We’re halfway through, so it’s time for a spoiler.


Episode 4:

The Doctor fires the gun and both Leela and the rat are motionless. The Doctor approaches, asking Leela if she is all right, and she stirs. Rising, she says she is but deserved death as she failed in killing their enemy. She tells him about his cave, saying she will show him. However, they hear another rat and choose to go the other way.

Jago is departing the theatre, running into Mr. Chang. Jago asks Chang where they are on the new contract and Chang says he is reconsidering it. I’m not sure if Jago is intentionally letting Chang know he remembers the events of the night or is slipping up. Jago seems to be a bit canny and smarter than he lets on, but I don’t see the advantage of letting on.

Chang informs Jago that Mr Sin is “indisposed” and will not be attending that night’s performances. Jago gets a chuckle out of this, saying perhaps he’s got a touch of woodworm.

Back at Litefoot’s, Leela tells The Doctor about what happened to the cleaning girl; she describes her skin like dead leaves and The Doctor muses it might be some form of lifeforce distillation. Leela confirms that is what Chang’s master called it.

Litefoot comes back, with clothing for Leela and sends her upstairs to change. The Doctor is checking out Litefoot’s puzzle box and tells Litefoot about the madman calling himself Weng-Chiang. Litefoot recognises the name as one of the ancient Chinese gods, but before they can continue the conversation, Leela arrives fully dressed (that was awfully fast) in a dress, high necked.

Both The Doctor and Litefoot compliment her and The Doctor says he would be proud to take her to the theatre, dressed like that.

Jago and Casey chat backstage about money and shows and the like. He tells Casey that The Doctor will be in attendance tonight, which Chang overhears.

Chang returns to his dressing room and loads his revolver.

The Doctor and Leela are playing checkers when Litefoot informs them their cab is there to take them to the theatre. As they depart, we see the laundry hamper the China men delivered earlier, when Litefoot and The Doctor were out boating. You can see where this is going, right?

Litefoot tells The Doctor not to worry about him, should they try for the cabinet again. “They won’t catch George Litefoot napping a second time!”

Weng-Chiang packs a bag, but Chang raps on the secret door to inform him that The Doctor is coming and seeks his approval in killing him. Weng-Chiang tells Chang that he no longer serves him and is free to do as he wishes.

Jago tells Casey that he lost the bet, pointing out The Doctor and Leela in the box. He tells Casey to ready things for Chang’s performance, but Casey laments having to go to the cellar again.

Jago visits The Doctor and Leela in their box. Jago tries to pick The Doctor’s brain and offers him his assistance.

Litefoot, reading a book by the fireplace, stops to check out the window. A bobby walks by, presumably on loan for security.

Backstage, Casey is working with ropes, when Weng-Chiang approaches him, scaring the small man.

After a woman singer, Jago introduces Mr Chang’s act. The crowd mumbles with anticipation. Chang throws a deck of cards to The Doctor and asks him to pick a card. The Doctor picks the Ace of Diamonds and then, as instructed returns it to the pack.

He holds up the deck of cards for Chang, who takes a gun and says he will shoot magic bullet, hitting only Ace of Diamonds. As Chang takes aim, Leela worries, but The Doctor brings the cards closer to his head.

The crowd mumbles and gasps in concern. Chang says, “Please keep very quiet, Chang killed fifty peasants learning this trick.” He fires the gun and The Doctor then pulls the Ace of Diamonds, which now has a hole through it.

The Doctor is invited to the stage to assist Chang in a trick that requires “nerves of steel.”

A group of China men sneak up on the bobby outside Litefoot’s house and one of them throws an axe, striking him in the back. The bobby drops.

Mr Sin exits the laundry hamper (told ya I knew where it was going.)

Chang and his assistant open a cabinet (“the Cabinet of Death”, apparently.) The Doctor steps inside and as they spin the cabinet around, he slips out, and the audience laughs. When Chang realises this, he announces, “The bird has flown. One of us is yellow,” getting another laugh from the crowd.

The assistant takes The Doctor’s place in the cabinet. The trick continues with Chang sticking swords into the cabinet’s side.

Below the stage, the assistant has slipped from beneath. He turns and sees Weng-Chiang, who approaches him menacingly, growling, “The great magician…”

The Doctor reappears on the stage, handing Chang the final sword. He helps Chang open the box after all the swords are removed and Casey’s dead body falls out.

Jago gives the order to drop the curtain and rushes over to find out what happened. The Doctor says Chang is just as surprised as anyone else.

Chang has gone down into the secret lair, searching for Weng-Chiang. All is dark and his master seems to be departed. He lights a lantern and searches, but cannot find him anywhere.

The Doctor and Leela enter and when Chang tries to poison himself, The Doctor kicks the pill from his hand. Chang says he will answer no questions. The Doctor wants to know where Weng-Chiang went. Chang talks about how he arrived in a cabinet in a blaze of fire, and how Chang, a simple peasant, took care of and hid Weng-Chiang while he recovered from his journey.

When Jago comes down and distracts them, Chang slips off into the sewer tunnels, shutting the sliding door behind him. Leela frets that he’s escaping, but The Doctor says there’s no escape through those tunnels, “He’s gone to join his ancestors.”

Chang walks down the sewer tunnel and hears noises ahead; hurriedly, worriedly, he turns down another tunnel.

As The Doctor fills in Jago on Chang’s part in things, they hear a scream. Jago asks what that was and The Doctor replies, “You’ll have to book yourself a new act for tomorrow.”

Leela realises that the machine used to drain the girls is gone. The Doctor says that he’ll start all over, somewhere else. He says that Weng-Chiang’s form will become disfigured from the influx of DNA from his victims. When Leela asks what made him so, The Doctor posits that perhaps the time cabinet was the cause – he says it’s a dangerous thing, time travel experiments.

The Doctor and Leela depart, leaving Jago to muse over how to turn this into a money-making scheme – charging people to visit The Phantom’s Lair and the like.

We see Weng-Chiang, Mr Sin and the China men departing Litefoot’s house, the time cabinet in the back of the cab. Weng-Chiang laughs… and the credits roll.

Not a cliffhanger per se, but an effective way to leave us hanging for a week… or for us, a moment.

Episode 5:

The Doctor and Leela return to Litefoot’s house, finding the dead bobby with the axe in his back. The Doctor takes the axe and they enter the house, passing by the open laundry basket.

They find Litefoot, who is just recovering. He says dozens of China men attacked. He doesn’t know how they got in, saying he bolted all the doors after The Doctor and Leela left.

Inspecting the laundry basket, The Doctor deduces that one of Litefoot’s attackers was a midget, once who hid in the basket. Leela realises it was the same creature who attacked her there, and The Doctor says it is a Peking homonculous, a thing made in the year 5000AD as a gift for a high muckety-muck… a thing that somehow almost started World War Six.

Now, those are some leaps of deduction there.

Weng-Chiang stands in a large, ornate room, some form of temple. The Chinamen drag in the time cabinet, and he tells Mr Sin that he will whole again, be liberated.

When Weng-Chiang finds out that “the bag” was left behind, he becomes very irate. He demands one of them, whom he addresses as Lee, to take a pill of scorpion venom. The man does and begins to die, as Weng-Chiang and Mr Sin laugh.

The Doctor asks where the laundry goes to – from the address on the tag, Litefoot says it is one of the worst parts of London, near Whitechapel. The Doctor says they must act quickly, as Weng-Chiang doesn’t understand the energy the time cabinet uses.

Jago stands in cellar, dreaming of his guided tours, charging a guinea a head. Of being the personal tour guide, speaking of his part in the adventure. He stops to pick up a bag, wondering what’s in it.

Suddenly, a dark hand reaches up through the trap door that leads to Weng-Chiang’s former lair. Jago sees it and slips away quietly.

The Doctor and Leela slip into somewhere, not very quietly.

Jago bangs on Litefoot’s door, saying he wishes to speak to Professor Litefoot, mistaking him for a servant, since he’s wearing an apron while he cleans up the mess the invaders left behind. They quickly clear up this confusion and make proper introductions.

Jago says he is there to speak of The Doctor and the bag, that he found in the cellar. Jago goes on about what a great detective and sleuth that The Doctor is and says that the bag has something to do with the case. Litefoot looks into the bag, seeing strange technology.

Litefoot proposes to Jago that the two of them go keep watch at the theatre, in case Weng-Chiang returns for the bag. I do like Litefoot. I understand there are some audio dramas starring these two characters and I may just have to find them… probably next year, as this year is being sucked up by this project.

The Doctor jimmies a key out of a door and uses it to gain access to a room. They enter, and the smell of opium is thick in the room. The skulk about, discussing that Weng-Chiang will kill tonight, but where?

At the house of the dragon, Doctor,” Mr Chang says from a bed in the opium den, an opium pipe in his hands.

Chang is missing a leg, but says he feels no pain. He says the hatred he has for Weng-Chiang gave him strength to escape the rats’ larder. Now he wants to destroy the false god.

Chang tells them about the House of the Dragon, Weng-Chiang’s fortress, prepared the past few months by the Tong. The Doctor asks where the House of the Dragon is, and as Chang dies, he reaches down and grabs The Doctor’s boot.

The Tong report to Weng-Chiang that the bag is nowhere to be found. He goes mad again, saying it had the key to the time cabinet. Looking out the window, he sees Jago and Litefoot standing outside, saying they followed Ho. He sends Ho and the Tong to go confront them, saying if they followed them, then they must have the bag.

Litefoot and Jago talk about fetching The Doctor, but four Tong approach them and take them captive, bringing them before Weng-Chiang and Mr Sin. Weng-Chiang says they will suffer for their intrusion, but Litefoot says it is he that will suffer, for the police are on their way.

Weng-Chiang sees through the bluff, though, and strikes Litefoot. Weng-Chiang chokes Jago, threatening to kill him if Litefoot doesn’t confess the location of the bag. Litefoot gives up that it is at his house and Weng-Chiang has the two of them taken away to be locked up with the other prisoners.

The Doctor and Leela return to Litefoot’s abode, finding the bag and a note from Jago, explaining where it was found and the plans of Jago and Litefoot. The Doctor sorts through the bag, pulling out the disc Weng-Chiang had in the cab that alerted him to the proximity of the time cabinet.

He pulls it out, asking Leela if she knows what it is. Leela’s response sums up one of the major purposes of companions delightfully, “You ask me so that you can tell me.”

That’s right,” The Doctor replies, saying that it is essentially a key. Leela realises that they have to go to the theatre to help their friends, Jago and Litefoot. The Doctor says it is better for Weng-Chiang to come there, pointing out that Litefoot has been out of the house for quite some time (pointing out that the fire, which is always burning when Litefoot is home, is very cold.)

Leela uses deduction, realising that The Doctor is counting on Jago and Litefoot to be caught and interrogated and will reveal the location of the bag.

She apologises to him, for she thought he was afraid, and then asks where to lay their ambush. With two knives in hand, which she sharpens against each other (not really the best way to sharpen a blade, mind you), she says it is time for them to take the fight to their enemies.

Two women lay on a pallet in the cell that Jago and Litefoot have been placed in. They seem to be in some sleep-trance. The two men discuss the situation they’re in. Jago goes on about the great detective The Doctor must surely be tracking them down just yet.

Litefoot finds a dumbwaiter and they use it to escape their cell (which must be the kitchen.) They slip out into the temple, behind the giant dragon statue and into the main room, where they find themselves surrounded by Tong.

The Doctor and Leela raid the Professor’s house, looking for weapons. Leela handles a cricket bat, and then a golf club. Suddenly, behind her, Weng-Chiang enters through the window and tries to knock her out with a cloth (I’m guessing with ether). She struggles free and turns around and takes off his face plate, revealing that his face is a melty mess… and the credits roll.

Episode 6:

Weng-Chiang freaks out when he’s been unmasked and lets go of Leela. One of his Tong grabs her.

The Doctor returns to the room to find himself in the company of Weng-Chiang and his Tong and Mr Sin. They banter and Weng-Chiang demands his key. The Doctor begins emptying his pockets, pissing off Weng-Chiang.

The Doctor shows the key, but holds it back, threatening to drop it (saying it would break into many pieces.) The Doctor says he will trade the key for Leela’s safety and the return of Jago and Litefoot. He leaves with Weng-Chiang and his men to go to the House of the Dragon to secure the freedom of Jago and Litefoot.

Litefoot hears a group of people pass by their cell. This time, the dumbwaiter is locked up. Jago is worried that they’re going to be sacrificed, but Litefoot tries to calm him down. There’s a great chemistry between these two and I really am curious about the audio dramas featuring them.

Mr Sin slips away while The Doctor and Weng-Chiang talk; Weng-Chiang learns that The Doctor knows of his time. The Doctor asks where the Peking homonculus is and Weng-Chiang is further shocked at his knowledge.

Mr Sin is inside the dragon statue, handling controls of some sort – they look to be firing controls and as he moves them, the eyes of the dragon open.

The Doctor finds out that Weng-Chiang’s real name is Magnus Greel (a wonderful name for a villain, don’t you think?) The Doctor recognises the name, calling him, “the infamous Minister of Justice, the Butcher of Brisbane”.

Mr Sin sights in on The Doctor.

The Doctor informs Greel that his experiments in time travel came to nothing. Greel refuses to accept this, saying he is the first man to travel through time. The Doctor points out the cost, but Greel says his metabolism can be adjusted.

The Tong bring in Litefoot and Jago, who happily greet The Doctor. They inform The Doctor of the girls held prisoner and he tells the two men to take the girls with them. Greel says the demands are too many and signals for Mr Sin, who fires the gun in the dragon, taking The Doctor out. Greel has The Doctor and the others taken away.

Leela attacks a Tong man elsewhere in the House of the Dragon, making her way deeper in.

Greel opens the time cabinet, finding it all in working order. He says the experiment was a success, that The Doctor is wrong.

The Doctor, Jago and Litefoot are back in the cell with the two girls. The Doctor recites Harry Champion and then leaps awake. He checks on the two girls and instructs the two other men to move the girls and starts to tear the bedding apart. As Jago and Litefoot stand, befuddled, he tells them to get a bucket of water and to break off a gas pipe.

Greel readies his “distillation machinery” then tells Mr Sin, who is still in the dragon, snorting. Seems the little homonculus is sulking because he wasn’t allowed to kill The Doctor. Greel promises that he can kill The Doctor, but not until he’s drained his knowledge of zigma particles first.

Leela slips in and attacks Greel, shouting what seems to be, “Die, bait face!” (I’m not sure, I listened about five times, but that’s the closest I can get.) Tong men rush in and grab her and they force her into the distillation chamber.

Leela tells him she will not plead, but in the great hereafter, she will hunt him down.

The Doctor and his associates are setting up some kind of… I have no idea what they have set up. The two girls are awake, staring in bewilderment. The Doctor tells the two men to hide with the girls and instructs the girls that if they do get out, not to stop running for a mile.

When they hear the Tong approaching, The Doctor lights a cloth leading to the main body of the bedding, which is full of gas from the pipe. It’s a bomb, basically. He joins the others behind the pallet (or perhaps a table, the lighting isn’t the best) and when the Tong enter, the bomb explodes.

The prisoners escape, the two girls running off. The Doctor grabs an axe and orders Litefoot and Jago to follow him.

Leela struggles against the bonds tying her to the distillation booth. Greel rants, “Let the talons of Weng-Chiang shred your fleeeeeeeesh,” as he activates the machine. The energy nimbus fills the booth, but just then The Doctor enters and throws an axe, shorting out the machinery.

Greel runs, ordering Sin to open fire. The Doctor frees Leela and they join Jago and Litefoot in hiding behind shelter from the blasts of the dragon’s eyes.

From his hiding place behind the dragon, Greel says he will spare their lives if they leave now. The Doctor doesn’t buy it, but tests it by rising, eliciting a blast from the dragon.

Sin keeps firing on the table, gradually destroying it. The heroes move the table, slipping behind other shelter.

Tong enter, but Sin fires on them, cutting them down. It seems his little pig cortex brain has gone nutso (again, this happened in the 51st century, when he almost caused World War Six…) Greel, getting weaker and weaker, orders Sin not to keep firing.

Jago and Leela discuss going for a gun. Jago distracts Sin and Leela grabs the gun, but she can’t hit the broad side of a barn.

Greel goes for the time cabinet, but The Doctor says the zigma beam will implode if he activates it, but Greel won’t listen. Sin fires on Greel, forcing him away from the cabinet.

Leela rushes forward, firing on the dragon. When Greel moves to fire a gun at her, The Doctor grabs him and tosses him into the distillation chamber, which sucks him dry.

Sin leaps on Leela, and then is thrown from her to Litefoot and Jago and then The Doctor. What’s really sad is that Sin had a knife in hand and plenty of opportunity to stab any of them, if not all, and yet none got hurt.

Shoddy writing there, I must say.

The Doctor throws Sin down and pulls out his fuse, turning the homonculus off. Then he smashes the key, saying he’s putting the zigma experiments to an end.

They hear the call of the muffin vendor and depart the House of the Dragon, in search of nourishment.

Litefoot, his arm in a sling, tries to instruct Leela on the nuances of tea and the complexities of serving it. They arrive at the TARDIS where The Doctor and Jago (his forehead bandaged) wait. All four of them are eating.

The Doctor says he doesn’t have time to talk about tea, and they say their goodbyes and slip in. The Doctor can be heard to be talking about the tea pot from inside.

Jago and Litefoot remark on the TARDIS, Jago pointing out the POLICE BOX lettering, saying no doubt it’s from Scotland Yard. They watch in disbelief as the box disappears from plain sight.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, our policemen are wonderful,” Jago remarks, though he’s said nothing but the opposite thus far this serial.

Litefoot protests that it’s impossible, and Jago points to the poster of Mr Chang, saying the great Chang would have appreciated that… and the final credits roll.

This was a most excellent serial, with just the usual amount of silliness and the occasional shoddy writing. Great characters and actors and most of the writing was highly enjoyable.  

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