We start with episode 4, so it’s a spoiler warning you need.
The Queen’s guards struggle with the villagers. The Queen says that soon it will be dark and she must hurry away. Sarah Jane hides amongst the villagers, but the Queen has her men take Arak’s father.
Mike watches Lupton’s group enter Barnes’ room and put up a Do Not Disturb sign. He listens at the door.
Sarah Jane begs for the villagers to help; Arak’s brother says it’s almost curfew, they have to go in, but The Doctor begins to stir.
Lupton’s group argues over where Lupton is. As they do, the door knob turns; they open it and find Tommy at the door. Barnes is very rude to him (again). Mike returns to the door, listening.
A bell tolls, signaling curfew on Metebelis Three. To be outside after twilight is punishable by death. The Doctor seems to be getting sicker, they say there is no cure, he should be dead already.
When the Queen returns to the chamber of spiders, Lupton is sitting in her place. Lupton’s spider speaks up against the Queen. They use the crystal as leverage, saying if The Great One wants the crystal, she will have to wait until he and his spider get proper reward.
The Queen tells Lupton he was followed to Metebelis Three by two Earthers – the male was killed but the female is still loose. Because of this, the council is worried and agrees not to listen to Lupton’s demands until the female (Sarah Jane) is found.
Tommy takes out the crystal in his room, sets it atop a bar stool, and pulls out a children’s book and begins to read. He struggles with the words, but then the crystal begins to glow brightly. He stares into it and it sees to affect him, until he collapses. When he recovers, he is able to read easily.
Arak and his siblings talk about trying to rescue their father, Sabor. The two brothers argue. Sarah Jane watches over The Doctor as they do. She tells them if he could recover, he could help. He begins to speak, telling her there is a machine in the TARDIS, in an old leather satchel. He’s weak, can barely speak, but gives her the key to the TARDIS.
Sarah gets the satchel out of the TARDIS, after avoiding some guards. When she exits, Lupton is standing there, waiting for her.
Arak and his brother (whose name I can’t seem to catch) argue over what to do – they see the satchel by the TARDIS (Sarah and Lupton are nowhere in sight, so I’m guessing he took her away.) Arak runs out and retrieves the satchel and brings it back. They pull out a strange device out of the satchel.
The Doctor comes to and asks for Sarah; they explain she’s not there but brought the machine. They had it to him and he uses it to discharge the energy of the attack within him.
Tommy goes into the library at the meditation center and pulls a book off a shelf. He starts reading, “Tiger, Tiger, burning bright…” and so forth, from “Tiger” by William Blake. He stops, saying, “That’s pretty,” in a child-like voice, then, in a more adult voice, “No… that’s beautiful.” He starts grabbing other books from the shelf.
Sarah Jane is brought to the spider’s lair. She sees Sabor laying in a bunk, covered in webs, then she sees one of the spiders, but when she tries to run, she is stunned by a guard.
Mike knocks on the door to Barnes’ room, scaring the conspirators. They hide and when Yates comes in, Moss attacks him as he tells Barnes he thinks they should have a talk, as he’s been listening.
When the sun rises, the morning bell tolls. The Doctor sits up, all chipper, waking the others.
Sarah Jane is seen waking; like Sabor, she is wrapped from shoulders to feet in webbing, like a coccoon. Sabor tells her it’s no good struggling. When she asks what will happen to them, he intimates they’ll be eaten by the spiders.
The Doctor is fed mutton, while he sits with Arak, who gives him a basic history of his people, who arrived over four hundred years ago from Earth. He asks how the spiders got there.
Meanwhile, Sarah has asked Sabor the same, and he responds they, too, came from Earth. It seems the blue crystals of Metebelis Three mutated the spiders, making them larger, giving them great mental powers.
The Doctor asks Arak and his brother to fetch him an assortment of stones and pebbles.
Mike is tied up and gagged on a bed, and he struggles with his bonds.
The Doctor holds up a variety of stones to the machine that cured him. Each time he does, the machine buzzes. He’s looking for a stone that will absorb the energy from the spiders’ attacks. One of the stones registers and he says they’re getting somewhere.
Later, The Doctor leaves the village, the machine in hand. Arak insists he take one of the stones, and he accepts it from Arak. They clasp arms and The Doctor departs.
Sabor tells Sarah Jane to get some rest. He tells her there is no hope of rescue and that is why he’s not afraid.
The Doctor skulks through the spiders’ citadel; a guard attacks him and he uses the machine to absorb the blast. They move to hand to hand and the machine falls to the floor. Another shows up and when The Doctor goes for the machine, Lupton steps on his hand. But before any more can happen, a third guard, a superior of some sort, has Lupton arrested and taken to the council. The Doctor, too, is taken away.
Sarah Jane sees The Doctor and rejoices until she sees he’s accompanied by guards… and the credits roll.
They should have left the bit with The Doctor being captured off camera, so when he showed up, the viewer would have thought he was there to save them.
Lupton has been brought before the Queen with his confederate (the spider); the council has learned that the crystal is still on Earth. Lupton’s spider tries to turn this against the Queen and several of the council are quick to join in. The Queen says she will go consult The Great One.
The Doctor has joined Sarah Jane and Sabor in the larder. The Doctor tells Sabor and Sarah Jane that Arak is trying to get together a rescue party and begins to tell them that they know how to protect themselves, but he stops when guards come in to cut Sarah Jane free and take her away.
In the village, Arak and his brother and the menfolk of the village prepare to attack. Their mother tries to dissuade them from going, but the brothers tell her they must, not just for their father and the strangers, but for all the villages. The men put on headbands that have the stones The Doctor identified in them.
The Doctor escapes the cocoon by using a trick he learned from Harry Houdini. He leaves Sabor there and goes off to rescue Sarah.
Sarah is thrown to the floor and brought before a solitary spider; it is the Queen, and she pretends that she wants peace with all two legs. She says she has lied to the council about consulting The Great One. The Queen wants Sarah and The Doctor to return to Earth and collect the blue crystal.
The Doctor skulks through the spiders’ citadel, avoiding guards.
Mike struggles with his bonds, as Barnes comes in and takes off his gag. Barnes says they’re waiting for Lupton to come back. Mike talks Barnes into letting him assist them in re-establishing the link, suggesting that Lupton may be waiting for them to do exactly that.
Lupton and his spider argue with the rest of the council; there’s lots of talk of not trusting the Queen, nor trusting Lupton. Lupton and his spider argue and she drops him with a mental attack (seemingly backed up by the council, as this time he cannot fight back.)
The Doctor hears Sarah Jane calling out for him and goes down a tunnel.
Tommy is reading a big book, full of big words, and doing rather well with it. He has a dictionary next to him, trying to understand words he doesn’t know, trying to understand what has happened with him. He decides to ask Yates what is going on, but overhears them talking about the cellar. Tommy remembers Lupton appearing out of thin air, and having the crystal in his hand.
Tommy then decides to ask Cho-Je, but hides the crystal first.
The Doctor walks into a large chamber, where he is told to stop; should he enter further, he will die. The voice of Sarah Jane is an illusion, used to lure him in. He asks who he is speaking to, and she identifies herself as The Great One. He asks why he cannot see her, but she says he will, but not until he brings back the crystal – she says it is “the one last perfect crystal of power.”
He defies her, saying she will never have it. She attacks his mind, forcing him to march about. He struggles against her, to no avail. She orders him to leave and go fetch the crystal and then goes into a cacophony of “go now, I must have it” over and again.
The chanting circle begins chanting and the spider council detects it. Lupton warns them that the group might not be allies and the spiders are sent to Earth, manifesting in secret in the room, not in the mat in the center of the group.
Tommy tells Cho-Je what he knows; the deputy abbot says he will go to the cellar and instructs Tommy to fetch the crystal. Cho-Je is not surprised as the transformation in Tommy. Cho-Je enters the cellar, stopping the men, but they are attacked by the spiders. Cho-Je and Yates are blasted and drop to the ground. The spiders close in on the rest of the men, and Tommy, watching from the stairs (with the crystal in hand) rushes away to go tell K’anpo.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane reunite in the larder room. As Arak and the villagers arrive to rescue Sabor, Sarah Jane uses a trick taught her by the Queen to teleport her and The Doctor to the TARDIS. They enter and head to Earth.
On Earth, the chanting circle seem to be merged with spiders – they are looking at their backs, rolling their shoulders. When the TARDIS materialises in the cellar, they hide. When Sarah Jane and The Doctor exit, they are ambushed; The Doctor has a stone that protects him from their blasts until Tommy helps them escape and locks the cellar door. Tommy is blasted by one of the men, but it has little effect.
When Sarah Jane says, “Tommy, you’re normal – you’re just like everybody else,” Tommy has the best response, EVER – “I sincerely hope not.”
Tommy leads them to meet with K’anpo. The Doctor speaks to the abbot in Tibetan, apologising for not bringing a symbolic gift. The abbot says he and The Doctor have no need for symbols, and The Doctor looks at him curiously at this. Tommy goes out to keep a watch out for the others.
The Doctor begins talking about the blue crystal. He asks if he and K’anpo have met before, and the abbot says, “the recognition of friends is not always easy.” He encourages The Doctor to go on about the crystal.
Outside, Barnes, Moss and the other two of the chanting circle who are now spider-hosts arrive. Tommy stands outside the abbot’s door, protectively. One of the spiders says the crystal is in the room. Barnes steps forward, ordering Tommy to get out of the way. Tommy meets his gaze, defiantly, and Barnes backs away, sensing something about Tommy.
Barnes blasts Tommy with the blue lightning, but again it has limited effect. He fights several of them off physically, but then they attack with the blue lightning in concert… and the credits roll.
I like Tommy. This would have been one pisser of a cliffhanger if I had to wait a week to find out what was going to happen to my boy.
K’anpo reveals that he has the crystal. Suddenly, Sarah Jane demands that the crystal be given to her. She blasts The Doctor with blue lightning and he falls to his knees, at K’anpo’s side. The abbot takes The Doctor’s arm and instructs him to see through his eyes, and when The Doctor looks, the Queen spider can be seen attached to Sarah’s back.
Again, we see Tommy face off with Barnes and his fellow spider-hosts, the cliffhanger from last week.
The Doctor and the abbot call upon Sarah to resist the Queen. The Doctor urges her to look at the crystal, to look into the light. The Queen falls from Sarah’s back, landing upside down, her legs curling as she disappears.
The spider-men stop blasting Tommy and link their hands and begin chanting.
Sarah Jane apologises for allowing the Queen to control her. The abbot says that The Doctor’s greed is responsible for all of this – had he not taken the crystal in the first place, none of the events would have happened (though, honestly, I imagine The Great One would have the crystal and that would be worse.)
The Doctor turns to the abbot, saying, “I know who you are, now.” It seems that K’anpo is also a Time Lord.
The two Time Lords explain regeneration to Sarah Jane – this is the first time that it has been codified or named. When the First Doctor “regenerated”, it was just explained that the TARDIS fixed him, healed him. When the Second Doctor regenerated, the Time Lords “changed his appearance”. This is monumental, folks… and, well, just you wait and see.
K’anpo explains that Cho-Je is a projection of his own self and not really a seperate entity.
Cho-Je rouses Yates and they leave the cellar.
The chanting circle chants.
The spider council sends power to their sisters on Earth.
K’anpo says the moment of truth approaches. He asks The Doctor if he knows what he must do, but he says that he does not. K’anpo asks what The Doctor fears most, and The Doctor recalls his confrontation with The Great One. He tells Sarah Jane that he has to go, even if the cave of crystals would destroy him.
The spider-hosts stop their chanting and turn their attacks on Tommy; this time they seem to have more effect, though he still stands. Yates runs up and takes a hit and drops like a rock. The spider-hosts rush into K’anpo’s room as The Doctor disappears. They blast the abbot who falls to his chair.
The Doctor appears in the cellar and hops in the TARDIS. It dematerialises just as the spider-hosts make the cellar. He arrives on Metebelis Three, where he is greeted by Arak and his brother. They agree to show him how to get to the cave of crystals.
Under Cho-Je’s instruction, Tommy picks up Yates to take him to K’anpo.
The Doctor is led into the spider council chamber by the brothers; it seems their attack failed and they are enslaved. The Doctor says the crystal is to be returned to The Great One. Lupton moves to grab the crystal, but the spiders stop him. The spider council tells The Doctor that he has beaten them and it is good that he will die. He turns and leaves.
Lupton begins ranting at the spiders, calling them spiders and they react poorly to that word. He moves to strike the spider confederate, but she blasts him with blue lightning.
K’anpo helps Mike recover. K’anpo then says that his body cannot take any more and his head drops. Cho-Je begins speaking, but in mid breath, he fades. As they watch, K’anpo changes, becoming Cho-Je in form. He says not to concern themselves, he is not dying, merely regenerating.
The Doctor arrives at the cyrstal cave and is allowed all the way in, where he sees The Great One, a giant spider, the size of a small building. The Doctor says that he has brought the crystal, and asks her to leave Earth alone.
She laughs, saying the paltry plans of her subjects are no concern of hers. Her plans are greater than one small planet. When he asks why it is so important to her, she explains that the web of crystal above her in the cave is a replication of her brain, it lacks only one perfect crystal to be complete. When complete, her mind and mental powers will be increased to an infinite level, allowing her to rule the entire universe.
Wow, that’s a pretty big thing, that. That’s the sort of thing that’s going to take some great sacrifice to balance out. What could The Doctor do to make that “payment”? (Doctor Who is the sort of show that, at times, the hero wins because of a sacrifice. Sometimes it’s an ally or innocent who pays the price. Sometimes a companion goes away. Sometimes, it’s a personal cost.)
The Doctor tries to tell The Great One that completing the circuit will only destroy her. She refuses to listen, mocking him, saying he is dying, the cave is destroying his body as they speak, but she will grant him one favour, to allow him to see her ascension before he dies.
The crystal moves from his hand, by the power of her mind presumably, into the spot in the crystal web. She says she is complete and gloats and rants and praises herself. The Doctor begs her to stop, but she’s too busy singing her own glory, telling the stars to bow down and worship her.
The power consumes her, burning her up from within. The Doctor flees as the cave shakes.
The spider council screams as the building shakes – it seems they’re dying. The villagers come to, and flee the building.
On Earth, the spiders fall off the spider-hosts and die.
The Doctor makes it back to the TARDIS and enters as the mountain begins to explode.
In The Doctor’s lab at UNIT, Sarah Jane is holding The Doctor’s coat. She sniffs it and seems melancholy, or at least pensive. The Brig walks in and realises she’s there to see if “the old fellow” has popped up. She says it’s been over three weeks, but the Brig says that’s nothing, “One time, I didn’t see him for months… when he did turn up, he had a different face.”
Sarah Jane says they’ll never see him again, but just then, the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor staggers out, weak and weary. He says he got lost in the time vortex, but the TARDIS brought him there. He collapses and they put a pillow under his head.
The Doctor explains he had to go back, to face his fear. She begs him not to die and cries, while the Brig kneels quietly beside them. He touches her tears and says, “Don’t cry, while there’s life…” but his hand drops and he says no more. Sarah Jane closes his eyes, but before anything else can happen, there’s a strange noise.
Cho-Je/K’anpo materialises in the lab, sitting in a lotus position. “It is all right, he is not dead,” the Time Lord proclaims. He apologises for startling her. The Brig asks for an introduction, but Sarah is confused on how to explain who K’anpo is.
K’anpo says he will give The Doctor’s cells “a push” so he can regenerate. When he explains that The Doctor will become a new man, and look different, the Brig exclaims, “Not again!” I love the Brig.
K’anpo says that the change will shake up his brain cells and they might find his behavior “a little erratic”. He gestures and says good bye and disappears. The Brig and Sarah Jane turn and look at The Doctor. Sarah Jane says it’s starting and the Brig quirks an eyebrow, “Well… here we go again.”
We get a close up of The Doctor and watch as his face changes, is replaced by a darker haired man with a more pointed nose.
IT’S TOM BAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY DOCTOR! MY EVER-LOVING DOCTOR!!!!!!!!
Yes, this was no surprise, but it still doesn’t change the fact that IT’S MY DOCTOR!!!! I love all the kids complaining about how they miss David Tennant, how Ten was their Doctor and it will never be the same, whine whine whine.
I lost MY Doctor almost thirty years ago, thank you very much. The show goes on and you find things to love about it, regardless.
Next week, we begin the seven season of Tom Baker.