Doctor Who/Planet of Giants
From The TV IV
Planet of Giants is the first serial of the second season of Doctor Who, and the ninth serial overall.
Planet of Giants
The Doctor guides the TARDIS to mid-twentieth-century Earth. Just as they are about to materialise, something goes wrong: an alarm buzzer sounds and the main doors open. Susan, Barbara, and Ian must push the doors shut themselves. This is a very bad sign. The Doctor fully expects something terrible to have happened, but the fault locator shows nothing at all. When they try to use the scanner to see outside, the display unit blows up.
The TARDIS is sitting at the base of a sheer wall of strange rock, the base of which seems to be made of a very coarse concrete. The group splits up to explore. Barbara and the Doctor find what looks like a giant, dead earthworm. Meanwhile Ian and Susan find a dead ant and ant eggs strewn nearby. Both Susan and the Doctor come to the same conclusion: they are on Earth, and they have been shrunk to a height of about one inch. The TARDIS is actually in the space between the stones of a garden path.
Ian is trapped in a matchbox when it is picked up by a normal-sized human, a Mr. Farrow, who then walks to his house and reaches to get a match. A second man offers him a light, leaving Ian safely inside the matchbox for the moment. The second man, Mr. Forester, is an investor, who has staked his fortune on the experimental pesticide, DN-6. He wants Farrow to write a report supporting continued research, but Farrow insists that the scientific results forbid him from proceeding with DN-6.
Rather than face financial ruin, Forester draws a gun and kills Farrow. To the Doctor and his companions at their reduced size, the gunshot sounds like a cannon. Ian was the closest one -- he was inside the matchbox when the shot was fired.
With some effort Ian is able to slip out of the matchbox and return to the others, where he tells them of the dead man. He even takes them back to see the body. Now they know that the cannon shot was in fact a gunshot, and assume the man was murdered for some unknown reason. They can't report the crime though, because the pitch and speed of their voices are too different from that of normal-size people. They decide to return to the TARDIS, but a cat blocks their way.
They remain still and soon the cat loses interest, leaving to prowl in the garden. They can't return to the TARDIS while that cat is about, so they decide to investigate a bit. But before they can learn anything, a giant person returns, sending them scrambling for hiding places. Ian and Barbara hide in a briefcase. Mr. Forester has returned with one of Farrow's fellow scientists: Mr. Smithers. They pick up the briefcase and take it into the lab.
Inside Ian and Barbara encounter a pile of seeds coated with a sticky substance. Curious about what kind of seeds they actually are, Barbara picks one up. She confirms that it is wheat coated with some sort of sticky substance, which she has gotten on her hands. She cleans her hands with a handkerchief. A moment later, Ian guesses that the seeds are coated with insecticide. Barbara becomes deeply worried, and compounds her mistake by not telling anyone.
After Ian opens the latch on the briefcase, Barbara is confronted by a fly and faints. When Ian returns to rouse her, the fly takes to the air and lands on the nearby pile of seeds. The insecticide kills it immediately.
Now Ian and Barbara can hear Susan's voice. They follow it to the sink. Susan and the Doctor have come up through the sink's drain. They begin climbing down the stopper chain to meet them. The two giant men, Forester and Smithers, have returned from cleaning blood off the flag stones. They have come to wash their hands! Ian and Barbara scramble back up the chain.
Susan and the Doctor flee down the drain pipe and into the (horizontal) overflow pipe, where they watch as water cascades down the main pipe right before their eyes. The water suddenly stops: the men must have plugged the drain. Susan listens with apprehension to the sound of rushing water -- the sound of a massive lake forming over their heads. Finished, Smithers shuts off the water and pulls the plug, allowing the water to drain.
Ian and Barbara hold little hope that Susan and her grandfather survived the flood of water in the drain, but they climb down the plug chain to have a look anyway. At first there is no sign of either of them, but soon Susan climbs out of the drain, followed by the Doctor. Susan and her grandfather watched from the overflow pipe as torrents of water rushed down the main drain pipe. If the sink had filled to overflowing, they would have been washed away.
Forester, hoping to save his investment, impersonates the dead man, Farrow, by covering the telephone mouthpiece with a cloth. He calls Farrow's ministry to file a positive report on DN-6. However, the town's switchboard operator, Hilda, becomes suspicious, because she knows that isn't Farrow's voice.
Later with the help of his companions the Doctor copies some notes and a formula from a giant notebook in the laboratory. He learns that not only does the DN-6 formula kill all insects good or bad, it is everlasting.
As a group they decide to try and warn the police about the murder. They take two cork stoppers with them, and climb the telephone as though it were a small mountain. Barbara, feeling the effects of the insecticide, is becoming weaker with each passing moment. Still she presses on, not complaining, and keeping her secret to herself.
When they reach the receiver, it takes three of them to push just one side up, and a fourth to put the cork underneath. Finally though, with both ends of the receiver up, Susan, Ian, and the Doctor shout slowly and in unison, "Can ... you ... hear ... us" and "Put ... us ... through ... to ... police." Barbara listens at the earpiece, but she only hears a low groaning sound. Failure!
Having given up on trying to contact the police or anyone at all for that matter, the others find that Barbara has collapsed. From the distinct odor of her handkerchief, they conclude that she must have touched some of the insecticide and not told them.
Meeeanwhile at the switchboard the operator's home, Hilda didn't hear a thing, but she is becoming suspicious of the farmhouse, especially after the call from someone apparently impersonating Farrow. Her husband Bert has also become suspicious. He dons his policeman's helment and heads over to the farmhouse.
Out of options and with Barbara's condition worsening, the Doctor proposes to set the lab ablaze in order to draw attention. So Ian and Susan light a match -- jousting style -- by using it as a battering ram and hitting the matchbox at an angle. With the match lit, they ignite a gas burner. Directly in front of the burnder is a sealed tin can of insecticide. The Doctor's plan is that the heat will build up pressure and the can will explode -- explode with a force that will be to them (at their small size) like a 1000 pound bomb. They had better get clear.
Forester returns to the lab with Smithers at gunpoint -- Smithers now understands why Farrow wanted to stop the experiments: DN-6 kills all insects, not just the bad ones. Forester aims his gun at Smithers meaning to deal with him just as he dealt with Farrow. But at that moment, they both notice the flame and the can of insecticide. It explodes, temporarily blinding Forester, and knocking him to the floor.
At just that moment the policeman, Bert, arrives. He orders Smithers to turn off the gas, and then he begins questioning the two.
The Doctor and the others make their way back to the TARDIS without further incident. The Doctor has taken a wheat seed with him, not as a souvenir, but as something with which to guage their actual size. He makes the required adjustments at the control panel and engages the mechanism. The seed appears to shrink, but the Doctor assures them that it is they who are growing in size.
The amount of the insecticide in Barbara's blood is now inconsequentail (due to her increased size) compared to what it had been a moment before. She recovers almost immediately.
- The Doctor asks Barbara to forgive him for being so terse during the crisis. This helps the further define the Doctor taking the edge off his often crusty personality.
- Susan and her grandfather show their devotion to Ian and Barbara when they risk their lives to reach them in the lab.
- When the Doctor asks Susan to check the fault locator (just before the doors opened) it reports the codes: QR18 and A14D.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- Overall Grade: no reviews yet
- Review Breakdown: A+: 0 A: 0 A-: 0 B+: 0 B: 0 B-: 0 C+: 0 C: 0 C-: 0 D: 0 F: 0