Wednesday, April 8, 2009

D5 - Rider From Shang-Tu

Sword fights! Hiding! A rider! From Shang-Tu! This episode actually has a lot happening in it, although why the episode is called what it is is a bit of a mystery, as the eponymous rider appears in all of one scene. Granted, his arrival at Marco Polo's caravan does send the story along a different path, as he has been sent by Kublai Khan to bring Marco back to Shang-Tu ASAP.

After Tegana's latest failed attempt to kill Marco and the gang, this time by using bandits and assassins listed in his personal rolodex, he takes to kidnapping Susan at the very end of the episode. Marco has made the foolish mistake of trusting Ping-Cho to not tell her BFF Susan where the TARDIS key is located. Ping-Cho doesn't actually tell Susan, but it takes her all of two minutes to just up and hand Susan the key. The other three travellers are all ready to go before Tegana jumps out of the shadows to ambush Susan.

Despite the fact that Marco's relationship with The Doctor and his companions is that of escort/friend/warden/guardian at different times, or sometimes simultaneously, Marco is only one thing to The Doctor - a barrier between him and his freedom. During this story, The Doctor is not interested in ensuring the proper history takes its course on its own, taking steps to alter current events to reestablish the proper history, or stopping any injustice along the way. His main focus is to escape, regardless of the consequences. But we'll see how that plays out in a couple episodes from now...


James said...

This story seems to be really moving now, we have attack scenes in the forest and a real chance for once that the travellers may escape. An interesting note to the relationships between the characters must be the time involved with this story. They must have been in China for weeks now and this is really creating a bond between the four main characters. Where The Brink of Disaster ended with the Doctor and teachers begining to trust each other they have come along way in the face of a common obstacle. Similarly the relationship between Ping Cho and Susan. They have been together constantly for weeks and seem to have developed a genuine friendship. I think this storys length is important to explain the transition from the initial 3 stories to the relationship which exists from here on in.

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