Another one I THINK I’ve not seen. We’ll find out as we watch it. 

Episode 1:

A UNIT soldier stiffly marches through the woods, his left arm held strangly and his body twitching. Elsewhere/nearby, the TARDIS materialises in the woods. The Doctor steps out, having a ginger pop. Sarah follows, demanding to know if they’re in the right year.

The Doctor detects an enormous release of energy; he confirms they’re on Earth, because acorns don’t grow anywhere else in the galaxy. They randomly choose a direction and set off into the woods. They pass the twitchy UNIT soldier who hides in the woods until they pass by.

The Doctor and Sarah run into four people in what appear to be astronaut suits and helmets. When they ask for directions, the people fire (through their fingers) projectiles at them. The Doctor and Sarah rush off. Sarah slips and almost falls down a steep incline.

They watch in horror as the herky-jerky UNIT man stambles to the edge of the incline and tumbles over, landing on the rocks below. Going down to investigate, The Doctor proclaims him dead. From his uniform, they see he is from UNIT. On his person, a purse of coins, completely new, all dated the same year (though they don’t say which year). Off to the side, The Doctor spots something odd; Sarah says it’s just a piece of junk, but he says he recognises it, but he’s not sure what it is.

My memory’s getting terrible; three hundred years ago, I’d have recognised this like a shot,” The Doctor, just before shots are fired at them. They hide behind the object in question.

Two of the astronauts have arrived and fire at them. The Doctor and Sarah rush off, and fortunately, astronauts (androids, one presumes from the serial title) are as horrible marksmen as stormtroopers are.

The Doctor and Sarah escape and tear through the woods, arriving at a small village. Sarah recognises it as Devesham, somewhere she visited for a story a few years prior. The Doctor calls out, trying to find someone – they both agree that it’s far too quiet.

Giving up on that, they head to the local pub, only to find it just as empty. They call out for the innkeeper, but there’s none to be found. In the till, The Doctor finds coins of all the same year, freshly minted. Sarah says the story she did had to do with the space center nearby.

The Doctor speculates some sort of radiation sickness. When Sarah gets bent out of shape about being exposed to radiation, he points out it’s only speculation.

Outside, they see the four ‘astronauts’ walking with the dead man. Sarah knocks down a glass decanter and the astronauts approach the inn. But, just then, a lorry pulls up with a group of people in the back. Another astronaut, driving the lorry, opens the side and the people disembark without a word to each other.

The Doctor and Sarah hide in the inn as the people approach. Almost robotically, the people assume positions and seats in the pub’s main room. There, they stand and sit motionless, until the clock strikes the hour and when the chimes strike, everyone comes to, acting as patrons and workers in a pub would.

The Doctor tells Sarah to stay behind and keep an eye on things as he heads off to the space center to contact UNIT. Shortly after he departs, Sarah is found and she approaches the pub’s landlord, Mister Morgan, asking if he remembered her from two years ago. The landlord, as everyone else, just stare at her. Finally, the UNIT man speaks to her, asking how she got there. As he grills her, Morgan speaks up, saying she might be part of the test. When she confesses ignorance of the “test”, Morgan suggests that she should go.

She leaves the pub (mouthing off a bit to the UNIT man about drionking after breaking his neck) and sees the astronaut by the truck. Its face plate is up (why, who knows, makes no sense) and she sees it’s some form of robot. She runs off, as the astronaut watches her.

The Doctor arrives at the space center, and enters. A guard in UNIT garb is there, but doesn’t respon to The Doctor’s presence or questions, so the Time Lord wanders through the building. After he is wandering, the guard turns and looks in the direction he went.

Sarah returns to the TARDIS, puts the key in and opens the door, but is distracted by another object similar to the one they were hiding behind. As she walks over, the TARDIS dematerialises. Sarah cries out for The Doctor not to leave her behind, and as she does, the object (now behind her as she turned to face the TARDIS) opens like a pod/cocoon/sarcophagus and a man within grabs her.

She pulls away to watch, but he is motionless. As she approaches to ask if she can help, he grabs her with both hands and chokes her, but again she breaks free, this time running off into the woods.

In an office, a man with an eyepatch (who looks familiar to me – thus far, this episode has not seemed familiar at all until this man) runs into an office as a voice calls for him by name – Crayford. Crayford sits at the desk and addresses something off camera, addressing someone/thing called Styggron. Styggron tells him that there is a “random unit” in the complex and orders him to check.

Crayford leaves and enters the hall but sees motion and ducks in another room. The Doctor enters, goes to the door Crayford enterred, but then sees the door leading to the room he spoke to Styggron; the placard on the door bears the name “Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart”.

He knocks and enters, calling out for Alistair (Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, he of the brigadiershipnessocity), but the office is empty. He pokes around the desk, looking at papers, unfolding a map, when Crayford comes in with a gun, ordering to put his hands where he can see them. The Doctor demands to know who he is and why he’s in the Brig’s office. He explains to Crayford that he is the Brig’s “unpaid scientific advisor”.

Crayford seems to have heard of The Doctor; he introduces himself as Senior Defense Astronaut Guy Crayford. When The Doctor tries to shake his hand, Crayford snaps at him to keep his arms upraised. He says the Brig is in Geneva and Colonel Faraday is in charge.

Guy presses a button summoning a guard, saying that The Doctor will have to be kept in detention until his identity has been confirmed. The Doctor flips the desk over at Crayford and runs off, just as the guard comes down the hallway. The Doctor runs the other, and Crayford takes a shot, missing an easy target. (Tom Baker is not a small man, broad shoulders = big target.)

The Doctor scales a ladder and ends up on the room. From below, guards shoot at him. On the roof, the UNIT guard (who seems to be the one from the pub, also the one who fell to his “death”) chasing him arrives and opens fire with his semi-auto rifle, missing completely.

Yeah.

The Doctor leaps from the roof of what appears to be a three or four story building (… yeah), landing with no problem, not even a roll forward, as Sarah Jane, who has just arrived, watches. Two astronauts corner The Doctor and point their finger(gun)s at him.

Is that finger loaded?” – The Doctor to the astronaut closest. I’m getting a total Auton vibe from these, but I think it’s obvious they’re not. They take The Doctor prisoner as Sarah watches and follows.

Back inside the main building, Sarah skulks after the astronauts and their prisoner, watching where they lock him up. (Or rather, what room they secure him in – the door is held shut but latches on the outside, but not locks.)

As she bends to open the bottom latch, an intercom panel in the wall slides open and a monstrous face looks out from the hole in the wall – it’s humanoid, but not human… and the credits roll.

Interesting, so far. I don’t think I’ve seen it, or if I have, it’s hasn’t been since my childhood. A mystery, a plot, some androids… I’m guessing some kind of alien invastion spearhead/scouting mission?


Episode 2:

Sarah looks over her shoulder, sensing something, but the panel is closed before she looks. She frees The Doctor and they slip off.

From a room that looks like a spaceship, Styggron (presumably the monstrous face we saw) communicates with Crayford through a video device. He tells Guy that a second unit has appeared. Crayford explains to Styggron that they are not faulty units but space travelers.

Styggron says he isn’t sure they arrived by error; he demands that Crayford not allow them to escape.

Guards are mobilised, but The Doctor and Sarah Jane are hiding in a cubbyhole. Sarah says Guy Crayford was killed during a test flight of a space ship – his ship disappeared in deep space.

Styggron countermands Crayford’s order to have the intruders shot on sight. When Crayford argues that they already have “a complete pattern for the village and complex”, Styggron says he must learn if The Doctor knows of their plans or not. Crayford adamantly argues that “they must be eliminated, they must be destroyed!!!”

The Doctor and Sarah Jane see the familiar broad shoulders of Benton and approach him from behind. When they address him, Benton turns around, draws his gun and aims it at them.

In the Brig’s office, Crayford is still arguing with Styggron. Styggron has had enough and does something to cause Guy pain, and this forces him to acquiesce. Guy gets on a device like an intercom, ordering all units to rescind the order to kill.

When the order comes through (though not audibly), Benton staggers. The Doctor and Sarah Jane slip out the door and run off. Benton reports in that they just escaped and when others arrive, he sends them after the intruders.

The Doctor and Sarah somehow slipped back inside and are hiding behind the reception/security desk. As they stand up, they duck down as Crayford and Harry Sullivan arrive; Crayford sends Sullivan off with orders. Crayford then leaves as well.

The Doctor speculates that Crayford didn’t die in space, but did return. And when he returned, he brought something back with him. Something that seems to be controlling everyone for miles. He says they have to return to the village, to warn London.

As they dash out into the woods, from the complex, they hear the baying of tracking dogs. They run and run (it is Doctor Who, after all) until Sarah falls, injuring her ankle. She gets up and carries on, though not as quickly.

Puppies! We see some gorgeous Rottweilers leading UNIT soldiers on their tracks.

Sarah is limping along slowly, so The Doctor takes her scarf from her and hoists her up in a tree. He takes off his coat, telling her to meet him at the pub or back at the TARDIS. Before she can tell him what happened to the TARDIS, he’s run off, dragging his coat and her scarf along behind him.

The Doctor leaves his hat and coat behind, running along. Then, his scarf and shoes. The dogs and UNIT men arrive, speculating that they swum across. They split up and leave, and The Doctor rises up out of the water (it’s funny seeing his wild curly hair wet and stuck to his skull.)

Sarah drops down from the tree and hobbles off, but the guards and dogs are right on her trail.

Crayford reports they’ve captured the girl and will soon have The Doctor. Styggron says to locate but not apprehend him, as he has “other plans” for him.

UNIT troops bring Sarah Jane in on a stretcher; she’s sedated/unconscious or… OH MY GOD, SHE’S DEAD!!! (No, not really.) The strap her to a table (alien looking table, mind you) before she wakes up.

The Doctor makes it to the village and tries to use the phone but there’s no dial tone.

Harry activates a machine and strange lights flash over her. Styggron’s voice orders him to “commence the analysis of the brain”. We see Styggron, presumably through Sarah jane’s eyes, though the effect is warped. He’s an ugly mofo.

The Doctor returns to the pub, also discovering their phone is out of service. Again, the place is empty. He opens a side door and encounters Morgan, asking for a phone that works. He orders a pint of ginger beer (seemingly the soda, not the brewed variety) and sets to throwing darts, getting three bullseye in a row. He notices (and comments) that the dart board is brand new.

Styggron watches him – the dart board seems to be a video device. When he turns it off, he argues with another… alien, I presume, we haven’t learned what they are yet. Chedaki, the other alien, argues with him over their strategy. Chedaki says the time for experiment is passed, it is time to act. Styggron argues that in relation to Earth, this is true, but he wants to test their methods on The Doctor, being an alien.

Styggron turns and contacts Crayford, saying it is time to start the final test, which Crayford references as “direct communication”. He leaves to check to see if the preparations have been completed.

Chedaki says that the “data drained from the girl” indicated that The Doctor is a freedom fighter and he is a threat to their plans. Styggron assures him that he will be a threat only until he has learned all that he can from The Doctor.

Crayford arrives at the facility where Sarah was processed; Sullivan says the analysis was completed and her memory print and body parameters have been encoded. He confirms that they are ready to run a test on The Doctor.

The Doctor pokes about the pub, followed by Morgan. He asks for another pint, this time saying “ginger pop”. He notices the calendar (the tear away kind) is July 6th, each day of the year.

The phone rings and Sarah is on the phone; she tells him that he found out the whole plan, saying the inn is one of their centers and isn’t safe there. She tells him to come to the village store. After getting off the phone, The Doctor checks and discovers the phone is once again out of order.

Chedaki and Styggron argue more; Chedaki says without the androids, the Kraal (their race) invasion would never happen. He worries that The Doctor can turn the androids against them. Chedaki storms off as Crayford arrives; Styggron says he must process Crayford again, as he needs one more android, a special one who can attack Kraals. Crayford argues, apparently not wanting to go through the process again.

In Devesham, The Doctor runs to the general store and enters. Sarah Jane is relieved to find him. She explains what happened – the soldiers caught her and took her to “some sort of operating room”. To calm her down, he hands her a bottle of ginger pop (which she professed to hating when the serial first began – so that scene had importance, who knew?) which she guzzles down.

She tells The Doctor they’re copying people, but she doesn’t know who is behind it, though Crayford is involved. The Doctor stops her story to look out and sees two astronauts. He tells her to go back to her story and she tells him how she escaped. The Doctor muses that they’re being tested – that they let her make the phone call.

The Doctor feels there’s some reason why the aliens (whomever they may be) are using androids and stealth instead of brute force to attack Earth. He has now realised they’re not on Earth at all and wants to return to the TARDIS to use the radio there to contact Earth.

Styggron processes Crayford, who begs him not to, creating a hostile android, as an attempt to quell Chedai’s fears of the androids turning against them. We watch as an android is created – not using Crayford’s form, though, as it appears as a tall muscular UNIT soldier.

When Styggron makes the android hostile, he shoots it with his pistol, saying he has a weapon that can take care of the androids and more powerful, longer range versions are being developed.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane sneak back to the TARDIS… but it’s not there! The Doctor asks Sarah for the key, but she says she must have lost it. The Doctor is on to her – he explains the real Sarah gave him her scarf, while the android Sarah is wearing hers. “Sarah” pulls a gun on him, but he disarms her easily and demands to know what happened to her.

The android is thrown down and the face place falls off, revealing android mechanisms… and the credits roll.

Not the most suspenseful cliffhanger, but effective enough.

Episode 3:

Chedaki and Styggron have seen, through the Sarah android, The Doctor’s defeat of her. Chedaki starts to panic, but Styggron assures him it is of no matter. The Doctor and the village are to be destroyed in nine minutes. Sarah, laying nearby, listens, though feigning unconsciousness.

A third, unnamed Kraal enters. Styggron explains that he is going to test the virus the third Kraal has brought on Sarah – apparently, that is the purpose of the androids, to spread a virus on Earth. They leave, still discussing plans.

Sarah, gets up, mutters “nine minutes,” and hobbles off.

The Doctor is back at the village and watches a lorry pull up and several astronauts and the villagers board it – the reverse of what we saw before. After the truck leaves, he wanders into the town square and looks around.

Back at the ship, Sullivan and Crayford watch as the UNIT troops and villagers board the ship. Crayford gives orders to seal the blast doors and walks off. Sullivan leaves to do just that and Sarah, who has been hiding, slips off the ship.

In the town square, Styggron attacks The Doctor; two astronauts help bind him to the centerpiece in the town square. Styggron sets a device at the base – an explosive device. Styggron says in three minutes, the village will evaporate and The Doctor with it. He and the astronauts leave.

The Doctor struggles with his bonds and hears Sarah Jane calling out for him. She tries to cut him free, but the vines uses are too strong. She has to use the sonic screwdriver to free him and they run off as the bomb starts audibly counting down… they slip back into the ship through a hedge in the village just as it goes off. They are knocked to the ground as the village is evaporated.

As they get up, Harry and UNIT soldiers take them prisoner. Styggron gives the order for The Doctor to be killed. Crayford argues for them to be spared; it seems he doesn’t want to be the one doing the killing. Styggron gives in, allowing The Doctor to be spared. He tells Chedaki they will analyse his brain before killing him.

The Doctor brings Sarah up to speed on their not being on Earth, the others being androids and so on. It turns out that the radiation he detected in the beginning is the natural radation of the Kraal homeworld, Oseidon; he says it’s the only planet in the galaxy with radiation that high. He says their planet is becoming uninhabitable, which is why they want to take over Earth.

Crayford, having been listening to their conversation, enters with a guard. He tells them he’s been listening in. Crayford says he is soon to return to Earth; they’ve contacted Earth, pretending he’s been rationing his supplies for two years. He explains his loyalty to the Kraals – they saved him as he was dying in his experimental space craft and rebuilt him (except for one eye which could not be found.) Crayford says the Kraals have promised that no humans who obey their demands will be harmed.

According to Crayford, the Kraals want only the northern hemisphere of Earth. The Doctor says he’s been brainwashed. Crayford goes on to say that the Kraals are planning a potentially bloodless invasion.

Crayford has to leave, to board the rocket, but he begs them to trust him.

Harry” handles the virus; one hand-sized container is enough to kill everyone on Earth. He is given instruction to put one drop in a pitcher (and from the Kraals’ reactions, the virus is a threat to them as well) to take to the detention cell.

The Doctor has loosened a panel in the floor, revealing some wires and power conduits. He suggests trying to find a way to get the guard in, they can use the power to fry the android. Just then, “Harry” brings in the food and drink – bread and water. As Sarah pours herself a glass, “Harry” takes The Doctor with him and the Time Lord tells Sarah not to waste the water – it’s a powerful conductor.

She pours her drink back in the pitcher as they take The Doctor away and the cell door closes again.

The Doctor is brought to Styggron’s lab. The Doctor tries to escape, but “Harry” and the UNIT boys catch him and drag him to the table.

Sarah takes apart the power coupling.

Styggron prepares to copy The Doctor’s entire memory bank to the computers. He gloats that he plans to kill the humans on Earth. When The Doctor questions him, he does the typical villain thing, revealing the entire plan to him. I really hate when they do that. Styggron begins the process.

Sarah tricks the android guard in and uses the power cable to destroy him. She slips out, upset for some reason.

Styggron tells The Doctor that in eight minutes, the process will have taken his information. He says he won’t be there to turn it off and in the end, this will kill him.

Sarah moves through the ship, avoiding Styggron as he leaves. She powers the machine down, saving the Time Lord, though in the process of moving different levers, does some harm.

Styggron discovers that Sarah has escaped and gives the order to capture her.

The Doctor and Sarah make it to the rocket; The Doctor says they have to get on board and enter. Inside, they find the pods. The Doctor says if they don’t get in them, they could be crushed by the g-forces of take off. Sarah gets in one, but before she can close it, the rocket launches. The Doctor is still outside of the pods and collapses to the ground… and the credits roll.

Pretty intense cliffhanger there.

Episode 4:

The rocket launches (hey, it looks like a NASA launch from the 60s) and Sarah blacks out. The Doctor wakes her up later. Another pod lifts up and there’s an android of “The Doctor” watching them. They don’t notice and it closes the pod.

The Doctor explains his plan – they’re going to hide in the pods and ride them to Earth when they’re ejected. They may or may not survive reentry or impact, but he says it’s the only plan they have.

On Earth, at the real space center, Crayford’s ship is detected. The radar room calls to Colonel Faraday, the officer in charge. We see Benton and Harry (the real ones) talking – the TARDIS has been spotted in the woods, but there’s no sign of Sarah Jane or The Doctor. Benton is rather worried, saying he’s never known The Doctor to leave the key in the TARDIS.

Colonel Faraday orders the two of them to accompany him to the radar room/command center. There, they watch as the operators try to contact the ship. Faraday says Crayford has been “further into space than any other human being,” and in a great moment, Harry and Benton exchange some knowing glances.

Crayford responds, saying he is receiving them. Faraday gets on the mic, welcoming him home. There’s interference on the communications – apparently from the pods, which the command center takes to be meteorites. The pods slow down before landing, which is detected by the men in the command centre.

One pod opens, and The Doctor gets out. He looks around, calling out for Sarah, but there’s no Sarah in sight.

In the command center, Crayford in the XK-5 has made reentry and video contact is made. There’s no reaction to his wearing an eyepatch, curiously enough.

Sarah wanders in the woods, finding the TARDIS. She opens the door and calls into it, but then sees a pod nearby. Looking about, she is caught by surprise by “The Doctor”, who says it would suit their purposes better if nobody was warned.

The pod nearby opens and a Sarah android gets out. Sarah then realises that she isn’t talking to the real Doctor and runs off. “The Doctor” helps “Sarah” out and says they have much to do.

The XK-5 has landed securely. Sullivan accompanies Faraday to approach the ship. Crayford says he awaits them, and we see Styggron is on board with him.

At the space center, The Doctor enters and hands over his pass (not putting up a fuss, which is unusual for any of his incarnations). He asks the guard (the real version of the android from the pub and the fall) if this is the first time he’s seen him today and the guard answers in the affirmative.

If you do see me again today, let me know right away. I’ll be with the CO in the scanner room.” The guard just looks at him, confused.

The Doctor arrives at the scanner room and tells Benton to give the order to call Harry down. They contact Harry and Faraday and The Doctor gives them the instruction to not enter the ship, to bring the lift down. Faraday reluctantly, at Harry’s insistence, complies, but says the explanation had better be a good one.

Benton is asked to step outside the scanner room by one of the technicians. He is knocked out by the technician, who is one of the androids. We see the technician also take out the guard from the lobby. “Benton” is there as well.

The Doctor writes some notes for another technician, asking him to move the radio dishes, pointing them downward. The tech says that would cause chaos in equipment for miles.

Nothing like the chaos that will happen if you don’t do it.” – The Doctor.

Faraday and Harry arrive, the colonel demanding to know what is going on.

An invasion of Earth is going on, Colonel,” he tells him, asking him to go to the office to make some calls. Harry accompanies the two of them.

I’ll not have my command infiltrated by aliens!” – Faraday. Great line.

I like Faraday. When The Doctor tells him they’ve made replicas of him and Harry, he huffs, “Of me?! Confouned cheek, how DARE they!”

The Doctor pulls out a robot detector and the light goes off. He seems to indicate that Faraday is already one, though just then, “The Doctor” arrives, gun in hand. The Doctor says he’s been waiting for him. The Doctor closes the door and dives out the window – it seems that Harry and Faraday were replaced. Faraday gets on the public intercom announcing that The Doctor is at large on the complex and is a threat.

The Doctor is called or Sarah to follow and he runs off with her. They discuss that the real Harry and Faraday must be on the ship with Crayford and Styggron, but the only way to stop things is to stop the androids from taking over the complex. He tells her to wait there and he heads off to the scanner room.

The Doctor heads back into the complex, and “Benton” draws a gun on him, ordering him to stop. He double talks the android, saying the real Doctor is at large. “Benton” is properly confused this and lets The Doctor go in.

Sarah is seen scaling the stairs going up the rocket.

Back at the scanner room, The Doctor checks with the technician, who says he’s almost done with the settings.

The Doctor” enters the lobby and is stopped by “Benton”. When he says, “Don’t be a fool, Benton, I’m one of you,” the Benton android opens fire, revealing that he is, in fact, an android. “Benton” tells “The Doctor” that The Doctor went to the scanner room. (Boy, and I thought the narration of things in THE THREE DOCTORS was hard…)

In the scanner room, the technician is about to switch on the power, but “The Doctor” shoots him. Crayford enters, and argues with “The Doctor”, who informs Crayford that there’s a virus on the ship that will kill all humans on Earth. Crayford can’t believe it, saying Styggron is a surgeon, he saved him.

The Doctor says he was brainwashed, nothing went wrong with the XK-5 rocket, he was never in danger, Styggron didn’t save him. He tells Crayford to take off the eye patch, and when he does, he has two eyes. This upsets the pilot and when he runs off, The Doctor disarms “The Doctor”. They fight and an alarm is sounded. “Harry” and “Benton”, in the lobby, hear it and come running.

Just as “The Doctor” is about to bash him with a chair, The Doctor gets to the power switch and turns it on, jamming the androids. They freeze in mid motion, including “Harry” and “Benton”.

Sarah breaks into the ship, finding Harry and Faraday, and begins to free them. Styggron arrives, surprised to find her. He asks how she survived the virus, but Sarah has no idea what he’s talking about.

Crayford shows up and fights with Styggron, upset that he has been used. Styggron shoots him, but the virus cannister is dropped during the fight. The Doctor arrives and beats Styggron down, but the alien falls and lands on the cannister, crushing it. The virus attacks his body, ravaging him. Styggron shoots The Doctor, but it turns out that it’s really “The Doctor”, as The Doctor shows up a moment later to explain he reprogrammed his copy to fight Styggron.

Sarah and The Doctor wander through the woods, back to the TARDIS. Sarah says she’s going home and she’s going by taxi. The Doctor counters, “I’ll make you an offer – I’ll take you home.” Sarah laughs, “How can I refuse,” and they enter and the TARDIS dematerialises… and the final credits roll.

Sad to see no formal farewell to Harry or Benton – this is the last time they appear in the series.

Not a bad serial, but not a particularly great one either. I know the next two are much better.  

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