Monday, September 21, 2009

5th Doctor - The Eye of the Scorpion

Serial 6Q/B – The Eyes of Scorpius
The Eyes of Scorpius
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Scarabs

Serial 6Q/B – The Eyes of Scorpius -

The Doctor and Peri flee Mars and the Ice Cream Vendors, setting the TARDIS for the hottest climate it can find in the hope there will be no boring-confectionery-making monsters there.

The TARDIS re-materializes in an abandoned house in Egypt, circa 1400 BC – much to Peri's annoyance, as she's definitely sure they're on Earth this time.

The Doctor realizes that he has neglected to reset the "Hot Chick In Distress" sensor from the coordinate program and the TARDIS has locked onto a teenage girl in an out of control chariot being chased by Ancient Egyptian paparazzi.

With the cunning of Wile E. Coyote, the Doctor and Peri managed to wipe out the gutter press and save the girl, who immediately orders he take her to Thebes. When the Doctor learns this isn't a euphemism of some sort, he gets rather depressed.

Peri quickly works out from the enthusiastic greetings, palace guards and souvenir mugs that the girl they have rescued is Pharaoh, Living God and Jailbait Queen Eminemushinteperem, who offers the Doctor dinner in return for keeping shtum about the fact a deity needed help from tourists to survive a chariot chase.

Peri, oddly enough, has a completely encyclopedic memory of Egypt's female Pharaohs, and has never heard of Eminem and realizes that the Doctor saving her life has changed the course of history as she knows it. The Doctor shrugs and is certain fate or destiny or somesuch crap will prevent her from taking the throne. In the meantime, he wants to get down and enjoy Egyptian hospitality from the topless temple prostitutes that, by law, line the dinner hall.

But, no sooner has the Doctor replaced his stick of celery with a cartouche he nicked off High Priest Amazulu when he wasn't looking, a deranged psycho fan attacks Eminem. Unimpressed by such John Lennon syndrome, the Doctor wrestles with him and gets stabbed in the gut. Yes, again. This time, with poison!

With only minutes to live, the Doctor requests he be allowed to watch the Egyptian hookers get it on before he dies. Awkward and embarrassed, everyone else leaves the dining chamber as the ever-weakening Time Lord settles down to watch the show.

For want of a conversational topic, Eminem mentions there is an army of mercenaries is massing outside the city of Thebes, under the leadership of the brutal Yanis – and there's already a "debate" in the council of priests over Eminem's right to take the throne. When she asks Peri for her advice, all she gets is: "Just act like we're not here and do what comes natural."

With a shrug, Eminem agrees and decides to go and freak out her old pals who were forced to work as eunuchs because she never really liked them BEFORE she became a living god. But that's nothing compared to the fact she slaughtered the rest of her family to make sure she was the only living heir to the throne. Meanwhile, Peri admits she is neither the Doctor's wife, concubine, nor slave but merely a travelling companion – the lowest possible standing for a woman in Thebes.

Luckily, this awkward gap in the conversation is filled by an attack of thousands of possessed scorpions, ruled by their psychotic half-Scarran god, PVC-clad Nosferatu Nightmare Scorpius! Scorpius explains that he was just minding his own business, peacefully committing acts of temporal genocide when he slipped on a banana peel and plummeted through a wormhole here.

As one God to another, Eminem tells Scorpius he's getting a little wrinkly around the eyes. This devastates him and he collapses in grief, allowing Peri and Eminem to leave in safety as all the scorpions try to cheer up their manic-depressed god.

Eminem and Peri return to the throne room to find that the mercenary army is winning the war – mainly because no one else actually knew that there was a war on at all.

Luckily, the Doctor – feeling much better after some SERIOUS self-gratification – emerges from the dining hall and, together with Amazulu grabs a chariot and single-handedly infiltrate the mercenary camp and devastate the army via a novelty alarm clock from Thalargo Beta. He then gives Scorpius his cartouche in return for sending all the scorpions to kill the rebels.

With that problem solved in under fifteen minutes, the Doctor decides to pad out the rest of the episode by dealing with Eminem's remaining troubles – namely the controversy over a female's right to rule as Pharaoh, and the Soap Opera revelation that Amazulu is Eminem's half-brother on the prostitute's side. The Doctor convinces the people of Egypt that the gods want Eminem as Pharaoh by placing a photo of the desert at night outside the window – or, as these brutish, primitive foreigners think, by creating an eclipse.

Finally, the Doctor collects a handy Atlantean super-weapon from the Sphinx's nether-regions and blows Scorpius into some sloppy green muck. The scorpions thus commit mass-suicide in their despair. The Doctor laughs loudly and uses the super-weapon to changes the face of the Sphinx to that of Cerebus the Aardvark.

However, Peri reminds the Doctor that he's just ensured that Eminem will now become Pharaoh and destabilize the whole space-time continuum. The Doctor smacks his forehead, complaining that he knew he'd forgotten something. Eschewing the subtle option, he head-buts Eminem unconscious and drags her into the TARDIS, laughing insanely...

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who – Walk Like An Egyptian
It's Good To Be Pharaoh
The abandoned 301st issue of Cerebus the Aardvark, where Cerebus realizes the Sphinx has his face and desperately renders it unrecognizable as he is rather disappointed with the size of the snout

Fluffs – Davison seemed out of it for most of this story
"It's a tlick - a rie! Blut kleep doing rit anyvay!"

Goofs -
The Doctor complains that only seeing a lesbian orgy can save his life well BEFORE he's actually in danger.

Technobabble -
The Doctor reverses the inhibitor cache control of the stasis box's telepathic inhibitor which allows him to kick some serious ass.

Links and References -
The Doctor explains that there are any number of university chancellors throughout time and space who owe him favors. What these favors actually are, I shudder to think.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor mentions that the last time the "Hot Chick in Distress" sensor was used, the TARDIS landed in a 20th century Parisian tunnel right in front of a limousine. As it occurred during his first body, he regularly bragged that the unfortunate crash they caused had no historical import at all.

Groovy DVD Extras -
A full-length interview with Cerebus creator Dave Sims from his padded cell as he finds someone humiliating his character in a way NOT already used in the last twenty-seven years.

Dialogue Disasters -

Eminem: You could tell me why the Doctor seems to have two hearts?
Peri: Because he has two hearts.
Eminem: Oh. That makes sense.

Amazulu: Surely you're not jealous of the Pharaoh's new friends?
Yanis: I'm NOT jealous! Envious, maybe, but never jealous!!

Eminem: 'Ere, 'oo are yew, mother fucker?

Dialogue Triumphs -

Amazulu: For God's sake, Jim, I'm a backing singer, not a soldier!

Eminem: What did the concubines do to you?
Doctor: Let's just say I lost my virginity six corridors, three floors and two hours ago.
Peri: You're a virgin?!
Doctor: Well, since I've rewritten history fifteen damn times today, I think we should all keep an open mind. Either way, I've covered all eventualities.

Eminem: Elvis is a very strange name for a King.
Elvis: Well, Eminem is a mighty strange name for a female Pharaoh!

The Doctor's final words to the palace concubines -
"We will all go down together."

Viewer Quotes -

"Look at the size of that nose! Cut Cerebus some slack DAMN IT!"
- Cerebus the Aardvark/Prime Minister/Pope/Barman/Loser (2003)

"The Eyes of Scorpius has got a certain earnest innocence that makes it pretty hard to dislike, even though it's clearly flawed. It just gives off a vibe of someone who liked every character that they were writing, and wanted to give it a classic feel that's charming even when it's cliched. Of course, the hookers and gratuitous public nudity helped. Eminem was hot but is she really a strong enough character to become a companion? Well... who cares? Seriously!"
- Nigel Verkoff Esq. (2004)

"Considering how the continuity of the Fifth Doctor era gives little room to maneuver, Iain McLaughlin's The Eyes of Scorpius takes the bold step of introducing a new companion in the form of foul-mouthed teenage Pharaoh Eminem. Her courtly background of violence and swearing are a reminder of Nyssa, even if it's tempered by the plain-self-serving psychosis she shares with Turlough. Very much a distillation of companions, she may offer little new for the Fifth Doctor to respond to; his is a character who badly needs an inquisitive Evelyn Smythe or a nymphomaniac Charley Pollard travelling in his TARDIS."
- A letter from Maggie Staples and India Fisher to Gay Russell (2001)

"I particularly liked the integration of scorpions into the overall threat, although I didn’t feel that the scorpions played a big enough role to merit the title. Our appetites were well wetted in episodes 1-3 concerning the building mystery surrounding the strange scorpions discovered in the desert. But then we had a real clanger of a speech in the first couple of minutes of episode 4, when they just upped and committed the most unconvincing mass scorpion suicide all week."
- Scorpion Lovers Monthly (2006)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"This story didn't impress me. You think sheep are easily led? Try pretending to be a scorpion god – heck, K9 could have done that! Scorpions, man. So much venom, so much naivete."

Peter Davison Speaks!
"The Eyes of Scorpius was an excellent story – more chariot acting than corridor acting. But I do prefer Earth-based stories. So much less acting to do. I remember thinking that this story redefined my Doctor. I mean, he went from this rather frantic, feckless, innocent kinda guy to this super-human, military mastermind invulnerable to all poisons and using useful Atlantean machine guns to deface public property. But, heck, sessions with the concubines can do that to a guy."

Nicola Bryant Speaks!
"Peri was very passive in this story, I thought. In the first draft she shaved her head, took off her bra and just stood there jiggling up and down for ninety minutes for no apparent reason. It wasn't difficult to strengthen the character – by the thirteenth rewrite I actually got some dialogue."

Caroline Morris Speaks!
"Eminem is brilliantly-written character – any actress reading that role would go 'Wow! What a great character! What skunkweed is the author on and where can I get some?' It's great being a Doctor Who companion, except that Maggie Staples and India Fisher kept sending me death threats, telling me that I would have to pay my 'dues'. Sadly, they rang up the wrong Eminem and are now under 24-hour police surveillance. Funny how things turn out like that."

Rumors & Facts -

Desperate to do some Fifth Doctor and Peri audios, in 1999 producer Gay Russell decided to create an evil elemental being known as Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass that could pervert the Doctor's destiny away from TV continuity onto a new path. Realizing that the events of The Phantom of Androzani now no longer necessarily happened as shown on television, Russell went into a panic at having effectively de-canonized the remaining three Doctors Big Finish used.

However, Jason Haigh-Ellery went insane with power – they had totally free control over the adventures of the Fifth Doctor and Peri, and they didn't have to pussy-foot around the lead actor like the Eighth. Thus, Big Finish decided to make a companion the next suitable character the Fifth Doctor and Peri encountered.

Unfortunately, that submission was The Henry VIII of Death by Iain McLaughlin, whose previous attempts A Stitch In Time (a rewrite of The Twin Double-D Dilemma for the Sixth Doctor and Peri) and The Lonesome Warrior (featuring the Sixth Doctor spending four episodes assuming gung-ho poses in front of the mirror) were burnt on consecrated ground.

The Henry VIII of Death featured the Time Lords forcing the Fifth Doctor to become the king's seventh wife while Peri looked on. The next submission, also by McLaughlin was Doctor Who Versus Poldaark in a straightforward rip-off of 1966's The Snugglers. McLaughlin justified this choice as The Snugglers was a missing story only available on audio. Russell reminded McLaughlin that if they DID make Doctor Who Versus Poldaark, it would be on audio as well.

Amazingly enough, the third submission by McLaughlin was Doctor Who Discovers Ancient Egypt Is Rather Boring, and revolved around the time travelers being bored out of their skulls as the female Pharoh Killing Hiedi fought to retain her position at any cost.

McLaughlin previously had submitted Doctor Who Versus Gilligan's Island during 1988 and was told by Andrew Cartmel to piss off to Casualty with such awful ideas. Bill Baggs said something similar to him when he tried a sequel to The Airzone Solution, The Stranger Versus Captain Hairspray.

JHE commented that he found it unusual that an Egyptian woman of the 14th century would be named after a mediocre 21st century pop group. McLaughlin duly changed the character's name from Killing Hiedi to Eminem, which the public did not pick-up on until he explained the gag in Doctor Who Audio Scripts 3: This Time It's Personal.

The difficult decision of casting Erimem when JHE remembered Caroline Morris – the famous Who-Stabber of Olde London Town, who had slaughtered fifteen Romanas, twelve Aces, four Jos and an Adric for daring to look at her boyfriend during a Panopticon 2000 convention. JHE believed Morris had the real mass-murdering qualities and god complex needed to convey a power-mad 13th century Pharoah.

Once again the Big Finish publicity machine totally failed to give Eminem's arrival the slightest bit of attention, and Russell crowed that this was a triumph of spoiler protection! No one knew that Eminem would become a companion!

Sadly, however, no one really cared.

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