004 – The Firemaker

In which The Doctor incites a riot and we see that humans never really change.

Ian lights Za's fire

“It is a bad knife!  It does not show what it does!”

Kal is in a particular pickle at the beginning of this episode.  His attempt at a coup is quickly undone when The Doctor tricks him into revealing the knife with which he killed the old woman.  Obviously evolution has yet to produce the criminal mastermind.  The Doctor takes the lead in driving Kal out of the tribe.  Ian then gives Za some free advice.  Kal is not stronger than the entire tribe.  And ultimately, that is the point.  The tribe needs to work together to survive.  Yes, fire is a great help, but without cooperation, the tribe will die.  Sadly, as Za begins to awaken to this fact, the rest of the tribe begins to behave like typical humans, namely complaining about what Za, as leader, has not provided them with.  Za hasn’t given us fire.  Za hasn’t given us fruit.  Za hasn’t given us state-provided health care, and so on.  Perhaps this is the disadvantage to running on a fire-giving campaign just a few episodes earlier.  When Ian starts a fire and gives it to Za so he can appease the people, they soon let it go to their heads.  There is a great moment where Hur brings food to The Doctor and his companions, and says with perfect disdain “we have fire now.”  Obviously the tribe no longer needs these strangers.  Again, humans never really change.

The gift of fire no longer at their disposal, Ian devises a new plan.  Our heroes mount skulls on torches and scare the bejeezus out of the tribe, which allows them to make their escape.  The Doctor starts the TARDIS and they leave this prehistoric era, materializing in some sort of forest.  They are obviously not back in the 1960s and Ian accuses The Doctor of not trying to take them home.  The Doctor claims he cannot take them home until he gets an accurate read on their current location.  Thus, they need to explore once more.  And as the radiation counter says the radiation level is safe, surely nothing could possibly go wrong.

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