A lost serial, only stills and fragments exist of all four episodes. Fortunately, Loose Cannon comes to the rescue.

Episode 1:

 We start with the first new opening sequence of the show – until now, it’s been the same opening sequence, but now this incorporates Patrick Troughton’s face into the sequence (a tradition that will last through the Seventh Doctor.. okay, the Eighth Doctor. But we do not like to talk about that horrible FOX movie.)

 The first scene is a group of drum majorettes performing for a group of people. There’s music and drum majoretting. The observers, workers at a colony, stand about, watching. Someone gives a little rallying speech, obviously some sort of leader type. Then an angry man is brought, or comes forth, not sure – definitely need a bit of narrative text here – he’s yelling “Out of my way!” Okay, I guess the guards were trying to restrain him, he broke free and ran out of the colony and the guards are sent after him. His name is Medok.

 Someone, a doctor seemingly, explains that Medok refused treatment in front of the guards, so he dismissed them and Medok made a run for it.

 Outside the colony, Ola (the doctor-ish person) and two guards give pursuit. Medok runs, the guards not too far behind. He slips behind a rock ledge just as the guards (men wearing uniforms with helmets and carrying what appear to be weapons) come around the bend and they pass his hiding place by.

 Just then, the TARDIS materialises; Medok hears it and goes to investigate. He watches as the travellers emerge. Jamie is carrying a large wooden club, explaining that he’s ready for the creature they saw on the time scanner. Medok charges out of hiding and tackles Jamie. Ben rushes to help his fellow traveller, while Polly screams uselessly. They subdue Medok as Ola and the two guards arrive (presumably brought by Polly’s shrieking.)

 Ola explains that Medok is one of their patients, and they’ve tried their best, but he keeps getting worse. Ola sends one of the guards back to report to the “pilot” of the colony what has happened. Medok is bound and Ola introduces himself as the Chief of Police. He’s a bit of a self-important poop.

 Ola brings the travellers to the Pilot, who thanks them and invites them to the “Refreshing Department” – Ben takes this to mean food, but the Pilot corrects him, “Oh, you will eat later, but here we refresh the body!”

 Jamie turns to Polly, quietly saying to keep her eyes open, he’s getting a bad vibe from them.

 At the Refreshing Department, an audio greeting from the Controller is played (while an image of him is projected on the wall, much to Polly’s appreciation of his dashing good looks. Does this mean she’s leaving during this serial? So far, just about every time a female companion has been attracted to a native, it ends with them staying behind… there’s only been a couple exceptions, and I think Polly had a connection earlier… hmm, not sure now.)

 Everyone here is very cheerful, very gleeful – too polite, too happy to see everyone. The Refreshing Department offers them some spa treatments and the like. (I understand that Anneke Wills got a haircut before this serial and they wrote in a haircut for her, though she wore a wig prior to the in story haircut.) The Doctor stands in a clothes reviver, which polishes his shoes, tidies up his clothing. He then, against recommendation, gets in a machine to tone up his muscles. He comes out, clothes rumpled, hair awry. I guess that’s more of the comic relief segment? Doesn’t seem very funny to me.

 Polly compliments Jamie heavily on his appearance.

 Elsewhere, Medok is brought through and everyone is told to stand back. Medok yells that they don’t know what’s going on in the colony. One of the colony workers tries to talk to him, saying they’re old friends. Medok goes on about creatures that infest the colony and things that he can see. The Controller’s voice comes over a PA and orders everyone back to work, and announces a reception for the strangers.

 Medok rants on about everyone “having fun while you can, before they CRAWL ALL OVER YOU!” as he’s taken away.

 We shift scenes and Medok is being placed in a cell, and for some reason The Doctor is there. Medok says to him, “You don’t belong here,” and The Doctor replies, “Do you belong here?” Ola and his guards lock up Medok and leave. The Doctor pokes around to make sure he is alone. He’s examining the lock (presumably on Medok’s cell?) and a young woman comes over to ask if she can help. He says no, but thanks her, and she smiles and moves off.

 Like Jamie, I can sense that there’s something quite odd about these people.

 The Doctor picks the lock to Medok’s cell and enters. He tells Medok that he’s going to set him free and cuts his bonds. The Doctor is curious about what Medok sees, but he is suspicious. They struggle and Medok dashes from the cell. An alarm is sounded and Ola and the guards try to apprehend The Doctor, but the Pilot intervenes.

 The Doctor drops a line about “things that crawl” and is warned to be careful of talking like that, it could get him taken in for treatment – much like Medok.

 The Controller’s image and voice plays for everyone, informing that all is being done for them, but Medok has escaped again. Ben complains that he’s like a politician and one of the colonists defends the honour of the Controller, saying he’s there to support them and bring them encouragement. Ben quips that he’s nothing like a politician, then.

 When Jamie asks the colonist what they do on the work shifts, his first response is “we work very hard”. When pressed for details, he explains they tap natural gas, but not just for heating, for many things. It is essential to the colony.

 The Doctor slips away from everyone and goes to where he saw Medok hiding earlier. He says he wants to know about the creatures. Medok tells him they only move at night and look like giant insects. The Doctor asks if they have big claws, which Medok confirms. Others have seen them too, but Medok says they have been reconditioned.

 Before their conversation can go much further, they hear Ben and the others calling out for The Doctor, and he slips away before Medok’s hiding spot is found out.

 Reunited with his companions, The Doctor explains he likes to wander at night. Ola informs him that there is a curfew as wandering at night is dangerous. They are escorted to their sleeping quarters back at the Refreshing Department. After their escort leaves, The Doctor slips out. The Controller’s voice/image comes up and announces to everyone that everyone will stay in – a dangerous man is on the loose and the patrols have been ordered to shoot on sight. “Happy Sleep Time, everyone.” – The Controller.

 The Doctor slips out of the colony and we hear strange sounds. He avoids a patrol of guards by hiding in the shadows. The guards definitely look like the stormtrooper type of guard – helmeted, with mirrored goggles, black uniforms. I bet they have jackboots, too. And of course, their weapons (guns, I gather.)

 The Doctor heads to the construction site, where Medok was hiding. We get some REALLY melodramatic music. Medok is peering through scaffolding, watching Ola and some guards arrive. Ola splits the group up, giving them orders to kill.

 The Doctor arrives where Medok is and tells him he’s there to help. Ola hears something and approaches with his guards. As they slip out through a crack, they stop and a giant crab-like creature is crawling towards them in the darkness… and the credits roll.

 Seems like we have another dystopian setting here, which always leads to a good story – see The Savages or The Ark. It’s been a while since we’ve had any Big Monsters, though usually they’re not so integral to the story, where in this one it seems they’re more essential and not incidental.

 This episode had a strong connection to a Tenth Doctor episode, but you’ll have to read through to find out, if you don’t already know it.


Episode 2:

 Medok starts ranting about how they have the proof, and Ola and the guards hear them. Ola isn’t interested in hearing The Doctor’s words to support Medok’s claims. Ola says they’ll be taken before the Pilot.

 The Pilot is dictating a letter to a secretary, who is transcribing it on a machine. An emergency call comes in, informing him that Ola has captured Medok as well as one of the strangers together.

 The Pilot informs The Doctor that he’s been accused of a crime. Medok claims that The Doctor wasn’t helping him, but trying to talk him into surrendering himself. The Doctor plays along and the charges are dismissed. Medok is taken away for reconditioning.

 When The Doctor asks why it’s important for Medok to be conditioned to be like everyone else, the Pilot explains that the colony was founded centuries ago from people from Earth and the values they established are held in high regard to this day. Everyone is to be happy and healthy and a viable part of the colony.

 The Pilot dismisses The Doctor, who is taken back to his sleeping chamber. The Controller informs the Pilot that The Doctor and his companions are to be conditions immediately. We only see The Controller’s image as a still, and I wonder if he’s somehow not human? Is he someone or something else pretending to be The Controller? When the Pilot informs him that his orders are being carried out, The Controller goes on a rant, “There is no such thing as Macra! Nobody believes in Macra! Macra does not exist! There are no Macra!” Very, very curious.

 We see Polly sleeping, and there’s a hypnotic voice telling her to believe that all in the colony is good, that she must obey orders, that the leaders know what is best. We see Ben and Jamie, also sleeping, also subjected to the hypnotic conditioning, telling them they will be glad to obey the orders they will receive in the morning to work, that they will “question nothing in the colony”. Jamie stirs uncomfortably, and wakes, rousing Ben.

 Ben is deeper asleep, and doesn’t want to wake up. Jamie says he heard an evil voice, but Ben says, “Get some sleep, we’ve got a hard day’s work in the morning.” Obviously, Ben has fallen prey to the conditioning. They both go back to sleep. Sleeping gas is in the air, and the voice tells them to breathe deeply. “In the morning, when you awake, you will obey.”

 The voice suddenly stops when The Doctor opens the door to check in on Polly. He pokes around the room, and sets off a device in the wall with a piece of wire. He’s obviously on to what’s going on. He wakes her up and tells her she’s been listening “to some very bad advice”.

 He leads her to the men’s shared cubicle and wakes them up. Ben argues with The Doctor’s attempt to find the device in the wall; Ben is obviously well under the sway of the hypnosis, and tells The Doctor “it’s not rubbish – Control knows what’s best for us.” He goes to turn The Doctor in, but Jamie restrains him. The Doctor orders Jamie to let Ben free.

 After Ben leaves, he explains to Jamie that Ben’s been affected, it’s not their friend betraying them. Ben returns with Ola, who is pleased to have evidence sufficient to arrest The Doctor. Jamie stands in his way and when Ola gives him an order to stand down, the clansman replies, “I take orders from no one but The Doctor!” That’s my boy!

 The Doctor tels Jamie to stand down, and the two of them are taken away by the guards.

 In the hospital, we see Medok strapped down, being subjected to coercive hypnosis, but it doesn’t seem to be working. The Pilot is supervising and receives a call that The Doctor has been brought to see him.

 Ben and Polly argue, back at their chambers. Polly rushes off, Ben gives chase. It looks like she ends up in the construction area. Ben is searching for her, calling out that she’s going to get in trouble. She’s apparently in the construction area – if they don’t want the colonists going out at night, why not make it harder to get out?

 Ben catches her and they struggle. She screams and he stops and asks “what’s the matter with you?” She says she saw a giant crab or something, but Ben sees nothing. She says it had claws like they saw on the time scanner. She can see it but Ben cannot see it, because of his conditioning. One of the creatures grabs her foot and she falls and flails and screams. Ben tries to help her (I guess he can see it now), hitting it with a sledge hammer or something and it lets go of her and scurries off.

 Polly cries (finally, a situation that actually makes sense for her to cry.) They’re surrounded by several, and she screams (again, understandably) as they try to escape.

 The Doctor and Jamie are in the Pilot’s office, being questioned. The Doctor admits to the Pilot that he destroyed the “nerve circuits” and while talking, finds one in the Pilot’s office, and shows the Pilot how he did it. The Pilot is very unhappy with him. As he’s scolding The Doctor, Ola arrives to say that Ben has another report for them, an urgent one.

 Ben and Polly are brought in. Polly explains that she was attacked by one of the crab creatures and Ben saved her. The Pilot questions Ben, specifically asking, “Did you protect her from one of these creatures… and were there such creatures?” Suddenly, Ben’s story changes, “No, there were no such creatures! There are no such creatures as Macra!”

 When The Doctor says that Ben has fallen under the spell of the evil in the colony, The Pilot insists that Control acts in the best interest of everyone. The Doctor asks, “Who is Control,” and the Pilot turns on the image of The Controller, who speaks to them, saying Polly has had a hallucination.

 Jamie says that’s not a Controller, it’s just a picture of a man. The Doctor says he wagers The Controller doesn’t exist and demands to see him. The Pilot is reluctant, but asks Control if the strangers might see him. The image of the young dashing Controller moves aside and we see an old man. The voice says, “This is your Controller!”

 The voice orders the Controller to speak and the old man looks about nervously.

The voice demands, “Tell the strangers to believe and obey!” He seems very confused, timid, almost terrified. He’s afraid of something, and from the side of the screen, a clawed hand reaches forward. The Doctor, Jamie and Polly exclaim about this while the Pilot presses a button and Ola and two guards enter.

 The Pilot tells the guards, “Take them away, they’re condemned to the pits!” and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 Ola and the guards push The Doctor, Polly and Jamie out of the room. The Pilot calls to the workship to instruct them to await the strangers. Control comes on the wall and tells him his orders are correct. Control orders Pilot to forget all that he saw. Piot obeys and gives Ben orders to keep an eye on his friends. (Which makes no sense, if they’re being sent to the pit to be slave labor.)

 Happy music is playing and The Doctor makes a joke about the rhyming in the song, “The man who wrote that should be sent to the danger gang, not us.” Jamie laughs, but Polly isn’t in laughing spirits, though. Jamie asks if it’s like a coal mine, and the technician there starts to explain about the gasses, but Ola cuts him off, barking orders not to waste time.

 Jamie (still talking to the technician) says, “Well, you don’t send an old man and a lassie down a mine to dig.” The Doctor takes offense, “Old? I’m not old, Jamie!” Ola leaves and Medok is brought in – he’s been working in the pit already, as part of the danger gang.

 The technician is ordered to take them down, and Polly and The Doctor argue over whether the other should stay behind as a supervisor. Eventually, The Doctor sees the wisdom of his staying above in the supervisor position while the others go below.

 Ben is there, apparently to keep an eye on them. The Doctor notices him skulking about and calls him over. The Doctor asks him what Control wants to know, since Ben is obviously there to spy on him, but Ben will not answer.

 We get a few video clips here and there and it’s wonderful seeing Patrick Troughton as The Doctor. His Doctor is so more… well, human, than the distant, crotchety First Doctor was. There’s a childlike wonder to this Doctor (a trait just about every following Doctor has, though some more than others.)

 In the mines, Jamie, Polly and Medok are working, dealing with a high pressure gas strike. They barely get it tapped off. The gas is poisonous, but Medok says nobody knows what it used for.

 The Doctor is poking about, and quite interested in some instrumentation. With some chalk, he starts writing formulae on the wall, working out an equation. The Pilot arrives while The Doctor was working out the equation, which apparently seems to be a secret known to only three people in the colony. The Pilot refuses to believe The Doctor worked it out on his own and accuses him of breaking into the secret files. The Pilot is adamant that The Doctor erase the equation before anyone else sees it.

 Polly asks about some other workers and Medok says they’re probing for more gas. Medok is working with the high pressure strike from before and the technician fiddles with it, tightening it too much and it bursts, engulfing the technician in gas.

 Jamie takes the technician’s keys. Ben arrives and helps the technician up and away. Jamie and Polly wonder if Ben saw him take the keys. Jamie tries to use the keys on a nearby lock. Polly is called over to help Medok as Jamie opens the door and slips into an unused shaft. When Medok finds out Jamie’s escaped, he dashes off to follow, and Polly stands there yelling, “Don’t leave me here!”

 Back in the supervisor’s area, Officia (the technician) hears the escape alarm and sends an order for the guards to search and kill on sight.

 Jamie is exploring the shaft. Medok is searching for Jamie, but is grabbed by a giant claw and cries out. Jamie hears the scream and asks who’s there, but nobody answers.

 The Controller countermands the order to go in the forbidden area, even to pursue the escaped prisoner(s). Ben announces that the escaped prisoner is Jamie – he did see Jamie take the keys, but he’s not sure why he didn’t report it. Ben seems to be fighting the mind control.

 Jamie finds Medok, but the colonist is dead. Jamie looks around, warily. In the darkness, he can see the faint shape of a Macra creature.

 Polly has returned to where The Doctor is. The Doctor is fiddling with test tubes and tubing, trying to analyse the gas.

 Ben is in the Pilot’s office, waiting for him. He’s still fighting the voices in his head. It seems he’s almost broken free of their spell over him.

 Jamie throws a stone at the Macra, but it advances.

 Officia says he’ll have The Doctor reported. The emergency alarm stops and Officia tells Polly that means the guards are closing in on Jamie.

 Jamie is squaring off against the Macra, prodding it with a large stick. Its eyes flick open when he does so.

 Ben is talking to Pilot and has apparently reported this. Control reinforces the order that nobody should go in the old shaft, even though Jamie is there. Control orders Officia to route gas into the old shaft. Polly hears it and is worried about Jamie, but The Doctor says the gas is too valuable to do so just to kill Jamie, there’s another reason.

 Jamie backs up from the Macra as it approaches. Jamie turns from the Macra to move away but finds another creature at the far end of the tunnel.

 Annoying music/song is piped over the PA at the same time there’s chiming and orders from Control coming over, too. The song is obnoxious. At Control’s command, Officia activates the gas. Jamie is coughing from the gas, but the Macra seem to gain strength from it.

 More gas, higher pressure is pumped in. The gas make the Macra less sluggish, more active. Jamie finds himself pursued by both Macra, and he’s trapped between them. This is so obviously the cliffhanger scene… yep, they close in… and the credits roll.

 Good tension in the scenes with Jamie, even if this is only a reconstruction with stills for the most part.

Episode 4:

 The Doctor and Polly are amongst the pipes, trying to find a way to help Jamie. The Doctor struggles to sort it out.

 Jamie has found a small crevice to wedge himself into. Salt crumbles from the walls.

 Officia is tinkering with instrumentation while The Doctor begins messing with one of the pipes, which Officia notices. The Doctor tries to play it off as helping. The Doctor gets Officia to reveal the inflow pipes and adjusts various settings.

 One of the Macra grabs Jamie by the foot and starts to pull him out of the crevice. Jamie’s struggling causes salt to come down in greater amounts.

 Officia calls for the guards, but Polly takes Officia’s keys and lock the doors (I thought Jamie had the keys.)

 Jamie’s struggling causes a partial cavefall, which seems to render the Macra unconscious or even dead.

 Control demands to know why the gas flow has ceased. Officia explains the travelers are to blame and Control says guards are on the way. There’s banging outside as the guards try to get in. The Doctor and Polly escape through another door, trying to lock it. The guards have broken in, but The Doctor manages to lock the second door. He and Polly find themselves in a chamber full of pipes. Polly starts whining because they suspect these pipes carry the poisonous gas.

 Jamie hears the hiss of gas start up again and hurries down the shaft, until he comes across some grating. He levers the grating enough to squeeze through and continue along the shaft.

 We see the colony cheerleaders being through their paces with some really obnoxious cheers. “We all know that Control is right and we must obey!” Jamie comes staggering out of a cupboard – that’s a great place for “forbidden area” to end up at, isn’t it?

 The head cheerleader takes Jamie to be a dancer, and just as Jamie is about to deny it, two guards poke their heads in, so he plays along. Jamie dances a “Highland Fling” which ends with himself flinging himself out the door, but unfortunately Ola, Ben and some guards are there.

 Ben identifies Jamie, but only with some difficulty… and he’s obviously troubled by his actions.

 The Doctor and Polly are moving along, when they hear voices. As they get closer, they hear Control’s voice ordering that the strangers must be taken, dead or alive! They peer through a porthole and see a Macra operating a console, and giving orders for the main shift to start working.

 The Macra operates the console and gas flows into the control room – the Macra are obviously dependent on the gas for survival. They decide to get the Pilot and bring him there – they feel if he sees this he cannot deny it any more.

 Ola brings Jamie to the Pilot and the two men get into an argument. As Ola accuses the Pilot of incompetency, saying there’s still two strangers missing, The Doctor and Polly show up. The Doctor razzes Ola and Pilot for having differences of opinions in such a happy colony.

 As The Doctor asks the Pilot to accompany him, Control comes online and orders everyone back to work, including the Pilot. The Pilot stands up to Control and Ola, and The Doctor and Pilot head off. Polly and Jamie talk and notice Ben has gone, too.

 We see Ben high in a gantry, watching as the Pilot and The Doctor enter. They push aside the heavy door and enter. Control announces the Pilot has no more authority and places Ola in charge. The order for Pilot’s arrest is announced and he and The Doctor hear it, as they approach the porthole.

 Pilot looks through and sees Control is a Macra. He is horrified and says they must be killed. The Macra realises that The Doctor and Pilot are there and announces it. The Doctor talks Pilot into rebelling.

 The Doctor and Pilot exit, to find Ola and a guard waiting. Pilot tries to explain about the Macra, and Ola says now he can deal with him. Control comes on, and Pilot accuses him of being Macra. Ola is ordered to lock the strangers in the pipe room. Control orders for the guards and workers to assemble in the meeting hall. He says that it will take precisely four minutes.

 Pilot, Jamie, Polly and The Doctor are in the pipe room and the room is flooded with gas. Control drones on, gloating.

 Outside the door, Ben bangs on the door. The Doctor gives him instructions on what to do with the pipe controls. Control yells helplessly, ordering Ben to stop, trying to convince him not to do it, but Ben is fully himself again, and he throws the lever as instructed by The Doctor. There’s a loud noise…

 Later, the drum majorettes and band are performing in the great hall again. There’s much applause and happiness. When the music comes down, the Pilot gives public thanks to the strangers. There’s a dance tournament announced, and the winner will be given the Stranger’s Trophy.

 Ben tells The Doctor there are plans to make him the next Pilot, and this is hardly what he wants, so he and his companions dance the Highland Fling out of the hall and out of the colony… and the credits roll. 

 Not bad, some pretty hinky concepts – secret shafts ending up in a cupboard, for instance… but overall, enjoyable enough. Ola was played to sinister perfection by Gertain Klauber.

 The Macra appeared in the Tenth Doctor story, “Gridlock”, as well. Yay for continuity connections!  

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