Recap: Looking for something fun to do, the Time Lords go to Argolis, home of the Leisure Hive. But strange things are afoot – sabotage and murder. An alien race, the enemies of the Argolins, wants to buy the planet. And where there’s mystery, The Doctor has to poke his nose about.
When we left off, The Doctor had been subjected to a temporal experiment that aged him drastically!
Brock grins, as if delighted to see what happened to The Doctor. He seems fine, a little confused, weak. He sees his reflection and is startled.
Mena orders, as suggested by her son, for the Time Lords to be locked in a ‘cabin’ as they are still suspected in a murder. Pangol has a shit-eating grin on his face as they’re led off.
Hardin accompanies Mena to the boardroom. She asks what happened to the experiment, regretting the hope it seemed to offer her people. She mentions how technology offered hope once before, after the war. Hardin asks what she means and she says it isn’t something they speak about to outsiders.
Mena speaks of Theron, how they keep his helmet there to remind them of his ambition and what it cost the Argolin.
The Time Lords are taken into one of the Experiential cabins, outfitted with collars. They are told that if they stay within the parameters of the program, they will not be harmed, but should they try to remove the collars or leave the program, all bets are off.
Pangol works with the TRG, speaking to himself, saying it must be solved before dawn, that “the time is very close”. He’s obviously got something up his sleeve, and I wonder what it has to do with the Foamasi. Interesting that we haven’t seen Brock approach Mena in regards to their offer, too.
Pangol tells Vargos that the alien’s experimentation is affecting the machine. He storms off to the boardroom, where his mother and Hardin (and Mena’s attendants) are. Mena is weak, her breathing is laboured.
Pangol tells Hardin he needs to help them remove his experiment from the hook up with the TRG, to keep from interfering with their own developments. Pangol reveals to his mother that the experiments were rigged, but Stimson coerced him into faking results.
Mena is upset, but Hardin assures her that the experiment he and Romana did was not a fake. Pangol brings up The Doctor in resposne. Hardin says he just needs more time and Mena complies. Pangol argues, especially when Hardin asks for Romana’s assistance. Mena does not allow Romana to assist him.
The Doctor says he’s tired of being old and thinks there must be some way to reverse it. Romana says they need to get him back to the generator as his condition is unstable. The Doctor remarks that Pangol is very young, while everyone else is old.
They speculate that there is a second circuit in the generator, for some unknown purpose.
Brock and Klout (hmm) walk through the corridors and enter the boardroom to consult with Mena. Brock is surprised as the state of her physicality. He brings up the visitors leaving in exodus and how that would affect the Foamasi offer. (So, obviously, Mena is aware of it.)
Hardin frees Romana and The Doctor from the collars, saying he has permission to do so, to get them to help him in looking at the generator and his experiment.
The Doctor remarks on the name of the generator – perhaps it is re-creation, not recreation.
Two Argolin work on the generator controls. One I believe is Vargos, the other is unknown.
Brock show the terms of the offer to Mena, but Pangol snatches it from his hands to look at it. Mena says there is an alternative, to open the airlocks and have her people walk onto the surface of their planet one last time in a mass suicide.
Pangol questions the document not being from the government; Brock says he never claimed it was, that it is in fact from a private group of Foamasi citizens called the West Lodge.
Pangol brings up a third alternative, pointing at the helmet of Theron, saying the new Argolis is the other option.
The Time Lords and Hardin sneak about. So, obviously Hardin doesn’t have permission.
Pangol claims that the document is a fraud, and Mena confirms there are no private Foamasi groups, that it is secretly the Foamasi government. Pangol makes a remark that for years the Foamasi have been trying to force Argolis to accept restitution for the war – so, basically, the Argolin are too proud to take funds from the race that defeated them to rebuild/maintain their world? How fucking arrogant and stupid of them. It was their own damn fault, their own leader, this Theron, started the war, right?
Fucking morons. I have no more sympathy for these people. Let them all die.
Pangol tears up the contract, saying the Foamasi government owns their own planet, but Brock says only officially, that private enterprise cannot be stopped. Klout shows another copy of the contract and Brock says he has several more, just in case.
He assures Mena that the West Lodge can raise the money easily, but Pangol says he has something better than money – manpower. Brock reminds him that Argolis is a sterile planet since the war. Pangol reminds him the war was forty years ago, but asks how old he thinks he is.
The Doctor and Hardin discuss the effects of the radiation on the Argolin people. Romana says it’s not re-creation but duplication of some sort that the generator (now being attended by three Argolin) is doing. They agree that they need to get inside to see what’s going on for sure.
Romana says she’s the only one who can risk going in and being subjected to a tachyon surge, like what happened to The Doctor. If it happens to her, she’ll come out at 650 years, but should either of the two men be inside, they would die.
Mena tells her son no, but he ignores her and tells Brock it’s time for him to know the truth. Pangol says that Mena is not his mother (or would if she doesn’t yell over the last word.) Brock questions if he is an Argolin and Pangol says that he is, he is the first of the New Argolin, a child of the generator.
Hardin distracts the men at the generator console. The Doctor is going mathematical equations on the outer walls of the TARDIS and when they look at the math, the two Argolin collapse. Okay.
The Argolin explain to Brock that the early attempts were primitive and resulted in many mutations – the clones either did not survive on their own or were deformed. Pangol says he was the only one to survive and a moratorium was placed until he was of age.
Pangol pulls up the view of the generator to show Brock the future of his people, and sees the men are missing. Seeing The Doctor hiding by the TARDIS, he sounds the alert.
Romana is inside, pulling away a panel, and we see a Foamasi behind her. Outside, unaware, The Doctor exits the hall.
The alarm rings through the halls as Pangol leads men to the generator hall. The computer tells him there is an intruder inside. He assumes it is The Doctor and activates the generator, saying it was 500 years last time, we’ll see how he likes 2000.
The Doctor meets Romana in the lab; she is accompanied by the Foamasi, whom she said rescued her from the generator before Pangol could start it up. The Foamasi approaches The Doctor and speaks in chirps, clicks and whistles. The Doctor seems to understand what is said and is shocked. The Foamasi says more, but this time The Doctor shakes his head, saying it doesn’t make sense – not sure if he means what is being told or the language.
Hardin arrives, relieved to see them okay, and startled to see the alien. Romana says the Foamasi showed her why their rejuvenation process didn’t work, showing Hardin a box she they found behind one of the shields. Hardin looks at it, but then shows it to The Doctor.
The Doctor stands up, muttering, “Of course,” as he obviously recognises it.
Mena is weak and loses another bone ball. Pangol arrives, complaining that The Doctor has been interfering again. Brock mentions that Mena is dying, but Pangol says that the life of an invididual is trivial. Pangol goes on to say that with her death, the future arrives, the children of the generator can rise to claim their inheritance – so I guess the life of an individual isn’t all that trivial.
The Foamasi clicks and chirps some more. Romana asks questions, but they can’t quite seem to understand. The Foamasi takes them to the scanner and shows them the generator and the boardroom. They rush off, The Doctor saying that the Foamasi has seen someone there.
With pompous music playing in the score, Pangol gives a passionate speech about the birth of the new Argolis. He tells Brock he needs one alien witness, which is why Brock is being filled in on everything.
Just then, The Doctor arrives, with several Foamasi. Brock backs away, fearfully, crying out as the Foamasi grab him and tear off his mask, revealing a Foamasi… and the credits roll.
Well done, I must say.
The Foamasi tear the mask of Klout as well, revealing him to be one. They pull the human garb off both of them as the Argolin watch in surprise and horror. The Foamasi who had tried communicating with The Doctor takes a voice synthesiser from Brock and uses it to speak to everyone.
He introduces himself to Mena as the representative from the Foamasi government (well, actually, he says he IS the government, but, well.) When Pangol says that he is the enemy, he says Brock and Klout are the enemies, they’ve been trying to systematically run the planet down – seems the West Lodge is real and is looking for a new base of operations since the government has been clamping down on their activities there.
GF (Government Foamasi) says that Brock is the head of the West Lodge; with him under arrest, the Lodge is out of commission. When GF says they’re going back home to face trial, the two traitor Foamasi try escaping. As Mena protests (or tries to, all she does is gape and gasp), GF throws an object that wraps them in coccoon like filaments.
Pangol watches most of this gaping like a moron; as GF and his men take the others out, he finds his voice, saying they can’t let the aliens go. He says they’ve been spying and cannot be trusted. Mena seems to feel otherwise. They argue.
He refuses to let her accompany them to the shuttle, pushing her down instead.
GF walks with the Time Lords, saying he’s glad it all ended peacefully. The Doctor says he’s not sure, advising, “Don’t cross your bridges before they’re hatched.”
Pangol catches up to everyone and tells them to wait. Gesturing to the exterior view and the rising sun, he says it is the dawn of the new Argolis and nobody can be allowed to leave as they must witness the new beginning.
GF argues, saying he is an ambassador; prohibiting him from leaving would be an act of war. Pangol retorts, “You won’t leave here alive!”
The Time Lords and Hardin slip off, heading back to the lab. They realise that the device they’d removed is gone. Hardin suggests that it must be back in the generator by now. Romana says that means Pangol is ready.
When Hardin bemoans if only they had a second random field frame, The Doctor suggests using the randomiser from the TARDIS. (Oh, look, we came up with this plot device at the end of the sixteenth season and we don’t want to use it any more.)
Romana argues that it’s too risky – though if she means for the actual use or if she’s referring to traveling without the randomiser, I’m not sure. As Romana tries to get Hardin to help build one, The Doctor skulks off.
Pangol returns to the boardroom and reaches to the Helmet of Theron, taking it down. Mena, still alive, protests, saying Theron worshipped war. Pangol argues that the flame of war forged Argolis into one nation. He leaves and Mena collapses again.
Pangol returns to the generator chamber, addressing the guides of Argolis, saying that he is their new leader. The Doctor sneaks towards the TARDIS.
Over the PA, Hardin and Romana hear Pangol address the citizens of old Argolis, saying their tasks in the Experiential Grid are concluded. All guides are to report to the recreation generator. He tells the gathering guides that the Hive and planet will be reborn.
The Doctor sneaks into the TARDIS; I swear, nobody on this show has any ranks in any perception based skills, ever.
Mena struggles to her feet, using the chairs and table in the boardroom to move about.
Romana and Hardin see her on the screen; he leaves to go to her and Romana asks The Doctor to stop him – she realises that The Doctor is gone. Using the screen, she sess him walking to the generator and she rushes out.
Pangol denies the Foamasi shuttle the permission to launch. He says they will return to the Hive to witness the fulfillment of Argolin destiny.
Inside the generator, The Doctor keeps muttering, “anti-baryon shield” over and again as he hooks wires from the randomiser to the generator.
Pangol, with the Helmet of Theron in hand, tries to give another epic speech, but he is interrupted by a guide who says the Foamasi are still requesting permission to launch. He says no and if they try, he’ll blast them into time and space.
Romana shows up, melodramatically shouting that he cannot start the generator. Sure, when wanting a bad guy not to do something, that always works. When she tells him The Doctor is in there, he says, “Begin the program.”
The launch controller comes on the PA (why the PA, why not a direct comm? And if she could do that, why did the guide keep coming in person to deliver a message?) to say the Foamasi shuttle has launched. Pangol gives the order to “blow it into space!”
Romana points out that is an act of war. Pangol holds the Helmet of Theron up, saying, “War is the destiny of the new Argolis.” Yeah, cuz that worked out SO WELL last time…
The Foamasi shuttle is blown up. Romana runs about like a chicken with her head cut off, screaming, “He’s mad, you’ve got to stop him,” over and again, but the Argolin ignore her. Pangol puts on the helmet and enters the booth.
As they watch, he begins creating duplicates of himself.
“Oh no, an army of Pangols.” – Romana says.
When Pangol and his duplicates come out, they drag her off as she screams, “Let me go,” over and over. More and more duplicates are made and exit the booth.
Pangol watches gleefully as they march by. But he doesn’t notice what I noticed – should I say anything? Nah.
Hardin makes it to the boardroom, finding Mena on the floor. He checks her pulse and then gets on the console, but hears Pangol say on the PA that Mena’s body should be fetched to be disposed outside.
A group of Helmet wearing duplicates march Romana, still struggling, still screaming, “Let me go, The Doctor’s in there!” They stop and she asks what they are doing; one of them raises the face plate on the helmet, revealing The Doctor beneath – young again. But before anything else can happen, he disappears from sight.
Pangol reviews the troops. He stops to look at the screen of the generator, seeing all the troops inside begin to blur.
Another duplicate with Romana raises its faceplate. It too, has The Doctor’s young face. He says, “It’s terribly simple. It’s a tachyon image – outwardly Pangol, inwardly me.” Another raises its hood; it too, Doctor face, both disappear after talking about the images being unstable.
A guide arrives to take Mena’s body, but Hardin attacks him. He then takes her body, saying, “the generator”.
All but one of the duplicates have disappeared from around Romana, the last one seemingly to be the “real” Doctor. Young again. He changes back into his coat and hat.
Pangol says they shall begin again. He leaps to the console but Hardin arrives with Mena. They argue – Pangol screaming that she is dead, Hardin saying she is breathing. He wants to save her, Pangol wants to be leader. They struggle and somehow both Mena and Pangol end up inside.
The Time Lords arrive just then, The Doctor saying he set it on rejuvenation. (Of course he did.) Romana says anything could happen, it’s too unstable.
On the screen, Mena’s face and Pangol’s are shown. As they begin to merge, The Doctor picks up the Helmet of Theron. Romana shouts (of course, it seems all she can do this last episode), “It’s too dangerous,” but he throws it at the screen and there’s an explosion.
The screen? Really? Why not the controls?
Anyhow, a rejuvenated Mena comes out with a baby Pangol in her arms. She says this time she must try to bring him up properly – gee, ya think? You kinda failed the first time, just a little bit.
But, first, she says, there is work to do. She speaks of contacting the Foamasi, to avert another war, but GF shows up, saying that Brock and Klout were in the ship and must have tried to launch without the others inside. GF says they have much to discuss. They head off to the boardroom and The Doctor, who is hold Pangol, pawns the baby off on Hardin.
Romana says they can’t leave the randomiser here, but The Doctor says he doesn’t like not knowing where the’re going to go next. Romana brings up the Black Guardian, but The Doctor says he’s a “galactic hobo with ideas above his station” and there are many like him and there’s been too much randomising on the job.
The Time Lords enter the TARDIS and it dematerialises. We pan out of the Hive to the exterior… and the credits roll.
Not bad, certainly better than most of the previous season. Some silliness, some awfully silly, but not bad, all in all. I had seen this one before; I recalled the scenes with the duplicates marching out of the generator, as well as the little balls falling off their heads.
I’d say I’m happy about the randomiser being gone, but it really wasn’t like it was a problem in the previous season – it was ignored as a plot device more often than not.