The Ribos Operation

Media used: DVD

 

What a great kick-off for the sixteenth season!  I rather enjoy caper stories and this one is a dandy, filled with interesting characters and great dialog.

 

Great Moments

The introduction of Romana (I).  As the camera pans up from her feet to her head, we see the perfect, virginal ice queen, from her long white dress to her bejeweled hair.  She’s even carrying a magic wand or scepter (the tracer).

There’s a lot of terrific dialog in this tale, but I’ll restrict myself to mentioning only one instance:  the conversation between Binro and Unstoffe, especially the “Binro was right” moment.

The Graff’s final moments — despicable creature that he is, the Graff  becomes a tragic character in his death.  His grief for the death of his chief officer and friend Sholakh– probably his only close relationship — is quite genuine.  It’s enough of a blow to unhinge his mind,  and he, all unwitting, marches to his death imagining himself to be in a great battle.

 

Random Thoughts

I’m always rather intrigued by the cultures and societies being created for the series.  Generally, we only get enough info to move the plot along and to provide a bit of color for the stories.  This nevertheless spurs my imagination to fill in the blank spaces.

Ribos, for instance,with extreme seasons of hot and cold, each season lasting thirty-some years.  Their technology is equivalent to medieval Earth’s.  Their religion is . . . what?  They treat the crown jewels as sacred relics and say prayers before the display, so maybe a form of ancestor worship?  And then there’s that shaman-like character, who communicates with unseen forces and comes up with some accurate information.

She’s the only female native that we see — is this a culture in which women are confined to certain roles?  What are marriage and family life like?  The authority structure?  The captain seems to be the one in charge of this city, but is anyone in charge of him?

The Ribosians can certainly be a narrow-minded bunch, considering how they treated Binro.  But, in their favor, they have courage and initiative.  They don’t cower in abject terror after the Graff murders one of them with a weapon that, to them, must seem supernatural in nature.  No, they use their wits and go after him with the best they have.  It’s only a cannon, but it’s used to good effect.

Enough meandering . . . moving on . . .

 

The Shipping Report

Poor Doctor!  He’s built K9 the second, which, presumably, he’s programmed in such a way as to feed his ego, rather than challenge it.  Now all he wants to do is have a nice vacation, accompanied only by his faithful dog and minus any vexatious companions.  But it’s not to be.

The Doc not only gets a new assignment from the godlike White Guardian, but a new companion as well.  And if he was annoyed by Leela, he’s sure to be downright riled by Time Lady Romana.

Recent graduate Romana is an academic know-it-all, but lacks field experience, thus setting up an experience -versus -education rivalry with the Doctor.  She’s a little contemptuous of him because of his low academic scores, he looks down on her because of her immaturity. They snipe at each other, and we see right away that Romana can give as good as she gets.  She can also manipulate the Doctor with a well-placed insult.

Romana’s first encounter with a monster sends her screaming into the Doctor’s arms, and so she learns there may be a few things not covered by her classroom experience.  There’s also a hint — just a hint — of a potential attraction between these two.

 

Food and Drink

The White Guardian is sitting under a sun umbrella, drinking a green beverage.

The Doctor asks Romana if she can make tea. (he’s trying to needle her; IIRC, Doc 3 did something similar to Sarah Jane.)

Unstoffe gives drugged meat to the monster guarding the crown jewels.

The Graff and Sholakh drink from tankards .

Unstoffe brings the guard a jug of liquor (probably drugged)

The Doctor claims the tracer can peel apples.

There’s a large bowl of fruit in the Graff’s  quarters.

 

Grade: 4/5

June 25, 2013

 

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