Doctor Who #214: The Dominators Part 3

"Resistance will only lead to violence." "And submission leads to slavery."TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Aug.24 1968.

IN THIS ONE... Zoe and Cully become slaves of the Dominators and the Doctor eats his first jelly baby.

REVIEW: You know what? Jamie is our audience identification figure, and when he grows impatient, so do we. Apparently, it's the Dulcian way to argue and debate everything, avoiding, if at all possible, making any kind of decision. If that's your culture, fine, but it doesn't make for very good drama and just seems obstructive to the plot. The Dominators aren't any better, though their arguments are much simpler and more polarized, with Toba finding any excuse to kill and destroy and Rago stopping him from wasting energy. Can you imagine if this had been a 6-parter as originally conceived? They say they cut out a lot of "old men arguing" by shrinking it down, for which I'm grateful. It could have been a 4-parter and I'd have been even happier.

It's not the first time a companion has had to grumble at an alien race's paralyzing brand of pacifism and/or general lack of military ability. It's been going on since Ian and Barbara met the Thals, and once forced Vicki to become a rebel leader (The Space Museum). This episode's unlikely militant is Zoe, who proves superior to the Dulcian work party in every way. Brave little soul, she even lies down on a rock begging Cully to fire at the Quarks, but of course, he misses his opportunity. Some people are beyond helping, you know? The Dulcians are such useless creatures, you almost want them to get conquered. And when a Quark finally gets shot, his cuteness means you feel sorry for the little guy. It's a good thing the Dominators are douchebags who lack imagination, because this is a story that makes you root for the monsters, and want to see bad things happen to the victims.

While Zoe does acquit herself very well as a heroine (the Dulcians fail her, of course), the Doctor and Jamie are up to a bit of slapstick comedy on their way back to the Island of Death. In attempting to change the course of the capsule, the Doctor starts fiddling with the open circuits much in the same way I used to with my old Atari 2600 joysticks when they gave out. When we cut back to them later, the Doctor's feet are sticking out of the flooring. It's crazy, and it's fun, and the boys are doing their best to make this snorefest of a story entertaining. And as mentioned above, this sequence also features the historic first appearance of the Doctor's bag of sweets, which we'll find out later is full of jelly babies. Fourth Doctor trademark, sure, but as I've previously claimed, the Second Doctor IS the most influential of them all.

THEORIES: Is Zoe so strong because she was genetically engineered? The pieces of rubble she lifts right up to her face are HUGE, and she's the last one to collapse from exhaustion (faking it). It could be that Dulcian building materials are relatively light-weight, or even that their gravity is below Earth-normal, but I'd rather like to think Zoe's genetic gifts aren't all concentrated on her brain.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Great stuff on the part of the regulars, I just wish they weren't forced to overdo it just to keep the mind-numbing SF plot afloat.


john-amend-all said...

I've always read Zoe outlasting the Dulcians as an indication that their culture was entirely intellectual and didn't set any store by physical fitness -- whereas no doubt everyone on the Wheel followed a comprehensive exercise programme. But the idea of an actual super-strong Zoe (probably delighting in beating Jamie at arm-wrestling) is too good to ignore.

Siskoid said...

Zoe vs. a superhero is only days away.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine