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Doctor Who: The Monster of Peladon

Doctor Who 3rd Doctor

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 05:19 PM

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I didn’t like this one as much as I was hoping I would. “The Curse of Peladon” was a good story and a highlight in an era where the majority of the Doctor’s stories were Earth-bound. I was excited to return to Peladon and see how the planet had changed. Instead the story follows the same plot points as “The Curse of Peladon” for the first three or so episodes and never truly offers anything new.

The Doctor brings Sarah to Peladon because he wants to check in on the King and show Sarah the wonders of the planet. Instead, he winds up fifty years in the future with the King dead and his daughter Thalira is queen. Not only that, but the Galactic Federation is at war with Galaxy 5 and a rare mineral that the Federation needs is located on Peladon. This has lead to harsh conditions for the miners who are ready to revolt. Not only that, but many people, including Chancellor Ortron, want to leave the Federation. It seems that King Peladon’s wish to join the Federation to better the lives of his people has not come true.

There is a lot of good stuff here. I like the focus on the politics on Peladon and how the war has made things worse. The miners have serious grievances and the Doctor and Sarah both argue that the Peladon government and the Federation needs to address their needs instead of just brushing them aside. The tension between Peladon and the Federation also makes for some good drama. While Queen Thalira generally likes the Federation and wants to honor the wishes of her father she does think that being part of the Federation hasn’t done enough to help her people. Ortron is a lot like the previous Chancellor in that he hates all aliens equally and wants them all off Peladon. He has a lot of power too since Peladon is a patriarchal society and Thalira is only queen because her father had no other children.

Sarah Jane gets loads to do here, including teaching Thalira about women’s’ lib. Towards the end of the story she truly believes that the Doctor is dead and rushes to his side. Sladen is amazing in this scene and really sells it, even though viewers know the Doctor is fine. She also gets to put her investigative reporter instincts to use when she discovers that someone is hiding out in a supposedly deserted refinery and helps to uncover the conspiracy that exists.

The plot moves at a pretty brisk pace, mainly because so much is going on. There’s all the politics involving Peladon and the Federation, the miners wanting to start a revolution, the Ice Warriors arriving and declaring martial law on Peladon, and a conspiracy orchestrated by Galaxy 5 to steal the mineral the Federation needs.

Once the Ice Warriors get involved things do pick up and the plot stops being a simple copy and paste job. In the original story the Ice Warriors were believed to be the bad guys but turned out that they were trustworthy and were the good guys. Here they are back to being the villains. On one hand, I hate that what was a good plot point and a commentary on blind hatred is seemingly undone here by showing the Ice Warriors as being evil. On the other hand this group are said to be a splinter group that doesn’t like the way the Ice Warrior culture is changing and hope that their actions will bring their people back to a more bloodthirsty state of being.

They arrive, declare martial law, and threaten to kill any miner that doesn’t cooperate. This actually causes all of the Peladon factions to unite against the Ice Warriors. It isn’t long before it is revealed that the Ice Warrior leader, Azaxyr, is in league with Galaxy 5 and declaring martial law was just a ruse so that he can ship the mineral to Galaxy 5. He is helped by the lead Peladon scientist.

Oh, Alpha Centauri returns. I guess his species is long lived. It seems he has more or less stayed on Peladon and helped the planet as it joined the Federation. He still has a low opinion of the people and says that the miners are basically dumb barbarians. He does redeem himself by helping the Doctor and Sarah Jane defeat the bad guys. He also vouches for the Doctor when Ortron says that the Doctor can’t be the Doctor because he hasn’t changed in 50 years. To which I reply, neither has Alpha Centauri.
Aggedor, the monster of Peladon, also returns. Ortron throws the Doctor and Sarah Jane into the beast’s pit as part of a ritual to determine if they are truly there to help Peladon. The Doctor obviously has a relationship with the monster and uses his lullaby to calm the beast and win the ritual.

Look, there are some good ideas here. I love all the political plot lines but they are never fleshed out as much as I wanted. I like the idea of returning to Peladon and seeing how the planet has changed but they did the same plot from the original just with new characters. This was a strong showing for Sarah Jane and I loved that she used her investigative skills to figure out the conspiracy.

I can’t believe I only have one more story in the 3rd Doctor era. While I liked the 5th Doctor I have really come to love the 3rd Doctor and it is going to be sad to see him go.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#2 Christopher

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 05:36 PM

What's always struck me about "The Monster of Peladon" is how much Thalira reminds me of Jo Grant, whom her father was smitten with in "Curse." I guess the implication is that King Peladon eventually married someone who reminded him of Jo.
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#3 RJDiogenes

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 05:55 PM

I got the dinosaur episodes, by the way.  Maybe this weekend I'll have time to watch.

View PostVirgil Vox, on 15 July 2020 - 05:19 PM, said:

Towards the end of the story she truly believes that the Doctor is dead and rushes to his side.

She doesn't know about his regenerations at this point?

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On one hand, I hate that what was a good plot point and a commentary on blind hatred is seemingly undone here by showing the Ice Warriors as being evil.

Things can change in fifty years.  Let me tell you.

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It isn’t long before it is revealed that the Ice Warrior leader, Azaxyr, is in league with Galaxy 5 and declaring martial law was just a ruse so that he can ship the mineral to Galaxy 5.

This whole vital mineral thing is very familiar.

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Oh, Alpha Centauri returns.  

The guy's name is Alpha Centauri?  Were his parents Rigel Kent and his wife Beta?  :D
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#4 Christopher

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 06:19 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 15 July 2020 - 05:55 PM, said:

View PostVirgil Vox, on 15 July 2020 - 05:19 PM, said:

Towards the end of the story she truly believes that the Doctor is dead and rushes to his side.

She doesn't know about his regenerations at this point?

It's only her fourth serial. She finds out in the next one, "Planet of the Spiders," just in time for it to become relevant. (In fact, the scene where she learns is the first time it's ever called regeneration. Before that, it was "renewal" or "changing apperance.")

Besides, he wasn't badly enough injured to need to regenerate, so it's not a factor anyway.


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Oh, Alpha Centauri returns.  

The guy's name is Alpha Centauri?  Were his parents Rigel Kent and his wife Beta?  :D

The delegates to Peladon in these stories are addressed by their planet names -- the delegate from Arcturus in "Curse" is also addressed as as Arcturus. Perhaps it's because they speak on behalf of their planets. Or maybe it's analogous to how nobles were traditionally addressed by the name of their lands, like how the Earl of Gloucester in King Lear is addressed as Gloucester. (However, when the Doctor impersonated the delegate from Earth, he was not addressed as "Earth." Perhaps because he was the chairman delegate?)
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
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#5 Virgil Vox

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 12:13 AM

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What's always struck me about "The Monster of Peladon" is how much Thalira reminds me of Jo Grant, whom her father was smitten with in "Curse." I guess the implication is that King Peladon eventually married someone who reminded him of Jo.

I had the same thought. She was very Jo Grant-esque. It made me wish that Jo was still around to meet her. I really miss Jo.

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I got the dinosaur episodes, by the way.  Maybe this weekend I'll have time to watch.

That's great. I hope you get the time and can let me know what thought of it.

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Things can change in fifty years.  Let me tell you.

I know. That doesn't stop me from lamenting the fact that a powerful plot point in the original story (The Doctor letting his prejudice against the Ice Warriors blind him to the real villain) is hand waved away here.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#6 RJDiogenes

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 02:32 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 18 July 2020 - 12:13 AM, said:

That's great. I hope you get the time and can let me know what thought of it.  
Will do.  I'll almost certainly watch them tonight.  I'm looking forward to those dinosaurs.  :D

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I know. That doesn't stop me from lamenting the fact that a powerful plot point in the original story (The Doctor letting his prejudice against the Ice Warriors blind him to the real villain) is hand waved away here.  
That's understandable.
Please visit The RJDiogenes Store. Posted Image   And my Gallery. Posted Image And my YouTube Page. Posted Image And read Trunkards. Posted Image  And then there's my Heroes Essays.  Posted Image



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