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Recap / Doctor Who S3 E3 "The Myth Makers"

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The Myth Makers
{loud sucking noise}
Written by Donald Cotton
Directed by Michael Leeston-Smith
Production code: U
Air dates: 16 October - 6 November 1965
Number of episodes: 4
Episode titles: "Temple of Secrets", "Small Prophet, Quick Return", "Death of a Spy", "Horse of Destruction"

Cassandra: Then woe to the house of Priam. Woe to the Trojans!
Paris: I'm afraid you're a bit late to say 'whoa' to the horse. I've just given instructions to have it brought into the city.

The one where the Doctor nearly gets launched in a giant paper aeroplane.

The TARDIS and occupants arrive on the plains outside the city of Troy in the middle of a fight between Hector and Achilles. Hector is distracted by the Doctor, believing him to be Zeus (he arrived right in the middle of some lightning strikes), and Achilles kills him. The Doctor attempts to leave, but is prevented from doing so by the arrival of Odysseus, who scoffs at the idea of the Doctor being Zeus. He takes him back to camp, and Steven follows to try and rescue him. Meanwhile, the Trojans find the TARDIS and take it inside their city. Both the Greeks and the Trojans turn out to inhabit a massive World of Snark, and Menelaus reveals that he's not too keen on having his cheating tart of a wife back anyway.

Meanwhile, Paris captures the TARDIS, believing it to be something of value that would make a nice sacrifice to the Gods. Priestess Cassandra calls him an absolute idiot for not realising the TARDIS is a trap, and that there are probably soldiers inside the thing. (She had a dream earlier about a horse and is pretty upset about the whole business.) Instead, Vicki comes out, and decides to just tell the truth about who she is, which entirely fails to impress the Trojans. King Priam is willing to listen to her, though, although he considers "Vicki" a ridiculous name and makes up the name "Cressida" for her instead.

With the TARDIS gone, the Doctor is forced to admit he is in fact a mortal. Agammemnon orders him killed, but Odysseus forces the Doctor and Steven to tell him the truth about who they really are. He accepts their story and, since he's not quite as clever as the legends make him out to be, he gives them two days to come up with a way for him to capture Troy and end the decade-long war. The Doctor briefly considers the whole wooden horse business but discards it as myth. They come up with a plan: Steven, pretending to be Diomedes pretending to be Achilles, intentionally gets himself captured by a very reluctant Paris and ends up in Troy. This backfires immediately when Vicki blurts out his name and they're both thrown into the cells as Greek spies.

After trying to avoid it, the Doctor gives up and gives Odysseus the idea for the wooden horse. Troilus, Paris's brother, has meanwhile developed a bit of a crush on Vicki and genuinely believes that she's some kind of witch. She tries to tell him the truth, since the crush is mutual, but all her claims of not having any magic are moot when the Greeks suddenly disappear and leave behind nothing but a horse. Vicki is hailed as the woman who magicked the Greeks away, and the horse is brought into the city, where the Greeks (including the Doctor) promptly invade. During the final battle, Steven is wounded by Paris and assisted to the TARDIS by Katarina, a handmaiden of Cassandra. Vicki can't bear to leave Troilus, and she hastily stays behind while the Doctor, Steven and Katarina leave in the TARDIS.

Vicki and Troilus decide to take their chances with the enraged victims, while Katarina firmly believes that she's been sacrificed to the Gods and that the TARDIS is the afterlife. The Doctor doesn't bother correcting her.

Much like The Gunfighters, "The Myth Makers" is largely a comedy until the Mood Whiplash of the final episode.


  • Appeal to Audacity: With no other options, and facing death, the Doctor and Steven tell Odysseus the truth of who they are and how they came to be on the plains outside of Troy. Odysseus decides that the story strains his credulity beyond anything he's ever heard, and therefore it's probably true or they would never have dared to tell it.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Vicki becomes Cressida after the end of The Trojan War.
  • Big Bad: As far as the Greek army the Doctor allies with are concerned, it's King Priam, although it's more a case of Grey-and-Gray Morality.
  • Breather Episode: A mostly comic romp through Greek mythology before diving into the longest serial in the show's history fighting the Daleks across time and galaxies. Fits even better because "Mission to the Unknown" immediately before had established that it was coming.
  • Broken Pedestal: Vicki has apparently not read Greek mythology closely enough to see how nasty a lot of the major characters were.
  • Cassandra Truth: The trope namer herself is a character! And of course, nobody believes her when she says that the large wooden horse will be the death of Troy.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Ivor Salter as Odysseus
    • Frances White as Cassandra. Her Cassandra Truth status isn't due to lack of shouting.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: When Steven expresses unhappiness about waiting to have his throat cut, Odysseus informs him that he had something more lingering in mind...
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Thanks to her dreams, Cassandra correctly predicts that the Greeks will leave a "gift" on the plains outside of Troy, out of which will come soldiers who will kill everyone in Troy. At first, once Paris has brought it into the city, she's sure the TARDIS is the gift, and insists that it should be burnt. Upon seeing the Trojan Horse, she knows exactly what it is and the danger it represents. But no one believes her.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: The Greeks and Trojans drop in and out of this kind of speech depending on how dramatic they're feeling.
  • Foreshadowing: Cassandra foreshadows Katarina's death in the next serial.
  • I Choose to Stay: Vicki elects to stay in Ancient Greece to be with Troilus.
  • Mood Whiplash: The story turns very dark in the final episode, when Odysseus stops laughing and looks forward to slaughtering Trojans and plundering the city, followed by Troilus killing Achilles. Once Trojans start dying, things get very grim. Steven is badly wounded and Vicki is left behind for an uncertain future, even if it is her choice to stay.
  • The Plan: The horse
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Vicki and Steven assume the Doctor will be in the Trojan Horse because he will want to make sure he can get to the TARDIS. The Doctor is in the Horse, but because Odysseus forced him along when he tried to avoid it.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The cliffhanger of part two is Cassandra denouncing Vicki and Steven as spies, and demanding they be put to death; a caption then announces the title of part three — "Death of a Spy". Part three introduces and then kills off an actual spy, while Steven and Vicki both survive to the end.
  • Trojan Horse: The Doctor actually comes up with the idea, having earlier said it was just a story made up for Rule of Cool.
  • The Trojan War
  • The Un-Favourite: Paris gets no respect from his father or anyone else.
  • Unwanted False Faith: Happens to the Doctor several times. Achilles is convinced that he is Zeus after the Doctor appears from inside the TARDIS in the middle of his fight with Hector. At the end of the story when the TARDIS departs with Katarina on board, she is convinced that the Doctor is a god and she is on a journey into the afterlife. The Doctor has to keep reminding her that he isn't a god at all. This carries over into the next story.
  • You Will Be Beethoven: Vicki decides to leave the TARDIS when she falls in love with Troilus, becoming the Cressida of Greek mythology.