The Keys of Marinus
By Terry Nation
“I don't believe that man was made to be controlled by machines. Machines can make laws but they cannot preserve justice. Only human beings can do that.”
Terry Nation the creator of the Daleks is, well, best known to Doctor Who fans for his Dalek stories. But he has also written a couple of non Dalek stories for Doctor Who and The Keys of Marinus were one of those stories. It’s not a bad story at all but his later the 4th Doctor story “The Android Invasion” is far and away much better than The Keys of Marinus.
The Doctor and crew land on the planet Marinus where they are asked by Arbitan to help retrieve the keys that power his machine. The Doctor refuses and decides to leave the island of glass that is surrounded by a sea of acid. Once they get to the TARDIS they find it is surrounded by a force field. Not happy with what happen The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan are now resounded to the fact that they have to go and retrieve the 4 of the 5 keys that power up the machine which is called The Conscious of Marinus which controls people’s thoughts. The keys are hidden all over the planet in some of the more dangerous parts of the planet. So it’s up to the TARDIS crew, with the help of travel dials programmed by Arbitan to where the keys are, to find and return the keys.
What unfortunately is the downfall are the court sequences that occur in the 5th and final episodes. With the excitement of the previous episodes to me it just feels like it gets bogged down and a tad dull. William Hartnell is good as Ian’s lawyer but for the most part the solution was kind of disappointing and predictable. I did enjoy the conclusion of the story even if it felt rushed. It was good of Ian to give the Voord the fake key thus ending the treat of the machine as it blew up with the Voords. It was good to see Ian save the day and come up with a solution rather than The Doctor. In fact The Keys of Marinus is an Ian story as he is truly the man of action in this story.
The Keys of Marinus is a fun story to watch and one of those that gets lost in the Doctor Who shuffle and one that is typical of the early years of Doctor Who.