Another lost serial, another Loose Cannon reconstruction.

Episode 1:

 We open with a battle on Culloch Moor, where some highlanders and redcoats are fighting. Three highlanders (a woman and two men, including Jamie) carry their injured laird across the battle. The fighting is vicious and rough, and one of the three has to stop to fight a redcoat who comes close to them. After killing him, Alexander rejoins them in transporting their laird.

 Of course, we get some bagpipe music on the title credits for the episode.

 The TARDIS is seen appearing amidst some trees. Ben and Polly, followed by The Doctor, emerge. Ben automatically assumes they’re home, Polly isn’t so sure. Suddenly, there’s a whistling and impact as a cannonball lands nearby. The Doctor investigates it, then decides to go back to the TARDIS, but Ben and Polly are hoping they’re on Earth and want to investigate.

 The laird, Colin McLaren, is badly injured, but they manage to get him inside a nearby cottage. The clans have lost the battle and are on the rout. The laird damns them for not letting him die on the field. Alexander, the laird’s son, hears something outside the cottage and he and Jamie go to investigate.

 Outside, Alexander sees and approaches The Doctor and his companions. Jamie comes from the other side, and they both hold their swords at The Doctor. The three are taken back to the cottage at swordpoint, where they’re thought to be pillagers of the battlefield.

 An argument breaks out, over what to do with the strangers. Ben grabs a pistol and holds it at the laird, and Jamie and Alexander surrender their swords. The Doctor tends to the laird’s injuries and Polly and Kirsty, the laird’s daughter, go off for water.

 The Doctor solicits the word of Jamie and Alexander that they will not cause trouble if Ben puts down the weapon, and the highlanders reluctantly agree. Ben tosses the pistol on a table and it goes off. The highlanders are afraid the redcoats will have heard the gun shot.

 Nearby, it seems the redcoats have, in fact, heard it and are looking to investigate. The soldiers move in, with orders to shoot first.

 Alexander goes out to draw their attention away from the cottage, but is gunned down immediately. The soldiers break into the cottage, taking everyone prisoner. The Doctor pretends to be a German Doctor (and we get a “Doctor Who?” line in there, too.) The lieutenant orders for them all to be hanged.

 Behind the British line, Solicitor Grey and his man-servant(?) or associate, Perkins, comment on the shortness of the battle and the ongoing butchering of the wounded. Grey is the Commissioner of Prisons for King George, and they discuss wanting to salvage as many prisoners to make money somehow.

 Kirsty and Polly watch from afar, using a spyglass to observe the preparations to hang the men. Polly ironically tells Kirsty that crying will do no good and says they have to create a diversion.

 Lt Ffinch and one of his men spy the women; there’s rumours that Bonnie Prince Charley may have fled the battle dressed as a woman. The Lt takes two men to pursue the girls, who run up the hill.

 The sergeant watches the Lt and the men head up the hill. The Sgt does not think highly of the Lt and orders for the hanging to continue. A drum roll begins and Grey and Perkins show up; Grey orders for the hanging to stop, as he has claim on all rebel prisoners. The Sgt argues, he has his hanging hopes high (oooh, alliteration.) Grey ends up bribing the Sgt and his men to get his way and Jamie and Ben are released.

 The Doctor and the laird are not wanted, but Grey is interested in having a Doctor sent along to the prison colony. Jamie and The Doctor manage to have the laird spared as well.

 Kirsty and Polly find a cave and enter it, hoping to evade the soldiers. Kirsty tells Polly that it’s a hiding place her family uses. There’s a chest inside, but there’s only one biscuit in the chest. Polly thinks it’s a dog biscuit. Kirsty starts crying again, and Polly (again, ironically) tells her crying isn’t going to do any good.

 Polly tries to get Kirsty to part with her ring, planning to try to raise money for food and hopefully to hatch a way to rescue their friends and family. Kirsty refuses, saying her father entrusted her with it before the battle, and ends up pulling a knife on Polly, who storms off. Polly falls into a pit in the darkness (night has since fallen). As she struggles to get out, a hand appears over the edge of the pit, with a dagger in it and Polly screams… and the credits roll.

 Interesting dynamics so far, and of course, it has Jamie! Of course, I’m familiar with Jamie, and like him as a companion. This is a fun historical romp – I’m not familiar enough with the period to know how accurate it was, but it’s a fun story.


Episode 2:

 Polly is relieved to find out that the hand belongs to Kristy and is still attached to the young woman. She tries to pull Polly out but falls into the pit with Polly instead, uttering a blood-curdling scream. As they’re trying to get out, Polly sees the Lieutenant and soldiers come nearby. The girls hide in the pit.

 The Lietenant chastises the soldiers for not being able to catch two maidens and sends them off to fetch his horse, while he sits and waits, making them leave the lantern with him.

 Kirsty starts to cry again. Polly is all like, “oh, not again,” and I’m agreeing with her, even if it is ironic. (Okay, I’m harping a bit. Polly’s only cried the once, in the Power of the Daleks story.)

 “What do women of your age do, nothing but cry?” – Polly

 The girls make noises from the pit, hoping to lure the officer in, and he stumbles into the pit with them. Kirsty grabs his gun and they rob him.

 We see the laird, The Doctor, Ben and Jamie in a jail cell. Jamie doesn’t believe The Doctor is a doctor, as he hasn’t bled the laird yet. The Doctor pulls out a telescope (nice that the soldiers let him keep it) and looks at the night sky, pretending to consult the stars before deciding that it is not the right time to bleed him.

 While tending the laird, The Doctor finds Prince Charley’s personal standard, and wraps it under his own coat. The Doctor pulls out his recorder and begins playing, getting all the prisoners riled up. The Doctor is summoned out of the cells by a sentry.

 The Doctor tells him that there’s a plot afoot and he has to talk to Solicitor Grey. Ben tries to explain to Jamie that The Doctor is trying to find a way to escape, but the highlander isn’t convinced.

 Polly finds Leftenant (Lieutenant) Ffinch’s badge/identity disc, and cuts off a piece of his (real) hair (from beneath his powdered wig), planning to use that to prove they captured him, threatening him with blackmail.

 (I’m guessing we have a different writer than the previous stories, where Polly was more useless than anything else.)

 Grey is meeting with a ship captain, talking about having the prisoners taken away by ship before the judge puts them on trial. The sentry enters, to report The Doctor’s claim about the plot against the Duke of Cornwall’s life. Grey orders for him to bring in The Doctor, but the man waits until Perkins pays him.

 Grey gives Trask (the captain) a warrant, authorising his taking of the prisoners onto his ship. The Doctor is brought in as Trask and Perkins leave. Grey pulls out a flintlock and holds it at The Doctor, dismissing the guard. The Doctor pulls out the standard, suggesting that whatever prisoner was carrying it would surely know of the location of the prince, and is trying to use that as leverage.

 The Doctor throws the standard over Grey’s head and grabs his gun in the chaos. He ties up Grey and gags him.

 “I never saw a silent lawyer before.” – The Doctor

 Someone knocks at the door, and The Doctor pushes Grey into a closet. Perkins comes in and The Doctor bluffs him. (All the while, The Doctor has been talking in a ridiculous accent.) In a completely ridiculous scene, he talks Perkins into laying down for an hour and ignoring Grey’s banging from the closet.

 The sergeant and men find Ffinch in the pit. He gives the Leftenant a hard time about being in the pit, trying to fleece him out of some money – this seems to be a regular theme. Was the army back then so corrupt that following orders necessitated being bribed to do so, or is this just writerly shenanigans? Ffinch has to promise the sergeant money as Polly and Kirsty took all of his.

 “Officers usually don’t fall in pits.” – The sergeant.

 Trask returns to find Perkins laying on the desk. He yells at him to get up, and lets Grey out of the closet.

 The Doctor is hiding in the scullery, finds some women’s clothing, and disguises himself. (This serial is getting pretty silly.)

 Ben, Jamie and the laird are taken with others to Trask’s ship. On the way to the ship, Ben bumps into an “odd looking woman” (The Doctor in disguise), who watches as the sentry unlocks a warehouse door and the prisoners are pushed inside. Jamie gives Ben a hard time about The Doctor not coming to their rescue.

 There’s a trap door in the warehouse and below, a boat. They’re led down into the boat. Ben tries to get Jamie to agree to make a break, but they’re forced into the boat , which is rowed down the canal to a river.

 The Doctor enters the warehouse, as the soldiers cover the trap door. He stays behind after the guards leave and snoops around, finding the trap door and climbs down.

 The boat comes along a ship, the Annabelle. In a display to dissuade any rebellion, Trask tells them about Jim Mews, and they see Mews’ body being dumped into the water… and the credits roll.

 “Once you’re aboard, that’s the only way you’re getting off!” – Trask

Episode 3:

 The prisoners are brought aboard the Annabelle and thrown into the hold. The space is cramped, the air is fetid, and Jamie complains, but is bullied in. The laird seems to be feeling better. Ben tries to find out where they’re being sent, but the other prisoners are suspicious of his English accent. Laird McLaren speaks up for Ben, and that’s good enough for Willie McKay, the former captain of the ship. Trask was the captain’s mate, but the captain thinks he sold out to the English. Ben has a different theory – Trask is working rogue, without the English king’s approval, and they’re going to be sold as slave labour.

 Polly is hiding in a barn outside Inverness, waiting for Kirsty. She hears noises and investigating, sees a man with a donkey outside the barn. Apparently, the man with the donkey is Kirsty – she has clothing and food. Polly’s plan is for the two of them to sneak into town as orange sellers, in hopes of being about to sort out where their friends and family are.

 The Doctor (still dressed as a woman) is in a tavern, passing through the crowd. Leftenant Ffinch arrives and sits at a table. The sergeant brings Kirsty and Polly in, pushing them to Ffinch’s table. Sitting nearby, The Doctor recognises Polly’s voice as she protests the rough treatment by the sergeant.

 Polly acts like she’s friends with Lt. Ffinch, and he plays along (for fear of the girls revealing that they bested him) and dismisses the sergeant. They find out from Ffinch that Solicitor Grey is the man to ask about the whereabouts of their folk, and as they go off to see him, they all but run into Perkins, who has just arrived in the tavern.

 On the Annabelle, Trask and Grey offer a mark of clemency from King George, in exchange for offering witness testimony. Other wise, they have a choice – hanging or seven years indentured servantry in the West Indies. McKay tells the men not to sign, they won’t live their seven years out. He says it’s best to choose the quick death.

 Given the choice of hanging or plantation work, all but Ben, Jamie, Colin (the laird) and McKay line up to sign. Ben approaches Grey and asks if he might read it before signing, and tears up the paper. Trask knocks him unconscious and dragged from the hold.

 Perkins, Kirsty and Polly sit at the tavern, waiting for Grey. Perkins seems to suspect that they’re not the simple orange sellers to pretend to be, and when the girls try to leave, he threatens to summon the watch if they don’t sit and play cards. The Doctor (still in disguise, mind) approaches, saying they need four to play whist. When Perkins tries to dismiss her, The Doctor aims Grey’s gun at Perkins, forcing him to sit down and deal.

 Grey arrives at the tavern, irate that Perkins is playing cards. He tells Perkins to come along, he needs more contracts written up. Polly tries to start a conversation with Grey, but The Doctor motions her to silence. The Doctor and the girls leave, after giving Perkins an ultimatum that he stay behind ten minutes before leaving, else he will shoot him.

 The Doctor and girls return to the barn Polly was hiding at earlier. Polly says they have to find Ben and the others, but he tells them they’re on the Annabelle, under the care of a nasty man named Trask. The Doctor insists on getting some sleep before going after them.

 Later, Grey and Perkins row out to the Annabelle, which is smothered in fog. He brings three copies of the contracts, and tells Trask to shoot any who try anything like what Ben did. He cautions Trask that the highlanders are not slaves with broken spirits, but brave warriors who might still rally.

 The Doctor has gone out to fetch weapons, as have Polly and Kirsty – they score a couple hand guns, while he comes back with a cart of weapons. Polly brings up Kirsty’s ring, and The Doctor realises that it has the Stewart sigil on it – it is the ring of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who gave it to the laird during the battle for safekeeping.

 He convinces Kirsty to turn it over and plans to use it as “bait… for a very greedy man”.

 Ben is standing, hands and feet bound, on the deck of the Annabelle. Ben is dropped over the side of the ship via winch into the water…

 And the credits roll. Now that’s a cliffhanger!

Episode 4:

 After a period, the rope is brought back up, but there is no Ben. He’s underwater, struggling with his bonds. He manages to untie himself and starts swimming to the quay, already exhausted. He makes it there, and catches his breath, but a soldier arrives, and Ben holds up his hands, giving up… but it’s The Doctor, in another disguise. (Are disguises part of this Doctor’s schtick, or was it just this serial only? Hmmm.)

 In the captain’s quarters, Perkins hands over the signed contracts to Grey. Grey instructs Trask to sail in the morning, fog or no fog. Trask is reluctant to sail if the fog is still thick in the morning. Grey and Trask argue, jockeying for the upper hand over each other in this conspiracy of theirs – they are, in fact, operating illegally and without consent of the king or even the duke.

 Back at the barn, Ben explains how he escaped the bonds to Polly and Kirsty. The Doctor returns, dressed in his normal clothes. The four of them make plans to free the prisoners on the ship.

 Grey is leaving Perkins to travel with Trask to Barbados. He’s entrusting Perkins with the charge of collecting the monies and bringing it back to him – how he expects the timid Perkins to fend off Trask and his men is beyond me. Trask burst into the room, and two of his men bring in The Doctor. He’s back to using his German accent.

 He tells Grey that he has “a small token” for him. He hands over Bonnie Prince Charley’s ring to Grey. He tells Grey that Prince Charley is in the prison.

 In the fog, Polly and Kirsty row a boat towards the Annabelle. They draw up alongside a porthole, which just happens to be the cell where the laird is being held. She whispers to him, but he thinks he’s dreaming, but he wakes and comes over to the porthole. She hands him a pistol and explains what’s going on.

 The Doctor claims that the prince is on the ship – he claims that Jamie is the prince in hiding (what fun it would have been if he was the prince? Has The Doctor ever had a historically noteworthy companion actually travel with him? I can’t think of one off hand – I know he’s met and fought evil with many a historical figure, especially in the newer run.)

 In the hold, the highlanders (warned by Kirsty) feign being asleep as Grey, Perkins, Trask, and The Doctor search in the hold for the “prince”. Suddenly, the highlanders jump to action and there is a great fight that spreads across the ship.

 Trask and McKay fight in the fracas, and Trask seems to have the better of him. Trask is surprised by Ben, but the pirate is more than Ben can handle. Jamie comes to Ben’s aid, and throws Trask overboard. The rest of the crew is routed or switches their alleigance back to McKay. Perkins offers his services to the laird – it seems they’re going to France and none of the laird’s men speak French, but Perkins does. They accept him and he spits in Grey’s face, saying, “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.”

 Ben, Polly and The Doctor arrive on the quay, with a bound Grey. The ship signals them to say farewell as they head out in the fog, hoping to slip past the English blockade. Jamie appears and they’re surprised to find out that he’s stayed behind to help them back to the moor.

 They drag Grey into a warehouse, narrowly avoiding a patrol. Grey calls out before Jamie threatens him, Polly sounds like Kirsty (whiny and all), and the soldiers enter. There’s a struggle, but Grey escapes in the confusion. They were counting on using him to get out of any problems with the English… and The Doctor turns to Polly, realising she has the only card left they can play.

 Lt Ffinch is seen outside the inn, enjoying the air. He lights his pipe and The Doctor and his companions confront him. He protests but Polly insists they go with him, but a colonel comes out demanding that Ffinch come back to their game, it’s Ffinch’s deal.

 The Doctor introduces himself to the colonel, adoping the German doctor accent again, and shows the colonel Bonnie Prince Charley’s ring. He convinces the colonel to let the Lietenant travel with them to go fetch the prince and bring him back to the colonel. Lt Ffinch tries to argue but gives in.

 We next see them on a hill top, overlooking the cottage. Polly returns Ffinch’s identity disc, thanking him for his assistance. They’ve been telling Ffinch about Grey’s illicit activities and they suggest that he go after Grey at once.

 As if by writer’s plot contrivance, Grey and a couple soldiers show up at the very moment. Grey congratulates Ffinch on “capturing the rebels” and threatens Polly to have her tied and whipped. Ffinch barks at him, commanding him to shut up.

 Ffinch has Grey arrested and taken away. Polly gives “Archie” (Ffinch) a kiss goodbye. They invite Jamie to come along with them, as he has nobody left here – his laird and friends have sailed for France. Not quite understanding what he’s getting into, he agrees to go with them, but The Doctor says he has to teach him how to play the bagpipes.

 The arrive at the TARDIS, which Jamie stares at, quite perplexed. Polly gives him a reassuring smile and they enter. The TARDIS dematerialises and the credits roll…

 For the first time since Ian and Barbara left, we have three companions. I’m sure we’ll lose one or two before too long. This story was enjoyable, seemed to devolve into “how many different costumes/identities can The Doctor assume” a bit too much for my taste, but other than that, quite good. Quite pleased to have Jamie on board!

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