Escape Velocity

Roots: There are references to Children's Ward, Blade Runner, Changing Rooms, The Chronicles of Narnia, Steps, S Club 7, Doom, Aliens, Jurassic Park, Star Trek, The X-Files, Babylon 5 and the works of Jules Verne. Anji reads Today magazine. The chapter titles are all film titles.

Goofs: Why don't the Kulan just contact their fleet from Earth? (Surely Kulan technology is sophisticated enough to detect radio transmissions?). It is never explained why Dave has Kulan DNA [the Kulan have visited Earth before], but it is suggested that not all humans share this. This being the case, it stretches credulity to suggest that Menhira managed to accidentally inject the DNA-altering agent into the one human who has a better chance than most of surviving it.

Since the note in the Doctor's pocket simply says "Meet me in St. Louis', February 8th 2001", why is he so certain that it is supposed to be in London? Why can't it mean the St. Louis in Missouri? [Admittedly, the apostrophe after St. Louis suggests that St. Louis is somewhere other than the city, but it still doesn't follow that it has to be in London].

Continuity: The Kulan are humanoid and have two hearts, purplish-red blood, and skin which is more translucent than that of humans. They also have sharper hearing, thicker skulls, and are more durable than humans, Fray'kon surviving a fall that would have killed a human without sustaining injury. (They also seem to have vulnerable reproductive organs in the same place as humans). No female Kulan are seen. They use mental power to control their ships, which is apparently akin to low-level telepathy, and may use magnetic induction as a power source. The evaluation team members have managed not only to learn English, but also to use colloquialisms and mimic human body language. They are aggressive but not overtly militaristic; nevertheless, having long ago exhausted the resources of their homeworld (which is never named) they are dedicated to economic warfare, taking over planets to plunder their resources (this usually involves attacking major population centres with nuclear weapons prior to actual invasion). Their society is divided into military and religious classes and the economists. A representative from each makes up the Council of Three, which commands missions. In the past, Kulan society was dominated by powerful ruling families, who used to fight amongst themselves; although officially Kulan no longer kill other Kulan, the fleet vessels tend to be owned by particular families, as a result of which the entire fleet's weaponry is controlled from the flagship to prevent the possibility of betrayal.

Invasions are based on the reports of a small evaluation team, which contains representatives from the military and economic classes. Prior to invasion, troops are kept in cryogenic suspension on board the fleet. The Evaluation team crash-landed on Earth in Norway in 1998, whereupon they set about aiding Frenchman Pierre-Yves Dudoin's attempt to be the first privately funded man into space. Due to the bloodthirsty nature of the highest-ranking survivor Fray'kon, several members of the team instead decided to aid America Arthur Tyler III's rival attempt, so that they could contact the fleet first and recommend against invasion. They attempt to create a serum that can alter the genetic structure of the humans so that they can operate Kulan control systems, although this is fairly unsuccessful. They may have visited Earth before, since Anji's boyfriend Dave has partially Kulan DNA [see 'Goofs']. On their homeworld, they enjoy recreational climbing. They are aware of the Daleks and the Sontaran/Rutan war, and have also heard legends of a Martian empire (suggesting that the Ice Warriors controlled a large area of space at one time). The Kulan fleet recently attacked a Chelonian colony and were repelled, loosing that fleet's Council of Three in the process. It is also implied that Sa'Motta knows the Doctor by reputation.

The Doctor solves the problem of finding the St. Louis referred to in his note by buying the Bar Galactic between Holborn and Covent Garden in London and changing its name to The St. Louis' Bar and Restaurant - once he meets Fitz, he gives it to its manager 'Sheff'. His eyes are blue-green.

Prior to its destruction, the TARDIS had a zero-G shower. It finally regenerates properly, and has redesigned its control room [which is now a compromise between the old control room and the gothic control room that debuted in The TV Movie]. The Control Room is now hexagonal and contains four alcoves, two on either side of the main doors and the interior door. One contains filing cabinets and chests, another leads to the library, the third contains a laboratory, and the fourth contains a kitchen (which looks out onto a English countryside vista and is an exact replica of the kitchen in the Doctor's house in Kent). The Doctor instinctively knows how to fly the Ship, but can't remember how to navigate. He finds his [spare] sonic screwdriver inside [see The Turing Test]. The TARDIS telepathic circuits allow Anji to read Kulan writing.

Anji Kapoor is a 28-year-old futures analyst. She is a third-generation Indian immigrant born in England and was raised as a Hindu, although she seldom goes to temple. She left home at 17, stifled by her family's antiquated attitudes towards women, and went to university, where she took Rape Defence classes. She has brother named Rezaul, who is five years her junior. She dislikes boats. She is considering having children prior to her joining the TARDIS crew, which she does accidentally after the death of her boyfriend Dave Young. The Doctor promises to try and return her home.

Compassion briefly appears [with Nivet on board] to drop Fitz off in London, between paragraphs at the end of The Ancestor Cell. She drops him off two days early, on the 6th of February.

Fitz knows of the Doctor's house in Kent. Sam has told him about regeneration, although he remains somewhat sceptical about it. As a child he used to listen to the Glums in Take it From Here, and also to the adventures of Dick Barton.

Fitz believes that Gallifrey has not only been destroyed, but also completely removed from history [whether this is true or not remains a subject of debate - the fact that his memory of Gallifrey seems to be disappearing supports this, but it would seem to be contradicted by the existence of future Time Lords in Father Time].

There have been "recent setbacks" in both the American and European space programmes.

There is a reference to the programme Professor X, in which Dave played a Cybertron during one of the last serials. The programme was cancelled in 1989 after 25 years on television.

Control is head of the Alien Intelligence branch of the CIA, which has its European head office in Brussels. He routinely has cars left around the city for the use of his agents [he presumably does this in other cities also].

Links: The strangely familiar television programme Professor X was first mentioned in No Future. The Doctor vaguely remembers having a floppy felt hat, which is of course the fourth Doctor's. There are references to the Vega Station (Demontage), and the Doctor's trip on board the Atlantis in Father Time. The Doctor recognises Perivale (Survival) and remembers wearing a "crown of thorns" (The TV Movie). Control returns having last appeared in The King of Terror, with several references to UNIT and the Jex and Canavitchi. There is mention of the Chelonians, who first appeared in The Highest Science. Whilst on Earth, the Doctor watched Nightshade (Nightshade). He vaguely recalls his first two incarnations. He finds the fourth Doctor's yo-yo in the TARDIS, plus some mercury [for the fluid links - The Daleks]. He speculates that he could be from the 49th century, which is an in-joke to dialogue in the Pilot Episode. The final scene pays homage to the end of episode one of An Unearthly Child.

Location: Brussels, Oxford, and the Kulan flagship in orbit around Earth, from 6th to 12th February 2001.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor helped King Baudouin with the opening of the Atomium in Brussels. He (briefly) remembers meeting Napoleon.

The Bottom Line: Generic B-movie fare, packed to the hilt with clichés. The restoration of the TARDIS is a total anticlimax, relegated almost to the status of a passing mention, and the Kulan are unmemorable. All in all, a disappointing end to the Caught On Earth arc.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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