Written by Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott
Directed by Michael Imison
The Monoids disembark to Refusis as the humans on board The Ark frantically search for the bomb.
Ignoring the danger implied in the sudden end of Two’s transmission, One decides to go ahead with moving The Monoids to the planet Refusis. Not all Monoids are happy with this plan. Four begins sewing dissention, questioning One’s decisions. I can’t help but wonder if this is where rebellion sometimes lead. The Monoids rebelled against the humans, citing bad leadership and treatment. In truth, the first two episodes didn’t seem to portray The Monoids as beaten and forcibly submissive. The humans seemed quite pleasant. Unless it was the mutated virus which caused the humans to take a less involved approach to daily work. Perhaps, when One says the virus “sapped the energy” of the humans, what he really means is they grew lazy and demanding. Maybe the oppression occurred off-screen during the 700 year gap. This isn’t entirely clear from the script. Regardless, having overthrown one group of leaders who were not worthy, a group of Monoids prepare to subvert another. Is this constantly a threat from a society that rebels? Further rebellion?
Living in America, we learn at a young age that our national identity is tied to the throwing-off of the British rule. In truth, the American Revolution is much more complex than this, but this is how children come away from the history. This is how many Americans see the history. Revolution is a part of our identity. And, truth be told, we love stories about underdogs and rebels. Star Wars and Stargate are both films that involve oppression and rebellion. We have movies about the common man taking on corporations or even a corrupt government. We like our rebels. But given our particular history and the strong patriotization of the rebel story, the threat of rebellion lurks among certain groups, should the government prove too corrupt. Thankfully, this has only happened on other time in American history (The American Civil War). Such a “revolution” at this stage in our history would prove devastating. Yet, as the political rhetoric grows more divisive, I sometimes wonder. We did it once, we can do it again.
This is ultimately what happens to the Monoids, and they become a diminished people. Four, rather than lead a bloody revolution, merely opts to take his group back to The Ark. One refuses to let them go, opting to kill the group instead. It is devastating. It is in this commotion that The Doctor learns the location of the bomb, and contacts Steven. By this time, the humans have escaped the kitchen and are searching for the bomb. A group of humans land on Refusis to rescue The Doctor and Dodo, and everything goes as you would expect. The bomb is found and disposed of, thanks to a Refusian who is as good a deus ex machina as any. The Monoids slaughter each other, leaving a handful of survivors. The humans reassert control. In the end, The Refusians allow the humans to colonize upon the condition that the humans make peace with the Monoids. The humans readily agree. It also helps that the miniaturized Monoids would not have been exposed to the seditious ideas propagated by One and his followers. No, all the humans and Monoids that had been miniaturized, so long as we assume a type of cryogenic storage, would be of the same mentality of those who originally left Earth: Innocent and peaceful. We can hope for this, at least.
The Ark isn’t perfect, but it certainly isn’t the worst of the Hartnell era. There are some great ideas present, even if the narrative cuts some corners or has a few mis-steps. I think the Monoids look good, but they certainly could use a bit of tweaking in the design, particularly where maneuverability is concerned. But this is a fun story and if you can suspend disbelief and modern sensibilities, watching the show with the eyes of a seven year old child, this is a great story.