Oh, I just (re)discovered (ah, the joys of flaky memory) that this serial introduces my all time favourite character from the show. Yes, I even mean more than The Doctor. Oh, yes. I kid you not. Y’all just don’t know.

Episode 1:

 We open with a carnival, people milling about, animals in cages awaiting their turn to perform in the circus. A man in a bowler, obviously someone in charge from his demeanor as he walks around, inspecting and approving, stops to light up his stogie. He hears a warbling sound, quite reminiscent of the TARDIS, and he looks up, startled as a lorry appears out of nowhere.

 He walks over and tries to open the door, but it’s locked. As he makes his way around the vehicle, the door opens and a man in black hops out.

 Oh, yes. I knew it was early in the serial that he makes his dramatic appearance, but I’d forgotten it was the very first thing. Hee hee. (Yes, I’m literally bouncing with excitement.) He slams the door shut and steps out. The carny demands to know who he is, and the first lines of The Doctor’s most iconic nemesis are uttered:

 “I am ususally referred to as The Master.” Roger Delgado is an awesome Master, probably the best. I grew up on Anthony Ainley’s Master and still hold his most dear to my heart. Derek Jacobi’s brief stint was done with some awesomeness it has to be counted, and John Simm’s Master is quite unhinged, but still brilliantly portrayed.

 Delgado’s Master is sinister, bordering on demonic. Understated, quite the contrast to Ainley or Simm.

 The carny is not impressed; he introduces himself as Luigi Rossini and says that he doesn’t need any “conjurers”. The Master, equally unimpressed, addresses Luigi by his real name, Lew Russell, and says the he does need him. Lew threatens The Master with physical violence, but the time lord grabs his arm and through the force of his will alone, subdues him. We next see them breaking into a military museum, stealing some orb out of a case.

 The Doctor’s TARDIS is seen, door open. From inside, The Doctor’s singing can be heard. There’s an explosion and some smoke, and he comes out coughing, but still humming. Sitting down at a table, there’s a knock at his door.

 A young woman enters, despite his saying, “Not today, thank you,” and introduces herself as his new assistant, Josephine Grant. He’s not terribly impressed. She says she’s a fully qualified agent – cryptology, safe-breaking, explosives. He says he needs a scientist as an assistant and doesn’t feel she’s qualified.

 (No explanation of what happened to Liz Shaw?)

 She hands him a report the Brig sent along with her – the report from the Space Museum about the theft – a translucent polyhedron, eight and a half inches in diameter. The Nestene’s energy unit!

 At Becacon Hill Research Establishment a man ascends a large radio tower to a room full of computers. Inside, a scientist complains to him about hard boiled eggs being aesthetically boring. No, really.

 The Master observes the men from outside, but hides until the recent man departs. He then steps in and fires a wand like device at the scientist. (Is that his Tissue Compression Eliminator? I think it is!) He then brings in the Nestene energy unit and connects it to one of the consoles. Working some levers, he changes the large satellite dishes. The energy unit begins transmitting its signal.

 The man who visited Goodge (the scientist) arrives, demanding to know what is going on, but The Master is awaiting the man and uses his force of will on him.

 The Doctor and the Brig discuss the return of Miss Shaw to Cambridge and The Doctor’s “agitating” for a new assistant. The Doctor asserts he wants a “highly qualified scientist”, but the Brig says, as Miss Shaw herself put it, he wants “someone to pass you your test tubes and tell you how brilliant you are.”

 The Brig relents and agrees that The Doctor doesn’t have to have her – but he has to break the news to her himself. She shows up and The Doctor isn’t able to let her off, and ends up saying he can tell she’s going to be of great help.

 A report comes in about the radio satellite installation and the disappearance of two of their men. They’re met there by Captain Yates (another UNIT regular, his first appearance – he’s not as cool as Sgt Benton, but Mike Yates is pretty cool.)

 The Doctor goes to investigate the radio satellite cabin, while the Brig and Jo meet the director of the facility. The Doctor is about to enter the cabin when he hears that familiar warbling/whooshing, and looks about, concerned. He’s startled to see a dapper man appear in mid air. The man zooms forward, appearing on the balcony. He’s there to warn The Doctor that “an old acquaintance has arrived” – The Master.

 “That jackanapes? All he ever does is cause trouble.” – already we’re given hints of the long history between the two time lords, so much still unrevealed to this day. The Time Lord warns The Doctor that The Master has learned a great deal since their paths last crossed. The Doctor says he’s an “unimaginative plodder.”

 The Time Lord warns The Doctor that there’s a booby trap behind the door – not terribly “unimaginative”, eh? The Time Lord wishes him “good luck” and pops off. The Doctor bursts in and leaps forward, catching the “volatiser” before it hits the ground and detonates.

 The director and Yates arrive. Opening Goodge’s lunch tin, The Doctor finds the body of Goodge, shrunken down to fit inside (yep, it was the Tissue Compression Eliminator.)

 The Master, dressed in a business suit, pretending to be a Colonel, is meeting with a man at some sort of plant. A plastics plant, I’m going to presume. Yes, it is. “The people I represent, Mister Farrell, can never have too much plastic.”

 The Brig sends Yates to organise searches of local plastics factories.

 The Master forces his will onto Farrell and hooks up the Nestene energy unit to some machinery in the factory. Jo is seen skulking about the factory and quickly gets caught by The Master, who uses his mind to interrogate her and make her forget seeing The Master there.

 In the lab, we see The Master animating some Autons. Farrell walks in and is almost attacked by one, but The Master stops it.

 The car belonging to the other missing scientist from the radio telescope is found, and inside a UNIT box. It is brought back to UNIT HQ and Jo, who is there, pulls out a set of keys and starts trying them. (She’s under post-hypnotic command from The Master, and I rather suspect this is another bomb that she’s been programmed to try to set off.)

 While she tries the keys, Yates calls up to The Doctor. He enters as she opens the case, saying, “Stop her! That’s a bomb!” Jo punches Yates in the gut, struggling with the lid, saying over and over, “I’ve got to open it, I’ve got to!”… and the credits roll.

 Excellent start, great cliffhanger. THE MASTER! SQUEE!!!! And the Autons again, very cool.


Episode 2:

 Smoke pours out of the box as Joe tries to open it, but Benton grabs her. The Doctor throws the box out the window into the body of water outside, where it explodes.

 The Doctor explains that The Master’s hypnosis can influence people to do things even against their will; because of the trauma, she’s slipped into a dissociative state.

 Farrel’s right hand man confronts Colonel Masters (The Master). The Master demonstrates the use of his new plastics with a lump of plastic that he throws on the floor. When he snaps his fingers, it becomes an inflatable seat.

 “So, you’re a magican as well as a Colonel, eh?”

I am many things.”

 The man (McDermott, I think) says that it would never sell, it’s cold and clammy and looks like a black pudding. The Master instructs him to sit down in it and the chair attacks and kills the man.

 The Doctor works with Jo, trying to break through her stupor. Eventually, she snaps out of it. She recalls being in a factory when she heard the voice, but she cannot remember the name of it.

 Farrell’s father, the former director of the plant. Farrel Senior isn’t happy with the changes and says he won’t allow Colonel Masters’ changes. The Master forces his will on the elder Farrel, but his mind is too strong. The Master makes a not terribly subtle threat and departs. The senior Farrell gives his son one day to get rid of “this Masters fellow”.

 The Master places a hideous plastic doll, saying it’s one of their new line, in Farrell Senior’s car as he departs.

 UNIT realises that there had been a circus staged at the location where Phillips’ car had been found and The Doctor decides to go off to visit the circus.

 The doll comes to life in Farrell Senior’s car, but before it attacks him, he turns off the heat and opens the window… and the doll reverts to an inanimate state.

 The Master tells Farrell that sending Phillips to the circus is a trap for The Doctor.

 The Doctor arrives at the circus in Bessie. He begins showing Phillips’ picture around, and we see Jo slip out of the back seat of Bessie.

 Farrell Senior returns him and talks to his wife about the death of McDermot and this Colonel Masters fellow.

 The Doctor finds the lorry/trailer that is The Master’s TARDIS. A strongman has been following him and, with Luigi Rossini, they grab him and bring him inside for interrogation.

 Jo calls in to UNIT to report about The Doctor being captured. The Brig tells her to stay out of trouble, but she doesn’t. She sees Phillips enterring The Master’s horse trailer.

 The Farrells return home, finding the doll in a different place. She goes to make coffee as Farrell Senior sits and reads his paper. The doll comes to life and attacks him.

 Jo rescues The Doctor from imprisonment and tells him about seeing Phillips.

 The Master communicates with Phillips, learning about Jo. He tells Phillips he knows what to do.

 Phillips finds The Doctor and Jo and enters holding a form of grenade. The Doctor tries to use his own will to break The Master’s control. Phillips rushes out and there’s an explosion. They follow, to find him dead. He had tried to get rid of it, but it was fused to his hand.

 The Doctor slips into The Master’s TARDIS and takes out a component. Luigi and a group of carnies arrive and attack The Doctor and Jo. Police arrive and grab The Doctor and Jo and put them in their car and drive off. As they depart, UNIT shows up and gives chase.

 The Doctor thinks the police were sent by the Brig, but that’s not the case. Jo realises that they’re being taken out into the middle of nowhere. The Doctor pulls the face off of one, to reveal that it is an Auton… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 As they realise that they’re being taken to a quarry, The Doctor realises the officers are Autons. They force a stop and dash out, barely escaping before the Autons open fire.

 The Brig, Yates and a couple UNIT boys show up and engage in a firefight. Yates drives the car into one of the Autons, knocking him down into a quarry and everyone piles in and drives off. They return to UNIT HQ and work on plans. The Doctor and the Brig butt heads pretty much the entire time.

 “You know, Jo, I sometimes think that ‘military intelligence’ is a contradiction in terms.” – The Doctor, after the Brig and Yates have left.

 The Doctor, having taken a circuit from The Master’s TARDIS, swaps it out with his, and attempts a “proving flight”. The room shakes as Jo calls out to him, asking what’s happening. The TARDIS door opens, smoke billows, and a very embarrassed Doctor walks out.

 “What’s wrong with being childish? I like being childish!” – The Doctor after Jo tells him not to be.

 On a street corner, men in costume are handing out plastic flowers to all the ladies. The flowers are part of The Master’s plan, but how we don’t know yet. Farrell is driving them around – they’re apparently Autons – and they demand he take them to the next “distribution point”, but Farrell insists they must wait for The Master.

 The Doctor is frustrated with the lack of success of the UNIT search for The Master; Jo suggests perhaps he’s given up, but The Doctor says that he’s too conceited to give up. The Brig arrives, accompanied by a Mr. Brownrose, from the Ministry, who has “a rather alarming story”.

 The Doctor, typically uninterested in dealing with the Ministry, brushes it off. The Ministry man manipulates The Doctor wonderfully, making a comment that he hopes The Doctor is qualified to handle a matter of such complexity. The Doctor, his ego offended, is now interested in hearing what the man has to say. Score one for the Ministry!

 A series of strange deaths are sweeping the country – all unrelated but the first two – McDermot and Farrell Senior! The Doctor and Jo go to see Mrs. Farrell, to find out her story. From her, they hear about “Colonel Masters”.

 Back at UNIT HQ, Yates checks the pass of a telephone engineer installing a new phone in The Doctor’s lab.

 Mrs. Farrell tells them about the prototype doll and gives it to them. She even explains that it had been moved when she found her husband dead and almost felt it had been trying to get out (though she laughs at herself.)

 Back in his lab, he examines it, discovering it appears to be made of solid plastic. He sends out for some scanning equipment, giving the Brig a hard time for not having it in stock for him in the first place. The Doctor goes off to visit the plastics factory and the Brig insists on accompanying him.

 The Autons press for Farrell to drive them to the next point, but he argues with them. Suddenly, the door to the van opens and the phone technician from The Doctor’s lab is there. As Farrell demands to know who he is, he peels off a latex mask, revealing The Master!

 Back in the lab, the doll comes to life as a result of Yates leaving on a bunsen burner to make cocoa. Yates has left to fetch mugs and cocoa while the water cooks and the doll attacks Jo. She screams (oh, joy, another shrieking female companion…) and Mike Yates comes and shoots it.

 The Brig and The Doctor arrive at the plastics factory, to find that it has been abandoned. The Doctor finds a plastic flower on the floor of Farrell’s office. They search the office, finding little of note, though there’s an Auton in the safe which almost shoots the Brig when The Doctor opens the safe. (They do find an invoice for the fifteen seater coach that Farrell is driving the Autons about in, but don’t know enough to make any connection.)

 They return to HQ, where Jo and Yates tell them about the doll attacking her. The Brig tells our hero, “You may be right,” to which The Doctor ever-so-humbly says, “I usually am.”

 After realising that Yates was making cocoa, The Doctor determines that heat was the activation for the doll. He chases everyone off, and then receives a phone call from The Master. The Master uses a sonic sequence to activate the phone which attacks The Doctor, the long cord wrapping around him as he makes rather silly bug-eyed faces… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 The Brig hears The Doctor’s calls for help and rushes in, pulling the wire from the wall. Once the sonic was no longer heard, the plastic became inert again.

 “I’m afraid I cut your connection.” – The Brig. BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! Nicholas Courtney is so awesome at delivering lines like that.

 The coach drives down a road at a high speed and a motorcycle cop follows.

 The Doctor tinkers with the plastic flower, trying to activate it with heat, to no avail. Yates brings him a report that there’s a plastics promotion handing out daffodils and the Brig wants to know if they’re dangerous.

 The Brig gets a report and tracks down the coach of Autons – they’re holed up in the same quarry that they took The Doctor and Jo earlier. The Brig has ordered in a rocket strike by the RAF. They tell The Doctor there’s an hour and a half before the strike.

 With the scanning equipment, The Doctor determines the flower has some form of programming embedded in the cells. He converts it to visuals and sees a nose and a mouth, but cannot determine much more. As Jo tries to contact the Brig via walkie-talkie, the radio activates the flower, which sprays her nose and mouth with a plastic film. The Doctor manages to save her.

 The Master surprises The Doctor in his lab, his TCE in hand. The two Time Lords banter, exchanging barbs. We learn that 450K daffodils have been distributed. As The Master is about to fire his TCE, Jo walks in, but The Master keeps his weapon on The Doctor.

 The Doctor points out that he has The Master’s dematerialisation circuit in his hand, and if he fires, it will destroy it and trap The Master on Earth. Jo lets slip that they’re going to bomb the quarry and The Master decides to let The Doctor live… for a little while.

 At the quarry, Farrell panics and snaps out of his trance. When he tries to flee, an Auton knocks him out. The air strike is moments away when Bessie pulls in, being driven by The Doctor, The Master in the back seat, keeping Jo and The Doctor hostage.

 UNIT calls off the air strike. As they watch, wondering what to do, The Doctor and Jo are tied up. He manages to get his foot to the brake pedal, flashing the brakes in morse code to tell them the daffodils are deadly and the radio telescope is the transmission point.

 Jo has managed to get her hands free, though she plays it safe for now. While they move out, she frees The Doctor’s bonds as well. The coach drives to the station, but Farrell wakes and tries to grab the wheel. The Doctor and Jo escape during the confusion.

 UNIT forces attack the Autons and there’s a great fight. The Master rushes up to the control cabin on the radio telescope, throwing a scientist off the tower in the process. He makes it to the controls and begins positioning the dishes. As The Doctor and the Brig enter, he tells them the Nestene are here, and the satellite begins to crackle with alien energy.

 The Doctor makes The Master realise that the Nestene wouldn’t differentiate between him and the rest of the planet, and he helps The Doctor reverse the polarity (no, really) of the signal, which sends the Nestene back into space. The Autons stagger about and collapse.

 The Master escapes and gets in the coach, but moments later, comes walking out, hands up. He pulls out a gun and Yates shoots him dead. The Doctor pulls a mask off the body, revealing Farrell. The Master, still in the coach, tries to run down The Doctor, who narrowly avoids it, and The Master drives off.

 After they return to HQ, The Doctor reveals that The Master is trapped on Earth, as he has the dematerialisation circuit from The Master’s TARDIS, where The Master has the faulty one from The Doctor’s TARDIS. He tells them he’s sure he’ll turn up again, and Jo says, “You don’t see very worried about it.”

 “Oh, I’m not… in fact, I’m quite looking forward to it,” The Doctor replies and flashes a grin… and the final credits roll.

 It’s interesting to note that Michael Wisher, who played the younger Farrell, later becomes the first actor to play Davros, in the Tom Baker serial, GENESIS OF THE DALEKS.  

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