Doctor Who: Series 9 - The Return Of The Krotons? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: Series 9 - The Return Of The Krotons?

Christopher Morley ponders a radical redesign...

Could the "new" Series Nine monster we've seen revealed recently really be a redesigned Kroton? Originally a predatory quasi-organic tellurium based crystal, the Krotons could mimic their prey's abilities. At some point in their history they encountered a human servo robot and mimicked it, thus attaining semi-sapience. So possibly not even a redesign, maybe an earlier, later or alternative evolution state?

Add to the fact that a selection of recent publicity shots appear to show the Twelfth Doctor sporting a pair of checked trousers remarkably similar to those he last squeezed into during his Second incarnation. Put aside any thoughts as to whether they'll be even baggier than before given Peter Capaldi's slender frame, and instead ponder a possible return to territory first mined in writer Robert Holmes' first-ever story for Doctor Who!

The fourth story of Season Six, Patrick Troughton's final bow as the Second Doctor would soon be followed by a second Holmes submission in the form of The Space Pirates. He would later serve as script editor from 1975-77, the first three years of Tom Baker's marathon seven as the Fourth Doctor. But its to Bob's early years which we return now.

His first step on the road to the editor's chair would see the Doctor, Jamie & Zoe arrive on the planet of the Gonds, the natives having been enslaved by the titular Krotons. The nasty crystallised creatures have been picking off their brightest minds for a long time, the mental energy drained from their brains to draw power to a Kroton ship.

Amazingly they've somehow lived in willful ignorance of this until a damning exposition of their overlords leads them to finally rise up & govern themselves....after Ms Heriot has taken the Krotons' test, that is.

Great jumping gobstoppers!

Yet initially, being chosen to go directly to them & "serve" them is seen as a matter of great honour.
SELRIS: Class three one nine six in the first grade. The names of the first selected candidates are, male, Abu-Gond! The second name is female. Vana-Gond!
SELRIS: Abu-Gond and Vana-Gond, alone of your generation you have been chosen to receive the highest honour that can befall a Gond. You are now the companions of the Krotons! Our warmest, our most sincere congratulations to you both. You will now step forward for the investiture of your robes of honour.
VANA: Please, Thara!
THARA: You can't go. I won't let you go!
VANA: I must!
THARA: Look, Vana, we can run away. There's still time.
VANA: You know that's not possible. We must always obey.
SELRIS: Because, my son, it is the law of the Krotons!
The implication being that its been this way for many a year. Admittedly the chances of this new monster being a form of Kroton are slim, but it just might be possible that if so it could be an earlier design, one of the first to have arrived on the Gond planet to begin mining the brains of the natives for fuel. Which would set the scene for the arrival of the TARDIS at an earlier point in its history, allowing the Doctor to intervene & potentially stop the Kroton invasion before his earlier self can experience it....

But just how do they go about their deadly business?
CUSTODIAN: I am forbidden to discuss the secrets.
STUDENT: We only want to know how to get at them.
THARA: We want to see the Krotons for ourselves.
CUSTODIAN: Nobody has seen the Krotons, not for thousands of years.
THARA: You're sure they don't come out of the machine in the darkness when there's no one here?
CUSTODIAN: No. Come out? Never!
THARA: Then how do they give their orders? Answer me!
CUSTODIAN: There are messages. You must know that.
THARA: What else?
CUSTODIAN: Sometimes there is a voice.
THARA: But you've never seen them? There's no way you can get inside there?
CUSTODIAN: Only the companions of the Krotons may enter.
THARA: And now we know what happens to them. But you can summon the Krotons, can't you?
CUSTODIAN: It is not for me to summon them. I obey their commands.
And as things progress, we see the first use of the TARDIS' Hostile Action Displacement System or HADS- a handy means of escape from harm for ''Sexy''. Perhaps the Doctor will need it again if indeed he is to meet the Krotons once more? He has of course had reason to engage it once more in a similarly bow-tied future incarnation in Cold War!

ZOE: Look, it's all right again!
DOCTOR: Yes, what a stupid place to land. You can tell that the Captain is not at the helm, can't you?
ZOE: You knew it would vanish like that, didn't you?
DOCTOR: Well it only does that, you see, if I remember to set the HADS.
ZOE: The what?
DOCTOR: The HADS. The Hostile Action Displacement System. If the TARDIS is attacked, it automatically dematerialises. Now, I think it's safe for us to move now.
Compare & contrast with a similar exchange after the Eleventh Doctor has reasoned with the Ice Warrior Skaldak & averted a potentially very different Cold War from the one history remembers so well.
CLARA: The TARDIS! Where's the TARDIS? You never explained.
DOCTOR: Oh well, don't worry about that.
CLARA: Stop saying that. Where is it?
DOCTOR: Yeah. Well, I wasn't to know, was I?
CLARA: Know what?
DOCTOR: I've been tinkering, breaking her in. I'm allowed.
CLARA: What did you do?
DOCTOR: I reset the HADS.
DOCTOR: I reset the HADS.
CLARA: The what?
DOCTOR: The HADS. The Hostile Action Displacement System. If the TARDIS comes under attack, gunfire, time winds, the sea, it relocates.
CLARA: Oh, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Haven't used it in donkey's years. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Well, never mind, it's bound to turn up somewhere.
Eventually, with a little help, the Gonds reclaim control of their own affairs! Though the man who inspired them is nowhere to be seen to take the plaudits.
ZOE: What made you think of pouring acid on it?
BETA: Well, we reckoned if the Doctor thought it worthwhile experimenting with a few drops, we'd see what a few gallons would do.
DOCTOR: Well done!
ZOE: But how did you know the machine would dissolve?
DOCTOR: Hmm? Well, the machine was eighty percent tellurium, Zoe, and tellurium is soluble in sulphuric acid.
ZOE: But the machine wasn't pure tellurium.
DOCTOR: No, well, the acid wasn't pure sulphuric acid, but it worked didn't it? Come along. Let's get away. I don't like goodbyes.
But he just might be saying hello to this corner of time & space once more soon enough?

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