Nu-View #1: SJS, Sontarans, and Gallifrey - Oh My!

The Time Warrior (Story #70, 1973-74)
Viewed 02 Feb 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Three, Sarah Jane Smith
Stars:  Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen
Preceding StoryThe Green Death (Three, Jo Grant)
Succeeding StoryInvasion of the Dinosaurs (Three, Sarah Jane)
Notable Aspects:

  • First appearance of Sarah Jane Smith
  • First appearance of the Sontarans
  • First mention of Doctor's home planet (Gallifrey) by name

Our viewing of this first episode of Three's last season was dominated by two things:  his hair, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  After the rather dizzying "new" opening credits (general consensus: thumbs down), it was a bare two scenes into Episode 1 that the Grail references began.  When the amusingly-named Irongron finally managed to get his underlings to ride out to look for the "fallen star," the clopping coconuts made their appearance on the sofa.  Linx, the first-ever Sontaran on Doctor Who, garnered not only an "oh, dear" but also a "none shall pass!"

Once the stage had been set in the Middle Ages, the story turned back to the modern day, to a site heavily guarded by UNIT in an effort to prevent further mysterious disappearances of visiting scientists, and Three walked through the door.  Did we cheer the Doctor's first appearance, or wonder when we'd first see Sarah Jane?  Nope.  "Wow!  Is that what his hair looked like before?!"

The hair - along with Holy Grail and Irongron's epithet for the lady of the neighboring castle ("narrow-hipped vixen!") - became an ongoing theme throughout the evening.  Even comments on Linx's odd anatomy (e.g., "nice nozzle!" in reference to the probic vent at the back of his neck) didn't rank as high (though that may be in part due to the fact that somehow jO seems to have missed The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky).

Three's coiffure elicited comments when Linx hooked him up to his device ("Wow! Didn't mess up his hair, though!" "He's got a hair net. He keeps it up his sleeve.") and when the helm is removed after his attempt to fool Irongron by impersonating the robot ("It's perfect!"), while the Doctor's various subterfuges caused jE to observe, "I think his hips are rather narrow..."  (Irongron: "you notice MY hips aren't narrow!")

The Holy Grail raised its head again when Irongron beset Lord Edward's castle.  "I fart in your general direction!" shouted the dummies on ramparts before the Doctor's sulfur-grenades prompted the rabble to "run away!"  We couldn't help but wonder a bit, though, when Sarah Jane asked, "was that some sort of gas?" and the Doctor reassured her with, "no, just a sort of stink bomb."  What... stink bombs don't emit gas?

General reactions:

  • jA found it very "old skool," and said she quite liked it.  It seemed like a "ballet of fights."
  • jE couldn't stop laughing about Irongron's posse having "never ... seen a finer swordsman!" (something which got a resounding pfffffffff! from all present)
  • jO found it hard to believe Sarah Jane was really the same person, though we all admitted 33 years makes quite a difference for anybody.
  • I was the only one who pumped her fists when Doctor described Linx as "nasty, brutish, and short!" Then again, I'm the only one soaking in it enough to know what a quotable quote that is.

Though I've watched Time Warrior several times before, I doubt I'll ever be able to view it again without seeing big hair and hearing some cantering coconuts.

Verdict:  Thumbs up

Looking aheadThe Invisible Enemy

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