Written by Glyn Jones
Directed by Mervyn Pinfield
The TARDIS crew try to find their way out of the labyrinthine museum as they are hunted by the Moroks and a rebel faction.
“We must break the chain of events leading up to it and going out of here might be just what we‘re not supposed to do.”
I think Robert Shearman is correct. This is a comedy that is directed as a standard episode. We have a bored bureaucrat who thinks back with pride on the military conquests of a now stagnant empire. We have a rebel group composed of young men who have no real cause to rebel against. All they know is that the must rebel, and our characters’ arrival could lead to weaponry that can help them in their cause of rebellion. Finally, we have our regulars who just want to get out of the museum and back to the TARDIS to avoid their horrific fate.
The only problem is that no one can remember the way out of the museum. The Doctor tries to trick Ian into leading the group, but Ian calls him out, accusing The Doctor of not
knowing the way either. Our leads go back and forth between arguing about the way out and trying to decide if they should do anything at all. Any action they take could lead them to being put in the display cases. Likewise, any action they take could lead them away from being put in the display cases. What does one do when confronted with the inevitable? Fight it and change the outcome or not fight it in the assumption that fighting was what led to the outcome. It is a circular problem and Vicki grows quite bored with it. I get the impression she doesn’t care one way or the other what they do, so long as they do something.
Eventually, The Doctor is captured by the rebels. He fakes unconsciousness, which leads to two rebels going off to find something to rouse him, whereupon The Doctor escapes and is promptly captured by the Moroks, the group that runs the museum. He is questioned by the governor/curator Lobos. Lobos hates his job and is just as bored as everyone else. He never wanted to be here. He was assigned to run the museum a long time ago, when it was thought the museum meant something. But, sadly, like many empires, the Moroks grew bored and indifferent with their conquests, and the museum sits largely forgotten. The Doctor suggests Lobos lower the price of admission. Regardless, now having a prisoner, and an uncooperative one at that, Lobos gets the chance to interrogate, which is the first exciting thing that must have happened in years. It is an interesting dynamic when you think about how Doctor Who has developed. We are constantly given the impression that The Doctor travel not to right wrongs in the universe, but because he is bored by staying still and that he wants excitement, adventure, and to see new things. Here, we have a museum populated with workers and rebels who are bored, and The Doctor and his companions are something new, and now everyone wants them and pursues them. The new thing has come to them. It really is funny when you think about it. Sadly, with the comedic undertones of the story, the direction really does hinder the joke.