any encouragement, either. A genuine Silurian tale taking place in the 22nd Century or later might offer some encouragement. But, with things the way they are right now, this does look like the final end for the species.




HOPE FOR THE FUTURE....

The closest we get to a Silurian story that takes place any later than Warriors of the Deep would be Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. A date of 2367 is given in the subtitles near the beginning of the story. The colony ship the Silurians sent off way back in their ancient days is finally returning to Earth. While the ship is full of dinosaurs, the Silurians that were on board the ship were all killed off by Solomon. Once more, it's hard to be confident that Homo Reptilia survives beyond the 21st Century.

But the Doctor does set the timer on the hibernation units for the colony he found in Hungry Earth/Cold Blood to re-awaken the population in a 1 000 years' time. So a batch of Two-Eyed Silurians should be re-emerging somewhere around 3020. Humanity, by this point, will have colony worlds all over the place. Could it be that they give one of those planets to the Silurian race and their civilization begins to prosper again?

There are three cameos that the Silurians make in New Who that help support this fact:

The first is the Season Finale of Series Five. We see a Silurian or two standing among The Alliance Against the Doctor as he's sealed inside the Box of Pandorica. It's my theory that this group of aliens all hail from the distant future and that the Daleks created a sort of temporal bridgehead to bring them back to Stone Henge in the Second Century. If that is the case, then this could be members of a successful Silurian colony from the future. However, it's just as possible that this was a group of Homo Reptilia that might have been active in 102 AD. That they Re-Awakened in and around that era rather than being transported from another time period. So The Pandorica Opens only offers so much evidence that the Silurians have survived past 2084.

Their next cameo is in A Good Man Goes to War - where they help secure Demon's Run. We see quite the occupation force appear once the Doctor has tricked the humans into disarming themselves'. It's difficult to get a clear idea of when, exactly, this story takes place. But it could be sometime after the 30th Century has begun and these Silurians hail from the Re-Awakening that the Doctor scheduled in Cold Blood. But we do see the Doctor picking up the Lady Vastra in the late 1800s - so it's possible he picked up the attack squad from somewhere in the past, too. Again, the evidence in this story is only so conclusive.

Interestingly enough, the best proof that the Silurians are prospering in the future is the most subtle. You'll only catch it if you're keeping a keen eye. Time of the Doctor definitely takes place in the far flung future. More than likely, sometime after 3020. Christmas is a simple human colony and the Papal Mainframe is meant to be how churches are run in the distant future. This is not some alien species that merely looks human that are more advanced than us and exist within our current time frame. Like say, the species that fly past Earth in the Spaceship Titanic on Christmas Eve in the early 21st Century. The people we see in this story are originally from Earth - somewhere further down the road in its evolution.

Anyhow, watch the opening scene where all the spaceships have responded to Gallifrey's signal carefully. In among the various familiar-looking vessels that hover above the planet Christmas is on is the same type of craft we see in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. We know this to be a ship of Silurian craftsmanship. If Time of the Doctor takes place in Humanity's future and Silurians can show up in a ship that doesn't seem to have any time travel capabilities - then this would indicate that Homo Reptilia is doing fine somewhere past the events of the Sea Base Four Tragedy. As subtle as the visual reference is - it's the best proof we have.



So it does seem fairly certain that Humanity and Homo Reptilia will, someday, see past their differences. Again, I think it's most likely that the colony the Doctor set to re-awaken sometime around 3020 will just be given one of the more arid colony worlds that humans have acquired. Once settled on this world -  they begin to thrive, once more. We see, at least, hints of this idea in the cameos they've made. Perhaps, one day, we'll get a story that confirms this properly. In the meantime, I like to believe there's a happy ending for the Silurians. Rather than the very tragic conclusion we see in what constitutes their last story in the timeline. In my heart of hearts, I believe that we did, indeed, find another way.



So, that concludes our Probably History of the Silurians. There was a lot of speculation that I needed to go into for this one so it definitely merited being a two-parter. 

Of all the recurring aliens that present themselves' in Doctor Who reality, I look forward to a future appearance from these guys the most. Silurian stories tend to be the richest since they are a far more three-dimensional species than your Standard Doctor Who Monster.

I also hope, of course, that we'll see a story that shows the Silurians found a better future than dying out in a human military base on a seabed. I would love to see a story that shows a happy ending for them.





Did you miss Part One of Silurian History? Here's an easy link to it: 

https://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2017/09/chronologies-and-timelines-probable.html