The Invasion of Time

A Vardan spaceship approaches Gallifrey from s...

A Vardan spaceship approaches Gallifrey from space (from The Invasion of Time) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Media used: DVD and novelization

What a mixed bag this serial is!  It runs the gamut from brilliance to bilge, and we see the Doctor at his best and his worst — occasionally at the same time.


Great Moments

The appearance of the Sontarans just when everyone is celebrating a victory.  I’ll go so far as to say that’s one of the great moments in the history of DW. (The trickster has been tricked!)  And what immediately follows is also classic.  The Doctor tries out his usual cheeky response — first by appropriating authority “I’m the Lord President of Gallifrey, call me ‘sir’” and then gets blasted for his arrogance.

When Stor announces he calls no one “sir” but his military superiors, the Doctor sarcastically remarks that must mean “ several thousand sirs”, but that too falls flat, because Stor proudly proclaims the Sontaran army numbers in millions.

Well, at least the Doc hides his true identity from the Sontarans.

Yes, great stuff.  What a shame it all goes downhill after that.


Random Thoughts

One of the great things about this story is trying to figure out the Doctor’s true feelings and motives.  Of course he’s playing a game — a very dangerous one —  to save Gallifrey from the Vardans, but there seems to be something more involved.  The Doctor’s laugh when the Vardans first appear is not the least bit forced.  He rather enjoys the shock inflicted upon the Time Lords. And what about his arrogance towards  Borusa? Yes, he later apologizes, but I can’t help wondering if he gets a kick out of bullying his old teacher.

Gallifrey really needs a women’s movement.  True, Rodan has a position of some importance, but she grumbles how boring it is : “Do you realize I’ve passed the Seventh Grade?  Yet, here I am, nothing more than a glorified traffic guard.”  Leela is the only female present at the Induction ceremony, and she’s only there at the Doctor’s order.  Even the Outsiders are male-dominated, having only one woman among their hunters.

Gallifrey also needs a complete overhaul of their system of government.  Imagine leaving a crucial position like Lord President unfilled!  And imagine a culture that allows someone like the Doctor to demand the office simply because he was the one of the candidates a while back.


Shipping Report

The big news here, of course, is Leela and K9’s defection — Leela to be with Andred and K9 to look after Leela.  Like many others, I have some trouble understanding Leela’s decision.  Why Andred?  There does seem to be a subtext of mild attraction in their conversations, but it’s certainly doesn’t amount to much.

It really doesn’t make much sense.  Why would the adventure-loving Leela choose to stick around on a planet with such a staid culture; a place, moreover, that doesn’t value women, aliens, or primitives?  And for a man in which she only displays a mild interest?

My theory:  Leela is getting fed up with the Doctor’s attitude.  Because, really, he’s always been a tad ambivalent about both Leela and K9.  Leela has finally realized that, whatever advantages the Doctor’s mentorship may have for her, the relationship also has toxic elements.  It’s time to move on. Andred just happens to be there, and he seems a nice enough guy.

Personally, though, I doubt if she sticks around for long.  I suspect that she and K9 find a way out of the doldrums of Gallifrey, and seek adventure somewhere else in the Universe.


Food and Drink

Lots of jelly babies being consumed, so I will only mention a couple of instances:

Andred and the Doctor each — rather solemnly — eat a jelly baby.  Andred says they’re delicious, but I think he’s trying to suck up to the boss.

The Doc orders the Castellan to get him an orange jelly baby, but there’s none to be found.

Moving on to non-jelly baby topics:

Borusa drinks a mysterious blue beverage while in the TARDIS waiting for the Doctor.

The Outsiders have a meal that includes some nuts.  They also discuss how they’re going to provide food for all those seeking shelter from them.

Rodan has some tablets she’s brought with her as food.  It doesn’t look like she and Leela had much time to pick up supplies, so maybe she already had them with her — the Gallifreyan equivalent of a sack lunch, maybe.  Nesbin asks her if she’s ever eaten flesh or fruit — apparently she hasn’t.

All this suggests that the diet of the average Gallifreyan consists of artificial food.   (Of course, if we want to nitpick, Nesbin only mentions flesh and fruit, but says nothing about grain, vegetables, or dairy.  It’s quite possible a Gallifreyan could be quite happy with a certain restaurant chain’s unlimited salad and breadsticks.)

In any case, we can add another reason for the Doc to leave his home planet — to get some decent grub.


Grade: 3/5  (Difficult to grade this one.  Some truly great material, but lots of dreck as well.  I figure the bad and the good cancel each other out, and we end up with a “fair” grade.

June 24, 2013



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