Episode 6: The Aztecs
Companions: Barbara, Ian, Susan
Written by John Lucarotti
Directed by John Crockett
The Temple of Evil
The Warriors of Death
The Bride of Sacrifice
The Day of Darkness
When Barbara is mistaken for a female incarnation of an ancient Aztec God, she must find a balance between her modern moral views and the manner in which history is created.
This was an important episode in that it discusses the impact one person can be in history. Throughout the entire episode, the Doctor emphasis that history can not be rewritten and that his companions are merely observers, despite how they feel about the actions of the past. Barbara, as Yetaxa, wants to place the Aztecs in a position where all the evil is wiped out and good can become the focus for their society. Barbara’s modern “moral” views are at war with the “morals” of the past. As much as we desire to change our pasts, we have to acknowledge that we would not be the people we are today without the successes and failures of the our past. Each action has a consequence, however small, and with each consequence a lesson is either formed or forgotten. Change never happens overnight and to force such change on a history could be disastrous. The concept of Time Travel is appealing to us all for two reasons: (1) To see the future or past as it involves or (2) To go back in time and fix our mistakes. It will never end well, no matter how much we desire such actions.
This episode hints at the Doctor’s heart. Not the physical aspect of his anatomy, but of his emotions. While the connections between Ian and Barbara have been strengthen between each adventure, the idea that the Doctor could find love is explored in his interactions with a woman named Cameca. The interactions between the two are adorable. There’s real sadness when the budding relationship must be torn apart due to the Doctor’s impending departure.
One note about this episode is that much of the episodes seem to be out of focus. Shots are slightly fuzzy as if everything happened in a dream. There are some actions scenes between Ian and a warrior by the name of Ixtla. The fighting between two is comical and does not pack the punch it should despite the suspense of the fight’s circumstances.
This is a great episode in that it highlights the strengths of all the characters. Barbara in her ideals. Susan with her push for personal freedom. Ian in his desire to protect his friends. The Doctor in his pursuit of knowledge in the midst of sacrificing ideals.
Throughout the episode Barbara challenges the Doctor in his idea that history should not be changed. This is an important part in Doctor Who’s history as more modern episodes showcase how history can be changed. It’s up to the travelers to decided if that change is good or bad as it could create a ripple effect for the entire universe.