Synopsis: The TARDIS arrives on a beach of glass on the shore of an acidic sea. They are being stalked by a man in a scuba suit. They find a building, and for some odd reason split up. They are all captured by an old man in robes, except for Ian, who saves the old man from a scuba man. Once he knows he can trust The Doctor and his companions, the old man tells them of his machine which can save his world, but he needs the four keys of marinus to work the machine. The Doctor and his companions are forced into helping the old man.
They modelled this story as each episode is nearly a stand-alone. You have each episode The Doctor and companions are searching for a different key. It’s hard to talk about it as a whole, but the things that stand out to me are:
Using the standard 1960s sci-fi trope of a brain in a jar as the bad guy. Star Trek would later do this much better in “The Gamesters of Triskelion,” and while off the top of my head I can’t place another example, I know I’ve seen it elsewhere. It’s the whole “humanity grows to a point where our brains are too big for our bodies.” Fortunately evolution doesn’t work quite like that, and humanity won’t ever be a brain confined to a jar.
I’m really tired of Susan’s screaming. We’re only five stories into the series, and she is beyond annoying. I think the process is, “we can’t afford something actually scary, so make her scream instead.” Though as I typed that Barbara got caught under a net and was facing a ceiling of knives slowly descending. It was surprisingly shot quite well, until the ceiling started descending and the production values showed. Shakey shakey shakey! While Barbara’s screaming isn’t great, at least it isn’t constant, and actually happens when she’s in danger, rather than when she’s touched by a branch. Isn’t it time for The Doctor to abandon Susan on Earth? Five more serials.
William Hartnell isn’t in episodes three or four.
Episode four gets really heavy as a man tries to kill the whole team of companions while stranding some out in the cold, leaving one with a bag of raw meat to draw in the wild wolves, and to keep Barbara captive to rape her. It’s kind of heavy for a children’s show.
The guards for the key are essentially the Black Knight from Monty Python.
The next two episodes see Ian being incarcerated for a murder he didn’t commit, The Doctor trying to free him, and the mystery leading to the final key. Once they return, they find the old man dead and scuba men have taken over. They trick them into destroying the machine, and escape in a toy TARDIS.