E1 “The Watcher”

 We open with Vicki examining a clock in the TARDIS, The Doctor standing at the console. There’s a tension in the air. Vicki states that she shall miss Ian and Barbara and The Doctor agrees. He muses on the loss of Ian, Barbara, and Susan. She asks if they could go and visit them some day, and he answers “Perhaps.”

 The Doctor makes sure that Vicki didn’t want to go home, but then there’s a strange sound coming from the living quarters of the TARDIS! They approach carefully, Vicki is convinced that it’s a Dalek.

 It’s Steven Taylor! The man who was imprisoned by the Mechanoids. He staggers out, still holding on to his stuffed animal. While they tend to him, the TARDIS materialises. Outside, a man in a monk’s habit watches, and doesn’t seem too startled at the appearance; instead, he rubs his chin and says, “I wonder… I wonder…”

 “Don’t call me ‘Doc’, do I make myself clear?” – The Doctor to Steven. This is not the first time someone has called him ‘Doc’.

 Steven and Vicki have a discussion, and we get the “it’s bigger on the inside’ conversation. He doesn’t believe the time machine bit. The Doctor sends Vicki to fetch clothing for Steven, and his cloak, as they’ve arrived on Earth.

 We see some villagers discussing the arrival of the box. Men leave to investigate.

 Outside the TARDIS, Vicki has found a “viking helmet”, and The Doctor postulates they’re 10th or 11th century. (Unfortunately, the helmet has horns, and I believe the Vikings never had horns on their helmets? Is that not the current understanding?) Steven is reluctant to accept The Doctor and Vicki’s claims of time travel, though he admits the TARDIS is rather impressive with the whole small on the outside bit.

 Steven challenges The Doctor, “If it is a time machine, and I’m not saying I believe it, but if it is, surely you’d know where we are?” The Doctor dismisses it as a temporary “technical hitch” and walks off. Vicki explains to Steven that the TARDIS is not under their direct control, that they “never know where we’re going”.

 While they discuss things, such as the faulty chameleon circuit, the monk is hiding nearby, listening in, quite fascinated. After the party splits up (sigh), the monk tries to gain access to the TARDIS. Giving that up, he reaches for something under his arm, but it seems to be missing from his reaction.

 The Doctor searches through some habitation. Outside, he hears wolves baying, and someone catches him.

 The monk, returns to the monastery, and stops to listen to the baying of the wolves. His upstair light comes on in a modern fashion, all at once, not in a flickering from a torch being lit… curious, that.

 The men arrive at the beach, but the TARDIS is not there. They suspect it was crushed against the rocks when the tide came in.

 Back at the village, the woman (apparently the one who caught him) brings The Doctor a horn of mead. They seem to be on good terms. They discuss the chanting of the monks, which they can hear. The Doctor tries to determine the year by talking about King Edward, who was laid to rest earlier that year, so he realises the year is 1066, late Summer. He confirms they’re in North Umbria.

 While the woman returns to work, The Doctor stays outside, in his thoughts. The chanting of the monks slurs – it’s obviously a recording. The Doctor questions her about the monks – they’ve only returned a few months ago, prior to that the monastery had been abandoned. The Doctor questions her and finds out that only one monk has been sighted in the village.

 Vicki and Steven are lost, but hide when they hear someone approaching. A man walks through and stops and finds something on the ground. (I’m guessing whatever it was the monk was expecting to find on his arm.) Steven comes out and the men fight, and the native runs off, but Steven has the item – a wrist watch! “Still say this is 10th century England?” – Steven to Vicki.

 The Doctor tries to get into the monastery, but the door is locked. As he steps back and watches, the door opens. He enters and explores, and finds a phonograph playing a record of chant. Laughing, he turns to leave the room, but a door slams down and he’s trapped. The monk runs up and begins laughing and The Doctor is irate and credits roll.

 Again, this is one I saw years ago. Maybe in the 90s. I don’t recall that much about it, which I suppose is a good thing. I know there’s a lot of theorists out there who say… well, I’ll save that for later on, well into the spoilery section.

 In short, this is a good serial. It’s the first historical story with a scifi threat – which is the norm for historical episodes nowadays.

E2 “The Meddling Monk”

 The monk is making a meal, using modern appliances – toaster, electric griddle and the like. He brings a tray of tea and breakfast to The Doctor who throws the food in his face (literally).

 Next, we see three men in the forest, approaching a sleeping Vicki, who wakes up, feeling someone is out there. She calls out for Steven, who shows up. The villagers take them captive.

 The monk comes out of the monastery, visibly worrying about his watch. He hears ladies from the village approaching, and pretends to be reading from a scroll for their benefit. The women have brought food for the monks. He blows them off with claims of solitude and study. After they leave, he pulls out a pair of binoculars and scans the landscape.

 Inside, The Doctor bangs on his cell door, demanding release.

 The monk goes to the cliff and using his binocs, he sees a viking ship approaching and excitedly exclaims, “At last, at last!”

 The companions are brought to the village. Steven is starting to change his tune on whether they’re in the past or not. The woman The Doctor spoke to the night before comes to their rescue, and it is decided to let them go, though at least one villager speaks out against them.

 The vikings have arrived and begin to scout the land.

 Steven and Vicki arrive at the monastery, but the monk pretends he didn’t see any man. Steven gets irritated with his double-talk, and when the monk goes inside to “inquire with the others”, he tells Vicki the monk is lying. Steven thinks he’s tricked the monk into revealing he’s seen The Doctor, but Vicki postulates the monk played along willingly. They decide to leave and break in after dark.

 The sun has set and we see the Edith (?), the woman in the village, alone, and she is attacked by vikings. The man who spoke out against Steven and Vicki blames them. She tells them it was vikings that attacked.

 The villagers track and attack the vikings and there’s a big melee. The choreography of the fight really, really sucks. There are losses on both sides, and the vikings run off. Several of the villagers head to the monastery for medical assistance.

 Steven and Vicki break into the monastery shortly before the villagers arrive. They find the phonograph, and then The Doctor’s cell, but he’s gone!

E3 “A Battle of Wits”

 The monk has allowed the two villagers in to the monastery. Steven and Vicki can’t figure out how he escaped – the cell door was locked. At Vicki’s suggestion, they search for, and find, a secret door. Moments after they leave, the monk goes to check on The Doctor, and finds the door open, The Doctor missing.

 The Doctor is back at the village and hears from the woman about the band of vikings, as well as the update on his companions.

 Steven and Vicki crawl through the tunnel and come out in the woods.

 The monk gives the Eldred, the wounded man, some (modern) medicine, though he passes it off as herbs. He interrogates the man, trying to determine the time schedule of the invasion fleet.

 Two of the vikings plan to hide in the monastery.

 The monk has a chart of his plan – we see on the chart that he has an “atomic cannon” and a future part is to destroy the viking fleet. He is interrupted by banging at the door.

 “Oh, no more visitors, it’s getting so you cannot call a monastery your own!” – The monk

 He opens the door, but nobody is there. He is lured into a trap, and The Doctor takes him captive.

 Vicki and Steven return to where the TARDIS was, and discover the tide has come in. Vicki is afraid The Doctor has left them. They find the monk’s cannon.

 The Doctor gets a robe from the monk and opens the door which is being banged on by the vikings. They take him captive and put him in the cell he was in earlier. The monk escaped, and knocks out one of the vikings.

 It’s daylight again, and Steven and Vicki decide to return to the monastery via the tunnel. The viking outside The Doctor’s cell has fallen asleep, but he wakes and checks on The Doctor, but sees the secret door open. He opens the cell and The Doctor knocks him out.

 The monk has gone to the village to ask them to light beacon fires for a supposed shipment of supplies. The village leader, husband to Edith, is suspicious, from what she told him of The Doctor’s words.

 Back at the monastery, The Doctor takes the monk captive. Steven and Vicki have arrived, and in their searches discover a power cable coming out of a sarcophagus… which turns out to be…

 The Monk’s TARDIS!

 “It’s a TARDIS, The Monk has a TARDIS!” – Vicki

E4 “Checkmate”

 The Doctor gets The Monk to reveal his plan.

 Steven and Vicki explore The Monk’s TARDIS, finding a collection of souvenirs from various places and time periods. Including neutron missiles, a diary/log book and more.

 The Monk and The Doctor debate meddling/interfering. The Monk takes claim for helping the Britons with Stonehenge. The Doctor gets The Monk to bring him to his time machine. Meanwhile, the vikings have recovered and plan to search for treasure.

 Eldred, the wounded villager, escapes the monastery.

 Inside the Monk’s TARDIS, The Doctor, Steven and Vicki are reunited. The Doctor identifies it as a “Mark Four” time machine. Apparently, it’s a newer model than The Doctor’s, and he’s very irritated by this. The Doctor admits to Steven that he and The Monk are from the same place.

 The Monk escapes out of the TARDIS, to encounter the vikings. He points at his pursuers and tells them they’re the enemy.

 Back at the village, the villagers argue whether to light the beacon fires or not. Eldred arrives to report that vikings are hiding at the monastery.

 The vikings help The Monk, after tying up The Doctor and companions. Steven and Vicki discuss the ramifications of The Monk’s meddling.

 “There’s more to this time traveling than meets the eye.” – Steven

 The villagers attack the monastery and free The Doctor and his companions. The Doctor fiddles with The Monk’s TARDIS and then they depart, heading back to their own TARDIS.

 The Monk, having escaped the villagers’ attack, returns to the monastery. He finds a letter from The Doctor and reads it. The letter warns him that he’s taken precautions to stop his time meddling and perhaps one day he would return to release him. The Monk dismisses it with laughter, but finds the TARDIS is small inside, too small for him to enter – The Doctor removed the dimensional control.

I’m marooned, marooned! In 1066!” – The Monk

 The Doctor and companions return to their TARDIS, still on the beach, and they depart.

 The end sequence has the music playing, a star scape with the faces of The Doctor and his companions super-imposed before the credits roll, a change there.

 I remember there being a lot of buzz back in the late 80s and early 90s in the Whovian fan community, whether or not The Monk was meant to be an early incarnation of The Master. Apparently that theory is no longer as widely supported and I, for one, am glad. I would much rather believe that The Monk is altogether a different Time Lord.

 This serial was better than I recalled. It’s notable in that it is the first historical episode to have any alien/scifi elements, other than our heroes. Of course, nowadays, you don’t see any historical stories that don’t have some sort of scifi influence. It’s almost a shame, really.

 All in all, a good story, and further expanding the Whovian cosmos.

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