Golden-haired, miracle-bearing cherubs descend from the heavens and no one suspects that they might have a hidden agenda.
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An Axon spaceship lands on Earth, murders a hobo and thus UNIT, The Doctor and West Country Elvis are summoned to investigate. The Axons, it turns out, are running low on gas and, in exchange for an unspecified energy, offer the human race the miracle substance and narcissistically named Axonite.
Might these golden-haired, miracle-bearing kings from the sky be more than they appear, however? Might Axonite actually be a means for them to take over the world and deplete the Earth’s resources entirely? Is the Master locked onboard their ship? Listen to our review, ladies and gentlemen! The answers lie ahead.
Addendum to the show
Holy Smokes! Just stumbled upon the actual, clearly related meaning of Axon on Wikipedia, namely: “An axon (from Greek ἄξων áxōn, axis), is a long, slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that typically conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron’s cell body.”
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This was a simple story, in fact it was all too simple. The plot was simple, the characters were simple, and both the Master and a potentially great villain were simply wasted. What wasn’t simple was full of plot gaps… not holes, but gaps. By that I mean it’s not that they forgot to include something essential, it’s just that it seemed there were missing parts of the story. I know I’ll regret saying this but I think this story would have been better served as a 5 parter instead of 4.
The retro rewrite here would be massive. Both Chinn and Filer needed to be further developed in order to be truly interesting, though I’ll admit that the actors took what they were given and did quite well with it. Both should have had a greater lead-in and could possibly have lasted more than one story. Instead we never hear from either again. The more rational Windsor was killed off early, leaving little in the way of dimensionality and personal conflict. Joe is essentially wasted here with little to do but be a damsel, and the Brigadier suffers much the same fate as he is constantly bounced in and out of command. The only explanation for why the Axos has a distribution deadline is that it “needs to happen quick for maximum effect”. I’m sorry, but that’s not an explanation of a major plot point, that’s a cop-out. Even then it’s later modified to “we can’t continue without full distribution, we’ll get hurt”. This all culminates in the doctor trapping the Axos by tempting them with the secret of time travel, the very thing they just successfully stole from his mind not two scenes earlier. All they needed was power, and they could have gotten that from anywhere.
I’m so glad we have a color version as this would have looked like muddy crap in black and white. The locations were bland and the accelerator looked under-done, however the Axos itself was quite phenominal…from the inside. The monsters were great as well, in all their iterations, and the voice (though hard to hear at times) was very cool indeed. I loved the projectile tentacle effect. It’s almost as if there were two designers who never talked to each other, one with an abstract imagination and one who hated life. The exterior of the Axos, its landing site, and the accelerator would be the focus of a major production do-over.
I’m not sure why there’s so much time spent on the irrelevant Ken Shabby character. He could have been caught and killed in one scene, and where did all the snow go? Wouldn’t it simply have been better to cut the useless footage of the location with snow on the ground? And that guard outside Axos when the Master escapes deserves to die for not hearing the spaceship door open. Bad staging like that tends to take viewers right out of the story.
In the end a half-baked script and some simplistic directing led to the downfall of a pretty good concept. It doesn’t feel like anyone was enjoying themselves in this story, they were just going through the motions. This is probably what can be said for the audience as well. I’ll leave with my rating and the one piece of otherwise missing witty banter in a desert of 4 part mediocrity. This story earns a “Just your report Chinn, I’m sure that will be scrambled enough”, 1.9.
Love the Monty Python reference (Ken Shabby), yes, that was exactly what he looked like it. Wasn’t he saying “Er ARR” to show he was from the west country?
There was a bit with the female UNIT member mentioning the weather went all wonky and there was a sudden snowstorm in summer.
At its core, DOCTOR WHO’s eighth season is a duel between the Earthbound Doctor and the Master. The Doctor made the first thrust, stealing the dematerialization circuit from the Master’s TARDIS as the Moriarty to his Sherlock Holmes heralded an alien invasion. This theft imprisoned both on just one planet at a single point in time. The Master’s riposte put him in the mad scientist role before his overcomplicated plan to engineer a war and take over the world played out over time. To thwart him, the Doctor felt compelled to offer him an opportunity to recover the critical circuit. Afterward, Axos offered the Master a chance to leave the Doctor trapped alone on a lifeless rock floating in space. Given the Doctor’s fondness for the planet, this fate would have been fitting revenge.
Axos was just a UFO on UNIT and British Ministry radar whose appearance preempted a conference among UNIT; a power hungry Ministry man, Chin; and an American Master hunter. Chin’s trigger happiness encouraged the Doctor’s tendency to take charge and insult every official in sight. Only our hero’s quick thinking aborted a missile strike and saved countless lives. After avoiding the attack, the UFO landed. The Ministry man dismissed the Master hunter, reasserting his authority, but unwittingly helped the American, who got into the alien, organic ship ahead of the others. There, he found the Master and became his quarry’s fellow captive.. The Doctor knew his opponent had left the Earth, but was unaware he had brought Axos back.
As the UNIT party explored the fantastically unique and colorful craft’s interior, they encountered golden humanoids called Axons, who explained their origin and offered the Earth Axonite. This gift was capable of growing or shrinking life, but was also calculated to exploit human greed. The suspicious Doctor questioned the aliens’ story, but Chin wanted Axonite exclusively for Britain. Meanwhile, the Master and the American made a vain escape attempt, disrupting the demonstration and enabling Jo, who had entered the ship separately, to see the Axons’ true, monstrous form.
Later, the Doctor begged officials at the nearby nuclear power plant to let him use their particle accelerator to have their sample of Axonite, a “thinking molecule” defying standard analysis techniques, analyze itself. When he used the machine without permission, he determined the Axons, Axonite, and the alien ship were all a single parasitic organism. Chin’s nationalism might ironically have defeated Axos. It needed worldwide distribution of Axonite within three days before it could devour the planet. The Master, though, persuaded Axos to release him so he could manipulate Chin into facilitating worldwide distribution using UNIT resources.
Axos knew the Doctor was a Time Lord and brought him back to the ship in order to gain the power of time travel and expand its feeding ground. He said the plan’s power requirements were too great, but Axos intended to steal the needed extra power from the nuclear plant. Meanwhile, the Master was disgusted with the Doctor’s antiquated TARDIS, which he needed since his own was aboard Axos’ ship. He decided to try delivering all the power from the nuclear reactor to Axos at once in order to overload the alien. The Doctor returned and proposed he and the Master join forces and leave the Earth to the unstoppable parasite, which would soon attack and feed. Together, they took the TARDIS to Axos’ ship, where the Master realized the Doctor was about to draw Axos into a time loop, a series of endlessly repeating events, and power free. While he couldn’t exactly explain what he’d done afterward, the Doctor said the Master was likely caught in the time loop with Axos. Maybe.
In “The Claws of Axos,” by guiding Axos to Earth and enabling the crucial distribution of Axonite, the Master played a supporting but pivotal role in the second alien invasion story this season. He also helped the Earthbound Doctor pilot his TARDIS a short way and defeat the parasitic invader. Script Editor Terrance Dicks had been warned the Doctor’s exile left the show only alien invasion and mad scientist plots. At the same time, stories on Earth allowed Dicks to use of the expanding cast of UNIT paramilitary investigators. The Master and the Doctor piloting the TARDIS let Letts’ team push gently against the Doctor’s banishment without jettisoning it altogether. After thwarting the Master again, the Doctor lamented the TARDIS’ program to return to Earth after each journey with a characteristically angry exit line, “It seems that I’m some kind of a galactic yo-yo!”
I’m pretty sure this was the very first Doctor Who story I ever watched. Thanks to the internet I figured out I must have seen it in 1975 in Chicago on PBS when I was 9 years old. They were playing Pertwee’s stories at 18:30 daily. I have to say for a 9-year-old American it worked very well to hook me.
The Axons didn’t try to demonstrate with a cuke, they brought out a frog to enlarge. They thought it was a food animal and everyone said, “Eh, well not so much, but go ahead.”
I think the Axons needed to fuel up with Earth-juice in order to take advantage of time travel and they were saving the Master up to use when they had the juice. But then it’s strange they could get into a time loop with only the output of one powerplant.