Another serial I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen (or saw so long ago I have no recollection of the title.) We’ll see!

Episode 1:

Ohhhh, I have seen this one! Yes, I remember it, I do believe! We open with a space shot of a planet that’s rather red-burgandy-purple in colour. Then we cut to a jungle with strange trees and a base (or ship) amongst the trees. A man steps out (and it’s the base that I recall, or the ship, or whatever it is.) He looks around.

He walks to a grave yard to the side of the base/ship and plants a grave marker. Some guy died, but we learn it’s the year 37,166 – presuming AD, it’s the 37th Century! He takes out a surveying/spotting too and looks through it, into the forest, but hurries back into the base.

In a cave, men work, collecting crystal samples, putting them in a machine and… refining them? The man in the base contacts them; they tell him they’re in sector five, and the man in the base (the one we saw earlier) says he just took a “sun shot” (that was the device he used, measuring the sun), saying they’ve got “fifteen degrees” until full night and they’d better get out, fast.

Baldwin, the younger member turns to the professor with him, but the professor (who I distinctly recall now, yes I have seen this serial, more than once) doesn’t want to go – apparently he’s afraid that the strike will disappear. Baldwin says he’ll leave without him, but the professor is adamant.

The man in the base grabs a rifle and steps outside. He hears a crackling sound and backs away, yelling out. For some reason he doesn’t use his weapon, but something invisible presses down on him, pushing him to the ground. He cries out, then disappears.

Baldwin staggers through the darkening forest, splashing through water, tangling vines and the like. He arrives, calling out for Brown, saying Sorrenson wouldn’t come. He goes inside the base and is attacked by the same invisible force/creature. Before it presses down upon him, he hits a distress signal. He too is forced down to the ground (floor) and fades to nothing.

Inside the TARDIS, Sarah Jane wants to know how long they’ve been traveling, and complains that he promised to get her to London five minutes before they left. He reveals that they’ve come out “a few years too late” – thirty-seven thousand or so, it seems.

They pick up a distress call and The Doctor makes an emergency materialisation, appearing in the strange forest. They exit and The Doctor has a hand held device that he consults to find the way. As they move through the forest, Sarah natters at The Doctor. She gets left behind a bit and we hear the familiar crackling of the creature. Sarah’s limbs go rigid.

In space, a ship approaches Zeta Minor, “the last planet of the known universe”, according to one of the men on the ship. They’re dressed in matching blue and silver uniforms, suggesting some fashion of military expedition. The “controller” of the ship (the captain) tells Vishinsky (played by Ewen Solon, who was in the William Hartnell serial THE SAVAGES, though I’m not remotely sure who he played. The ‘official’ website says he played Chal, one of the two leaders of the savage people), who is the most experienced crew member aboard, to take a landing party down. The controller refuses to do a scan, needing to conserve fuel for the return trip.

The Doctor notices Sarah has stayed behind and returns to ask her if she’s all right. She said something odd happened, but she’s okay now.

On the ship, the landing party prepares to go down. The controller tells them to maintain permanent communication. Their mission is to locate Sorensen’s expedition and the men are armed, ready for any hostiles. The party prepares for descent.

The Doctor and Sarah made their way to the base, finding a dessicated corpse outside. They enter, but it’s quiet inside. The power is out, but there’s enough light to see an automatic distress signal device. The Doctor posits that it’s a scientific expedition of some sort. The Doctor says he’ll fix the power cell and Sarah goes back to the TARDIS to fetch a device to measure where they are from the star.

After she leaves, The Doctor pokes about, finding another corpse. This is enough to make him worry about Sarah (though the first corpse wasn’t, apparently.)

Sarah returns to the TARDIS, though someone is watching. After she enters, the landing party approaches the TARDIS. There’s five of them (though we only saw two, three counting Vishinsky, at the briefing.) They report in to the ship. The controller gives orders to have the TARDIS “transposed” to the probe.

Sarah finds the device she’s looking for and tries to open the TARDIS doors, but as the military men have secured the outside doors, she can’t. The TARDIS is beamed up to the ship.

After it disappears, they encounter Professor Sorenson. He says he’s more than well, that his theory on Zeta Minor has proven to be true. Sorenson leads the landing party back to the base, where they find The Doctor. Sorenson recognises one of the dessicated (drained?) corpses as Baldwin. (which would make the one outside Brown… so why their bodies faded away and came back, I can’t quite figure out.)

The military party keeps their guns trained on The Doctor, of course.

In the TARDIS, Sarah Jane tries the doors again, this time they work, and she finds herself in a spaceship. She has trouble breathing, so they introduce oxygen into the quarantine area.

Vishinsky reports to the controller about The Doctor, Sorenson and the deaths. Sarah Jane is brought in to the controller to question.

In a cave, there is a pit. We hear the crackling of the invisible creature.

The controller interrogates Sarah Jane; he says that Zeta Minor is on the “very edge of the known universe” and doesn’t believe they were “just passing by” when they heard the distress signal.

The ship prepares to land on Zeta Minor. Once landed, the controller and his men question Sorenson and The Doctor, threatening to ‘interrogate’ the Time Lord. Vishinsky says they cannot contact their homeworld, Morestra – they are too far out.

(Interesting casting note – Frederick Jaeger, who plays Sorenson, also was in THE SAVAGES as Jano, leader of the Elders, the civilised people. He later plays Professor Marius in the Tom Baker serial THE INVISIBLE ENEMY, as the co-creator of K-9!!!)

Soldiers return to report that they’ve found no other life. This seems proof enough to the controller that the aliens are guilty and gives the order to have them executed. (Yay, military justice.)

Sarah suggests forcing the window to the room they’re being held in open, as the magnetic seals would be weak from the low power supply. They escape and come across an energy being, crackling familiarly. As it approaches, Sarah falls back and she and The Doctor cower… and the credits roll.

I remember rather liking this one, but it’s been over 15-20 years since the last time I saw it. I’m rather curious to see how it’s going to play out over four episodes and not get boring.


Episode 2:

A soldier runs up and opens fire, but his energy weapon has no effect. The creature approaches him and The Doctor and Sarah run off. Again, he falls to the ground and screams and writhes until his body fades away. Two soldiers run over, but they see nothing, nor hear anything. After they leave, his body pops back, drained.

Sarah and The Doctor hide; she says that sensation was what she felt before, in the jungle. They stop when they see the soldier’s body. The Doctor says he’s not sure what it was, but he has a nasty theory.

Inside the base, the controller and V (Vishinsky, gonna start using V for his name from now on) try to figure out what caused a power drain. There was a temperature drop of four degrees as well. One of the soldiers comes in to say the base is under attack. V and the controller check on the prisoners and see they’ve escaped.

The Doctor and Sarah run off when the alarm is sounded. Soldiers open fire and miss – they’re just as bad as stormtroopers. The soldiers bring V and the controller to show them O’hara’s body.

The controller says they won’t get away, he plans to launch an “ocular tracker” at first light. He orders for a cause of death to be determined on O’hara’s body.

The Doctor and Sarah hide in the jungle from the energy creature, hearing its approach. Moments later, it begins to get light out. The Doctor suspects the creature does not like the light.

At the probe (ship), an oculoid tracker, a floating robot with a big cat-style eye is launched. On the bridge, V and the controller watch the video.

In the jungle, The Doctor and Sarah hide (hey, this is a regular theme this episode) from the oculoid as it buzzes by. The Doctor namedrops Shakespeare.

Sorenson confirms that all his party members died the same way. The autopsy confirms that all moisture was drained from the body. After the oculoid tracker detects the escaped prisoners, Sorenson argues with the controller what is more important – the aliens or his research. It seems their star is dying and he has discovered a new source of energy. The controller puts him in his place – apparently, Sorenson has high clout in the scientific circles, but being a military expedition, he doesn’t care.

The Doctor and Sarah find the dark pit we saw earlier. They notice the oculoid has found them. The pit is not a pit, but a pool of some non-reflective liquid. Before they can discuss more, the soldiers take them prisoner and search them.

As they struggle, one of the soldiers falls into the pit/pool. The Doctor warns them all to get back.

Sorenson has a soldier help him load the ore he’s collected; he says that ounces of it could provide equivalent heat output to their sun for centuries. I always find it hard when the scientific discoveries are just way to crazy. I’d rather they say that mining the entire planet would give them fuel to rekindle the dying sun in their system. But instead, the planet would provide them with perpetual energy for a near infinite amount of time.

On the probe, the prisoners are brought forth. The controller is displeased to learn that Sorenson is having his ore samples brought on board in anticipation of departure. The Doctor argues they’re they to help, but the controller makes charges of military crime.

(Casting note: Michael Wisher plays one of the military men, Morelli. He is best known for being Davros in GENESIS OF THE DALEKS, but had been in many roles, going back to the Second Doctor – look him up to find out more about him and his roles.)

The Doctor tries to explain that Zeta Minor is a boundary between the matter and anti-matter universes. The controller doesn’t want to hear it, but V says he thinks there is truth to his words. Sorenson shows up to say his samples are loaded. The Doctor begs them to listen to him, saying if they take anything from the planet, they won’t be able to leave.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane are brought back to the quarantine area; Sarah Jane suggests taking the TARDIS and leaving, but The Doctor says that, while tempting, they cannot. It’s not just theirselves the expedition is putting at risk, but all of existence.

They find Sorenson’s refined ore samples. As they watch, the ore changes colour. The Doctor takes a sample and puts it in a tin can. When they hear the ship ready for launch, The Doctor tells Sarah they won’t be able to leave, not with the samples on board.

As the ship countdown reaches eight, various systems begin to fail. Outside the ship, they see the energy creature. V orders for a force field to be raised. The controller calls for the prisoners to be brought forth. They say there’s not enough power for the force field and the controller sends out his soldiers who open fire.

Several are attacked and killed. Watching, The Doctor tells them to link the force field generator to the atomic accelerator. Reluctantly, the controller gives the order, only after V all but has to brow beat him to do it. The force field pushes back the creature.

The Doctor explains they have to jettison the cannisters and that they need to convey their intention to depart empty handed. The Doctor says he will speak for them, and leaves on his own to do so. (Suddenly, they trust him because he helped fight off the creature? One moment he’s an alien spy/assassin, the next a trusted ally? I find this a bit tough to swallow. Though, to be fair, the oculoid is sent to watch.)

The Doctor arrives at the pit, watched from the bridge by everyone. The energy creature rises up out of the pit. The Doctor holds up his hands, pleading, “No,” and he falls into the pit… and the credits roll.

Pretty good cliffhanger there!

Episode 3:

The Doctor falls into the pit; from far, Sarah Jane demands that they do something, but they tell her to do nothing. The controller agrees with Sorenson that they need to leave and gives the order to remove the ore; Sorenson and the controller argue emphatically.

Sarah Jane slips out of the ship during all this and makes her way through the jungle.

We see The Doctor falling, falling through darkness. We key up some twisty, warbly visual effects on his falling. Eventually he seems to come to a stop and faces the energy creature.

Sorenson slips into the quarantine area, where the ore is being removed by two soldiers. He waits until they carry out a load, and grabs one of the cannisters, departing with it.

Back at the pit, we hear static crackling. Sarah Jane arrives and calls out for The Doctor. She sees his hand reaching up and helps him crawl out. He collapses at the side and she cannot get him to wake.

The soldiers report that all the cannisters are off the ship. Apparently, soldiers cannot count. As the ship prepares to leave, they see The Doctor on the oculoid feed and V gives the order to halt launch preparations and leaves to fetch him.

Sorenson is in private quarters, dictating into a personal recorder, when he suffers some form of attack. In the mirror, we see his eyes are solid energy. He takes a drink of something in a thermos, gulping it down, and not much later, his eyes have returned to normal.

The Doctor is brought into the sick bay on the ship. They put him on a bench and use it to stimulate his body and he begins breathing.

The ship prepares for ignition once again.

The Doctor wakes and tries to explain to Sarah Jane about the other universe, but when the ship has trouble leaving again, he realises that he still has the sample in his pocket. They both dash from the sick bay.

The controller orders for maximum fuel burn, but The Doctor brings his sample to them to tell them about it. Morelli takes it for jettison from the ship, but Sorenson attacks him, now crackling like the energy creature.

The Doctor argues with the controller, insisting that there is still anti-matter on the ship. De Haan arrives to report finding Morelli, saying he saw some animal attack him.

Sorenson, looking bestial, returns to his quarters, to imbibe more of the formula; his face is more hirsuite, his features somewhat savage. Again, the drink returns him to normal.

Morelli’s body is in the sick bay, dehydrated it like the bodies on the planet.

Sorenson puts the suspicion back on The Doctor and Sarah Jane and their “machine in the quarantine”.

The Doctor suggests to V that everyone on the ship be subjected to medical examination. Just then, the controller and Sorenson and guards arrive to take The Doctor under gun to the bridge. The ship can’t go any further, and The Doctor says that the ship is on a piece of elastic, soon to snap them back to Zeta Minor.

The controller thinks The Doctor’s TARDIS is responsible for the power drain.

Sorenson, who is left to watch Sarah Jane in sick bay, is ranting how he is right and The Doctor wrong, when he suffers another attack. We hear crackling and Sarah’s body goes rigid again. Sorenson leaves the sick bay and she slowly recovers.

Sorenson staggers down the hallway, gradually transforming into something monstrous and attacks a soldier.

The Doctor is brought back to the TARDIS by the controller, but before he can open it, they hear Sarah Jane’s screams. The Doctor knocks the controller out and runs to find Sarah. She tells him it was half man, and The Doctor calls it an antiman.

The controller shows up, sees De Haan’s dead body, and shoots The Doctor. V arrives, struggling with the controller over the gun, but the controller gives the order to have The Doctor and Sarah Jane jettisoned.

Sorenson drops his drink whilst drinking it and doesn’t revert to normal completely.

V refuses to eject Sarah Jane and The Doctor. The controller grabs him and they struggle, but the controller forces V’s wrist control to the eject panel and they slide out… and the credits roll.

I remember that cliffhanger, always enjoyed that one.

Episode 4:

Sarah Jane and The Doctor slide towards the jettison doors.

On the bridge, Reig is attack by the antiman/Sorenson. His cries for help interrupt V and the controller’s struggles. The controller runs off and V follows him, but only after flipping the switch to save The Doctor and Sarah first.

On the bridge, V takes command, saying it’s too late for any more mistakes. Salamar (the former controller) pouts and says he’ll regret it.

Sarah Jane tells The Doctor about the sensation she felt just before De Haan was killed; she says she was with Sorenson and The Doctor realises that the professor is the antiman.

On the bridge, Sarah Jane arrives to tell them Sorenson is behind it, that they need to shut the hatchways. Salamar plays the “it’s a trick” argument, but V has more of a brain than the petulant former controller and gives the order.

The Doctor sonics his way into Sorenson’s chamber. The Doctor finds the ore sample and Sorenson’s liquid and runs a test, putting some of the liquid on the crystals, which causes them to glow and then turn dark. Sorenson enters, and The Doctor brandishes the cannister of ore at him, telling him to keep away.

Salamar, listening to Sarah Jane, rushes up some stairs, grabbing some… dunno what, like a power cell, out of the wall, brandishing his gun at V and the others, telling them to keep away. (Ah, symmetry, how clever.)

Soreson seems (mostly) normal. The Doctor says his vaccination to prevent antiquark penetration isn’t working, that he’s very ill, that he’s transforming.

You and I are scientists, professor. We buy our privilege to experiment at the cost of total responsibility.” – The Doctor. Nice sentiment, that.

After saying that, The Doctor hands the ore sample cannister to Sorenson, who takes it and walks out. He stops and turns, asking, “The hypothesis… was false,” and The Doctor mouths his affirmation. Sorenson leaves.

Salamar has a “neutron accelerator” and is using the gun to threaten the others to let him off the bridge. He plans to use it to kill Sorenson. While he and V argue, a soldier moves on his and Salamar shoots him. Salamar says this is real leadership. (Oh, yay, back to the Doctor Who trope of people in charge who snap under the slightest bit of pressure.)

Sorenson takes the cannister to the jettison bay. He slips inside one, the cannister in the other, and moves to activate the switch. But as he reaches for it, he transforms into antiman and stops.

Salamar is seen moving through the halls.

The Doctor arrives at the jettison bay to find the ore but no Sorenson. V contacts him on the intercom and they fill him in on Salamar’s plan. The Doctor says it has to be stopped.

Salamar finds antiman in the quarantine area and uses the accelerator on him. Antiman strikes Salamar down and begins to transform further under the effects of the accelerator.

The Doctor arrives to find Salamar dead, and the accelerator laying on the ground. He closes the latter and reports to V what has transpired. On his way back to the bridge, antiman, now a full energy being, keeps cutting him off, but he uses the ore to force it away.

On the bridge, Sarah frets until The Doctor arrives. He tells V and Sarah that antiman has multiplied under the effects of the neutron accelerator. They watch on the ship map and listen as the antimen attack the other crew members.

The ship rapidly is being pulled back to Zeta Minor all the way. They have less than fifteen minutes until impact with the planet. The Doctor leaves the bridge, taking the ore and a gun with him. He returns to the quarantine area, calling out for Sorenson. Several antimen approach him, but he fights them off.

Sorenson, still physical, attacks him, but The Doctor shoots him and drags him into the TARDIS. The TARDIS dematerialises and The Doctor fits Sorenson with some manacle device that binds his wrists and ankles to one long bar.

Throughout the ship, the antimen move closer to the bridge. V and Sarah fetch some force field equipment to set up a barrier.

Sorenson/antiman bends the manacle bar as The Doctor, oblivious, pilots the TARDIS.

Several antimen pursue V and Sarah back to the bridge. They rush back and set up the units hurriedly.

Sorenson breaks free of his manacles and chases The Doctor out the door; the TARDIS has just arrived outside the pit. They struggle outside the TARDIS.

V and Sarah are cornered on the bridge. It’s not looking good.

The Doctor pushes Sorenson into the pit, then throws the ore cannister in after him.

On the bridge, the antimen suddenly disappear. With less than thirty seconds to impact, the ship begins slowing and then accelerating away from Zeta Minor. (What I don’t get is if their fuel was so low, all this extra burn they did would mean they couldn’t get back home.)

The Doctor finds Sorenson outside the pit and takes him into the TARDIS. As the TARDIS dematerialises, the energy creature rises up out of the pit.

In the TARDIS, The Doctor explains to Sorenson what happened. The TARDIS returns to probe.

On the bridge, V says they’re making progress and once they cross the “galactic frontier” they can signal for an emergency refueling (so why were they so concerned with fuel in the beginning?) The Doctor and Sorenson return to the bridge. The Doctor suggests tapping into the kinetic force of planetary movement as an energy source.

They say their goodbyes and The Doctor says they’re already 30,000 years late for an appointment. Sarah laughs and in the final scene, we see the TARDIS spinning off into space… and the final credits roll.

Still an enjoyable serial, despite some of the clumsy writing and the man in power breaking down trope. When I was a kid, this one creeped me out pretty well. 

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