Never seen this one, hoping it’s as good as the previous historical episodes.

E1 “The Slave Traders”

 The TARDIS materialises on the edge of a precipice and tumbles over. We see it laying at the bottom as the episode title comes up. The next scene shows Ian dressed in Roman garb, eating grapes on a lounge. Obviously, time has passed. Barbara and Vicki have gone on to the village, while the menfolk have stayed behind.

 Vicki is obnoxious and bratty and terrible. I hope she doesn’t stick around long. As she and Barbara travel to the village, we see a man in the woods, sharpening a sword.

 In the village, two Roman watch the ladies in the market. They pay one of the merchants for information about them and their companions.

 Back on the road, we see the armed man attack a traveling minstrel.

 At dinner, Ian asks about the TARDIS; we learn they’ve been there 3-4 weeks already. The TARDIS is still where it fell. The Doctor gets irate and mentions getting away from them for a couple days, news to the rest of them.

 The Doctor calls Ian “Chesterfield”, bringing back the old name game. The Doctor has plans to go to Rome, Vicki begs to come along and he acquiesces. When Ian and Barbara suggest going with him, safety in numbers, his irateness returns and he tells them they’re welcome to go to Rome, but not with him.

 We learn that they’re squatting in the villa they occupy.

 The two men from the market are slavers and have plans to capture the four travelers. Barbara and Ian are in the villa, relaxing with some wine, when Ian hears a noise and they are taken captive by the slavers.

 The Doctor and Vicki, walking the road at night, find the murdered minstrel. The Doctor takes his lyre; Vicki recognises him from the market. A Centurion arrives, looking for the minstrel. Emperor Nero is anxious for the arrival of the minstrel.

 Ian is sold with two other men and is taken away; Barbara is being taken to Rome for auction.

 The Centurion meets with the assassin from the road; Nero prefers any musicians better than he to be dead, it seems. The assassin is given a second chance and we see him outside The Doctor’s quarters, drawing his sword, when the credits roll. (They do love their cliffhanger endings…)

 So far, an enjoyable story. Turns out to be another good serial, lots of farcical comedy (mostly in the form of Nero, some situational with the companions), good story and drama.

E2 “All Roads Lead To Rome”

 Okay, it’s an easy title to go with, but you have to, right? Especially when they’re on the road to Rome.

 The assassin (who is tongueless) enters and attacks. The Doctor bests him with household items, and Vicki chases him out, threatening him with a vase. The Doctor begins to gloat about what a great, accomplished fighter he is.

 Barbara and the other slaves arrive in Rome and are thrown in cells. She muses about Ian and we see a ship at sea. Ian is one of the slaves on board, rowing. He’s been on board for five days. They attempt an escape, but it fails.

 The Doctor and Vicki walk by where the slave auction is being held, but are gone before Barbara is brought out. She is bought by Tavius, a man who tried to buy her before the auction.

 Ian washes up on the shore after the ship is destroyed in rough weather. A fellow slave is with him and they break his chains. He postulates they’re “somewhere near Rome”. Which, of course, makes perfect sense, being on the Meditteranean, of all the places they could have ended up.

 Barbara has been taken to Nero’s house. When she tells Tavius of her insistence of escape, he warns her of the repercussions if she is caught. The Doctor and Vicki have arrived, but instead of bringing the “minstrel” in, Tavius goes out to meet them.

 Tavius comes out, and speaks in a conspiratorial tone, but before The Doctor can determine what is going on, Caesar Nero comes out. He commands The Doctor to play, but the Time Lord begs his the great Caesar to play first. The Doctor talks his way out of playing, this time.

 Ian and Delos arrive in Rome, but they have to find a way to clean up and search for Barbara, but they are quickly aprehended.

 “Me, curious? Nonsense!” – The Doctor. I’m surprised lightning didn’t strike.

 The Doctor and Vicki find the dead body of the Centurion who found them.

 Ian and Delos are told they will have a chance to fight for their lives in the arena, and they hear sounds of lions, and we see footage of lions eating and the credits roll. Oh, noes!

E3 “Conspiracy”

 Tavius is an ally to The Doctor, or rather the minstrel. He speaks of plans, but not knowing the details.

 Tavius brings Barbara to meet with the Empress as her new attendant. Emperor Nero is quite smitten with Barbara. He ends up chasing Barbara around, until Nero encounters The Doctor (who didn’t see Barbara fleeing by first. Looks like lots of missed encounters is the running gag this serial, as opposed to the French Revolution story, where they constantly got separated and reunited.) Also, this far, this is the “running scene” of the story.

 Vicki meets with the official poisoner of the court of Nero and can’t imagine why nobody seeks revenge against her.

 The Empress walks in on Nero as he catches Barbara. She’s already warned Barbara to stay away from her husband. She later tries to have Barbara poisoned, but Vicki inadvertantly saves her (well, she did it on purpose, but not knowing it was Barbara.)

 There’s a banquet, where Maximus (The Doctor) is expected to play. Tavius informs him that everything is arranged for tomorrow; The Doctor still doesn’t know what is expected of him.

 The Doctor performs a mimicry of playing, after telling Nero that the music is so special only those with great hearing and appreciation for music will be able to hear it. Obviously, nobody hears is, but Nero pretends that he does, and therefore, so does everyone else – a variation of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

 However, Nero is irate at the reception The Doctor’s “music” receives. He’s jealous and hatches a plan. He takes Barbara with him to the gladiatorial school. Ian and Delos are summoned to fight for Caesar. They promise each other that they will make death easy for the other. Nero tells the gladiator master that he wants Maximus killed by the lions. Barbara and Ian are shocked to see each other, and the bout begins between Ian and Delos.

 Delos bests Ian and looks to Caesar, who gives the thumbs down and orders, “Cut off his head.” The sword is raised and Barbara cries out and credits roll. The dramaz!

E4 “Inferno”

 Curiously, unrelated, but this episode has the same name as one of my favourite Doctor Who serials of all time, the Third Doctor’s INFERNO.

 Delos refuses and attacks Nero, who hides behind Barbara. Ian and Delos fight the guards and are out numbered. Ian and Delos escape, promising to come back for Barbara.

 The Doctor realises they are in 64 AD, and soon Rome will burn. Tavius finally informs The Doctor that Maximus has come to Rome to kill Nero. The Doctor is warned of Nero’s plans for him. Nero arrives and banters with The Doctor, and the sun’s rays set a map of Nero’s New Rome on fire, refracted through The Doctor’s glasses. Nero maniacally screams at The Doctor, until the incident inspires him to burn down Rome so that he may rebuild.

 Tavius meets with Ian and Delos and he takes them to Barbara. Turns out that Tavius is a Christian, and that is why he has been so kind to Barbara – her compassion for her fellow slave resonated with him.

 Nero has paid a mob of men to go and start fires in the city. The Doctor and Vicki escape Rome and he denies, but later is thrilled, that Nero’s burning of Rome is due to The Doctor.

 Ian and Barbara return to the villa and argue playfully. Vicki and The Doctor are still unaware that the others were in Rome and mock them for their idleness. They return to the TARDIS and depart. Hours later, Vicki just now learns that The Doctor isn’t in complete control of their destination.

 The girls go off to change clothes, and The Doctor informs Ian that the TARDIS has been captured and is “slowly being dragged down”… and the credits roll.

 Another enjoyable episode; Nero was played mostly for laughs, and though it was a bit farcical, still enjoyable. Having the two groups of companions never meeting in Rome was cleverly done.

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