Sunday, March 1

Updates, etc!

Hello! Not sure how many people actually subscribe to this thing via RSS (does anyone use RSS any more? Is that still a thing?) but in case you are one of those people (and I appreciate it if you are! thanks!) then please update your link to! This clunky old blogspot page will be kept up to date no more, alas.

The good news is, there is a new post up on the shiny new URL - - for you to enjoy! Thanks again for sticking around! You're great!


Sunday, August 3

The Gunfighters Part 3/4: Johnny Ringo

Hello hello! We rejoin the gang in the 19th century Wild West. To recap: the Doctor is in jail, because some cowboys thought he was a guy who shot their brother; Dodo is kind of half-kidnapped, half-adopted by the guy who actually shot the cowboys' brother (and also his morally ambiguous singer girlfriend), and Steven has been accosted by the cowboy brothers and is being used as bait to lure the Doctor out of prison.

The bad-guy cowboys, the Clanton brothers, have gathered up an angry mob who all really dislike Doc Holliday, the guy who they think the Doctor is. They're all milling around outside the jailhouse, and they shout in to the Doctor, the Sheriff and Wyatt Earp (the Marshall/generic good guy) that if they don't send the Doctor out in two minutes, they're going to kill Steven instead. The Doctor, to his credit, is doing his best to try and get out there and talk to the angry mob, but the good-guy cowboys tell him that's a terrible idea. The Doctor calls them 'insufferable' and stands in the corner in a huff.

So Wyatt Earp sneaks outside and creeps up behind one of the Clanton brothers and knocks him out with a terribly anti-climactic light tap on the head. Once the brother (who I think was Phineas but also I'm pretty sure they're just interchangeable) has fallen dramatically forwards into the crowd, Wyatt Earp says something vaguely heroic and frees Steven from the noose that the mob had put around his neck. The other brothers retaliate with some angry things, but they're interrupted by the little timid barman, Charlie, running up to them. He tells them all that the Doctor, who is still huffing away in his corner in the jailhouse, isn't the real Doc Holliday, because the real Doc Holliday just shot their mate Seth in Charlie's bar. The Clanton brothers are suspicious at first, but Charlie wins them over with a stunning display of logic.

IKE CLANTON: What makes you think it ain't him?
CHARLIE: Well on account of Doc Holliday just bein' in the bar!
BILLY CLANTON: You're drunk!
CHARLIE: If I'm drunk, your friend Seth Harper's still alive... which he ain't.


So the Clanton cowboys head back to the bar (after a little more squaring up to Wyatt Earp) and the good guy cowboys (and Steven) pick up an unconscious Phineas Clanton and lock him in a jail cell. The Doctor, as always, acts like the whole thing was his plan and the others just carried it out wrong. He acts very dismissive of the whole thing and haughtily tells Wyatt Earp that they'll be leaving tomorrow. (Why not right then?? Also can these two grown men please wonder where 16-year-old Dodo is?)

Ah, never mind: Steven and the Doctor head back to the bar and talk about how Dodo probably spent the evening in her room (probably doing her hair or something, eh lads?), but Charlie the barman, ever-present, overhears and tells them that, unfortunately, Dodo is now best mates with Doc Holliday and Kate, and left with them when Doc Holliday shot Seth. Steven flounders a little, and says that surely Dodo left a message or something. Charlie gently reminds him that if you're involved in murder, you don't tend to linger.

The Doctor, hilariously, doesn't see a problem with this. The actual line he says:

DOCTOR: Now don't be ridiculous; Doc Holliday's a great friend of mine. He gave me a gun, he extracted my tooth, good gracious me, what more do you want?!

Meanwhile, Doc Holliday, Kate and Dodo have ridden to one town over, a place called Richmond, and I... kind of just want Dodo to run away with them and to become a fierce cowboy lady because that would be super cool. Imagine it! She softens Kate's heart and they have a rockin' mother/daughter-but-best-friend kind of relationship, and Doc Holliday teaches her how to shoot and ride a horse and be badass, and they're like a little family of vicious killer outlaws! THAT WOULD BE SO GOOD. But I digress.

The three of them go into a hotel in Richmond, one town over from Tombstone (where all the rest of the action was happening). Kate is ripping into Doc Holliday a little because she thinks they're not far enough away, but Doc Holliday brushes it off, and tells her that they'll have to go back soon enough. Dodo chimes in and is all, "And I have to go back to my friends!" You're wrong, Dodo, but I appreciate that you're trying.

The brothers Clanton (the two that aren't in prison, anyway) also meet up with Daddy Clanton back in the saloon and tell him what's going on. Clanton Senior is displeased with his wussy sons, and ominously tells them that he's going to have to hire Johnny Ringo, who I'm sure is a real-life infamous cowboy that I've never heard of, but I don't have the internet connection to look that up right now (later edit: yep). After downing like three shots each, the three of them leave. They probably spent less than a minute in the bar. Cowboys are weird.

Later that evening (I assume), who should happen to stop by the bar than Johnny Ringo himself! What a coincidence. Charlie the barman kind of fanboys him a little bit and tells him that the Clanton brothers were here looking for him earlier! Johnny Ringo says that he doesn't really care, he's got stuff to do. Charlie ignores the fact that Ringo definitely doesn't want to talk, and tells him that the Clanton brothers are after Doc Holliday, and Johnny Ringo goes all menacing and says that Doc Holliday is his and the Clanton brothers have to STAY AWAY. Charlie pours a drink all over himself from nerves, and stutters about how he can't wait to see Wyatt Earp's face when he hears Johnny Ringo is going after Doc Holliday too. Johnny Ringo apparently feels like Charlie talks too much, because he jokes with him a little, walks away to go upstairs, and then shoots Charlie dead. Oh, Charlie!

The morning after, the Doctor and Steven come downstairs for breakfast (I still don't understand why they didn't just sleep in the TARDIS but whatever) and are shocked and distressed when they see Charlie still slumped over the bar. Johnny Ringo, who had been lurking ominously in the shadows, springs up and tells them that the only person who would shoot an unarmed barman is definitely Doc Holliday. Steven is all, 'Hey, cool, you know Doc Holliday? Us too!' and Johnny Ringo gets all possessive of Doc Holliday again. The Doctor, for once, seems to actually know what's going on and tries to calm the situation by telling Ringo that they just want their friend back and they're not planning on harming Doc Holliday at all, they just want to reason with him. Johnny Ringo thinks this is pretty funny, and offers to let Steven ride with him.

JOHNNY RINGO: There's just one thing: if you get between me and him, boy, don't go looking for me to hold my fire. I'd blast you down as soon as spit at you.
STEVEN: ... Thanks.
DOCTOR: Disgusting habit.

While Steven and the most feared cowboy in all the land (probably) head off to Richmond, the Doctor goes back to the jailhouse to tell Sheriff Masterson and Wyatt Earp what's going down. They sigh wearily a lot, but nonetheless go to try and stop everyone from killing each other in Richmond, leaving Wyatt Earp's little brother in charge.

Back with the only interesting characters in this thing, Dodo storms into Doc Holliday's hotel room with a cheerful 'Morning! Take me back to my friends today now please." Doc Holliday tells her that he does intend to take her back, but he'll do it on his own time. And then she pulls a gun on him! My dreams of them becoming a cute family of outlaws are becoming a reality! Doc Holliday earns himself a place in my heart by humouring her and agreeing to take her back right away (he later reveals he had a gun himself the whole time), while Kate stays in Richmond.

After what I can only imagine to be a very quiet and awkward ride, Johnny Ringo and Steven arrive in Richmond too. They decide to split up; Steven heads off and Johnny Ringo goes to explore a saloon but before he can, he catches sight of Kate! And it turns out the two of them used to be a thing! (We know this because there's an annoying song that runs through the entire serial that I don't think I've mentioned. It's the same four lines of music and they just put plot-relevant lyrics to it. Three episodes in and it's getting reeeeally old.)

So Johnny Ringo catches Kate's arm and makes some vaguely threatening remarks concerning Doc Holliday. Kate tells him that Doc Holliday left her for Dodo as soon as they left Tombstone, and they're both headed to New Mexico. Johnny Ringo frowns and says that in that case, the new plan is the three of them head back to Tombstone. Kate (who I really like, she gets stuff done) demands to know what any of this has to do with her, and Johnny Ringo basically says that if she doesn't get back with him then he's going to kill her. So he's definitely not as good as the other murderous cowboy that Kate hangs out with - at least Doc Holliday RESPECTS HER AUTONOMY.

Back at the jailhouse where Wyatt Earp's little brother was left in charge, Clanton Brother II (I've given up on names) is still locked up. He's trying to bait Baby Earp, telling him that Wyatt Earp is a bad brother for leaving him behind on his own. Baby Earp says that that's exactly what the other Clantons have done to Clanton II - but then the other Clantons bang through the door! Clanton II smiles smugly.

The other Clantons demand to know where the keys are. Baby Earp hesitantly tells them that they're on the table. They make him pick the keys up, and Baby Earp tries to go for his gun, but one of the other Clantons shoots him dead before he gets chance! Ahh unlucky, he barely had five minutes of screen time. So they free Clanton II from the jail cell and the annoying song comes in to sing the episode closed!

One episode left! I'm still holding out for a Doc Holliday/Kate/Dodo kickass outlaw family. It could happen. You don't know.


Saturday, March 29

The Gunfighters Part 2/4: Don't Shoot the Pianist

So! Steven and Dodo have been forced at gunpoint into their new professions of singer and pianist respectively, and three homicidal brothers and their similarly-homicidal mate are waiting to kill the Doctor, who they think is another guy whose name is Doc Holliday. The Doctor, who just had a tooth forcibly pulled out of his head because he bit into a toffee in slightly the wrong way, is on the way to the saloon where the homicidal cowboys and his musical companions are.

Also on the way to the saloon, though, is Kate, the singer in the bar and Doc Holiday's girlfriend. She rocks up into the club like something from a Ke$ha song, waves at the Clanton brothers to put their guns away, and demands to know why Steven is singing when that's her job. The barman, Charlie, nervously tells her that the Clanton brothers were just doing a thing, but she dismisses that as foolishness and tells Steven and Dodo to get away from the piano.

The Wild West seems to have made Dodo stupid, because she protests that she was having fun and doesn't want to stop? Okay never mind about all the guns pointed at you, Dodo. She gives in when Steven tells her to go upstairs, but then when Steven goes to follow her, Kate stops him and tells him (while holding a gun to his stomach) that he'll be playing the piano while she sings. Dodo, determined to be a big idiot this episode, goes off in a huff.

DODO: Well thank you and goodnight!
DODO: Well it's quite alright Steven, don't mind me! Just have a good time with your new friends!

So Dodo storms upstairs and Steven rocks it on the keys while Kate dances on the bar. I don't think she has any motive other than getting her groove on, because when the song has finished, the Doctor walks in, applauding, and tells Steven and Kate what a great little duo they make.

Seth Harper goes up to him and makes vaguely threatening remarks without straight up saying 'Yo we're going to shoot you dead, Doc Holliday,' and the Doctor seems to think that this is just how humans are pleasant to one another and happily asks Seth to get him a glass of milk, and also if he'd introduce the Doctor to the three cowboy dudes looming around him. Seth tells the Doctor that the cowboy dudes are actually the Clanton brothers, and the Doctor finally seems to realise that maybe he fucked up a little.

He still doesn't figure out the silly Doctor/Doc Holliday thing for another few minutes, and when he finally gets it and tells the Clanton brothers (and Seth) that they have the wrong Doctor, none of them believe him. Kate, weirdly, simultaneously tells the Clanton brothers that the Doctor IS Doc Holliday, and also helps the Doctor by lining all the Clantons (and Seth) up against the piano and taking their guns. Still not sure whose side she's on. Also, during this kerfuffle, Dodo comes out of her room to see what all the noise is, and the real Doc Holliday sneaks up the stairs, points a gun at her, and takes her back into her room. I'm displeased with where this could go.

Back downstairs, Sheriff Masterson and Good Guy Wyatt Earp have walked in. The Sheriff doesn't have a clue what's happening so just confiscates everyone's guns to make himself feel better - Wyatt Earp seems to be the only one who understands the situation (I think?) and tells the Doctor he's going to have to arrest him, and they leave the saloon.

When they reach the jail, they put the Doctor in the cell and Wyatt Earp fills the Sheriff in on everything. They both seem to think the Doctor is a good guy, but refuse to let him out of the cell for his own safety because most of the town thinks he's some crazy killer cowboy dude.

Back upstairs at the Last Chance Saloon, Doc Holliday has locked himself in a room with Dodo, but thankfully doesn't seem to have any sinister motives towards her because he's just ignoring her, occasionally telling her to chill out when she asks what the deal is. Kate of the Ambiguous Morals joins them and is similarly dismissive when Dodo tries to find out what's going on. Doc Holliday's solution is to... play cards with them? And then he really, really wants a drink so he sneaks past the murderous brothers downstairs to go back to his office at the dental surgery to fetch a bottle of whiskey, leaving Dodo with Kate.

Wyatt Earp, still apparently the only character who makes sense, is waiting for him there. They have a big old chat, and Wyatt Earp tells him to leave the town Or Else. The conversation lasts about three minutes, but that's the gist of it. Meanwhile, Steven has been left at the bar with the Clantons, and somehow they're convincing him to break into the jail where the Doctor is being kept? And Steven is responding in a way that could either be super sarcastic or just pretty thick, so I don't really know whether he's buying it.

IKE: You take this gun up to the Jailhouse and slip it through the cell window to Holliday.
BILLY: And he says, "Open the door or I'll shoot!"
STEVEN: Uh-huh. And where do you guys come in?
IKE: We wait outside the Jailhouse in case anything goes wrong.
PHINEAS: Yeah, so we can prevent a miscarriage of justice!
BILLY: To welcome him back to society.
STEVEN: Oh! Not to gun him down?
IKE: Why would we do a thing like that? You say he ain't Holliday - okay, he's got nothin' to fear! What do ya say?
STEVEN: It sounds like a pretty foolproof idea!

Either way, Steven heads out of the saloon and one of the Clanton brothers (Phineas) follows him.

Back upstairs, and in a stunning nod to the Bechadel test, Dodo is doing Kate's hair and they're talking about boys. Kate is saying how she wants to marry Doc Holliday and she thinks maybe he's going to settle down after his life of crime. Before Dodo can chime in with how cute she thinks cowboys are, Doc Holliday walks in and tells Kate to pack a bag because they're leaving town, as per Wyatt Earp's instructions.

Dodo is all, "Hey yo dudes where do I fit into your plan of running away into the night, being your captive and all?" and before Doc Holliday can give her a good answer, Kate looks out of the window and sees a BLOODTHIRSTY MOB that the Clanton brothers seem to have gathered in the last few minutes, with Steven (who Phineas grabbed and brought back) tied up on a horse as some kind of bait for the Doctor.

DODO: They've got Steven!
DOC HOLLIDAY: They've got my operating chair! Wait here!

So Doc Holliday goes downstairs while Kate shouts after him. Seth Harper is hanging back in the saloon for one last drink before he joins the crazy mob party, and hears Kate call Doc Holliday 'Doc'. He does a double-take, and asks Doc Holliday if he's the real actual Doc Holliday. Doc Holliday says, yup, that's him, and shoots Seth dead. Charlie, the timid barman, is a mess by this point.

Kate and Dodo run downstairs after hearing the shot and Doc Holliday tells Kate to run and saddle up three horses, cos they have to get out of town ASAP and they're taking Dodo with them. For some reason.

The mob finally arrives at the jailhouse where the Doctor is being held. Sheriff Masterson and Wyatt Earp are there, and open the Doctor's cell so he can peer out of the door with them. Ike Clanton shouts in that if they don't send the Doctor out in two minutes, then they're going to kill Steven. What a gosh-darned tricky situation.

This episode was a tough one to get through, which is why it's taken so long to get this post up. This serial is rocking a 5/10 at the moment, but we'll see how it goes. Two more episodes left! Catch ya later, partners.


Sunday, January 26

The Gunfighters Part 1/4: A Holiday For The Doctor

A new serial! Can you imagine! By the title this seems like it's going to be another one of those episodes where the Doctor just wanders off on his own and we don't see him for a few episodes. No wonder the show is called Doctor Who - I can barely remember who he is. Haha no but seriously jokes on Doctor Who where the punchline is 'Doctor Who?' are the worst thing in the world and they make me want to vomit up everything I've ever eaten in my whole life. Let's move on.

The episode begins with a shot from under a wagon of a traditional western set-up: dusty road, saloon entrance, rocks. And there are horses! Actual real-life horses being ridden by three dudes, one of whom shoots a sign with his real-life cowboy gun. One of the other dudes tells him off, saying he should 'save his bullets for Holliday,' so maybe the title is a clever wordplay! That'd be nice.

The three of them are speaking in absolutely atrocious southern American accents, and I think they're brothers. The youngest (who shot the sign) is Billy, the middle one is Phineas and the oldest one (who told Billy off) is Ike. They used to have another brother called Reuben, but this Holliday guy shot him? I think. They're all on their way to meet a guy called Seth.

PHINEAS: Where do we all meet up with Seth?
IKE: The Last Chance Saloon.
BILLY: Why do we need Seth Harper?
PHINEAS: Oh, Pa’s paying him, and Pa wants us to work along with him.
BILLY: Mate you're quite obviously a middle-class English dude, I don't know who you're even trying to fool.

The three of them go inside the saloon, and the TARDIS appears inside a barn on the other side of the square. Remember how at the end of last episode, the Doctor ate a toffee that Dodo got from one of the baddies of the episode, and then he doubled over in pain and it was all very dramatic? Yeah, basically all that happened is he got a toothache, and they don't have any painkillers. They landed because the Doctor says they need to find a dentist because he'll definitely have to have the tooth extracted! What a drama queen, jeez.

While the Doctor is sitting on a nearby barrel whinging about how much pain he's in, Steven and Dodo realise that they're in the good ol' Wild West and get, like, weirdly excited about it. They both ignore the Doctor entirely and run back into the TARDIS so they can find clothes that'll help them blend in cos they want to EXPLORE. They come back out again, really pleased with themselves (Dodo puts a cowboy hat on the Doctor's head), looking like a pantomime version of Woody and Jessie from Toy Story.

While Steven and Dodo are dicking about with cowboy stuff, another terribly-accented local appears! He seems fairly displeased that these English weirdos are hanging out in his barn, and brandishes his big old cowboy gun at them. His name is Wyatt Earp and Dodo is really pleased to meet him - I just Googled his name and he's a real person that really existed, so that's why she was so happy. I swear, I haven't known about most of these big historical figures/events in Old Who so far. I feel like an uneducated loser but at least I'm learning, right?

Back in the saloon, Billy, Ike and Phineas meet up with Seth, who is another cowboy, but seems friendlier than the three brothers. The four of them are planning to kill this Holliday dude, and also getting steadily more drunk. The bar's singer, Kate, overhears their conversation and sidles out the door to find Doc Holiday, who has set up a dentistal surgery nearby? She tells him that there are four dudes in the saloon who are planning to kill him. He is displeased.

DOC HOLLIDAY: Who are these men anyway?
KATE: Well there's a guy called Seth Harper, then there's three brothers by the name of Clanton.
DOC HOLLIDAY: Clanton?! You kill a guy out of sheer professional ethics, and then you've got three of his brothers chasin' after you. That makes me real angry!

'Professional ethics'? I don't know about you, but my psycho bells are ringing here. While Kate and Doc Holliday are arguing, ANOTHER cowboy, whose name is Masterson, walks up to them. Oh, and he's the Sheriff! He's basically there to warn Doc Holliday off from shooting people. Holliday promises to be good and walks away holding hands with Kate.

Man, all these characters are getting confusing so here's a cowboy round-up so far:
  • Doc Holliday - ex-shooty cowboy. Killed a guy called Reuben and is now into dentistry
  • Masterson - Sheriff
  • Ike, Phineas and Billy Clanton - shooty cowboys and brothers of Reuben, want to kill  Doc Holliday
  • Seth Harper - plotting to kill Doc Holliday with the Clantons
  • Wyatt Earp - taking the Doctor, Steven and Dodo to the Sheriff's office, object of Dodo's fangirl affections
  • Kate - bar singer and girlfriend of Doc Holliday
  • Steven, Dodo and the Doctor - definitely not cowboys

Speaking of Steven, Dodo and the Doctor, they enter stage right and the Doctor happily introduces them as a band of travelling musicians (there's a point where he says '... and I'm the Doctor,' and Masterson says 'Doctor Who?' like urgh what did I JUST SAY IN THE INTRO TO THIS VERY POST). The Sheriff then essentially tells them to piss right off because there's no room for happiness and music in Tombstone, Arizona, and the Doctor tells him that it's all cool! They're not actually here to perform, he's just here for - gasp! - a dentist!

So, in a wonderfully-executed turn of events, Steven and Dodo go to find a hotel and the Doctor heads towards the surgery of the dude who is a target for a big old cowboy assassination. The logic of going to a dentist in 1881 rather than getting back in the TARDIS until they landed in a place with more advanced medical technology is a little lost on me, but there it is.

So the Doctor rocks into the dentist's and walks in on Doc Holliday and Kate doing some pretty serious kissing. Doc Holliday jumps up, threatens the Doctor with a gun and demands to know what he wants; the Doctor timidly says that he has a toothache, but he should probably leave, actually. BUT NO Doc Holliday and Kate happily usher him into the dental chair and tell him that (a) he's their first ever customer, (b) that Kate can't stay and watch because she faints at the sight of blood, (c) they have no idea what anaesthetic is but Doc Holliday will hit the Doctor over the head with his gun if it'll help ease the pain and also (d) Doc Holliday takes a big old swig of booze before he operates. And the Doctor still just sits there and opens his mouth. Wow. Although to be fair he doesn't seem overly pleased about it.

Back in the Last Chance Saloon, the three brothers are getting a bit stir-crazy. Billy (little brother) shoots a bottle behind the bar, possibly because Billy is a bit of a knob. Right after that, Steven and Dodo walk in, continuing the theme of the TARDIS gang being really dumb about putting themselves in dangerous situations because they would have definitely heard that gunshot. They book the rooms they want for the night (even though the TARDIS is literally round the corner and there are definitely beds?) and in doing so have to sign a register with their names and occupations - when the barman notices that they're apparently musicians, he offers them a job! They turn it down, thankfully, and head off upstairs to their rooms.

Buuuuut the Clanton brothers and their mate Seth overheard the conversation and assume that Steven and Dodo are in league with Doc Holliday - partially because Steven is apparently carrying six guns as part of his cowboy outfit, the massive dork, but also because they mention 'the Doctor' and 2+2=5. So, Phineas goes upstairs to fetch Steven down again, and Seth heads out to bring Doc Holliday to the saloon.

Seth's never actually seen Doc Holliday before, so when he gets to the dental surgery and sees the Doctor in the room alone, post-extraction, he assumes he's found his guy.

SETH: Doc!
DOCTOR: Yes, what? What is it?
SETH: Holliday?
DOCTOR: Holiday? I suppose so. Yes, you could call it that.

Brilliant. Seth casually invites the 'Doc' over to the saloon and then swaggers out again;  the real Doc Holliday, who has been listening, swans back in and encourages the Doctor to head over there right away! First, though, he should take a GUN with him. Just to be safe. Kate straps a gun belt on him and Doc Holliday lends him a gun, absolutely coincidentally with DOC HOLLIDAY engraved on the side. The Doctor, oblivious as always, happily takes it, thanks both of them and heads out the door to go to the saloon. I don't know what he's expecting to happen.

Meanwhile, Steven and Dodo have been brought downstairs again and are being heavily encouraged to sing. And by 'heavily encouraged' I mean, like, threatened with guns. And, to be fair, Dodo sits down and plays the piano like a PRO while Steven sings 'The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon' - he somehow knows the tune already. The three brothers all sit around them with their guns still pointing at them so they just have to keep going - I'm not entirely sure if they understand that the Doctor is about to walk in and get shot, but even if they did, there isn't that much they can do about it.

And that's the end! I gotta admit - I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one very much, but it's okay so far! I do love a good case of mistaken identity, and it's written quite well here. See you soon for part two!


Sunday, January 12

The Celestial Toymaker Part 4/4: The Final Test

HELLO FRIENDS and welcome to the final post in the Celestial Toymaker serial. It's been over a year since we had anything different so kudos for sticking around so long. In previous episodes we saw the Doctor separated from his companions and forced to do a massive version of one of those little puzzles involving moving wooden things from one pole to another. Steven and Dodo have to complete a series of their own puzzles before the Doctor finishes his, otherwise the Toymaker (who is maybe the ruler of the kingdom? with magic powers?) will keep them there forever. Steven and Dodo have just stumbled upon the beginning of their next test, which is something to do with this guy called Cyril and/or Billy who has so far been the Jack of Hearts and a kitchen boy? I have no idea what's happening. The riddle they have to help them through this next puzzle is "Lady Luck will show the way, win the game or here you'll stay."

So! Cyril cheerfully leads Steven and Dodo to their next game: TARDIS HOPSCOTCH.

Not actually as fun as it sounds - basically there are three dice and they each take one and roll it. Then they move forward the number that they rolled and the first to 14 wins. If they step on the floor between the little triangle stepping-stones then they get electrocuted, and if they land on the same stone that another player is on then the first player gets sent back to the beginning. Bit like Frustration. 

Aaaaanyhow they all play for a while - Cyril keeps messing with them, trying to make them fall off and go back to the start for moving from their stones. Steven eventually gets annoyed with this and tries to just walk across the stones to the TARDIS, but the Toymaker appears with his unexplained teleportation powers and is all dumb and mysterious again, and tells them that there's an invisible wall that can only be passed if you're playing the game by the proper rules, so. Steven has to go back to the start again.

The game all culminates with Cyril pretending to be hurt so Dodo will go to help him, then she has to miss a turn cos she moves from her stone. Cyril then rolls the winning number but when he rushes to the end he slips on some trick powder he left on one of the stones and falls off onto the floor and gets all electrocuted and that.

And hey, the Doctor's back being all visible and able to speak and stuff again! He's right back to acting like he planned this whole thing out, the smug bastard. I love him. He gets his puzzle to the penultimate move and then just walks out, all casual. The Toymaker, despite being seemingly all-powerful, doesn't do anything to stop him.

CELESTIAL TOYMAKER: Make the last move, Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: No! Not yet. I see Steven and Dodo have found the TARDIS. Wonderful trick! And your little trick is broken. I am now visible!
CELESTIAL TOYMAKER: You are, indeed, Doctor. Well done. The three of you have won your little game.
THE DOCTOR: I am glad you take it so calmly. Well, now if you will excuse me, I will go and see if the TARDIS is all right. Peace out motherfucker.

So the Doctor goes and finds Steven and Dodo and the TARDIS (which, conveniently, was actually the real one that time) and the three of them bro-hug it out, but it turns out the Toymaker has done "something" to the TARDIS so it won't go anywhere until the Doctor has finished his last move. But, once the Doctor does win the game, the whole world of the Toymaker will disappear, all of the Doctor's crew with it.

Oh, and here we get some explanation about the Toymaker himself!

STEVEN: Why doesn't he just let us go? He can't want to be destroyed.
THE DOCTOR: Well, he won't be.
DODO: But if everything disappears, why not him?
THE DOCTOR: If the Toymaker loses the game, his world will vanish, but he has the power to build a new one.
DODO: How?
THE DOCTOR: The Toymaker is immortal. He's lasted for thousands of years. Very occasionally, of course, he loses a game, and then he has to pay the price.
STEVEN: And that price is the loss of his world?
THE DOCTOR: Yes, but, ah, he himself is not destroyed. He goes on forever.

Clears up literally nothing.

Oh, but the way they get out of it is good! The Toymaker refuses to allow them to finish the game inside the TARDIS because then they'll be able to dematerialise at the exact moment the Toymaker's world is destroyed so they'll escape (and Steven offers to go out there and sacrifice himself, the adorable munchkin, but the Doctor refuses) - but throughout the serial, the Toymaker has been using voice controls to speed up the Doctor's game. The Doctor just goes to the door of the TARDIS and does an impression of the Toymaker saying, "Go from move 1023!" (the final move) and then flies the TARDIS away as the Toymaker gets blown up! Schweeeeet.

The gang, all safely holed up in the TARDIS, have a celebratory powwow where they talk about all the great things each of them did. Dodo breaks out a bag of Werther's Originals that she got from Cyril - Steven, back on form, says that he thinks they probably shouldn't eat them because Cyril was a minion of the Toymaker, but the Doctor cheerfully eats one and then CRIES OUT IN PAIN WHAAAT.

The next serial is The Gunslingers, wherein all the characters wear cowboy outfits (and yes, the Doctor does wear a Stetson), so I'll meet you back here for that one in a week or so. Hah. Have a good morningafternoonevening!