OMG, I knew it was coming up soon, but didn’t think they’d start the season with it. I have seen this before, once. I recall enough to know who the villain is and some scenes here and there, but not very many. I’m excited! This is a historical serial, the concept of having The Doctor meet his previous two selves is just… it’s only been done twice since, with The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors (the latter being one of my most favourite serials of all time.)
At a riverside location, a man (hunter, perhaps) finds a parachute billowing. Attached to it is a small box.
A jeep pulls up to a location, and from a sign we see it’s a wild life refuge (so guessing not hunter, unless dude is a poacher.) A man, a Doctor Tyler, gets out and is informed that Arthur is watching “it” but hasn’t touched it.
We see the man at the box, and he is most certainly touching it. As he sees the jeep approach, the box begins to crackle and there’s a flash of light enveloping him and he disappears, frightening the nearby birds.
Dr. Tyler arrives, calling out for Mr. Ollis. He doesn’t find him and calls in on the radio to UNIT HQ. We next see him in The Doctor’s lab with The Doctor, Jo and the Brig. The device is used to measure cosmic rays. He tells them he was going to contact them before this business.
He pulls out some scans and shows them to The Doctor; they’re visibly different. Looking at some other print outs, it seems something is approaching Earth at faster than light speed.
Dr. Tyler develops the slide from the machine and a face is visible in the readout. He’s startled, and when he goes back to the machine, there’s a flash of light and he’s gone! And some crackling energy form seems to have taken his place.
At the location, Jo and The Doctor meet with Mrs. Ollis. She’s not concerned about her husband’s disappearance – she says this sort of behavior isn’t unusual.
The Brig returns to the lab, to discover that Dr. Tyler is nowhere to be found. He summons Benton and sends him to find Dr. Tyler, whom he believes is wandering about the HQ.
The Doctor and Jo return to UNIT HQ, but outside, encounter the energy mass. They run and the energy envelops Bessie, which disappears as they watch. Back in the lab, The Doctor sees the plate and suggest that the face might be the missing Mr. Ollis.
After looking at some data from the Brig, The Doctor realises that the light energy scanned Earth and zoomed in on the area. They quickly realise that the energy being seems to be hunting down The Doctor specifically. The beam was the method of transportation.
Two UNIT guards are on duty outside the complex, when a group of strange looking creatures start appearing. Benton arrives with back ups and they start a firefight.
More of the creatures arrive, all about the compound and the troops and the creatures being battling. The UNIT weapons don’t seem to have much effect on the creatures. The Brig calls for an evacuation and then leaves the lab to take charge of things.
The Doctor and Jo stay in the lab, and outside in the hall, we see the energy creature coming out of a vent.
Benton climbs in The Doctor’s lab through the window, as The Doctor is trying to get Jo to leave – he says she’ll be safe, they’re only after him. While Benton argues (his orders were to report there), the creature comes into the lab, destroying/teleporting the wall out of the way. The Doctor, Jo and Benton rush into the TARDIS (and Benton, who has never been inside, stares around in shock.)
The Doctor, at the console, asks, “Well, seregeant, aren’t you going to say that it’s bigger on the inside than the outside? Everybody else does.”
Benton, who is one of my favourite characters, replies, still quite amazed, “It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Anyway, nothing to do with you surprises me, any more, Doctor.”
The TARDIS is immobilised. The Doctor sends a report to the Time Lords, saying things are “pretty serious”.
On the Time Lords’ home planet (Gallifrey, still not named yet), they are aware of what is going on. They have traced the source of the beam to a black hole, but they have no idea who is behind it. The black hole is draining “vital cosmic energy”, which could destroy “the whole fabric of all space-time”.
The Time Lord Chancellor says that someone must go help The Doctor, but… the other guy doesn’t have a title or name yet, but he seems to be more in charge of what’s being done to fight the energy drain… anyhow, he tells the Chancellor that nobody can be spared, everyone is busy fighting the energy drain. “But perhaps, he can help himself…”
He turns to a nearby man at a console, saying to bring up The Doctor’s previous form. (Still not referring to it as regeneration; I believe this is introduced when Pertwee regenerates into Tom Baker.) The Chancellor points out that the First Law of Time prohibits this, and the Chancellor says “Be it on your own head.”
The technician pulls up an image of the Second Doctor.
The TARDIS console seems active. When The Doctor walks over, he picks up an item sitting on the console that wasn’t there before. He muses that it seems familiar, and asks Jo if it is hers. She says it’s not her flute. The Doctor corrects her, “Properly speaking, it’s a recorder,” and has Jo is holding it, the Second Doctor materialises on the far side of Jo, taking the recorder from her hand.
He looks around, “Oh, I see you’ve been playing up the TARDIS a bit… I don’t liike it!” The Third Doctor just stares, not entirely pleased to see him. Benton and the Second Doctor (okay, I’m going to do what the new kids do these days, instead of typing Second Doctor, Third Doctor, I’m going with Two and Three) reunite, both pleased to see each other.
Jo asks who the stranger is, if he’s “one of them” (meaning Time Lords), but Three says, “It’s more that he’s one of us… one of me to be more precise.” This elicits a strong reaction from Two. The byplay between Two and Three is delightful and I can’t sit here and transcribe every bit of dialogue, it would take you all day to read this.
Their attempts to explain that Two and Three are the same man just confuse Jo. Two explains that he has been popped in by the Time Lords to help out.
Outside in the lab, the energy creature is attacked by UNIT troops, one of whom is ‘vanished’ by the creature.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctors, having seen this (and Two commenting on the Brig, still blazing away with guns at every problem), make mental contact with each other to quickly communicate/share information.
Two begins playing his recorder, always a focus for him, but Three begins criticising and they argue. On Gallifrey, the Time Lords see this and the one in charge tells his technician to pull up the First Doctor, saying that he would keep the other two in line.
Two and Three argue, but Jo gets their attention. On the TARDIS scanner, we see One sitting in a crystal. Two and There walk over, Two grinning, as One says, “Ah, there you are… I seem to be stuck up here, hmm? Oh, so you’re my replacements… a dandy and a clown.”
One goes on to inform them that they’re dealing with a Time Breach and they need to cross it. The two Doctors flip a coin to see, and Three loses. Two disconnects the force field and Three runs out the door of the TARDIS, but Jo follows. He stops and grabs her, yelling at her to go back, but the creature vanishes both of them… and the credits roll.
Wow, I can only imagine what the viewers were thinking back then. Was there any advance press about this, or was it just sprung on them?
William Hartnell’s role was reduced to cameos due to his health; originally, the intent was to have him be equally present with the other two, but this, filmed two years before his death in 1975, was the most his failing health would allow.
This is a monumental serial and I’m loving it.
Two stops Benton from running after them and closes the door. He explains to the sergeant that they’ve not been destroyed, this was done to transport them somewhere. He talks down Benton, who wants to blow up the energy creature, saying they need a more subtle approach.
Two and Benton depart the TARDIS, approaching the energy creature, which seems to be mostly dormant. As the creature ‘sits’, it shakes occasionally, violently. The Brig comes in yelling for them to be careful, but The Doctor runs in front, telling him not to attack.
There’s a moment’s pause as it sinks in with the Brig just who is talking to him. He turns, his eyes widening. “Oh, no,” he murmurs, to which Two replies, “Oh, yes!” The Brig demands to know why he’s changed his appearance and where Jo is.
Two tries to explain things to the Brig, who thinks that because The Doctor has been mucking around with the TARDIS and managed to change his appearance back.
The Chancellor returns to the control room, saying that they must stop transgressing the First Law of Time. The other man (the President, I think, so I will use that for now) says The Doctor is their only hope. (It’s worth noting that the Chancellor is played by Clyde Pollitt, who played one of the three Time Lords who tried and sentenced The Doctor to exile and regeneration in THE WAR GAMES. The Producer of the show said that this was, in fact, meant to be the same character in both serials.)
The President and Chancellor argue over breaking the First Law over “a dangerous gamble”. We learn that One is trapped in a time eddy and can do no more than advise. They discuss Three and his companion having gone into the black hole; the Chancellor says, “Theoretically… they’re dead.”
Three and Jo awake in a rocky terrain. She’s afraid they’re dead, but he assures her they’re not. They get up and take a look around, though over an incline we see one of the amorphous creatures.
Two explains to the Brig and Benton about the anti-matter universe and that the energy creature is anti-matter, though it shouldn’t be able to be there without causing an explosion. Two takes measures to ensure the energy creature stays harmless.
Three and Jo find office equipment and even the wall/door from the lab, just randomly throughout the landscape. They find Bessie and go for a drive. They stop and disembark, and we see Mr. Ollis stalking them.
The Brig summons Two to come address the security council via video link up. There’s a cute bit after the Brig explains that he told the council that Two is Three’s assistant, as the truth would be too hard for them to grapple with. This, of course, is very offensive to Two, but the Brig says there’s nothing to be done about it, and Two agrees to play along.
While they’re away, Benton throws a gum wrapper at the anti-matter creature and this seems to waken, irritate the creature. He uses a device Two had set up to help keep it sedate, but it has no effect. The Brig and Two come running when he calls for help and Two says they have to get in the TARDIS immediately. They do, just as the creature vanishes the device Two had cobbled together.
The Brig, having never been in the TARDIS before, stares around. Two gives him a great line, “Oh, you’ll get used to it, old chap. Relative dimension and all that.” Two offers the Brig a Jelly Baby, which has me freaking out. I didn’t recall anyone but Four using Jelly Babies!!!
Dr. Tyler is doing math in the sand in the alien landscape. Jo and Three find him and they try to catch him up.
From afar, someone is watching them on a video screen. He is pleased to have “a Time Lord within” his power. He is a tall, imposing figure with an ornate helmet. He gestures and sends his blob-like creatures to fetch Three. They surrounded Three, Jo and Tyler and take them prisoner.
The Brig demands to be let out of the TARDIS; he’s going stir-crazy. The Doctor is too busy looking for his recorder – he needs to do some deep thinking and does his best thinking to music.
Three, Jo and Tyler are brought into some sort of palace, but the professor says it’s time to try to escape. Three tries to talk him out of it, but he dashes off when he gets the chance, but he is herded back to Three and Jo.
Two fiddles (oh my) with the Brig’s radio, allowing him to communicate with his troops. One appears on the TARDIS scanner, telling Two to turn off the force field.
Tyler refuses to accept they’re in an anti-matter universe, as they’re being escorted to the being behind all of this.
Two shuts off the TARDIS force field as One instructed him to do so. When he does, the creatures outside the compound disappear, as does the main building itself… and the credits roll.
Three, Jo and Tyler are brought into an ornate chamber, much like a throne room. When Jo asks who brought them there, their host steps forth, saying he did and in the legends of the Time Lords, he is known as Omega. This resonates with Three, who says Omega was destroyed.
Omega orders Jo and Tyler to be taken elsewhere, but he says that they will not be harmed. The two humans are taken into a cell with no doors, and Tyler scoffs, until doors just appear in the doorway.
Omega says that he seeks revenge against his people. He is responsible for the Time Lords having the ability to travel through time and he was abandoned for it. Three tells Omega that he was not forgotten, it was believed that he was lost in the supernova he created to power the TARDISes.
According to Omega, he survived through force of will alone. He plans to use The Doctor against the Time Lords. Omega tells Three that he will help them or he and his companions will be harmed.
Omega receives an alert that others have arrived.
Two lets the Brig out, and he and Benton follow. They exit into the laboratory. The Brig searches around, and when he opens a door leading outside, he’s quite shocked to see they’re not where they should be. The Brig leaves to “nip out, find a phone and call London”. After he leaves, Two and Benton encounter some of the blob like creatures and run from them.
The Brig runs into Mr. Ollis, who tells them about Three and Jo and Tyler being caught by the creatures. They hide as two of them come by, escorting Two and Benton, and follow them to a mountainside lair.
Two and Benton are brought before Omega, who quickly realises that Two and Three are the same. Omega begins ranting, becoming angry. Outside, thunder roars in response to his emotions. He has Two, Three and Benton taken away while he decides what to do with them.
The Brig and Ollis prepare to assault/infiltrate Omega’s lair.
Two and Three argue over who is responsible for angering Omega. Jo gets them to stop arguing and apologise to each other. They then explain that all about them is a point of singularity inside the black hole, and Omega controls it is all subject to his will.
The two Doctors explain who Omega is, what he did. Jo says they must be able to stop him – after all, if he was all powerful, he wouldn’t have brought The Doctor there to help. She says if Omega can will up an entire world, surely the two of them could work together to force their will on the world about them. They link their minds and create a door in the cell and everyone leaves (despite being told to stay by Three.)
Jo, Benton and Tyler scuttle about Omega’s palace, trying to avoid the bloblike creatures. Two and Three enter the Singularity Chamber but Omega finds them there. They threaten to destroy him with their wills. He does not fear their challenge and opens “the dark side” of his mind against Three.
The companions find their way out, reuniting with the Brig and Ollis. All five run off into the landscape, pursued by the blobbers.
Three and Omega engage in mental combat; we see them in darkness, the two fighting. Omega is no wearing his helmet and has a monstrous face, scarred and disfigured, not unlike Darth Vader’s when his mask is removed in RETURN OF THE JEDI. Three uses a lot of Judo throws on Omega.
One communicates with the President, who tells him that he must join the other two inside the black hole – all three are needed to defeat Omega.
Omega locks in a half-nelson choke/body scissors combination on Three (the ‘Tazmission’ to my fellow professional wrestling fans) and Omega’s voice is heard commanding his dark side to “Destroy him!”… and the credits roll.
Fun bit of cliffhangery drama there.
Two appeals to Omega, saying if he destroys Three, he will destroy any chance of freedom. Omega lets Three survive and says that he will destroy their friends if they continue to fight him.
Two plays the clown, asking Omega if he would will up a recorder, as he still hasn’t found his. Omega asks Three, “Are you sure you’re of the same intelligence?”
Two keeps pushing him and Three finally confronts him, demanding to know what he’s doing. Two says he’s testing Omega’s limits of his self-control, and muses that they’re not very good – when Omega gets mad, all about trembles and shakes.
They play penitent and apologetic to Omega, asking his forgiveness and ask him about this task he needs them for. Omega goes on a rant on how he created everything here, but he is still trapped. It seems that to escape, he has to abandon control of Singularity… but the moment if he abandons it, he no longer has the power to escape. He wants The Doctor(s) to stay and assume control of Singularity, so that he might escape.
The Brig and others, having found Bessie, drive from the blob creatures, which fire upon them.
The Doctors agree to Omega’s demand. He instructs them to remove his helmet, but there is nothing beneath; the power of the Singularity has corroded away his very being – he only exists because the power of his will insists that he does. Needless to say, he pretty much snaps. He says if he only exists by his will, then his will is to destroy and he will destroy all things.
The two Doctors flee as Omega rants and raves, escaping the palace and seeking Bessie. They follow the tracks heading off.
The Brig and crew return to UNIT HQ, shortly followed by the two Doctors. Everyone rushes into the TARDIS and turn on the force field for safety. The Brig just stares at the two Doctors, baffled.
On Gallifrey, we learn that One passed into the black hole, but still may only be able to observe, advise.
In the TARDIS, Two announces, “If only I could find my recorder, I could play you some music to pass the time.” The Brig wins with the retort, “We must be thankful for small mercies.” Nicholas Courtney had some of the best lines and as much as the actual words, it was his delivery that made them so delightful.
One appears on the TARDIS scanner, saying there’s not much he can do. The three Doctors join in mental contact and seem to agree on some plan, though One declares it to be risky. Two and Three duck under the TARDIS console to fiddle with it.
Two finds his recorder in the middle of the force field generator; Three says this is even better than their original plan. They remove the generator, with the recorder still inside.
One reports in to Gallifrey, saying they have a plan and he will report to them when he can.
Three contacts Omega, saying they think they have a way for him to achieve his freedom. Omega suspects them of deceit when they ask him to allow them to use the TARDIS to come to him, but he allows it, saying they cannot leave the black hole unless he permits it. They bring the TARDIS to Omega’s palace.
The two Doctors say that if he will send the humans back, they will stay and think they have a way for him to be free. He says there is no freedom, but if they offer to stay, he will return the humans to their planet. Three tells the Brig that they must step through the smoke emitted by the Singularity. Tyler is the first to go, and he disappears as he does so. Ollis is next, reluctantly doing so.
Benton is next, as ordered by the Brig. Jo protests that she wants to stay with Three, but he insists and she steps through and disappears next. The Brig says his farewell to the Doctors, stopping to salute them before stepping through.
Omega says it is now time to place his game and there is no escape. Two brings out the force field generator and says it his only freedom. The two Doctors link their minds and try to force him to take it, but he laughs and knocks the generator out of Two’s hands.
Two yells run and there is a brilliant flash.
On Gallifrey, they observe the black hole as it flashes and the power returns to Gallifrey. The President says that once again, Omega is a source of energy.
On Earth, UNIT HQ is back as are the Brig and crew. Shortly after, the TARDIS appears and the two Doctors step out. They explain that because the recorder was inside the force field generator, it was never processed and remained pure matter, so when Omega knocked the generator out of Two’s hands, it caused a chain reaction, making the black hole a supernova once more.
They hear One speaking over the scanner, he says it is time for he and Two to return to their time streams. He fades from the scanner, as Two and Three shake hands.
Two: “It’s been so nice to meet me.”
Three: “I hope I don’t meet me again.”
Two fades from sight. The Brig declares that as far as he is concerned, one Doctor is more than enough. He orders Benton to come along, they have to check that everything is back in the HQ where it belongs.
Jo and Three are left in the TARDIS; Three is sad at Omega’s fate. Jo tries to comfort him.
A new dematerialisation circuit appears atop the center crystal of the TARDIS console. The Doctor says that all the dematerialisation codes have returned to his memory – he’s been forgiven by the Time Lords. Jo is sad, expecting him to leave immediately, but he says he has to build a new force field generator first.
We see Ollis return home, where upon his wife gives him the third degree about where he’s been. He just looks at her, says, “You’d never believe me, woman. Supper ready?”… and the final credits roll.
A most fun serial. A terrible shame that Hartnell was so poorly in health, I would have rather enjoyed him getting equal screen time and dialogue as the two others. Still, most fun.