While waiting for “Kinda” and “Snakedance” to be released next month, I’ve decided to kill the time by watching select stories a second time. (I’m still quite new to the world of Doctor Who, you know, and have seen very few of the stories more than once.) For reasons of my own, I decided to watch “The Keeper of Traken.” “The Keeper of Traken” is one of the earliest stories I decided to watch, because it came in a boxed set featuring the regeneration from the Fourth Doctor to the Fifth. It was also, in fact, my first exposure to The Master.

I liked it when I first saw it, but I like it much more now. I think I initially watched it too soon in my Doctor Who viewing to get the full level of enjoyment out of it. Companions generally have one adventure with the Doctor before they are officially (or “unofficially”) granted “companion” status. This phenomenon is even recognized by the Timelords who, when wiping Jamie and Zoe’s memories, allowed them to remember “The Highlanders” and “The Wheel in Space” respectively. Just as I consider “The Ark” Dodo’s first adventure as a companion and “The Tomb of the Cybermen” Victoria’s first adventure as a companion, so too do I now consider “The Keeper of Traken” to be Adric’s first adventure as a companion. That, plus it’s Nyssa’s initial adventure.

First time through I wasn’t paying too much attention to Tremas and wasn’t expecting [SPOILER] The Master to steal his body, nor (for whatever reason) did I expect this version of The Master to last as long as he did. How does that work, anyway? Did Tremas all of a sudden grow an extra heart when the Master took his body over? If not, how did The Master reacquire his second heart? Or do Trakenites (Trakonians?) just naturally have two hearts?

It’s times like this I really mourn the loss of the old board. I know I posted a “Doctor Who Reactions” thread about “The Keeper of Traken” when I first watched it a few years ago. I would really like to be able to go back and read my thoughts after seeing it for the first time. Ah, well.

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I don't think they ever exactly explained how the Master took over Tremas' body or whether the Master was physically a Time Lord or a Trakenite during that period.

 

Since the Time Lords resurrected the Master (a younger version of the Derek Jacoby Master, perhaps?) to fight in the Time War, I assumed they resurrected him as a Time Lord.

Knowing his penchant for anagram aliases, I have to wonder if the Master specifically searched all of time and space for a suitable candidate to take over whose name was an anagram for "Master".
Makes you wonder what Bruce the Ambulance Driver's last name was.
The Time Lords resurrected The Master to fight in the Time War? I guess I had forgotten that detail. Okay, from Derek Jacoby onwards, then, definitely a Time Lord. The “burn victim” Master (as played by Geoffrey Beevers in “Traken”) was said to be at the end of his 12 regeneration. Does that make Roger Delgado the 11th or the 12th? Here’s how I look at it: Roger Delgado played the 12th and final regeneration of The Master. Then something (something as yet unrevealed) happened between “Frontier in Space” and “The Deadly Assassin” causing him try to regenerate a 13th time. The regeneration failed, but he somehow survived in a hideously deformed state.

“Tremas,” then, is the 14th Master (the 13th “regeneration,” although I’m not sure this technically counts as such. It is the 14th Master which bedevils the Fourth through Seventh Doctors, and is presumably the one put to death after his trial on Skarro in the TV movie (which I still haven’t watched since it was recently released on DVD). Somehow (I forget the specifics) he was able to regenerate into the 15th Master, as played by Eric Roberts. Presumably it is this Master who regenerates into the 16th, Derek Jacoby, making John Simm the 17th Master. Right?

I have to wonder if the Master specifically searched all of time and space for a suitable candidate to take over whose name was an anagram for "Master".

But wasn’t The Master’s plan to take over The Doctor’s body (or at least the rest of his regeneration cycle)? Then again, how could it have been, since the Doctor was brought to Traken by The Keeper, and not The Master at all? I’m so confused.


The Baron said:
Makes you wonder what Bruce the Ambulance Driver's last name was.

Bruce Gerhardt. Sorry, Baron.
That's OK, I totally didn't get it.
Ah, I see - you were talking about Bruce Gerhardt, the CPA in Encinitas! Ah-hah-hah-hah-hah! Wait, I still don't get it.
I'm sorry because Bruce's last name, Gerhardt, means "Spear Hard" (or some form of that, depending on the website you check) and not "Master."

Ah, I didn't remember Bruce's last name being given. I shall have to watch it again.

But wasn’t The Master’s plan to take over The Doctor’s body (or at least the rest of his regeneration cycle)? Then again, how could it have been, since the Doctor was brought to Traken by The Keeper, and not The Master at all? I’m so confused.

Watched 3/4 of "Logopolis" last night. The Master must have been tapping into the Doctor's thoughts somehow (or otherwise has foreknowledge of the Doctor's movements). How else would he have known which exact police box the Doctor would materialize his TARDIS around and when? The Doctor even says something along the lines of, "We're both Time Lords. In many respects we have the same brain."

"something (something as yet unrevealed) happened between “Frontier in Space” and “The Deadly Assassin”"

 

I tend to think it was THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU (see the movie, you'll see what I mean).

More from the blog...

Philip Sandifer:
"if we take Asylum seriously and assume that the Doctor knows Nyssa is a companion from the start, does the Doctor’s not taking Nyssa with him at the end of this story constitute a deliberate attempt to alter history?"

Ah, now I know you're not talking about the Amicus film. That one's got Geoffrey Bayldon in it, who turns out to be quite NUTS, and he even gets to KILL JESUS before it's over. No, really. All to the tune of Mussorgsky. (Come to think of it, "Doctor Who" is in that movie, too!)


"Of course, the idea that he’s just grumpy about losing Romana is probably the better account."

Of course. By my account, only twice in 26 tv seasons did he really fall in love, and this was the 2nd time he lost one.


"the debate really centers on the desire of some fans to have a reason to tell other fans they’re wrong about something"

You should see the arguments at the IMDB regarding Peter Davison (or Colin Baker).


"There’s something very Shakespearean about this story: the plot. In the end this is a story about a dying king and a battle of succession."

Yes, I really noticed that tonight. that and the way that, of all the stories this season, this is the one that most feels like a videotaped stage play. (And I've seen more Shakespeare in the last 10 years than in the 40 before that.)


"The only difference is that in Shakespeare the stranger whose arrival kicks things off would have been a secret heir to the throne and ultimately the suitor of Nyssa, not the Doctor."

I keep thinking Adric should have stayed behind with Nyssa.


"What we have here is another deliberate and carefully measured step along a well considered reinvention of what Doctor Who is and should be in the 1980s. For the first time in years we have a coherent vision of what Doctor Who is being executed with reliable competence by the production team. This is a crowning glory for the show."

Maybe. But of late, I'm finding myself partly wishing it had never happened.


Alan:
"So this fairy tale princess (complete with a tiara and a poofy skirt), who was born and raised on a world that hardly knows what war or violence are, calmly goes home and assembles a stun gun out of ordinary household tools before staging a one-woman jailbreak. That's practically Leela territory as far as I'm concerned!"

Wonderful! I love that sequence. Particularly, when she has the guy toss the key on the ground, apparently because she KNOWS they'll try to do something when she bends down to get it, giving her an excuse to open fire. After, note Tremas putting his arm around her and smiling with pride, to which The Doctor says, "Remind me never to fall out with your daughter."


By the way, I wonder what anyone here might think of the one reviewer at Page Fillers who felt this was actually the worst-plotted, though best-produced of Johnny Byrne's 3 WHO scripts? He ran down a list of identical plot elements in all 3 stories. Reminded me of when I watched 3 different Paddy Chayefsky movies on TCM within a few months of each other.

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