March 3: The Savages Episode 4 / The War Machines Episode 1

No worries; our heroes manage to escape, thanks to...Jano?  Yes, it seems the in-transference of the Doctor's energy has had more lasting side effects.  This of course means that we can regroup with the savages in the cave and plan the next move, which turns out to be to wait for Jano to arrive.  It seems the Doctor knows Jano's mind better than Jano does (probably because it's what the Doctor himself would do in that situation, although this is never clearly expressed), and so Jano does in fact turn up, after some guerrilla tactics from Steven that probably looked a lot more exciting than they sound (and to be fair, with the telesnaps it's not too bad).

The Doctor wishes Steven good luck. (The Savages Episode 4 -
from Doctor Who Photonovels: The Savages - Episode Four)
This leads to the climactic moment where Jano takes everyone we care about into the laboratory, seals the door, and unleashes them on the machinery.  You can hear all the smashing going on in the background, even as Captain Edal frantically tries to gain entry and stop them.  But it's too late; the machinery has been smashed and the Elders and the savages now must live in peace together.  But they'll need a leader they can both trust, so they turn to Steven.  He's ultimately willing, and so he leaves the Doctor and Dodo behind as he starts the next phase of his life.  It's a nice, sweet departure -- we see that Steven has grown during his travels with the Doctor, and that he's now ready to take up new responsibilities.  After all, if he can look after the Doctor, he can look after this planet.

It's an odd tale, The Savages.  It's pleasingly situated firmly in the moral compass that the show has established with its "exploitation is bad" theme, but it's a theme that's not really developed.  The Elders try to justify their actions with a few "they're subhuman" lines, but you never get the sense that they believe that.  Instead we get a number of exciting action sequences in caves and things (filmed in Ealing, which suggests they were a little more dynamic and interestingly directed than might otherwise be expected) that just leads to frustration that we can't actually see what's happening.  Like The Celestial Toymaker before, this is a story that probably can't be adequately judged based on what's left.  We at least have the telesnaps, so we have a sense of what this looked like, but that's just not enough here.  It seems unlikely that this was an incredible story, but one gets the suspicion that it was more interesting than what the soundtrack suggests.

All of The War Machines exists on video25, which means we can see the TARDIS arrive in '60s London.  We even get some location filming as Dodo and the Doctor look around.  "Oh, the tower!  It's finished!" Dodo exclaims while looking at the GPO Tower (so she must have left with the Doctor between 1961 and 1964).  "You know, there's something alien about that tower.  I can scent it," the Doctor says, making one of the better-known fluffs from this serial...except then Dodo replies with, "Smells okay to me; good old London smoke."  So either Jackie Lane is incredibly good at covering Hartnell's fluffs, or this was actually intentional.

But just take a moment to let the location sink in: we're back in contemporary London, a place we haven't visited in any detail since "An Unearthly Child" (brief stops at the end of "The Planet of Decision" (The Chase 6) and "Bell of Doom" (The Massacre 4) notwithstanding).  In many ways, then, this is as alien a world to Doctor Who as Skaro or Refusis II.  So take that moment, because the story certainly doesn't.  We go from the Doctor sensing danger at the GPO Tower to his arrival at the top, in the midst of a top secret lab containing a supercomputer named WOTAN.  It's really quite an astonishing shift, especially for this era -- you'd expect at least a little bit of the Doctor's efforts to enter the Tower and the lab, but here it's just presented as a fait accompli, as writer Ian Stuart Black clearly just wants to get to the main plot as quickly as possible (the novelization - also by Black - at least has the Doctor wave some paperwork courtesy of Ian Chesterton at the people in charge). 

And so we're introduced to the most advanced supercomputer ever, invented by a Professor Brett.  The Doctor tests it by asking it the square root of 17422 and is impressed when he gets the right answer back.  Er, yes.  Clearly the standards of impressive technology have moved on since 1966.  How it knows what the word "TARDIS" stands for is slightly more impressive, although that just suggests Ian and/or Barbara wrote it down somewhere and that's where WOTAN saw it.  Oh, and say hello to Professor Brett's secretary Polly -- she'll become important later.  Yet as impressive as WOTAN is, the Doctor still seems suspicious of it -- probably because of that sensation he had earlier, but there's also a subtext present that suggests he thinks computers shouldn't control too much.

But then Dodo mentions how she'd like to go to "the hottest night spot in town", and the name of the place hasn't even left Polly's mouth before we're transported to the Inferno; clearly this story is all about action.  And here we're introduced to a sailor named Ben Jackson, who will also become important later.  So Polly and Dodo have a good time with Ben, while the Doctor heads to the press conference for WOTAN, only Professor Brett is really late, and when he does arrive he behaves very oddly.  It turns out that the Doctor's suspicions were right, and WOTAN is indeed dangerous.  It's trying to hypnotize people into carrying out its bidding, and to this end it takes over Dodo, who heads to the Tower.  So when the Doctor wanders into the Inferno ("He looks like that disc jockey!" club owner Kitty says, presumably referring to now-disgraced-isn't-really-strong-enough-a-word DJ Jimmy Savile), Dodo's nowhere to be found.  She's meeting with WOTAN, who informs her that "Doctor Who is required."  Get used to this, by the way...Gerry Davis appears to be operating under the impression that the Doctor's name really is Who.

25 Well, except for some missing censored clips from episodes 3 & 4, but these have been recreated on the DVD using the original soundtrack and some clever editing.