The Space Museum
The Space Museum was the seventh story in the second season of Doctor Who. It was the first story to deal with the dimensions of time as well as space. While it presented many original science fiction elements, it still retained the elements of a typical story of the era.
The story’s cliff-hanger also presented fans with a preview of the Daleks’ third appearance. Their return was awaited impatiently, a fact that was baited by the appearance of a Dalek shell in part one. This shell was the final appearance of the original Dalek design. The Daleks at the end of “The Final Phase” do not have the metal band of their predecessors.
Episode 1: The Space Museum
The TARDIS materializes on a planet replete with many different specimens of space technology. The Doctor says they landed far quicker than he ever has before. Ian and Barbara find they have switched clothes since just before they landed. They had been in their 12th century Crusade clothes.
The Doctor explains this away as being merely “time and relativity”. Their old clothes will be hanging in the wardrobe. Vicki confirms this. Following the Doctor’s orders she also fetches a glass of water from the food machine. She is startled by something that makes her drop the drink. As the glass smashes on the floor, it immediately reforms itself and leaps back into her hand. She reports this to the Doctor, who says all should be explained when they explore the planet. He postulates it is a museum because the spacecraft are lined up in chronological order.
Once they leave the TARDIS, they find the planet has nothing living on it. Ian notices their footprints make no tracks in the dust. They head towards a large building in the middle of the spacecraft.
Once there they find the doors shut, but they soon open to reveal two men. The travelers hide from them, but as they pass Vicki sneezes loudly. To the travelers’ surprise the two men do not seem to hear her. The Doctor says this is unexplainable and begins to explore the building. As they walk through the many corridors, they are startled by a Dalek, which they realize is only a museum piece. As they discuss Daleks, about which Vicki has only read, they see two more men coming. They hide but are surprised to see that although the men seem to be speaking to each other, they are inaudible to the travelers. Ian wonders if they speak at another frequency than humans. The Doctor doubts it, but has no other explanations.
As they continue to explore the museum, Vicki discovers that they cannot touch any of the pieces on display. Their hands simply pass through them. The Doctor suggests they are not actually where they think they are. Yet again, they encounter three men who go about their business, unaware of the travelers. This supports the Doctor’s theory.
Further in the museum, they find the Doctor’s TARDIS on display. Barbara, Ian, and Vicki, although confused as to how the ship came to be here, say they think they should leave the planet. The Doctor soon proves this to be impossible. The TARDIS also cannot be touched. The Doctor points out a display case containing the bodies of the four travelers. He says the TARDIS must have jumped a time track when they materialized. Thus they temporarily occupy a fourth dimension. This lets them be simultaneously in the cases in one reality and standing, looking at themselves in the fourth dimension.
The Doctor suggests that the only course of events is to wait at the museum until they return to the real reality. He suggests that what they are seeing in front of them is merely a possibility of the future and it can be changed. He notes that the versions of them in the display cases are wearing the same clothes as they are wearing now, so it is only a matter of time before the two realities merge again. No sooner does he say this than Barbara has a strange feeling. Time seems to rewind and two men discover the TARDIS. At the same time, the display cases disappear. The Doctor announces, “We have arrived.”
Episode 2: The Dimensions of Time
The museum’s curator, Lobos, receives news of the alien ship that has landed on his planet. Although concerned, he is also pleased to have his day’s monotony broken by an intruder. He orders his men to find the visitors before the rebels find them. However, he is too late — three rebels have already heard about the travelers and intend to intercept them before Lobos’ men. They will befriend them and overthrow the oppressive rule that Lobos, a representative of the Moroks, holds over them.
Meanwhile in the museum the travelers have taken a gun from the exhibition to bluff their way out of the museum. The four friends discuss how best to avoid the future that they saw in the fourth dimension. It is suggested that they do the opposite of what they would normally do, but they decide to try to escape. If they escape, then they will never be captured in the first place.
They begin to navigate the labyrinthine corridors, searching for escape. As they make their way through the corridors, they are pursued by the rebels, who decide that, to avoid startling the travelers, they will capture one of them and explain their situation. It is not long before the opportunity shows itself. As the travelers walk through the corridors, the Doctor is distracted by an exhibit and falls behind his friends. The rebels grab him and carry him away through a door without the others seeing. He plays dead and the rebels decide to split up. One of the rebels, Darko, elects to stay and watch the Doctor while the others go to track the other travelers.
The remaining travelers, now aware of the Doctor’s disappearance, argue how best to find him and save themselves from their possible future. They decide it is best to push on for the exit.
The two rebels return to discover that Darko has been tied up and gagged. They question him about what happened, but he has no memory after being knocked unconscious. They go to seek the Doctor, who they assume escaped back into the museum. However, he is hiding in the hollowed out Dalek shell. When he escapes, he is accosted yet again, but this time by the Moroks.
Barbara, Ian, and Vicki, now tired and cranky, decide to use yarn to ensure that they are not repeating their paths. They unravel Barbara’s cardigan to do this. The rebels find the yarn and decide to follow it. Eventually they find the exit. As they pull back the doors they see that the TARDIS has been captured.
The Doctor finds himself in a room with only a chair. As he sits on it, bars lock him in place. A wall slides up to reveal Lobos. He explains that the museum is an homage to the great history of the Moroks and it is silent because the Moroks are now peace-loving creatures. Lobos asks the Doctor with whom he came here. The Doctor refuses to say, but Lobos somehow knows anyway. He explains that the Doctor’s chair allows his thoughts to be shown on a video screen on his desk. When Lobos continues to question the Doctor, on how he came here and where he is from, the Doctor uses the strength of his brain to confuse and misdirect Lobos. Lobos tires of this and summons his guards to take the Doctor to the preparation room. He will become an exhibit, causing an image of the Doctor on display to appear.
Episode 3: The Search
Barbara, Ian and Vicki look on as the Moroks decide to try to force their way into the TARDIS. One of the Morok soldiers is sent to fetch cutting equipment. As the humans discuss what they should do, a Morok finds them and holds them at gunpoint.
Ian decides that if they are to be put in the exhibition cases in the future, the Morok soldiers must have been told not to kill them. The gun must be a deterrent, not a threat. Ian calls the soldier’s bluff and overpowers him. The other Moroks overhear the scuffle and rush to try to catch the travelers, but in the panic the humans flee in different directions. Barbara hides behind a stack of boxes. The Moroks leave without seeing her, but she finds they have locked the door, trapping her.
Vicki escapes from the Moroks another way and gets captured — not by the Moroks but by the rebel faction. At first she is terrified of her captors, especially when she hears that they captured the Doctor, but the rebels insist they wish her no harm. This is proved when they send one of their number, Dako, to find Barbara.
Ian elects to hide behind the TARDIS. He overhears a conversation between a Morok guard and Lobos over instructions to guard the TARDIS while the rest of the army track down the “aliens.” Using a stone to distract the guard, Ian overpowers him and holds him at gunpoint. He orders the guard to take him to where the Doctor is being held. The guard informs him that it will be too late for the Doctor, but Ian insists.
Lobos is tired of the aggravation from high command, what with the aliens running loose on his planet and the ever-growing number of Xeron rebels on his base. He elects to flood his museum with Zaphra gas. This paralyses anyone who inhales it, making all the Moroks’ enemies easy pickings.
Dako finds the room where Barbara is being held, but is almost knocked unconscious by a terrified Barbara. He says her name; this calms her. Dako says his race is called the Xerons. They are the original occupants of this planet, but the war-loving Moroks took over their planet to establish their museum. The Moroks swept away the Xeron civilization and killed all the Xeron people except the children, whom they enslaved. These are the Xerons that now live underground in the museum. The conversation is interrupted by the Zaphra gas that floods into the room. Barbara and Dako try to escape before falling under the gas’ paralytic effects.
Vicki is also being given a lesson on Xeron history. The Xerons admit that whilst they are more numerous, they do not have the artillery to overpower the Moroks. Vicki asks if there is an armory that they can raid. The Xerons say that there is, but it is protected by a lock with a lie detector. Unless you answer a series of questions truthfully, you cannot enter. Vicki asks to be taken to this machine and the Xerons willingly oblige, happy to have an addition to their revolutionary force.
Meanwhile Ian and the Morok guard have arrived at the Preparation Room where the Doctor is being held. The guard suggests waiting until it isn’t as busy to enter. Ian agrees. They are soon interrupted by Lobos. Ian hides while the Moroks talk. Ian learns that his friends have not been captured but gas will be used on them. They hide until the Preparation Room may be more accessible.
Sita, Tor and Vicki arrive at the armory. Vicki listens to the questions that the complex telekinetic lock asks. As soon as she has heard the full cycle, she takes off the front of the machine and tinkers with its workings. She gets the machine to ask her the questions again. When asked what her name is, she responds with “Vicki”, and when asked what the guns are to be used for, she responds “revolution.” To the surprise of the Xerons the doors open. While the Xerons begin arming themselves Vicki explains that she wired the machine to accept any truthful answer, not just the ones that the Moroks were looking for.
Lobos is interrupted by Ian, who has gained access to the Preparation Room. Ian holds Lobos at gunpoint and demands to see the Doctor. Lobos obliges, saying there is no point. Ian stops in his tracks, shocked at the state the Doctor is in.
Episode 4: The Final Phase
Ian finds the Doctor attached to a device, unconscious. He demands that Lobos reverse whatever it is that the machine has done to the Doctor. Lobos says the Doctor is as good as dead and it would be impossible to revive him. It has never been done before. Ian forces Lobos at gunpoint to do so.
Meanwhile Tor marshals the Xeron revolution. He orders his newly armed platoon to attack the barracks. As they do, Vicki says she wants to help find her friends. After arguing briefly, Tor agrees but sends Sita to protect her.
Back in the preparation room, Lobos has defied the odds and resurrected the Doctor. The only side effect the Doctor displays is a bit of rheumatism from the extreme cold to which he was subjected. As the Doctor and Ian discuss their next move, a group of Moroks silently ambush them, knocking Ian unconscious. Once Lobos has imprisoned the two men, he tries to call the barracks to muster more men to find the rest of the aliens. There is no answer.
Outside where a Morok soldier guards the TARDIS, the doors to the museum spring open to reveal Barbara and Dako. Barbara has carried Dako to safety after he collapsed from the Zaphra gas. The guard pulls his gun on them when a shot rings out and he falls. Barbara and Dako turn to see Vicki and Sita, who is holding a gun. Sita tells Dako about the revolution. Barbara and Vicki decide to join them, hoping they will find the Doctor and Ian on the way. Whilst they talk, another Morok soldier appears. He shoots Dako and Sita and takes Barbara and Vicki prisoner. The soldier returns Dako and Sita’s guns to Lobos. Lobos says it is from the armoury and worries he cannot contact his soldiers there either.
The four travelers are reunited, locked in the Preparation Room. In a futile effort to render their possible future redundant, Ian destroys the machine that turns them into exhibits. However the Doctor speculates that there are many more on the planet. Ian and Barbara seem resigned that there is no escaping the future they saw, but Vicki and the Doctor say that ever since they touched down on Xeron they have been altering and affecting the course of events — although they can’t alter their own chain of events while imprisoned, they may have made an impression on others, who will do it for them.
Outside, the Xerons overpower the Moroks in the battle for Xeron. The Xeron rebels include Sita and Dako, who were only paralyzed by the blast from the Morok soldier. Tor finds them and demands to know what happened to Vicki. Sita says that they were taken to the Preparation Room. Tor and his men go after her.
Outside the Preparation Room, Lobos receives news that defeat is inevitable. He decides to flee the planet and orders the killing of his prisoners. Just as the travelers are about to be killed, Tor and the rebels burst through the door and kill Lobos, freeing the Doctor and his companions.
Later, reunited with his TARDIS, the Doctor explains to Ian and Barbara the problem he had with his TARDIS was all down to a small part that hadn’t quite clicked into place — this meant that they had been wandering around Xeron for a while before it clicked back into place and re-landed again, resetting time.
Ian asks what the Doctor has brought with him. The Doctor says it is a Time-Space Visualizer the Xerons gave him as a souvenir before they dismantled the museum. He will be able to get it working again, but leaves its actual use a mystery. Vicki bids goodbye to Tor and enters the TARDIS, which dematerializes.
On a distant planet, a Dalek enters a control room in response to an alarm call. It informs another Dalek via a communications panel that their “greatest enemies” have left Xeros. The response from the Dalek at the other end is that the Daleks’ own time machine will soon be in pursuit and their enemies will soon be exterminated…