The Aztecs

Watching Doctor Who: Series 1 Serial 6: The Aztecs

My Synopsis:

The TARDIS manages to land herself in an Aztec reverse locked room puzzle, and the gang find themselves almost instantly separated from her. But Barbara, having stolen a fancy piece of jewellery before being locked out, has been mistaken for a reincarnation of the high priest Yetaxa, and yet gain found herself dolled up in fancy clothes being waited on hand and foot.

Despite her knowledge of history she thinks that she can change the way Aztecs lived on earth, and decides to start a campaign to stop the human sacrificing. It's a less than popular idea and the locals begin to think she might be a false god.

The Temple Of Evil

I'm feeling good about learning things from this serial. And the first few minutes don't disappoint.

I can't help but notice that Susan has yet again managed to put her foot in it... this time getting Barbara "captured" by the Aztecs.

Although she does seem to have settled in rather nicely. Not sure how I'm feeling about them being so manipulative. The Doctor has set Barbara up particularly well to become a bit of an overlord.

So Ian is going to be a warrior? I don't like his odds against this rather smashy warrior. In the mean time they've sent the Doctor off to the garden to relax.

Excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing at Ian's outfit. I wish this wasn't in black and white, I want to see what it looks like properly.

If Barbara is an expert about Aztecs then why on earth is she trying to change their history?! I think this is the first time I've really disagreed with what they've done to a character. Barbara is a history teacher, I can't honestly believe that she would try to change the whole culture of a civilisation like that. Sure, we know now that sacrificing someone to the gods doesn't bring about rain (being gay does... I joke of course!) but rituals are a heavy part of society, you can't just go "save that man" and it'll magically become a more peaceful society.

The Warriors Of Death

So we're greeted with the evil clown that is Tlotoxl once again saying that he'll bring Barbara down. Honestly it's probably a good thing. I'm glad that the Doctor gave her a lecture.

Tlotoxl has a constant look of drunkenness about him. And overacting.

I'm not sure that I'm enjoying this episode. None of the characters have done anything that feels particularly in keeping with what we've seen previously. I'm almost missing Susan's shrieking.

In an effort to protect Ian, the Doctor has managed to get him injured. All during a fight scene that is going on for a painfully long time.

The Bride Of Sacrifice

Barbara is off making enemies, the Doctor is making proposals, and Susan is rejecting them. This episode it dragging in a whole different way to the last one. Nothing of consequence seems to be happening. Just a lot of back and forth on things we've already encountered.

There is some fairly good acting over the weight of that "stone" block in the garden though.

The Day Of Darkness

Ian has been trapped in the tunnel from the garden after the stone was replaced behind him by Ixta. He's now having to try and fathom his way out through some ropey camera effects and what appears to be crawling. There's no real surprise that he ends up back in the tomb.

Ian has been the only slight comic relief for me in these episodes, although I can't help but notice he does like his bit of hiding behind things for the element of surprise.

"History remains unchanged." Somehow, despite the fact that they've been doing a whole lot of meddling. 


I can honestly say that I didn't enjoy this serial. It was sort of expected though. With the historical remit to the series the episodes that reflect this will always have to go a certain way. That means historical "fact" and no sciency-wiency stuff. It's essentially a drama series that happens to start and end with a police box appearing/disappearing somewhere.

As I mentioned near the top, I feel like this one made a complete diversion from the characters that we know. While Barbara has compassion and wants to help people, I can't believe that with what she knows about history that she would want to make such a wild change to a civilisations rituals and belief structure even when faced with a human sacrifice.

It also felt like everyone took off to find some new hobbies rather than actually try and do anything about getting Barbara off her pedestal and back to the TARDIS. Although reading up about the episode I'm left wondering if that was because Susan had taken the TARDIS so she could have her two week holiday and the others were just biding their time until it was back.

When I was doing a good ol' bit of googling about this episode I came across one link that had this listed as its number 10 of best Doctor Who episodes... I am glad that after finding that absolutely ridiculous and doing some more googling that no one else seems to agree with this assertion. That makes me quite happy. Gizmodo have it down at 111, and have pointed out that it's the first time the series deals properly with the subject of not changing time. Even so, I don't think that brings it any higher up my list of favourites.

I'm going to put this one behind me fairly quickly, there's proper timey-wimey stuff coming up in the next one so I've got my fingers crossed I'll enjoy it more.

(As a side note, it's really annoying me that I can't think of a pun for this blog's title.)


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