Doctor Who #100: Golden Death

"I have an old score to settle with him. But I'm sure yours is the prior claim."TECHNICAL SPECS: Part 9 of the Daleks' Master Plan. It is missing from the archives, and I've used a reconstruction (Part 1, Part 2). First aired Jan.8 1966.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor and co., the Monk and Mavic Chen and the Daleks all find themselves in Ancient Egypt.

REVIEW: We finally stop running and stick to one setting for more than an episode - Ancient Egypt! It's a fantastic and evocative idea, and by all accounts well realized, though I can't help but feel it is a waste of its potential as a historical that could have been on par with The Aztecs. Though something cultural is made of the Egyptians' dragging of the TARDIS into the tomb, the time travelers could really be anywhere in space and time. The focus isn't on the setting, but on various confrontations between the various factions.

The Monk of course tries to sell the Doctor out to the Daleks, weasel that he is, though I suppose it's possible he was playing them for fools (this IS before the Daleks became the Time Lords' blood enemies though). No, the Monk vs. the Doctor is where it's really at, Hartnell and Butterworth once again getting a nice to play off each other, and the Doctor playing some tricks on the Monk, giving as good as (or better than) he got. His sabotage of the Monk's TARDIS, turning it into a police box (and a few random things along the way, different in the reconstruction than the script, though each has at least one weird thing that would make you wonder where the door is - a camel and a motorcycle) will only play a role in the next episode, but one can see where it's heading. The Monk's melting of the Doctor's lock (tediously still an issue in this episode) is comparatively lame. A medieval monk with modern sunglasses walking around a pyramid building site is incongruous, but with the Daleks also coasting around, that doesn't seem all that novel. The Doctor looks pretty dapper in his new hat though.

The Daleks make Mavic Chen responsible for retrieving the taranium, but then follow him around like an armed escort, so that part of the script could use work. Steven and Sara, meanwhile, are kept out of the main action, captured by Egyptians, though they do get to blow off some steam when they inevitably escape. What's fun is that Sara is a better fighter than Steven is, though the fact they're both physical characters might make them redundant in the long run. For now, it only makes them autonomous from the Doctor.

THEORIES: Whether you can still believe the Doctor and the Monk know each other of old depends on who you interpret the Monk's answer to that effect, "in a manner of speaking, yes... and again, in another manner of speaking, no". The most likely interpretation is that they met in "The Time Meddler", but they don't even know each other's true names. However, you could make a case for it meaning that they DO know each other of old, but the Monk has regenerated since then and is a "new man".

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The setting makes a change from Dalek ships and savage planets, and the Doctor and the Monk are always good together. The Daleks' presence break the spell though.



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