Another serial I know nothing about, have never seen (that I recall.)

 

Episode 1:

We open with a new opening sequence, once with the full body of The Doctor going into the time tunnel effect.

As the serial starts, a comet or somesuch is visible in the night sky.

Several men in furs and armour sit at the table eating; one man, a Captain, complains of the food and wine served him. The Captain and his associate agree to raid their neighbor’s storage.

Suddenly, a star falls into the forest; they wake men sleeping in the house, but nobody wants to go with the Captain. They argue until he agrees to wait until dawn – the men fear demons in the forest.

After the sun has risen, the men go out into the forest and find the ‘star’ – a large sphere with facets. It opens and an armoured being steps out, one that is well known to later fans of the series, though this is their first appearance – a Sontaran! The Captain challenges the alien, who shoots his sword with his handheld weapon.

Using a translator device, the Sontaran (who identifies himself as Sontaran officer Linx) speaks to the men; one thinks he’s a “Saracen”. As the two men watch, Linx plants a flag and claims the planet for the Sontaran Empire.

They take him back to the castle. The captain tells the Sontaran that he took the castle by force, the locals pay tribute to him. Linx offers him weapons, weapons he can kill men from far away, in exchange for assistance with his ship.

The Brig brings The Doctor to a top secret location, a scientific think tank where people have been vanishing – half a dozen scientists and great amounts of equipment have gone missing.

We see Linx overseeing men working at computer consoles – obviously, he’s been kidnapping the scientists. Already Linx grows tired of dealing with the “primitives”.

We see that he’s given Captain Irongron a rifle, though the warlord struggles to master the aim.

The Doctor meets one of the scientists, Joseph Ruebish. The Doctor uses the pseudonym, Doctor John Smith, again. Ruebish introduces The Doctor to a Lavinia Smith, who looks a helluva lot like a Sarah Jane to me!!!!!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! Sarah Jane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry.

The Doctor confronts “Lavinia”, notably on her age not meshing with a paper written by the real Lavinia. It turns out that Sarah Jane’s aunt is the Lavinia, but she’s in America, so Sarah Jane used her aunt’s invite to sneak in, see if she could find a good story – she’s a reporter, you see.

(Okay, now this is BS. Sarah Jane can sneak in as her aunt, but The Doctor and the Brig talked about the security being so tight, they almost didn’t let the Brig in?)

Sarah Jane gets upset when The Doctor says he won’t turn her in, hoping she can hang about to make coffee.

Sir Edward of Wessex discusses the plight of having to put up with Irongron’s raiding and bullying with his wife. It seems the good king has conscripted most of their troops leaving him with only a handful of men; others locally are in the same boat. He hopes to unite the local lords against Irongron.

Irongron’s men bring Sir Edward’s squire before Irongron. Irongron and his men can’t read the message the squire carried, nor would the squire reveal the nature of the missive.

Irongron and Linx meet; Irongron wants Linx to make the squire speak.

Professor Ruebish has found out that Sarah Jane is not Lavinia. He wants to rat her out to the Brig.

Linx uses his weapon, but on a different frequency, on the squire. Linx tells Irongron “this is a key, it has unlocked your prisoner’s mind.” When Irongron asks questions about Sir Edward’s castle, the squire answers truthfully, in a trance-like state.

Linx grows tired of the interrogation and tries to leave; when Irongron tells him he has not given him leave and bars his way with his axe, Linx cuts the axe in half with his weapon (it’s a blaster it’s a mind-unlocker, it might be a Sontaran version of the sonic screwdriver!)

The Doctor naps while a device set to detect delta particles wakes him up; Professor Ruebish mysteriously disappears from within his bunk cubicle, with The Doctor outside the door. Using a tracer, The Doctor goes outside and sees an ghostly image of the Sontaran. One of the UNIT guards sees it and fires, but it passes through his image.

The Doctor hurries to get his equipment in the TARDIS so he can follow the trail, while trying to explain it all to the Brig. While they talk, Sarah Jane pokes about in the TARDIS. The Doctor slips in and the TARDIS dematerialises.

An archer in the woods hears the TARDIS materialise. The Doctor pats the TARDIS door, praising her, “Right on target… for once.” He walks off, and shortly after, Sarah Jane exits, going to look for a telephone.

Irongron and his right hand man, Bloodaxe, talk about raiding Sir Edward’s castle.

The archer fires an arrow at Irongron, but Sarah Jane distracts him and the arrow misses its target, barely. Irongron’s men chase after him as he runs off, one of them grabbing Sarah Jane, as The Doctor watches from the woods.

He slips into Irongron’s castle, searching for Sarah Jane, presumably. He hears Linx approaching and hides. The Sontaran enters the courtyard, looks around and then takes off his helmet, revealing the horrible countenance that we all know and love. Or something… and the credits roll.

An interesting start so far – an alien meddling in history, kidnapping of modern day scientists and equipment, and a creepy Sontaran licking his lips. What more would you want in a serial?


Episode 2:

Irongron’s men bring the archer into the courtyard, forcing Linx to don his helmet (not wanting the humans to know he isn’t one of them) and The Doctor to find another hiding spot.

Sarah Jane is brought to Irongron and Bloodaxe; she still thinks it’s a renaissance fair sort of thing she’s come across. As she demands to use their telephone, the archer is brought in. He reveals that Sir Edward’s wife, Lady Eleanor, is the one who sent him to kill Irongron.

Sarah Jane tries to figure out where she is – not a village pageant, nor a film set, so she decides it must be a tourist trap. As she goes on criticism them, Irongron yells at her to shut up. Linx enters, and from his startlement at Sarah Jane, we learn that Sontarans do not have males and females.

Linx realises from Sarah Jane’s clothes that she’s from the Twentieth century. He uses his catch-all device/weapon to “unlock” her mind and starts questioning her about how she got there, who this Doctor is, etc.

Irongron demands from Linx about the “new weapon” and Linx brings in a remote controlled robot soldier in full armour. Sarah Jane slips off as Linx demonstrates to Irongron how it works.

She bumps into The Doctor but runs from him; he moves to pursue but must hide as Irongron’s men bring the archer by.

In the courtyard, Irongron stays Bloodaxe from beheading the archer, giving him the chance to win his freedom in a fight agains the “iron man”. Bloodaxe protests, saying the archer has the advantage at such close range, but Irongron tells him to watch and see.

The archer’s arrows strike true, but to everyone’s surprise and most of the men’s delight, he moves onward, approaching the archer. On one of the upper levels, The Doctor emerges and sees what’s happening. He grabs a crossbow and shoots the controller out of Irongron’s hand. The “iron man” goes rogue, approaching Irongron, swinging it’s sword.

The archer slips off with help from Sarah Jane.

Irongron cuts off the head of the “iron man” and it falls, still moving. Irongron says he will have words with Linx about this.

In Linx’s computer room, the scientists work at the computers. The Doctor watches through a grill in the wall. Irongron bangs at the door, demanding to speak to Linx. Irongron bursts through and is startled to see Linx’s unhelmeted features, but quickly regains his composure.

Linx says he will make a better one, one without a hand control unit, but takes Irongron away to go deactivate the beheaded one. Once they leave, The Doctor slips into the room, investigating Linx’s sphere. He pokes around the room, trying to talk to the scientists and seeing that firearms are being mass produced.

Ruebish is there, though not hypnotised like the rest – The Doctor suspects the hypnosis is done through an ocular device, since Ruebish is nearly blind without his glasses. The Doctor tries to get Ruebish to come along with him, but as they argue, Linx returns.

It seems The Doctor is already aware of the race of Sontarans. Linx says he doesn’t care about the effects his actions will have on Earth, he just wants to return to the war, and says nothing and nobody will stop him, and fires his weapon at The Doctor who reacts in pain.

The archer has brought Sarah Jane to his Lord and Lady. Sarah Jane seems to think The Doctor is the one working with Irongron. She encourages them to try a commando raid.

The Doctor recovers; Linx praises his willpower and says he could have increased the power, but it might have killed him and he would rather keep The Doctor alive – his mind could be put to good use.

Linx explains that he crash landed after being shot down by Rutans (the enemies of the Sontarans.) The Doctor admits to being a Time Lord, and while Linx knows of his people, he is not overly impressed.  (Note: For the first time ever, the name of the Time Lords’ home planet is given – Gallifrey!)  

The Doctor makes the offer to help Linx if he would consider returning the people to their rightful time. Linx will not listen to bargains. He hooks The Doctor up to a device, forcing him to work on Linx’s problems under duress.

We get more googly faces from Pertwee.

Sarah Jane leads a small group of men into Irongron’s castle. I’ve always loved Sarah Jane, I love her more now. They overhear Irongron and Linx talking about their new weapons from Linx and their plans to attack Sir Edward.

Ruebish helps The Doctor escape the device he’s attached to, but quickly is pursued by Irongron’s men. Sarah Jane and the archer (Hal, I think) see Irongron loom over The Doctor, lifting his axe, saying, “He who strikes Irongron dies,”… and the credits roll.

Nice cliffhanger for a week’s wait, fortunately we don’t have to wait!

 

 

Episode 3:

Hal shoots the axe out of Irongron’s hand, allowing The Doctor to escape. Sarah Jane calls to him and he dashes to her, but is taken prisoner by the men accompanying her.

Ruebish works on a lens to help himself see better.

The Doctor explains to Sarah Jane what’s been going on, that he works for UNIT and he was trying to investigate. Sarah Jane seems to realise he’s speaking truth, at least some truth, though she tells Sir Edward and Lady Eleanor that she’s not sure if he’s telling the truth or just trying to save his own skin.

Hal informs Edward of Wessex that they overheard Irongron’s plans to attack. The Doctor offers to help create an illusion that Edward’s castle is fully manned.

Linx demands to accompany Bloodaxe and Irongron on their attack on Wessex’s castle.

Sarah Jane and The Doctor have a chat about who he is, what he can do in the TARDIS. He explains that his people don’t like unauthorised time travelers.

When Irongron and his men arrive, they see mock ups of men “manning” the walls, and Linx dissuades them from giving up before the battle is fought. Using the rifles, they determine there are dummies present and begin to scale the castle using ladders.

The defenders throw pouches of noxious powder that explode in smoke and stench, as well as fire arrows down on the brigands, until Irongron calls for the retreat.

Back at his castle, Irongron chastises his men, saying they will attack again in the morning. Linx chastises Irongron for his own cowardice and the two fight, Linx easily knocking Irongron about.

Sir Edward, Lady Eleanor, Sarah Jane and company sit and celebrate their victory, though The Doctor advises they won’t be so lucky again. He advocates taking Irongron’s castle from him.

Irongron and Bloodaxe talk; Irongron tells him that he plans to kill Linx once he gets the weapons that the man from the stars has promised.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane, dressed as monks, seek and are granted entry into Irongron’s castle. They find their way to Linx’s workshop, where Ruebish encounters them. He tells The Doctor and Sarah Jane about the pace the scientists have been working under, repairing Linx’s spaceship.

Linx brings a crate of weapons to Bloodaxe and Irongron, but they trade harsh words, each trying to outbluster the other.

The Doctor tries to break the hypnotic spell on the scientists, but Linx returns to the workshop before they have much success. Linx tries to rouse the scientists to work, but they’re dying from malnutrition and sleep deprivation. The Doctor comes out of hiding and makes the offer – return the men to their rightful place, help him take Irongron and his men captive and he will help finish the repairs.

Linx’s answer is to fire his weapon at The Doctor… and the credits roll.

 

 

Episode 4:

Sarah Jane rushes out as The Doctor falls, distracting him. The Doctor recovers enough to talk and they argue. The Doctor speaks of every race having a weakness, the Sontaran weakness being the hole at the back of their neck, which is a message to Ruebish, who sneaks up and strikes Linx on the spot indicated, dropping him.

Sarah, dressed in period garb, goes off to enact “the rest of” The Doctor’s plan.

Irongron sends Bloodaxe to fetch Linx as the men ready for their next attack.

The Doctor ties up Linx. When Bloodaxe arrives to deliver Irongron’s demand for his presence, The Doctor puts on Linx’s helmet and does his best mimicking of his voice to delay for time. After Bloodaxe departs, The Doctor sets Ruebish to freeing the scientists’ minds while he muses over the “iron man”.

Sarah Jane is caught in the scullery, stealing food. She pretends to be a starving lady and the kitchen worker says she will let her earn some food.

The “iron man” marches into the main hall where Irongron and his men ready for battle. It is obvious The Doctor in armour pretending to be a second robot.

Irongron demands a test of the mettle of the metal man (my pun, not his) and he and The Doctor fight, The Doctor besting him, but the battle continues anew when Bloodaxe is ordered to join in. Eventually, The Doctor’s ruse is revealed.

Irongron says that since The Doctor is a wizard, he shall die by wizardry.

Sarah Jane tries to stir up (no pun intended) the kitchen supervisor against the men, but it is to no avail. She does, however, get a chance to lace the meat and oatmeal with some drug The Doctor had prepared.

Ruebish gets the scientists free of the hypnotic control and explains that they have to pretend they’re still hypnotised until The Doctor can return to send them home. They hear Irongron coming and all start working as if hypnotised. He finds Linx and frees him.

The Doctor is to be used as target practice for Irongron’s men practicing with the rifles as Irongron, Bloodaxe and Linx watch.

Sarah Jane, hearing the shots, leaves the kitchen, hoping to help. She swings a chandelier down, allowing The Doctor to swing to freedom and lock everyone in the great hall.

They flee, slowing to a stroll, and disabling the two guards, and returning to Sir Edward’s. There, The Doctor says he will wait until the potion Sarah Jane put in the food takes effect. Sarah Jane and Hal offer to assist him when he does return.

Linx’s ship is fixed, he need only wait for the power to build up.

The Doctor exits the TARDIS, carrying a fan.

The guards at the gate fall asleep. The Doctor joins Hal and Sarah Jane watching from outside. They enter after a bit, finding Ruebish, who says Linx put the osmic projector (the device needed to return the scientists to their time) back in the ship. The Doctor fetches it and shows Ruebish how to operate it.

Linx and Irongron argue, but the humans seem giddy and foolish – likely a result of the spiked food.

He is a toad, who knows what a toad thinks?” – Irongron.

The men, one by one, begin to fall asleep.

Linx returns to his workshop and begins to fight The Doctor, who used the fan to deflect Linx’s weapon. Ruebish sends the others back, and then Sarah Jane sends him back.

Hal makes it to the main hall, disarming the men, but Irongron stirs and knocks him down. He thinks Linx is the source of the treachery and heads to confront Linx. When he arrives, Linx has just downed The Doctor and the Sontaran turns his weapon on Irongron and blasts him.

Hal rises and wakes Bloodaxe, telling him to get the others out if they want to live.

Linx’s ship is ready to launch; as the door begins to close, Hal fires an arrow into the weak spot on the back of his neck, killing him. His body slumps forwad, initiating take off sequence too soon.

The Doctor, Hal and Sarah run for their lives. They barely escape the castle before there is a great explosion and the entire structure is reduced to rubble.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane say good bye to Hal and enter the TARDIS. Hal watches as the TARDIS dematerialises… and the final credits roll.

A good story, great to see Sarah Jane be so much more than another screaming pretty face. Fun characters, good pacing, a solid serial and a wonderful start for Sarah Jane, who has always been one of my favourite companions.

Advertisements