Wednesday 26 April 2023

What's Wrong With... Pyramids of Mars

A hugely popular story - but not without its problems...
A lot of these revolve around the scene where the Doctor takes Sarah and Lawrence Scarman into the future to see the Earth as it would be, should they fail to stop Sutekh in 1911.
The TARDIS has gone into a potential future - and it has never been seen to do this before as a controllable function. It did once visit a potential future due to a fault - in The Space Museum - and the human guerrillas and Daleks could come and go with ease from a 22nd Century which would ultimately never exist in Day of the Daleks.
But we've never seen the Doctor deliberately pilot the TARDIS into what must either be a parallel universe, where Sutekh does win, or a future which gets shut down. The latter is more likely, as we saw that the Doctor didn't exist in the Inferno universe, and is apparently unique to our own one.
If the TARDIS is able to do this with ease - why has the Doctor never used this function before? We know he likes to explore, so would find it boring to always time travel to see how things work out, but it would surely be a useful function where there is a particularly high risk to himself, his companions or to the universe in general.

An additional problem is that he claims that this is 1980 they are seeing - and Sarah claims that she comes from 1980. This feeds into the whole "UNIT Dating Controversy", as it suggests that the UNIT stories, of which she is part, are set in a near future.
It has long been confirmed that the UNIT stories are all set at the time of broadcast - thanks to Sarah's own spin-off series and her crossovers with the parent programme.
One of the SJA stories sees Sarah using her super-computer Mr Smith to block a NASA live relay from Mars, in order to conceal the presence of a large pyramid structure- clearly a reference to this story. However, the earlier The Ambassadors of Mars had already seen at least two lots of astronauts (from the UK) already spending time on the Red Planet.
In the pyramid, when confronted by the deadly puzzles Horus has set up to stop anyone from freeing Sutekh, Sarah comments that it is just like the city of the Exxilons.
The problem is, she was left outside to steal the minerals from the Daleks, and only the Doctor and Bellal actually entered the city and experienced the puzzles. Maybe the Doctor told her all about it afterwards?

The Doctor is a bit mixed up about his previous companions. Sarah is wearing a late Victorian / Edwardian dress, but the Doctor claims it belonged to Victoria, who arrived wearing high Victorian fashion, with hoops, bustle and stays, of the 1860's. He also refers to Victoria as "Vicki" despite that being an entirely different person. At no time was Victoria ever called "Vicki" by the Doctor.

UNIT HQ is now established as being out in the country, but Sarah states that they are heading for London when knocked off course.
If the Priory is the site of the future UNIT HQ then it most certainly isn't in London.
It's odd that a building either totally remodelled in Gothic style by the Victorians, or new built in the 1800's, should still have a priest hole within its walls - something which dated back to Tudor / Stuart times.
Namin has stored the mummies and some crucial Osirian tech in a wing of the house which he has locked off - not wanting anyone to go there. But it's on the ground floor, and has an unlocked window, so any passing burglar - or Time Lord - could easily get in.
Why does the mummy kill the valet? He claims Sutekh needs no other servant, but why does the reanimated Scarman cadaver kill Namin as soon as he arrives? Surely he would have been useful for a bit longer?
It's clear that Ernie the poacher doesn't know that it is Scarman who he has just shot in the back. Why was he shooting at anyone through the window, without knowing who or what they are?
He is trapped in the woods, but surely a wily old poacher would have been able to find a decent hiding place to sit things out?

Why has Horus hidden Sutekh on a populated planet - one which is clearly developing technologies which might ultimately lead to his freedom? Why wasn't he stuck immobile on Mars itself, or some other planet or moon? Why leave puzzles to guard Sutekh, when something more deadly would have been more efficient?
Light and sound emerge from the sarcophagus time tunnel - so why doesn't Sutekh use his great mental powers to stop the Doctor sabotaging it?
Some people find the fate of Sutekh a bit confusing. He seems to perish in a matter of seconds, but the Doctor has moved the end of the time tunnel so far into the future that the Osirian takes more than 7000 years to get to the end of it - which is just beyond his lifespan.
Last, but by no mean least, there's the hand that holds down the Cushion of Sutekh when he first stands up - suggesting some poor soul is lurking behind his throne, maybe for centuries.

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