Roots: Them! Jenin's ringtone is (appropriately) The Ride of the Valkyries. Other ringtone is Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca from Piano Concerto No 11 and Spring from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The Doctor compares himself obliquely to John the Baptist, saying there is no end to the number of people who'd like his head on a silver platter. The Old Curiosity Shop. Valhalla's Russian quarter includes Chagall and Tchaikovski Streets.
Dialogue Triumphs: "'For sale: one Doctor, excellent condition. Six previous owners, only nine hundred years on the clock... extensive experience in cross-cultural affairs and science. Practical, witty, highly clubbable' (even if I say so myself), 'wanted in many major-' (no, not that...) 'much sought after in all major star systems.'"
"Go pester someone else" "I'm particular who I pester"
"Are life and suffering not hatched from the same egg?" "That's a hard-boiled philosophy"
"There are other worlds in the strangest places; not just far out in space but round corners and under stones, staring you in the face, sneaking behind your back... or in the transport cafe next door. The trouble is; humans never notice."
Continuity: Valhalla is one of Jupiter's old gas-rush towns, a vermin-infested city below a double-layered dome in a frozen crater on a moon at the rough end of the solar system. When the gas mines were depleted a century ago, its glory days came to an end; Earth declared the colony independent, washing their hands of it, and now it only receives tourists by accident. There's a direct shuttle to Earth and mention is made of the Mars Express. To ease public tension public riots are scheduled. All citizens and visitors are stamped with a barcode on their tongue, used for ID (and as a means of cataloguing humans for the Termites).
Our Mother the Fourth is the Termite Queen and progenitor of all her race. Permanently pregnant, she is so bloated that she must be carried around on a chariot. Termite social structure includes armoured soldiers, royal grooms and attendants and nurses to tend to newly laid eggs. During the reign of Our Mother the First humans genetically engineered heroic termite pioneers to burrow into the heart of Callisto and seek out new energy sources. Their huge size is explained by the fact that they worked outside Valhalla's gravity pan, and Jupiter's infamous gravity fluxes caused them to grow massively in just a few generations. When Earth cut Valhalla off, the Termites kept working unacknowledged, sending years worth of data back to their Registry; before long the traffic of data started going both ways, eventually opening up a market in Valhalla's human population.
Gerium was born on Earth in 2/2/16, Jevvan in 3/2/23.
The TARDIS pitch stabiliser control allows the inside of the ship to turn upright. The Doctor uses its telepathic circuits to alter the Termites' perception of him, a 'sleight of mind'. He uses the TARDIS to listen to the telepathic net of the Termite world, which he then narrows down to specific individuals so he can understand the meaning and structure of the Termite language.
The Doctor takes 430 volts in an electric shock to little effect. He has a tuning fork with him. He compares his TARDIS to the human mind: fairly small in appearance, but fully functional and chock full of ideas.
Future History: Future speculation in the solar system's outer planet includes Jupiter's gas mines, a steel refinery on Titan and tourism surrounding Io's ice volcanoes. There are other settlements on Ganymede and Callisto.
The Doctor's Everlasting Matches (he gives them away). The Doctor compares the mass of Our Mother to "a beached space whale".
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor found the Termite's catalogue in an old curiosity shop" on Herminion II, two hundred years in the future, next to a bust of Joanna the Mad (it wasn't a good likeness - he initially mistook her for Pliny the Elder.)
Location: Valhalla, capital city of Callisto, Jupiter's premier moon. The brochure date 9/1/46, which is just one month away
The Bottom Line: "Termites are people too!"
Marc Platt gives the Season 24 Doctor a revised solo spin. It's nice to hear the characteristic Seventh Doctor's speech in the opening scenes - the Doctor's job interview is very good and there's some fun wordplay (the Cafe of Good Hope must have been based on a typo) though the story's resolution lacks some tension and in all the story could have been dropped to three episodes with little lost. Underrated.