Written by: David Whitaker.
Companions: The Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright.
Brief Synopsis: The TARDIS crew lands on the planet Dido, to discover two human survivors from a crashed spaceship from earth living in fear of a hideous alien.
When the rescue kicks off I find myself still sad due to Susan's untimely departure. But at first there is oddly no mention of her at all. Ian, Barbara and the Doctor are mearly discussing where the TARDIS will land next and that materialised is a better word than landed. Then as the TARDIS 'materialises' the Doctor goes to ask Susan to open the doors and then realises she's not there. It's a beautiful moment and you can really tell that Hartnell is genuinely sad to have lost, not just his granddaughter, but Carol Anne Ford herself. Barbara then kindly offers herself to learn how to open the doors. Ian and Barbara then ponder 'I wonder what Susan's doing now? If I know David, learning to milk cows...' What an odd idea.
This story is an odd one. The TARDIS arrives on the planet Dido and discovers a crashed spaceship with just two survivors. A girl, Vicki, and an injured man, Bennet. They are awaiting a rescue ship from Earth and are being oppressed by a terrifying native alien, Koquillion.
|The terrifying alien Koquillion.|
When Barbara and Ian venture out of the TARDIS alone, Koquillion spies them, causes some rocks to fall on Ian and pushes Barbara off a cliff! It's so shocking. I was thinking how on earth are they going to explain that one away. Barbara later says she broke her fall by grabbing a tree branch. Oh of course, that makes sense.
We soon learn that the rest of the crew of the spaceship are dead including Vicki's father, and with her mother being dead she is an orphan. Hmm... no ties, similar character to Susan, futuristic Orphan-type. I wonder if she's going to be the new companion?
Towards the end of this short, two part story the Doctor and Ian are inexplicably edging along a chasm, and we are issued a rather random unrelated cliffhanger involving sharp knives coming out of the wall to spike Ian and push him into a pit containing a sand beast.
Fortunately the Doctor is able to withdraw the spikes before they can impale Ian. Barbara then sees the same beasty making for Vicki and fires a flare gun at it, killing it. However, it turns out that the terrifying sand monster was actually Vicki's pet and an omnivore, called Sandy. The Doctor, Ian and Barbara are all reunited and Ian mockingly refers to Koquillion as cockaleekie. The Doctor is so kind to Vicki and you can tell he is already grooming her to take Susans place.
The Doctor admits that he has been to Dido before and when he confronts Koquillion he recognises that what he is wearing is actually cerimonial garb and unveils Koquillion to be Bennet. It turns out that Bennet killed a member of the crew, for some reason, and caused the ship to crash, then killed the rest of the crew and the people of Dido as well to avoid being sentenced. He planned to blame the people of Dido for the massacre and dressed up as Koquillion to scare the unbeknownst Vicki into disliking the locals and to testify in his favour. Fortunately there are two survivors of the people of Dido who neatly take care of Bennet for us, without actually saying a word on screen.
It's not a bad little mystery and certainly has cross-overs with The Tempest, and acts as a good character introduction for, yep, you guessed it, the new companion, Vicki. At the end of the adventure the TARDIS 'materialises' as it shall henceforward be known, on the edge of a cliff. Being the first quite literal 'cliffhanger' of the series.
Join me next time for The Romans.