It starts off fine, if a little silly. Time-travelling Daleks, giant octopodes, and Ian dancing around the Tardis to the Beatles – what’s not to love?
The Doctor’s new time scanner picks up the Daleks. And the Beatles on Top of the Pops.
Moving onto parts 3 and 4, we get an episode set on the Empire State Building in New York (complete with bad accents) and then on the Marie Celeste… fine, silly but fun.
Daleks board the Marie Celeste as they chase the Tardis through time and space.
But then there’s haunted house. Oh dear god WHAT?! This story definitely takes a turn for the weird. It was a theme park attraction? So, they were actors? But they were invulnerable to Dalek laser? What? WHAT?!!
Poor production, too. Cameraman shadows all over the set, audio cutting in too early.
And then robo-Doctor at the end, for some baffling reason played by a different actor even though he’s the only one in shot (and they’re saying he’s indistinguishable from the original). Wow.
A frankly bizarre turn of events in a haunted house. A low point for the series so far.
But anyway, aside from the ridiculous haunted house episode, I thought ‘The Chase’ was pretty good, particularly the final part where the Daleks and the robo-spheres have a massive shootout and their whole city explodes. And then Ian and Barbara leave and go back to London. Sad times.
On the final planet of the Tardis’ escape (they land on a planet originally set for human colonisation), one of the robo-spheres’ captives is Steven, whose survey ship was damaged and couldn’t leave, and he’d been held captive by the robotic inhabitants for many years waiting to be rescued. When the robot city is destroyed, Steven escapes, lagging behind the Doctor, and sneaks aboard his Tardis shortly before it departs.
The planet Mechanus, where Steven is held captive. This place goes BOOM!
As Ian and Barbara depart, I will summarise and comment on their role.
I can’t talk about one without the other; they arrive together, they leave together. Both Susan’s teachers at school, Ian is probably the best character so far; he handles the serious and the silly perfectly. His natural curiosity as a teacher of science lends itself well to the stories, and he manages to tackle the physical roles too. Barbara is similar, and she plays off of Ian and Susan very well, but she doesn’t get many good roles or chances to shine. She is briefly an Aztec goddess, which is about the most she gets to work with. She’s the sympathetic voice, kind and caring, but can handle herself well too.
They end up back in 1960s London, luckily! At the end of The Chase, they convince (eventually) the Doctor to rig up the Daleks’ time machine to send them back home. It’s the only chance they’ve had, since the Tardis could not be so accurately controlled. They arrive back in present day, the time machine self destructs, and they presumably get back to their normal lives… although not before a delightfully silly montage of snapshots of them both touring around the sights of London.