Trash Culture’s Dr. Who Reviews – The Space Museum (1965)

by Chad Denton

When the TARDIS lands, everyone is concerned when suddenly they find themselves wearing their usual clothes, not the thirteenth century costumes that they had been wearing since leaving Jaffa. The Doctor waves off their worries by mumbling something about the “relativity of time”, but then Vicki swears that she watched while a glass of water that she dropped and shattered on the floor reassembled and flew back into her hand. Through the TARDIS’ monitor Barbara notices that outside there are spaceships. Ian guesses that they’re in a spaceship graveyard, but the Doctor observes that the ships are all from different eras. Venturing outside, they find that, even though the atmosphere is hospitable to life, the planet seems dead. The Doctor is finally disturbed when Ian points out that, even though there is a layer of dust on the surface, they’re not leaving any footprints; worse, they find that someone or something had taken the TARDIS. Approaching a building, the Doctor and the others find two men who don’t seem to notice them even though they’re only a few feet away. Seeing various exhibits of technological devices, including the armor of a Dalek, the Doctor deduces that they’re in a museum. When other members of the museum’s staff appear, they find out that not only are they apparently invisible to the people but also the TARDIS’ crew can’t hear what they’re saying. Next Vicki and Ian discover that their hands pass through solid objects. Eventually they find that the TARDIS has been set up as an exhibit, but when the Doctor tries to enter he only phases through it. Not only that, but they see that their bodies are also propped up as exhibits. The Doctor that the TARDIS skipped a “time track” and that they’re trapped in “the fourth dimension.” He adds that they’re only looking at a potential future and to have a chance at setting things right they only have to “wait for themselves to arrive.” Soon enough the Doctor is proven to be right and the TARDIS’ crew find that they’ve actually “arrived.”

Elsewhere in the museum, Lobos, the museum’s administrator and governor of the planet under the declining Morok Empire, complains to an underling about his job and wishes that his term of office would expire faster so he could return home. Lobos is informed that an unidentified ship has arrived and worries that they may end up helping “the rebels”, but muses that perhaps the aliens can be added to the exhibit. Lobos turns out to be right; two natives of the planet, the Xerons, who have been enslaved by the Moroks, hope that the visitors have weapons. It’s a bit late, and the Doctor is captured by Morok troops, but even though Lobos has the technology to scan minds the Doctor outwits him in the interrogation, but in the end an enraged Lobos condemns him to be made into an exhibit. An attack by the Moroks forces Ian, Vicki, and Barbara to scatter. Vicki and Barbara are found by the Xerons, who explain that the Moroks wiped out most of their people and use the survivors as a slave race. A fiery Vicki encourages the Xerons to seize the museum’s armory, using her knowledge of computers to gain access, while Barbara tries to rescue the Doctor from the chamber where he’s being frozen, unaware that Ian has forced Lobos with a gun stolen from a soldier to retrieve the Doctor from the chamber and revive him. Unfortunately, just as the Doctor is taunting Lobos, a squad appears.

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