I’m leery about this one; I saw it last year and seem to recall not really liking it much. After “The Dominators”, that’s not a promising sign for this season.

Episode 1:

 We open with The Doctor and Jamie rushing into the TARDIS. Zoe is already inside, watching the eruption on the scanner. The console room begins to fill with smoke and The Doctor isn’t able to get the TARDIS to dematerialise.

 Things are getting too hot and The Doctor is forced to use the “emergency unit”, which moves the TARDIS out of time and space altogether. The TARDIS is completely enveloped by lava (which looks more like milkshake to me) as they activate the emergency unit. The ship moves but it seems differently. 

 Zoe asks why the scanner isn’t showing anything if they’ve landed and he responds that they’re “nowhere”. The Doctor goes off to the power room while his companions change their outfits. Zoe goes to The Doctor, curious to what might be outside the TARDIS. He warns her that they must stay inside, that there’s no way of knowing what is out there.

 Meanwhile, Jamie is in the console and on the scanner there are scenes of Scotland and the sound of bagpipes, until Zoe walks in. They argue if he saw it or not, but Zoe then sees her home on the screen, “the city”. But when she points it out to Jamie, the screen is blank.

 “Anyway, we’ve both seen something, so that proves we landed, doesn’t it?” – Zoe, using horrible logic for such a brainiac.

 Jamie goes to fetch The Doctor, and again “the city” appears on the screen. Zoe opens the doors and exits, not waiting. Outside, there’s nothing but mist and she disappears into it. When The Doctor and Jamie come into the console room, they discover she’s gone. Jamie ignores The Doctor’s warnings and runs out after her, while the time lord (still a term not yet introduced into the series, though we know it will be by the end of this season) fights mentally against some force.

 Outside, Jamie finds Zoe. They’re surrounded by opaque nothingness. They quickly discover that they’re lost in the nothingness. They wander, calling out for The Doctor. The image of the city appears and Zoe can’t help but believe it’s real… until Jamie shakes her and drives home the point. Then, Jamie is under the spell, hearing bagpipes, seeing Scotland, until she slaps him out of it.

 They turn and encounter what appear to be robots or some form of mechanoid life.

 The Doctor, sitting in the TARDIS, fights the urge to go and save his companions. A voice whispers in his head, “Follow them… follow them and save them!”

 The Doctor exits the TARDIS, where Jamie and Zoe, their clothing transformed to all white are accompanied by the robots. He grabs them and pushes them into the TARDIS (and their clothing is back to normal) and they’ve snapped out of whatever influence they were under.

 The Doctor activates the TARDIS, and says it is motion. There’s still concerns about whether they’re free of whatever force was trying to effect them. The Doctor and Zoe discover that the TARDIS is using more energy than it is recharging and they work to boost it back up, while Jamie fitfully sleeps. He wakes to tell them of a dream he had about a charging unicorn, but The Doctor seems to fall into a fugue state of some sort.

 There’s a deep hum that affects the there of them. The Doctor proclaims that it is alien. They find it hard to concentrate and they try to fight it, but it seems to be too powerful.

 We see the TARDIS spinning in darkness, then it explodes, leaving only the console, to which Jamie and Zoe cling to in the void. Zoe points to The Doctor and begins to scream. We see a close up of The Doctor, his eyes closed, as he spins. Then the console spins into a bank of mist… and the credits roll.

 Okay, so far not as bad I remember from last year. Still have four more episodes to go, so it’s early yet to to be relieved.

 And, wow, that was bad.


Episode 2:

 Jamie wanders through a… forest?… and hears Zoe’s voice. He tries to find her, but sees a Redcoat prowling about. He draws his knife and moves to attack, but the British soldier shoots him and he’s transformed into a life-sized photograph.

 Zoe keeps calling out for Jamie, but he doesn’t respond, because photographs can’t talk. She suddenly finds herself surrounded by walls and bramble, but there’s a large door, like a castle or ancient estate. The door opens on its own and she enters (really smart, that) and suddenly falls down, screaming.

 We see three monitors, one showing Jamie. Two voices talk, one harsh, one gentle, talking about The Doctor, though we only see on figure on screen. Apparently he is not quite under their control just yet…

 The Doctor wakens, calling out for his companions. He hears Jamie and Zoe calling out for each other and for him (but their voices don’t sound quite right). He runs about the ‘forest’, while the figure with the monitors watches. Both the gentle and harsher voice seem to be emanating from the one figure.

 In the forest, The Doctor hides from large bulky robots, though they’re very different looking from the ones from the first episode. The figure in the room gives orders (in both voices) to the robots, telling them to track down and find The Doctor.

 A man with a gun tries to speak to The Doctor in various languages, though the two men settle on English. Eventually the man puts his gun away, as they seem to realise they’re in like circumstances. The Doctor says he must find his friends, but the man says it is forbidden by The Master (no, but I do wish… I know we have to wait another couple seasons still…), that there are articles of impeachment against The Doctor for treason and other capital crimes.

 The man takes his leave of The Doctor, but when the time lord follows him around the bend, the man has disappeared. Then, six children (boys and girls) surround The Doctor, asking him riddles. After answering their questions successfully, a sword is rearranged into words, and The Doctor ends up with a dictionary.

 Again, he hears the voice of Jamie (still not sounding quite right), and finds the photograph of Jamie, with a safe, a wishing well and some letters. It’s a puzzle, which he solves to be “Jamie is safe and well”. Suddenly, Jamie’s face disappears from the photograph and The Doctor must choose from an assortment of eyes, noses and mouths to “reassemble” it. But he does it wrong and Jamie is reanimated with a new face (and a different actor, obviously).

 It seems that it is Jamie, though he looks different. They hear Zoe calling out and find the door she went through – but it’s a brick wall with a door painted on it.

 “When is a door not a door? When it is ajar!” – The Doctor. The door transforms into a large jar that Zoe is in. They rescue her from the jar.

 Jamie climbs one of the trees to discover that it’s a letter. The forest is a forest of words. From his vantage point, Jamie reads them – “Slow but sure… in for a penny, in for a pound… look before you leap”, though that’s all he can read. He thinks he sees a way out and climbs down to leave.

 They run into the man The Doctor met earlier. The man’s replies are phrased in curious ways – answering them but not always directly, as if he’s quoting something to give them a near-answer, or as best an answer as he can. “The Master” is brought up.

 They hear the robots approaching and hide in the trees, though the man does not. The robots arrive and the man doesn’t seem to see them and addresses the travelers, giving away their hiding places to the robots.

 The man in the monitor room gives them orders to bring in The Doctor and companions. On the screen we see one of the robots and it looks like a toy soldier from the Nutcracker. They lead the travelers away and we see they have wind-ups in their backs.

 They take them into a dark area and stop. Jamie says he feels he’s been there before. They hear the galloping approach of a horse, but it’s a unicorn, like from Jamie’s dream. It charges at them and The Doctor admonishes them to stand still but they cry and whine… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 The Doctor talks them into saying out loud that the unicorn isn’t real, it doesn’t exist and this results in the unicorn turning into a photograph. The Doctor says that a fantastic mind is behind this all, and as the figure in the monitor room watches, the kindly voice praises The Doctor’s intellect in kind. Presumably addressing the other person/voice (the harsh one), the kind voice says, “You were right to choose the good Doctor.”

 The soldiers return to the travelers, but the harsh voice orders them to let them go, saying the trap is set, they will walk into it.

 The Doctor and companions move through thick sninewy strands of some form of webbing or overgrowth. They find a house, but outside is a redcoat, the same one perhaps, who shoots Jamie again. Once more, Jamie is a photograph and his face must be rebuilt – this time, The Doctor gets it right. (I understand that Frazier Hines had chickenpox and that’s why that was all done, so another actor could play him.)

 They enter the house and find some twine and a bunch of tunnels – obviously a maze and an invitation. Zoe states the obvious that whomever is behind this is aware of where they are, they know they’re coming.

 The figure watches a screen, a map of the maze, with three lights indicating the travelers.

 The thread runs out and Zoe and The Doctor leave Jamie to wait at the end of the twine while they move onward. On the map, we see they’re almost at the center of the maze. The harsh voice coaxes them on.

 Zoe and The Doctor make it to the center; he’s disappointed that there’s nobody waiting to greet them. They see human bones and hear a roar. Zoe brings up the story of the Minotaur. Again, there’s a roar and they see a shadow of what must be the minotaur.

 Jamie encounters one of the soldiers and throws his coat over its head to escape.

 Again, by proclaiming that the minotaur is mythical, they escape danger – the beast just vanishes. They return to where Jamie was, and they run into the man they’ve met before. By listening to his phrasing, The Doctor determines who he is – Lemeul Gulliver, the hero from Gulliver’s Travels, and he’s been speaking in passages from the stories.

 Jamie is outside in a rocky terrain, on the run from the Nutcracker soldier. He climbs the rocks to evade the soldier, who obviously cannot climb. He gets about halfway up his climb, but the rest is too steep to make it unaided. As he’s about to say he needs a rope, a rope is tossed down from above.

 He makes it up to a castle, with the rope coming from out a window. It turns out the rope is attached to the head of a lovely lady named Rapunzel. She tries not to admit him, once she finds out he’s not a prince or a son of a woodcutter, but when he appeals to her, she lets him in.

 Once inside, Rapunzel is nowhere to be seen and Jamie quickly realises that it’s no princess’ castle but a scientific place full of technology. He finds a machine printing out a narrative of The Doctor and Zoe. The printout says that The Doctor and Zoe returned to the minotaur’s cave.

 There, we see that they have returned there. There’s a statue of a figure with snakes for hair. The Doctor quickly determines that it is Medusa. He tells Zoe they have to say she doesn’t exist, though once more she argues the point. Medusa approaches and despite his admonitions, Zoe turns to look at Medusa… and the credits roll.

 Being someone who lives in the 21st century, I find it hard to accept that Zoe (also from the 21st century) is so easily to believe in the mythological creatures as real.

Episode 4:

 The Doctor uses a mirror so Zoe can look without being turned to stone. Medusa becomes a statue once more and the printout machine reports CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL. Jamie moves on, triggering an alarm, and a PA announces that there is a stranger to be apprehended. Gulliver shows up and speaks to Jamie.

 Jamie hides in a room and Gulliver stands at guard, but he doesn’t see the robots (the ones from the first episode, this time), nor do they acknowledge him. After they move on, Jamie comes out and asks Gulliver for help on getting out, but Gulliver says it is impossible.

 Jamie and The Doctor are below the citadel, when they encounter the Karkus, a comic strip superhero type from Zoe’s homeworld, in the year 2000. (Home world? In the year 2000? Really.) By declaring the Karkus’ weapon (an anti-molecular ray disintegrator) as “scientifically impossible” the weapon disappears. However, the Karkus (wearing a really dumb muscle suit), who has the strength of many men attacks them, though Zoe single-handedly defeats him and he submits to her.

 Really?

 The Doctor and Zoe gain entrance to the citadel, where they meet up with Jamie and Gulliver. The latter advises against them seeking out The Master. He advocates them settling in and living peacefully under the rule of The Master.

 Gulliver departs and Jamie shows them the machine that was printing out the story. Zoe stupidly triggers the alarm. The Doctor says that they will not run and hide, but will wait for the robots, who show up. The Doctor demands an interview with The Master, whose voice comes over the PA and invites them through an open door.

 Reluctantly, they enter. They find themselves in the control room. A man in spectacles and suit and tie greets them. Obviously the man who has been observing all the while – he speaks in the gentle voice we’ve heard before. Turns out he’s a writer of a pulp story from the late 1800s. He’s connected by a wire to a machine – his brain, his imagination powers all that transpires.

 While The Doctor and the man speak, Jamie and Zoe slip off into a library filled with books. The Doctor has been brought there to take the man’s place – since The Doctor is “ageless”, he is a better substitute. 

 When The Doctor refuses, the man speaks in the harsher voice – obviously the computer attached to him is speaking through him now. He shows The Doctor the ‘script’ that Jamie and Zoe have been captured and makes the deal – his acceptance for their lives.

 On the monitor, Zoe and Jamie are herded by robots into a giant book which closes on them… and the credits roll.

 Only one more episode, thank goodness.

Episode 5:

 The Doctor refuses and leaves, encountering Jamie and Zoe, but he discovers they keep repeating the same sequence of dialogue – they’ve been turned into fiction!

 The Doctor sees the mastertape of the fiction, but he cannot get in. Out loud, he wishes for the strength of Karkus (because, obviously, the power of a man who can be OUT-WRESTLED by a ninety pound fifteen-year-old girl is to be desired), and Karkus appears to help him. He tears off the sky light, then Rapunzel shows up to let The Doctor use her hair to climb down into the room.

 He sits at the table and starts to write, “The enemy had been defeated by The Doctor,” while The Master (so weird writing that and not meaning my favourite character from the entire franchise) coaxes, “Yes, go on!”

 The Doctor stops, realising that he cannot say that – if he had done that, he would have turned himself into fiction. He leaves, climbing back up. The Master, watching says no more games will be played.

 Up above, Jamie and Zoe are gone, but Gulliver and the children show up. They pester The Doctor, while The Master writes that Jamie and Zoe realise that The Doctor is evil. Robots bring the companions to him and they repeat what he has written in regards to The Doctor.

 The Doctor mopes while the children dance and play. Suddenly, the TARDIS appears, and Jamie and Zoe pop out, beckoning him within. He enters and they stay outside, closing the door on him. The face of the TARDIS falls forward and it’s revealed to be a trap.

 We next see The Doctor trapped in the machine in the control room. The Master reveals they want to use The Doctor to take over Earth, move everyone there and have the planet to theirselves.

 … this just seems kind stupid to me.

 But, anyhow. The Doctor is attached to the master computer, directly. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

 The Doctor says he’s not under the control of the master brain – now he has equal power with The Master and he will take control from there. The Master and The Doctor battle with their minds and their creativity, summong and manipulating characters to fight each other. Cyrano de Bergerac, D’Artagnan, Karkus, Nutcracker soldiers, Blackbeard, Sir Lancelot all are thrown at each other. It’s really stupid, no matter how cool it might sound.

 The master brain voice dictates that The Doctor be destroyed; The Master pleads, he doesn’t want to do this forever. The robots march on The Doctor and remove him from the master brain. Zoe and Jamie (who The Doctor helped free from fiction earlier) are in the room, hiding.

 Zoe has an idea to overload the master brain… by pressing all the buttons on the console for the master brain. Because that’s how you overload a computer.

 The Doctor breaks free of the robots (cuz, well, I guess robots don’t know how to hold on to someone) and after The Master gives the order to destroy, he removes the wires from his head. The robots begin to fire and destroy the computer.

 They rush off with The Master, and stand in a black area that gradually fills with mist. There’s massive explosions nearby as the robots destroy. We see the TARDIS reform… and the final credits roll.

 What a horrible serial. Stupid, insipid, not remotely clever and just plain stupid. Guh. Ugh.

 Horrible.

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