Classic Doctor Who: STILL Hunting for the Keys of Marinus (Part 2)

Classic Doctor Who (Classic Who episode list here; next entry here.)

Season 1, Episode 5

The Keys of Marinus, Part 2 (here’s Part 1 of this post)

This episode is called The Snows of Terror, and I have to say that Classic Doctor Who definitely didn’t go halfway on episode titles.

Anyway, it’s been a while since my last post, and it’s great to hear the ‘60s theme again!

Ian and Barbara are rapidly collapsing from hypothermia. I’m not an expert, but that seems really quick. It also seems weird that Barbara would wake back up, even to look at this dude dressed in fur. Whoever he is, he’s taking one of the Keys from Ian.

Well, he’s being nice so far, although that’s NOT the right way to treat frostbite. Actually, he’s a bit creepy.

Barbara’s doing the same incorrect frostbite treatment on Ian, but much less creepily.

Ok, the fur guy’s name is Vasar, and he’s already run into Altos the Pantsless. Except Altos has disappeared, just like his pants.

Also, Vasar explains that there are wolves. Lots of wolves. Hungry wolves. Big packs of wolves. Hungry. Did he mention hungry? Wolves.

Ian’s running off into the snow, bartering his travel bracelet for a fur coat. Vasar’s deadbolting the door and smiling, which doesn’t bode well.

Well, Ian sure found Altos quickly (but still no sign of his pants), along with stock footage of a wolf. Altos’s hands are tied, which probably means Vasar’s been lying.

Vasar and Barbara are supposedly eating, but since he just keeps staring creepily at Barbara, so I don’t see how he got much eating done.

He tells Barbara to help clear the table, which is a bit dumb, since it leads her to the discovery of the stolen plot coupons Keys!

Vasar’s laughing annoyingly about Ian, but Ian’s conveniently revived Altos AND figured out the raw meat trick.

Now Vasar’s abandoning his thoroughly ineffective nice guy pretense and just blatantly chasing Barbara around the room. I like how Barbara never hesitates about picking up potential weapons. Ooh, and biting the jerk! Way to go, Barbara! Ian and Altos the Bare-Legged turn back up just in time, but Barbara as usual takes part in her own rescue by shaking off Vasar and undoing the deadbolt herself.

Ian decides they’re going to force Vasar to show them where the cave is, which is an interesting strategy. Did they get the travel bracelets and the keys??

Meanwhile, Sabetha and Susan are shivering in a cave made of something shiny. Um…that’s cellophane. They decide to try to get out (to wander around in the snowstorm), so now they’re also lost in the shiny cave.

Vasar freaks out once he and the others reach the cave, going on about demons. Ian has appropriately little patience for this, but Vasar probably has a point; there must be something scary in the cave. Barbara figures out that the cave is made of solid ice. Right, totally not cellophane. Got it.

Fragile rope bridge, check.

Frozen knights in armor, also check.

Countdown until these guys start killing everyone…

Sabetha and Susan flee from the frozen knights and meet back up with the others, distracting everyone from the fact that they’re traveling with a murderer, just long enough for him to disable the bridge and give an evil laugh. Typical.

This guy, seriously.

Anyway, they find the key, frozen in a block of ice, guarded by the frozen knights, very Last Crusade. They figure out how to melt the ice and cheerfully wander off. Honestly, Ian and Barbara have already met suits of armor that tried to kill them; did they not think—

Ah, here we go. Zombie knights!

Susan’s been doing a lot of screaming and cowering, but she pulls it together and saves everyone by crawling across the icicle bridge that Ian and Altos the Semi-Naked threw together.

Ian disables the rope bridge again, just in time for the first zombie knight to fling himself into the chasm. The other knights bumble around uselessly on the ledge.

Our heroes charge back into Vasar’s hut, interrupting his gloating over their travel dials and keys. His reaction to this is to run screaming out into the snowstorm, which is fitting in a way, although I have to admit I’ll be annoyed if he gets out of this without any punishment.

Oh—no, he comes right back, because the zombie knights are coming. He tries to take Susan hostage (just turn your dial, Susan!), but gets stabbed by a knight, who’s chopped through the supposedly solid door VERY quickly.

The zombie knights are probably a bit disappointed to break down the door and charge in to find nobody, since our friends sensibly teleported out just in time.

…Just in time to find a dead guy on the floor of a museum? A dead guy in a very military-looking uniform.

Ian, don’t touch the dead guy! Also, shouldn’t Ian have four other people with him? Ian tries to get something out of one of the museum cases, but instead gets hit over the head by someone mysterious right behind him.

Who then makes it look like Ian had the weapon—which is dumb, how could Ian have used it if he was knocked out? Also, that’s a very fancy club. And now the mysterious dude opens the case, setting off the alarm, and, go figure, steals the key. How many of these keys have we found by now? And wasn’t one a fake? I’ve lost count.

Anyway, the next episode title is Sentence of Death, so I suppose this whole framing of Ian thing will be successful.


Well, we start the next episode with Ian waking up painfully. Seriously, where is everyone else? And why isn’t the alarm still going off?

Ah, there’s a very suspicious guard person sitting in a chair, waiting on him. Annoyingly, this guard person (Tarron) insists on not believing anything Ian says.

Sigh, of course this place has a “guilty until proven innocent” system. Is “Ian is falsely accused and is put on trial” going to be a recurring event? Because that happened in the last serial also.

Luckily, they find the Doctor, so he can be a lawyer.

Ooh, the tribunal judges have funny hats! And they do lots of nodding. So far, they’re not quite horrible people; they give the Doctor a two-day extension to study the evidence.

Do these hats remind you of anything?
Baskin Robbins Turkey Cake
Turns out those poofy things are called turkey frills.

Ooh, it’s a murder mystery plot centered around the Key; the murdered guy was Eprin, Altos’s friend, who does wear pants, but apparently let the plans out to the wrong person.

So, this has the potential to be exciting, but showing Altos and Sabetha in the library looking up case histories is NOT the way to go about it.

The Doctor thinks he already knows the solution. He’s having Barbara and Susan re-enact the murder scene, I think just for fun.  He’s certainly enjoying it anyway. They decide the murderer must be the relief guard, whoever that is.

Barbara and Susan are visiting a woman, who I guess is the relief guard’s wife. Oh, here he is. His name is Ayden, and all these guys look exactly alike.

He gets decidedly violent, and nearly confesses to having hidden the key. Apparently these places have very thin walls, and open keyholes, because Susan and Barbara can hear and see everything. Including Ayden slapping his wife, yikes!

Sheesh, Eyesen, the prosecuting attorney, is in on the whole thing! What’s up with these people??

The Doctor’s attempting dramatic testimony. Huh, I think it worked. Sabetha gets Ayden to confess. He’s maybe not too bright; that’s the second time he’s fallen for that gambit. But this time somebody kills him.

Darn it, the tribunal judges are still concluding that Ian’s guilty, because now they’re concluding that Ayden was Ian’s accomplice.

Now Barbara’s getting mysterious notes about the key and another death. And NOW she’s getting a mysterious phone call. From Susan…who’s apparently being held hostage? So, yeah, cliffhanger!


That’s a fairly useless ransom call, since nobody makes a demand. Maybe they’re trying to keep them from investigating about the key? Seems like they should have said so. Meanwhile, Ian’s stuck waiting alone, watching a clock tick down until his death. That’s highly unpleasant.

Barbara has a brainstorm and decides to go visit Kala, Ayden’s widow. Kala’s understandably upset, and a bit…melodramatic. Creepily, she stops crying and starts laughing as soon as they leave. Ooh, SHE has Susan! And she’s in league with…someone…who tells her to kill Susan!

Barbara’s figured it out! And they catch Kala just in time to save Susan!

Here’s the Doctor, looking despondent. Eyeson is congratulating him for doing a good job, which doesn’t help. He’s the bad guy, Doctor!

But Kala’s confessed to killing her husband, so surely now—nope, she named Ian as her accomplice. Sigh.

BUT! The Doctor has one more plan, which conveniently works out to happen just as Ian’s last few minutes are ticking down. The Doctor knew where the key was all along (in the murder weapon, nice), so he just has to wait for the real murderer to come get it from the evidence closet.

And it’s…Eyesen! The prosecuting attorney! Which we already knew, right?

Ian’s nicely recovered from nearly being executed, and Susan’s unreasonably cheerful after also nearly being killed. The Doctor recommends that Tarron improve his investigator skills by reading an ancient Greek philosopher, which seems a bit…um, impossible, since he’s from a different planet.

Meanwhile, back at Arbitan’s castle, Altos of the Invisible Trousers and Sabetha have already been captured by the Voords, naturally.

Sabetha’s trying to bluff at least Altos out of the situation by pretending he’s a servant. This falls through when the Voords try to kill Altos. Possibly they’re offended by his lack of pants. Actually, they just want the final key, which the Doctor has.

Arbitan’s mind-control machine plays rather nice chords as the keys are inserted. One of the Voords is impersonating Arbitan, poorly. Really, REALLY poorly.

I’m totally the same guy! Don’t touch me! Or look at me!

Ian hands over the key surprisingly easily, and is really being surprisingly dense. But at least the Doctor has rescued Sabetha and Altos (who has now survived an entire serial with no pants).

Ah, Ian gave the Voord the fake key! Yay Ian! Our friends are all trying to escape before the machine blows up—oh for goodness sake, there’s yet another Voord stalking them. Well, at least this one doesn’t try to stab anyone. Instead, he returns to the leader just in time to get blown up as the mind-control machine melts down. I say blown up—more like knocked over.

Anyway, our heroes escape, and FINALLY, the Doctor tells someone that mind control machines are a bad idea. Everyone says goodbye and gets a little emotional. Of course, Ian reminds Barbara that she’s still got him!

So, this serial gets a bit bogged down in courtroom drama (or the lack thereof, really), but I do have to give it credit for representing a planet as having a variety of climates and cultures. It’s still kind of weird that the Doctor didn’t get more upset about the mind-control machine. On the other hand, maybe this is part of his growth as a character; maybe being mind-controlled on Marinus is part of why that sort of thing triggers all his righteous rage in the future.


Next up: More room for character development, from what I’ve heard, as we head into the past and visit the Aztecs.

2 thoughts on “Classic Doctor Who: STILL Hunting for the Keys of Marinus (Part 2)

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