September 4, 2015

Doctor Who: The War Machines

I've taken a bit of a hiatus from the Whoathon. But I'm so close to the end of the 1st Doctor! So here we go. At the end of the last story, he finally ditched Steven. Now he needs to get rid of Dodo. Oh, wait- he does! In fact, she gets sent away early on and never comes back. Huzzah!

The Doctor and Dodo arrive in London in the 60s and immediately somehow get involved with Professor Brett and his super-intelligent computer, WOTAN.

Professor Brett and the Doctor, in front of WOTAN

WOTAN is SO SMART. WOTAN can think for itself. If you ask WOTAN questions, it answers Siri. WOTAN somehow knows what TARDIS means. Huh. So what are the governments of the world going to do? Turn all other computers over to WOTAN's control. This is not a bad idea at all. Someone brings up this disaster waiting to happen at a press conference about WOTAN, and everyone laughs at him. Nice.

Random lady, Polly, Ben, and the Doctor

Meanwhile, we meet Polly and Ben, who are likeable and nice and fun. Not like Dodo. The anti-Dodos. Polly is Professor Brett's secretary, and Ben is a sailor. At this point, I should also mention that WOTAN can control people's minds and has decided that the world can't progress any further under human control. So WOTAN will just run things from now on, okay? And if you don't like it, he'll destroy you. WOTAN takes over Dodo's mind and she becomes even more annoying. But the Doctor cures her and sends her away. And we never see her again!

War Machine

WOTAN decides that London is first on the quest for world domination, so it has twelve War Machines built by more people under mind-control. It's going to conquer the world with these twelve things. Not by controlling all the world's computers. That bit is never mentioned again. But look out, the War Machines spray deadly mist!

They also have giant bashing arms. War Machines are scary in the way that Daleks are scary. Which is to say, they aren't. I actually like this story, which you may not be able to tell because I'm poking fun at it a little. I enjoyed this story a lot more than I've been enjoying First Doctor stories recently, and I'm chalking that up to the introduction of Ben and Polly and the absence of Steven and Dodo. Polly and Ben are going to be the new companions, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them.

So the Doctor has a plan that involves capturing one of the War Machines rampaging around London and reprogramming it to go destroy WOTAN. Of course this works perfectly.

War Machine in London

So WOTAN is destroyed and all the mind-controlled people are free. Dodo sends Polly and Ben to tell the Doctor that she has decided to stay in London. (See, she never comes back. And she can't be bothered to say goodbye to the Doctor in person after all they've been through? Sheesh.) The Doctor gets in the TARDIS, and Ben realizes that he forgot to give the Doctor his key back. Polly and Ben step inside, and the TARDIS dematerializes.


Doctor: First
Companions: Dodo, Polly, Ben
Episode: #27, "The War Machines," four parts
Adversary: WOTAN
Classic Lines: WOTAN: "Doctor Who is required. Bring him here."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: WOTAN calls the Doctor "Doctor Who." In no other story does anyone refer to the Doctor by this name.
Next Up: "The Smugglers"

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