Wednesday, August 16, 2023

First Doctor Revisited: "The War Machines"

By the time this blog post goes live, I’ll have been done with the First Doctor’s era for months. Alas, on the blog, we’re still here (gotta space out the Doctor Who posts out, I figured). While watching “War Machines”, I was intrigued by the plot in a way different from other stories from that era. So here we go with some musings I had while watching “War Machines”.

This was an interesting episode, from the perspective of the companions. Mostly because the change happened so fluidly. After being brainwashed by WOTAN (Will Operating Thought ANalogue–possibly a worse acronym than TARDIS), Dodo disappears. I won’t say I’m surprised she decided to stay in the present, as she joined the TARDIS by accident (seems like a trend here). What surprises me is that they didn’t even film a scene of her saying goodbye to the Doctor. But then again, I didn’t like Dodo very much anyway, even on the rewatch.

On the flip side, Ben and Polly were introduced fluidly and naturally (side note: I’d forgotten Polly was hypnotized too). They went to say goodbye to the Doctor (take note, Dodo, you’re falling short and being rude) and basically walked into the TARDIS moments before it dematerialized. Seems that so few of the First Doctor’s companions actually wanted to travel with him. Quite a change if you’re used to modern Doctor Who with Rose, Donna, or Amy.

This is one of the few times the Doctor is called “Doctor Who” by name. Makes me think the original writers actually intended for his name to be Dr. Who, despite how things actually played out. Over the years, a number of the Doctors have been listed as “Doctor Who” in the credits. Can’t say that I care for that; I like the mystery. But I guess I ought to be a little less critical of people calling him Dr. Who…

It was a scary thought, the machines controlling humans. That’s worse than being converted into Cybermen. Maybe. They both sound awful. Kind of makes me think of our current dependence on technology and growing availability of AI. The internet (or power) goes down at work and I feel completely useless in taking care of my patients’ needs. Which exercises do I need to do with my patients? No idea, but it’s on the computer.

It was an intriguing way to assimilate humans. Unlike Daleks, Cybermen, or Borg, the victims weren’t physically transformed or changed at all, but it was all to the same end. Brings to mind the influences that slip into our lives incognito to lives. Whether that’s people, technology, ideology, or culture, it’s a chilling thought. But then again this is also the show that made us scared of statues and wifi.

For now, allons-y!

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