I have to say that croutons are my least favourite thing to put on a salad. Stale bread, really? I mean… what?

 Oh.

 OHHHHH.

 Never you mind….

Episode 1:

 We open with a man getting a tablet from an oscillating portal. From it, he reads the two names that have been selected from the class. One male and one female. Everyone seems excited, until another male jumps forward, shouting “No” and running over to the female chosen, speaking hurried to her. The man announcing the names goes on to say that they have been chosen to be the companions to the Krotons. Thana, the upset man, argues with Vana, imploring her to run away, but she says it is too late. The

 The TARDIS materialises in a rocky, craggy terrain. Jamie complains of rotten eggs, and The Doctor and Zoe talk of sulphur in the air. The planet has twin suns and they set out exploring. They see a city with strange architecture (The Doctor says that it’s indicative of a lower-gravity planet, though the planet seems to be fairly standard.)

 Jamie finds a door set into the rock. As The Doctor investigates, something troubles him and he advises that they depart quickly, saying it is a machine. The door begins to open and they hide behind the rocks, only to see the man chosen earlier stagger out, woozily. As they watch, twin tubes extend from the door and vaporise the man.

 Thara still argues with his father, the leader, of Vana’s fate. His father insists that it is a great honour, but Thara wants his father to not allow her to go. Thara draws his weapon in defense of Vana (who I gather is his love interest.)

 The Doctor and his companions arrive and argue with guards while Thara argues with his father. Jamie challenges one of the men to combat, disarming him. Meanwhile, Vana is robed as a companion and passes through the doorway to where her fate lies.

 The leader questions The Doctor. The Doctor begins questioning them. Thara explains a little about the Krotons. When they explain they’ve seen, they’re told they’ve been in the Wasteland and will die. The Doctor and his companions run off to the other door, hoping to save Vana. Thara follows as the other men watch and murmur.

 The Doctor jams some rocks into the gunports and when Vana comes out, he grabs her and shuffles her out of the way. She’s alive but seems catatonic and they take her to Thara’s father’s house.

 There, The Doctor tries to use hypnosis to try to revive Vana, while Thara’s father talks with Jamie and Zoe. They learn that periodically the two brightest are chosen to be companions of the Krotons. The Krotons have never been seen, they never leave the machine.

 Selris, Thara’s father, tells The Doctor and his companions their legend about the silver men who came from the stars and how their ancestors attacked them, but the silver men retaliated, resulting in the wastelands.

 Elsewhere, we see Thara and three men grab a man, the Custodian of the Learning Hall. They demand to know how to get to them, so they may see the Krotons. He says that only the companions may enter. Thara decides if they can’t get in, then they must draw the Krotons out and plan to smash the teaching machines.

 Selris tells them that everything they have – science, culture, laws – come from the machine. The Doctor compares this to a self-perpetuating slavery. Despite not knowing why it is being done, The Doctor says it is time it ends.

 Beta, the controller of science, arrives to tell Selris that Thara and his friends are planning to destroy the learning machines. The Doctor and companions convince Selris and Beta to go through the wasteland, as it is the most direct route.

 Somewhere, presumably within the machine, a monitor lights up with an X and an alarm sounds.

 In the learning hall, the students smash the machines, when a deep, mechanical voice booms, demanding that all Gonds (the people) leave the hall at once. The Doctor and others arrive and The Doctor tells them to stop, that the Krotons must have great scientific knowledge and cannot be beaten with axes.

 Inside the machine, the monitor shows The Doctor’s face.

 “Atomic laser? Is that better than an axe?” – Thara to The Doctor.

 A robotic eye snakes out of the wall next to the door to the machine. It ends up zeroing in on The Doctor, who falls on his back as it gets very, very close… and the credits roll.

 Interesting so far; I’m reminded of one of my favourite First Doctor serials, The Savages. Let’s see how this compares. (In the long run, a good serial, but no The Savages.)


Episode 2:

 The Doctor covers his face and the robotic eye loses ‘sight’ of him. As long as he covers his face, he is safe from it. One of the studens sneaks up on the eye but it vaporises him with the gas and snakes back into the wall. The Doctor muses that since the eye killed someone and it was programmed to kill one – The Doctor – it returned.

 The voice demands that all Gonds leave at once, now that their leader has been killed. Selris instructs everyone to leave and, despite Thara’s pleas, they do so.

 Zoe and The Doctor talk as he checks on Vana. They discuss that the Gonds have serious gaps in their knowledge – they don’t understand electricity, but have devices that operate on stored solar energy, for example. Jamie is left with Vana, with instructions to give her two pills when she awakens. The Doctor and Zoe return to the learning hall with Selris.

 On the way, The Doctor notices a trap door and asks where it leads. Selris says it goes under the learning hall and he and The Doctor go down, leaving Zoe with the learning machine. Excitedly, she puts on the headgear and activates the learning machine. (Wow, I can’t see where this is going, nope, not at all.)

 The Doctor and Selris return from below, saying that only the foundation of the machine was down there. They find Zoe using the testing machine and The Doctor rips the headgear off of her, scolding her. She seems briefly under the spell of the machine. Selris is amazed at how well she scored. (Yep, like I said, I see where this is going.)

 Vana comes to, crying out about a burning ball over her head. Thara arrives to help Jamie calm her down, though asking her about the Krotons gets her panicked about the burning ball again. They give her the pills, which seem to sedate her. Jamie leaves to fetch The Doctor.

 The Doctor informs Zoe that what Selris called “the foundation” was more like a root structure. They discuss that the metal of the door is crystalline and posit that the machine might be organic.

 The Krotons send a message (on a tablet… wonder if it’s an iPad or a Kindle Fire?) to Selris. Student “Zo-Gond” has been selected for companionship. They, of course, mean Zoe. I told you I knew where this was going. The Doctor yells at her (rightfully so, stupid girl) for playing with machines she should have played with and then takes the test, hoping to score well enough that he’ll get selected as well.

 “Of course he can (answer the questions). The Doctor’s almost as clever as me.” – Zoe. What a great quote. Zoe is so fun, because she’s not being arrogant, she just knows she’s super-smart. (Book smarts don’t always trump street smarts, though, or she would never have sat down to use the machine.)

 Upon completing the test, The Doctor is also under the spell briefly. The Kroton signal (via a gong that The Doctor remarks sounds like a dinner bell) another message has come through. Student Doctor-Gond has been chosen. He and Zoe enter, just as Jamie arrives to find out his friends are now companions of the Krotons.

 Zoe and The Doctor enter into a room. Zoe remarks that it is a spaceship, while The Doctor wonders where the crew is. Two chairs appear and they sit down. The Doctor hands Zoe a chain telling her to hold the end of it. A force field holds them in place as a flashing orb comes down, flashing and gyrating. 

 Jamie pounds on the door.

 The Doctor and Zoe are in great pain and discomfort from whatever force they’re being subjected to. We see a tank with bubbling fluid in it. The Doctor and Zoe recover from their experience. The Doctor says the machine used their mental energy, converting it into energy to trip a thermal switch.

 Seeing the tank, where there had been a wall before, The Doctor says that they had “gone and done it”. Taking a sample of the fluid, The Doctor says that it’s a slurry – crystals suspended in fluid. Something is forming within the tank and they run off before it can solidify.

 Jamie keeps trying to get in the door though Selris yells at him that there is no way in.

 Two creatures, bulky, robotic things with arms like the robot from Lost in Space exit the tank (tanks?) and wonder where the Gonds (The Doctor and Zoe) are. They speculate that the Gond conditioning may have failed.

 The Doctor and Zoe escape out the door, making sure to jump to the side to avoid the vaporisation guns. The Krotons, watching, argue but one says it deactivated the gun as they needed them alive as they are not Gonds. They decide to allow Jamie in to test him, as they see he is not a Gond, either. They quickly determine that Jamie is a primitive and say that the power will kill him. Jamie collapses as the burning ball flashes in his mind… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 The Krotons spare Jamie, saying he is still useful, even if he’s a primitive.

 The Doctor and Zoe head back to the TARDIS, thinking Jamie is safe back at Selris’ house.

 The Krotons interrogate Jamie about The Doctor, Zoe and TARDIS. They watch on a monitor as The Doctor and Zoe enter the TARDIS. One of the Krotons says they are leaving and asks the other if it should fire at the TARDIS, while Jamie watches, afraid they’re leaving the planet!

 A group of men approach Beta, to consult him on a matter of war against the Krotons. Beta argues with them whether their knowledge is useful against the Krotons; he hates living under the control of the Krotons, but he is afraid they know too little.

 There’s an amusing sequence where one Kroton asks Jamie specific questions about the TARDIS, to which he cannot answer any.

 The other Kroton has left the machine and the one with Jamie watches on a monitor.

 Selris returns home and tells Thara what happened with the strangers. Thara tells Selris that Eelek has usurped Selris’ position as leader and is inciting everyone to war against the Krotons, now that Eelek has revealed to everyone the fate of the companions.

 Jamie learns that the machine is called the Dynatrope. He learns that the Gonds are being schooled for “high brains”, but since they do not meet the standards needed for the Dynatrope, they are killed.

 “That is procedure.” – The Kroton to Jamie, in regards of the killing of the Gonds.

 Jamie learns that the Krotons do not die, when they exhaust, they can be revived – presumably what happened in the tanks.

 The other Kroton is outside, presumably heading after The Doctor and Zoe. Speaking of whom, we see them exiting the TARDIS. Having run some experiements, The Doctor realises that the Krotons are life forms based on tellurium, and for thousands of years, had been in that tank, waiting for someone intelligent enough to come along to power their revivification.

 In a fascinating scene, when talking of the Krotons and their revivification process, The Doctor says, “You must admit, that it’s a very good way of existing through time.” A bit of foreshadowing, obviously, talking of revivification, or perhaps, regeneration?

 The Doctor collects sulphur from outside the TARDIS.

 Jamie watches as the outside Kroton gets within range of the target (the TARDIS), coaxing them to get back inside. The Kroton comes upon them and insists they return to the Dynatrope.

 Jamie grabs a dispersal unit and uses it on the Kroton, but it doesn’t seem to have the effect he hoped. The Kroton charges him.

 The outer Kroton has lost sight – the entire time it was walking there, the Kroton inside was giving it directional vectors. It seems the light outside is too bright for it to see and it needs information fed from the scanner, provided by the other Kroton.

 The Doctor and Zoe hide but the Kroton his the TARDIS with the gas and it seems to be vaporised! The Kroton in the machine tells the other to reverse the readings to return to the Dynatrope. As it leaves, we see the TARDIS reappear, but in a slightly different location, higher up the incline, not exactly the best place to land (which The Doctor criticises.)

 Zoe realises that The Doctor knew that would happen, and he says it was only because he remembered to set the HADS – Hostile Action Displacement System.

 Selris arrives at Beta’s lab to confront Eelek. Everyone pretty much ignores Selris and set off to ready slings and fireballs to use against the Krotons. Selris tells Beta he has a plan to draw the Krotons out of the machine.

 The Krotons discuss that they need the high brains or the Dynatrope will exhaust (expire) in three hours. Jamie, who had pretending to be unconscious, overhears all of this and then sneaks away.

 The Doctor and Zoe return to Selris’ house and learn from Thara that Selris has a plan to attack the foundation. The Doctor doesn’t seem to think that’s a good thing. But first, they stop at Beta’s lab, where The Doctor gives him some notes and asks if he can complete those tasks. It comes up that chemistry has been forbidden knowledge for the Gonds.

 “Beta, did it ever occur to you to wonder why?” – The Doctor

 Zoe finally wonders where Jamie is. She and The Doctor rush off to try to find him.

 The Krotons react to the Dynatrope being taken off balance. Their heads (which are crystal points) spin. It’s rather silly.

 We see Selris’ team unbalancing the Dynatrope with chains and winches and digging. The Doctor arrives, yelling at them, but then parts of the surrounding area starts to collapse and The Doctor is struck down… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 He’s okay (bet you thought he was dead, didn’t you?) but more falls, striking down Thara. The Doctor and Zoe struggle to get the debris off him.

 Jamie wanders around the shaking Dynatrope.

 The Krotons get the balance of the Dynatrope back under control. Their heads stop spinning. No, I’m not making this up. On the monitors, they see the two high brains and decide to bring them in.

 Zoe tends to Thara’s leg, which may be broken.

 It seems Selris’ attack did some structural damage to the machine and The Doctor says they’re not operating at full power. Not sure how he made that connection, but hey, he’s the star of the show.

 Vana shows up with the sulphuric acid (plus some other stuff added, apparently) that Beta mixed up for The Doctor. Pretty impressive, considering chemistry is forbidden and since the Krotons give the Gonds all their knowledge, there would be no way for Beta to do it, huh?

 Zoe and The Doctor finally learn that Jamie followed them inside the machine. They rush off, forgetting the acid with Vana.

 Inside the Dynatrope, Jamie finds the piece of mica The Doctor used to jimmy their way out of the machine.

 Selris and Eelek argue. It’s mostly penis-waving. A Kroton comes out, kills a man, and gives them fifteen minutes to bring them the high brains. They tell Eelek if they have the high brains, they will leave the planet and leave the Gonds alone.

 Jamie manages to get the door partially open and is climbing out. The Doctor and Zoe pull him the rest of the way out. He tries to tell them what he’s learned but The Doctor asks him to go help Beta make more acid. (it’s a regular ‘joke’, them ignoring Jamie when he has some info.)

 The Krotons are down to twenty-seven minutes of power and then they will exhaust.

 Eelek and his men grab The Doctor and Zoe and bring them to the Dynatrope. The Krotons prepare for take-off. One Kroton wants to destroy the Gonds, but the other says they must preserve power (reminds me of the two Dominators, they constanty had that conversation.)

 Selris arrives with the bottle of acid. Vana tells him that The Doctor needed it. He sees that the door to the Dynatrope is closing and rushes in. When he catches up and tosses the bottle to The Doctor, the Krotons blast him and he dies.

 Inside, the Krotons tell them how they came to the planet – they were part of a battle fleet and their ship was damaged, two of their crew (the ship requires four high brains to operate, which is why they want The Doctor and Zoe) were “exhausted”.

 Zoe uses the acid as the Krotons bully them (much like Dominators) into putting on the headsets and readying to lift off. Meanwhile, outside, the Gonds pour gallons of acid onto the machine. The Krotons collapse as their power runs out and exhaust… and the machine is destroyed.

 The Doctor and his companions slip off as the Gonds watch the ship dissolve from the acid.

 A good serial, better than The Dominators, though the themes weren’t terribly different. This paled in comparison to The Savages, but the themes there, while similar were pretty divergent, too.

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