On 21 Jan 1998, The Unassuming One asked:
"Planet of the Spiders: ...
Why doesn't Lupton disappear at the beginning of the chase, rather than waiting until he is nearly caught?"
Matrix Databank Solution to Question #1:
Let's review the details of the chase sequence in question:
The chase sequence takes up most of Part 2, and the specific scene where
Lupton disappears occurs as the cliffhanger of Part 2. The disappearance
of Lupton is also reprised at the beginning of Part 3. In the scene,
the Doctor is in a hovercraft chasing Lupton, who is in a boat. Lupton
is, at the time, mentally linked with a spider from Metebelis Three.
Lupton, looking back at the Doctor, says outloud "He'll catch us!" and the
Spider in his mind replies "I'll get help from Metebelis. Concentrate!
Concentrate!" The Doctor, meanwhile, jumps from his hovercraft onto
Lupton's boat. When the Doctor looks up, Lupton has vanished. Lupton
reappears inside the Monastery. He returns to his room and is clearly
physically exhausted from the chase.
You asked why, if Lupton had an ability to disappear, did he choose not to
do so immediately, instead of allowing himself to get involved in the
lengthy chase. Though there is clearly no definitive answer to this,
consider what the spiders of Metebelis Three say not long after the
reprise of the chase in Part 3. After having made contact with Lupton and
the spider in his mind back on Earth, they say "We have exhausted our
power." This would imply that the mental power available to the spiders
is finite at any given moment. One could reason that it might be easier
for the spiders to make use of the physical human strength of Lupton's
host body to effect an escape, rather than to squander precious mental
energy that may be needed elsewhere. Obviously, humans were viewed as
slaves by the spiders, so it seems logical that they would make Lupton do
the work, if possible. Also, it is probable that Lupton did not know that
the spider within his mind could help him effect such an escape, and that
the spider did not make this known to Lupton until it was clear his
physical efforts were not going to be sufficient to effect an escape from
On a lighter side note, one gets the impression that the writers were on
something of a plot vacation during Part Two, and opted for an
episode-long chase scene. If Lupton was allowed to disappear immediately,
viewers would have missed out on all of that chase scene action! ;-)
I hope this gives you a few ideas about how to reconcile the facts
surrounding what was probably just an expedient plot device.
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Last Updated April 11, 1999