And onward… I think I may have seen parts of this before, eons ago. Oh! Hey, DOUGLAS ADAMS wrote the script! Cool!

Episode 1:

A city in the rocks, carved buildings below, a giant citadel built into the mountain top, above. Inside, men in grey suits and jack boots mill about, attending to consoles. Armed guards look on. We see the arm of a man dressed in magenta, who calls out for a Mister Fibuli.

Over the PA, he is summoned to the bridge to report to the “captain” and the mousy Fibuli comes running in, to be chastised by the impatient captain.

The captain has a robot on his shoulder, vaguely in the form of a bird. This robot seems to intimidate Fibuli, who apologises and gives his report on the mining. The captain is displeased with the minerals, saying he wants the higher qualities. Fibuli reports some of those have been traced, but tries to alert the captain that there is something curious about the location of the veins, but the captain doesn’t pay attention, he wants that area mined.

Over the PA, the captain addresses the citizens, proclaiming “a new golden age of prosperity for all”. A group of citizens cheer to this. He tells them to watch for the omens.

In an underground area, a group of hooded figures stand in a circle. One man pulls back his hood and says in a whisper, “Watch!”

We see the crowd of cheering citizens again, but this time through a “mind’s eye” sort of effect. One citizen is not cheering. The young man walks off and the cultists watching say they have found another. In unison, they chant “We must prepare.”

The Doctor and K-9 talk about finding the rest of the segments. The Doctor says it will be “a piece of cake” and K-9 goes on a technical description of what a piece of cake is. Lromana, looking rather pink, is reading from the TARDIS’ user manual. They banter as The Doctor places the tracer into the console port. He begins to complain that their next destination, Calufrax, is “tedious” and “boring”.

As The Doctor sets the coordinates and Romana asks why he doesn’t set an essential circuit, lecturing him on the safety of it, he asks her if she knows how long he’s been operating that particular TARDIS – the answer she gives is 523 years. So he was 246 when he stole it and fled Gallifrey.

The Doctor stops and thinks, “Is it really that long? My, how time flies.”

When The Doctor tries to materailise without setting anything, there’s a great shaking and K-9 calls out danger. The Doctor denies that anything is wrong, even after hitting his face on the console (a story device to explain that his face was bitten by another actor’s dog prior to filming.)

The captain rants at his technicians as they scramble about, the machines emitting smoke and alarms sounding all the while. The captain runs a scan and says that “for ten seconds, the entire fabric of the space-time continuum was ripped apart!” Fibuli is at a loss to explain things and the captain tells him to find out or else.

It must be noted that the captain is basically a space pirate; he dialogue is delightful – he’s booming on, bombastically, and the words and cadence of his speech are just plain awesome. He is played by Bruce Purchase (what a great last name… I may have to use it in one of my stories. Yes, I think I have a great concept for a character called “Mister Purchase”.)

The Doctor argues with Romana, saying he is perfectly capable of admitting when he is wrong, but he’s not wrong. He says the inability of the TARDIS to materialise has nothing to do with anything in the manual. Romana asks if she can do it by the book and he lets her.

The TARDIS materialises perfectly well in the city. The Doctor praises her and then confides in K-9, “Listen, I think she’s going to be all right. Very all right.” K-9 agrees wholeheartedly.

The Doctor goes on about Calufrax being “cold, wet, icy, no life of any sort, boring.” Romana has opened the scanner and watches the citizens mill about in the city and she says it looks pleasant to her. The Doctor begins to mock her, saying she’s missed Calufrax by a million light years.

Suddenly, K-9 starts spinning in place at a rapid speed, beeping all the while. The Doctor points at him, wondering what’s up with that.

In the underground chamber, the robed cultists walk in a circle, chanting, “Life force dying.” We see the young man they were watching, elsewhere, he’s laying and gasping and crying out. The cultists chant, he continues to cry out and thrash, and a flashing light in the cultists’ warren flashes.

The young man, Pralix, lays on his bed, or a resting couch perhaps, as his grandfather tells him he must calm himself. A young woman, his sister perhaps, asks Pralix if he can hear her, to tell them what’s wrong, but he doesn’t respond. The grandfather says it is a mistake to ask too many questions, but she chastises him, saying it is his answer to everything before storming off.

In the TARDIS, The Doctor confirms they’re at the EXACT space and time coordinates they’re supposed to be at, but the planet is NOT Calufrax. Both Time Lords are stunned, and The Doctor says when he tried to land that planet was not there.

Grandfather worries what will happen when the neighbors hear Pralix’s cries and lamentations. Mula, the young girl, questions why – it seems that there is some great concern – it’s not just worrying about the neighbors thinking poorly. No, they fear ramifications.

They hear someone approaching and Balaton, the grandfather, sends Mula to draw the curtains and hide with Pralix. A young man, Kimus, enters. Mula is relieved that it’s only him that has come. Mula embraces him in a hug and Pralix begins chanting, “Life force dying” over and again, louder and louder.

Kimus asks her, “Again?”

The cultists are watching Pralix, but suddenly the view changes to The Doctor exiting the TARDIS. One of them (the one who took back his hood, seems to be their leader) says they have an intruder. Romana exits and the leader says they must act at once.

Romana, using the tracer, says the signal is coming from everywhere. “Never trust gimmicky gadgets,” The Doctor says. This from the guy who uses the sonic screwdriver every chance he gets, what what?

People come by and though The Doctor tries to engage them in conversation, they don’t seem to notice them. He even steps in front of a woman, who looks the other way and circumvents him.

K-9 suggests letting Romana make first contact; while The Doctor argues with the robot, Romana starts chatting up a man, who tells her of their new golden age of prosperity. He says because of the captain’s “great goodness” they have these ages pretty regularly.

He goes on to speak of the omens, the skies shaking with lightning. He gives Romana some jewels, she gives him some jelly babies. He departs, saying he’ll be late for the feast, but warns them to watch out for the Mentiads.

The man walks on, eating his jelly babies and a guard stops him, demanding to know where he got them.

K-9 examines the stones given to Romana, who confirms they are genuine. The Doctor sees more jewels just laying about the ground like gravel. Romana finds a green-yellow stone called Oolion. The Doctor says it’s one of the rarest stones in the galaxy, only occuring naturally on two planets – Qualactin and Bandraginus V.

He wonders where he’s heard Bandraginus V mentioned recently. He also muses that people kill for Oolion and here it is, just laying about. Again, he wonders where Calufrax got to.

Kimus watches over Pralix, who is moaning quietly now. Mula asks her grandfather what it all means, but the old man says it doesn’t have to mean anything, it’s just the way life is, and advocates her to accept it. Kimus argues, saying they can have anything they want except the freedom to think for themselves.

Balaton argues with Kimus, saying when he was a young man, things were different, bringing up Queen Xanxia. Mula argues for quiet for Pralix, but Kimus says they’ve been quiet too long, putting up with too much.

Balaton advises Mula to not listen to Kimus, to protect and shelter her brother, to protect him from the Mentiads. He brings up her father, but she says he was shot by the captain’s guards. Balaton says this was to save him from the Mentiads, to give him “a clean death”.

When Balaton calls it a mercy killing, Kimus is very sarcastic. Balaton says he would happily strangle Pralix with his own hands to spare him from the Mentiads.

The cultist leader (who has red around his eyes and on his forehead) addresses his associates, “Brothers, the Vigil of Evil is accomplished. The one called Pralix must be harvested. The Time of Knowing shall be soon and fast upon that shall follow the Time of Vengeance. Vengeance for the crimes of Zanak!” The Brothers intone this last line in unison as the leader pulls up his hood and they file out of the chamber.

The Doctor approaches a citizen, asking him if he’s seen Calufrax, “It’s a sort of planet, about 14,000 kilometers across,” but the man runs away. He tries again with a couple, but they, too, run off in fear.

Pralix’s voice calls out loudly, “The life force is dead, the life force is dead!” The Doctor remarks, “Well, someone’s around, anyway.” Pralix goes on about all of them being murderers.

In a field, the Brothers march.

Pralix shakes and writhes as Kimus and Mula try to restrain him. Balaton argues they must hide them before they come for him as they did for his father. The Doctor shows up, asking if this planet is supposed to be there.

Guards find Romana, who spies the citadel with a telescope. One guard snatches it from her, saying it is a forbidden object. When she asks why, he says that is a forbidden question, and points out that strangers are forbidden as well. He places her under arrest and when K-9 moves to interfere, she says he mustn’t and tells him, askance, to fetch The Doctor. The guard thinks she’s mad and drags her off.

The captain talks to his robot bird, saying they’re surrounded by incompentents and fools. He says it won’t be long “before it’s finished and we’ll be free.” Almost half of the captain’s body is robotic; half his head is covered in a shell, his shoulder, part of his torso and all of his left arm are artificial (and clunky.) The bird chirps in reply.

Fibuli interrupts his thoughts, saying the Mentiads are marching, “They must have located another rogue telepath.” The captain gives orders to find and destroy the telepath before the Mentiads get ahold of him.

Still, the Mentiads march. A group of guards move to intercept them in the fields. They fire their blaster rifles on the Mentiads, to no effect. One guard is downed (killed?) by a glance from the lead Mentiad.

The Doctor checks on Pralix, saying he is in a state of shock. Mula says this happens every time the captain announces a new golden age of prosperity – well, the last two or three times.

Balaton and Kimus give The Doctor two different opinions of the captain; the former speaks of him highly, the latter not so much. Before The Doctor can question Kimus further, Pralix shouts out, “Mentiads!” The Doctor stops, saying he’s heard that term before.

In the bridge, the captain gives orders to search sector seven. On the viewscreen, they see K-9. Seeing K-9 enter Balaton’s house, the captain gives orders to search that particular house.

K-9 enters, calling out, “Master?!” Balaton freaks out, but The Doctor says he is a friend. The Doctor asks them to tell him about the Mentiads, and Balaton says they are evil zombies with terrible powers.

K-9 tries to tell The Doctor that Romana is in danger, but he’s too busy attending to Pralix, trying to ask what the Mentiads want with him.

Two guards burst in and move to shoot, but K-9 stuns them both.

Kimus tells The Doctor that the Mentiads used to be the captain’s guards. He argues with Balaton and Mula, calling them cowards.

The Mentiads arrive and use their powers on The Doctor, blasting him. K-9 fires a blast, to no effect. Again, the Mentiads blast The Doctor, who slumps to the ground this time… and the credits roll.

Okay, I do believe I’ve seen this because I know something. Either that or I’ve heard about this serial before. I don’t have any recollections of the Mentiads or the others, though the captain seems familiar to me. (Again, I’ve seen many so long ago that I have no clear recollection.)

I do like this. A lot. So many mysteries, strong backstory. Very, very interesting thus far.

Episode 2:

In the citadel (bridge), the captain chastises his subordinates for their failure to destroy the rogue telepath. He then questions Fibuli on the discovery of the cause of the earlier problems. He declares that when someone fails him, someone dies, and the robot-bird takes off from his shoulder, but instead of killing Fibuli, it kills another of the men.

The Doctor wakes up, asking K-9 what hit him.

Balaton wails about the Mentiads taking Pralix. Kimus says nobody knows where the Mentiads live, they’re all afraid to follow them out of the city. The Doctor points out that Kimus didn’t follow them, either.

K-9 tries to tell The Doctor about Romana again, but again, he dismisses him. K-9 confirms that he can track the Mentiads and The Doctor asks who is coming – everyone but Balaton agree to go, and FINALLY The Doctor realises that Romana is not present.

K-9 informs him of her situation, saying he made four attempts to inform him. Mula and Kimus say she would have been taken to the bridge, and nobody is ever brought back from there.

Romana is taken to a vehicle by the guards.

Mula sets off to find Pralix when The Doctor decides to go over Romana first. He sends K-9 to assist her while he and Kimus go to free Romana.

Romana chatters the ear off of the guard flying the aircar.

Kimus and The Doctor decide to “borrow” the captain’s personal aircar.

Fibuli runs in to report some bad news to the captain – one of the devices they cannot replace has burnt out. In their current condition, they can only make one more jump and that would be risky. He suggests that perhaps Zanak (the planet?) should stay where it is, but this enrages the captain.

Just then, Romana is brought onto the bridge.

Kimus tells The Doctor about the mines, how they’re automated. When The Doctor asks what happens when they’re used up, Kimus says that the captain announces a new golden age they “just fill up”. When that happens, the stars in the skies change.

The captain scoffs at Romana’s claims of being a time traveler. He says she’s a common space urchin and sentences her to death. The robot bird begins to lift off, but lands when the captain’s nurse tells him that more than one execution in a day is bad for his blood pressure.

The nurse suggests putting it off and asks Romana how their time machine works.

Mula and K-9 wander across the field together.

The Doctor and Kimus land on the mountain, spying an entrance. The Doctor picks the lock and they enter.

Romana examines the damaged component, identifying it easily. She realises it’s part of a giant dematerialisation circuit.

The Doctor sends Kimus back to guard the craft and heads in on his own.

Romana tells the captain that he needs to speak to The Doctor about repairing the circuit. The captain, having just learned there’s another intruder, issues orders to his guards to find The Doctor and bring him there immediately. As he gives his instructions, a door slides open and The Doctor walks in.

As The Doctor chats up Fibuli, the captain gawks and orders the guards to seize him. “Doctor, beware, your manner appeals only to the homicidal side of my nature.” The Doctor and Romana are taken to the engine room to examine things there.

Kimus guards the craft outside the portal, quite bored.

The Doctor and Romana eye the engine room, The Doctor saying he’s actually never seen anything quite like this before. He tells Romana to look busy while they discuss the situation. Atop a catwalk, the captain and Fibuli watch on, discussing trying to gain entry to the TARDIS.

The Doctor tells Romana that the captain is on to them and is much more than the simple bully he portrays. Romana checks the tracer, which still says the signal is everywhere. The Doctor says that’s the answer and they’ve “stumbled on to one of the most heinous crimes ever committed in this galaxy,” and they need to get away as soon as possible.

The Doctor tells the captain they need to return to the TARDIS to fetch some equipment; when the captain says that Romana will stay, The Doctor prevaricates saying they both need to be there to open the door. Amazingly, Romana doesn’t question him on this. The captain relents, sending guards with them with orders to kill if they try to escape.

Kimus wanders around, still bored. A guard comes nearby, and Kimus hears him. The Doctor and Romana and their escort come out and a firefight begins. Somehow three guards don’t shoot Kimus, though they had him surrounded. He shoots the three guards and The Doctor says they need to investigate the mines.

K-9 and Mula follow the “psycho-spore’ of the Mentiads until it ends outside a door. Mula opens it, revealing their ritual chamber within.

The captain is enraged at the Time Lords’ escape.

Kimus leads them to the mines. He repeats the mines being automated and that nobody has gone down the mineshaft, as the penalty is death. They take the lift down.

Fibuli reports to the captain that the intruders have entered the mine shaft. The captain says they must find a way to get into the TARDIS without them, for once they see what is at the bottom of the mine shaft, they must not be allowed to live.

About three miles below the surface of Zanak, The Doctor, Romana and Kimus walk through a tunnel. Romana comments on how cold it is, and The Doctor agrees, saying it is also wet and icy. (Sound familiar?)

The Doctor says the planet is hollow and tells Romana to have a look around, to see if she can work it out. Kimus is very confused. Romana confirms that the surface they walk on is frozen ground.

The Doctor explains to the two of them that Zanak is a hollow planet that hops through space, materialising around a prey planet – it is a huge mining machine that mines planets.

He recalls the story of Bandraginus V, a planet of one billion people, suddenly disappeared. It must have been destroyed by Zanak.

Romana reports that the tracer has gone mad, that the second segment must be down there. The Doctor agrees, but just then guards arrive and start shooting. The heroes run off and are pursued.

They run into the Mentiads, who say, “Doctor, we have come for you,”… and the credits roll.

Oooh, that was well done.

Episode 3:

Pralix lowers hood, as he is now one of the Mentiads. The guards catch up and open fire, but the Mentiad’s powers protect them. The Mentiads raise a force wall and say for them to hurry.

K-9 and Mula wait in the ritual chamber; he tells her that the Mentiads have located The Doctor and are coming.

A guard reports to the captain that The Doctor escaped with the Mentiads, and the robot bird attacks and kills the man.

The Mentiads explain to The Doctor that they cannot overthrow the captain, though with each new Mentiad they recruit, they grow stronger. They ask The Doctor to help them understand what is happening to Zanak.

The Doctor seems to focus on gestalt, thinking it might be the way to defeat the captain. But, instead of postulating further on that, he and Romana explain that there are transmat engines underneath the mountain and how the planet “mines” other planets.

The captain says they should have obliterated the Mentiads years ago. Fibuli reminds the captain that several of the minerals they came to mine from Calufrax can be used to interfere with the Mentiads’ powers, making them weak and “obliterable”. This makes the captain very happy.

The captain instructs Fibuli to put the mining machines on full speed, which could reduce the planet in hours, though there is the chance of damage to the machines.

The Mentiads tell The Doctor that Zanak was once prosperous and happy, until the reign of Queen Xanxia. She staged wars to demonstrate her powers, but in the end the planet was ruined. The captain came, crash-landing. Somehow he rose to power, convincing the people to work with him.

Romana explains that when a planet is crushed and dies, there is a release of power (the “life force”), which empowers the Mentiads and awakens new telepaths.

K-9 informs everyone that the mining machines are working at full pressure.

The captain and Fibuli talk of the ship that brought the captain to Zanak, the Ventialus. It turns out that the captain built that ship, though Fibuli says his greater engineering accomplishment was hollowing out Zanak. This offends the captain, who calls Fibuli a fool. He cries how his soul is imprisoned, bound to the planet, when he yearns for the freedom of the stars.

Kimus and The Doctor are captured when they try to steal an aircar again. Fibuli reports this to the captain, as well as the lack of success in trying to gain access to the TARDIS. He does say they’ve detected a heavily populated planet that is a source for PJX 1-8, a mineral they could use to make their own repairs.

The captains asks to see the charts – the planet in question is the third planet from the sun called Sol – the planet is Terra, known better to its inhabitants as Earth.

Fibuli leaves to make preparations and the nurse and the captain talk about “another planet – then the objective will soon be reached.” Something strange going on there.

Mula, Romana and some Mentiads walk through the field. K-9 sits in an aircar and activates it.

The Doctor and Kimus are prisoner on the bridge; both seem unconscious, The Doctor murmuring, “No more Janis thorns!” He wakens to find the captain there.

I’ve been tied to pillars by better men than you, captain.”

Ah, but none, I dare guess, more vicious.”

K-9 takes the aircar into the air while others watch.

The Doctor banters with the captain, trying to raise his ire. He points out that the captain won’t harm him while he’s bound – The Doctor has identified the captain as a warrior, saying it would be against the warrior’s code to do so. The captain orders Fibuli to release him.

Romana and company march across the field.

The captain shows The Doctor small clumps held in stasis fields – the entire remains of the worlds they’ve pillaged. The captain says that each planet is so perfectly balanced, and the system is balanced, which is why each planet doesn’t form a black hole. The Doctor congatulates him, saying, “Then it’s the most brilliant piece of astro-gravitational engineering I’ve ever seen.”

The Doctor demands to know why, what it all is for. The captain is enraged, saying he asks too much. Fibuli contacts the captain, saying the Mentiads have been spotted approaching.

Romana, Mula and the Mentiads discuss their plan, the reliance on The Doctor and Kimus breaking into the engine room and not being caught – if they are, the plan is doomed to failure.

The Doctor is allowed to free Kimus, as the captain prepares for the Mentiads. The Doctor realises that the captain has a device to interfere with the Mentiads’ powers.

The captain says he need delay The Doctor’s death no longer; Kimus curses at him and moves to strike, but The Doctor restrains him. The captain orders his bird, Avitron, to kill. It takes flight and flies about, looking like it is peeing energy in an attempt to kill The Doctor.

K-9 arrives and engages in a firefight with the bird. The Doctor and Kimus run near where the planetary remnants are and they slip into a room, where they find an old woman on a medical bed, attached to great machines.

The Doctor tells Kimus to be careful, there are time dams, slowing the progress of time about the woman. Kimus asks who she is, saying she’s repulsive. The Doctor says that it is Queen Xanxia.

The nurse demands of the captain, “How much longer must we wait?” The captain gives the order to pry open the doors.

The Doctor tells Kimus that the planets have been sacked to generate power to keep the time dams operating. The Doctor says there has to be more – who would go through such lengths to stay alive in such a dessicated form?

K-9 enters, carrying Avitron. The Doctor praises him, taking the robot bird from the robot dog. He then tells Kimus and K-9 to go to the engine room and sabotage the engines.

The Doctor returns to the bridge, saying he gives up. He gives Avitron back to the captain, who cries at the loss of his robot pet. The captain says that The Doctor will pay for that, but The Doctor says that he might change his mind once he hears what he has to say.

They declare The Doctor to be “guilty,” not listening to what he has to say. The guards escort him atop a platform – from which a plank extends. The captain tells him he will walk the plank to a fall of 1000 feet.

Again, The Doctor tries to get him to listen to him.

I shall listen to you, when I hear you SCREAM,” the captain replies.

The captain fires his blaster at The Doctor’s feet, and the Time Lord falls, screaming. The captain and Fibuli laugh, while the nurse just stands there, looking satisfied… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

They laugh, coming down from the platform, but stop when they hear The Doctor laughing, from the far side of the room. He has a small machine in his hand, one that projects images, ones that “might almost be real”.

The Doctor says he can also switch off another image and focuses it at the nurse. He flicks the switch and her appearance shimmers, but he’s shocked when she doesn’t go away. “Try all you like, Doctor, it won’t work on me,” she says as she approaches him, “my new body has attained nearly corporeal form and it can no longer simply be turned off.” She orders the guards to arrest him, and them jump at her command.

The Mentiads use their powers to open the door in the side of the mountain. Two guards open fire on them, but the Mentiads cause a rockslide to take them out. Mula grabs one of their blasters.

On the bridge, the nurse instructs the men to load the crystals into the machine.

As everyone heads in, one guard recovers and grabs his blaster. When Romana warns everyone, the Mentiads try to use their powers on him, but they find their power is gone. The guard shoots one Mentiad, but Romana grabs the blaster from Mula and shoots the guard.

The Mentiads, Romana and Mula enter the door, the Time Lord saying they’ll have to rely on brute force.

The Doctor realises that the nurse is none other than Xanxia, the tyrant queen of Zanak. It seems that her new body is ‘projected’ from cells in her original, and though her new form is “nearly complete”, the original body is still needed (thus why it is kept in time dams.)

The Doctor argues with her, saying he’s a bit of a pro when it comes to regenerations, and that it won’t work. He calls her claims of immortality “bafflegab”, enraging her that he mocks her.

The Doctor turns to the captain, saying he’s being used by Xanxia. The pirate captain just stands there as Xanxia continues the argument; The Doctor insists that her calculations are wrong, she’ll never have a full corporeal body, she’ll always need the time dams to keep her original alive and eventually, the energy demand of the dams will increase beyond her ability to fuel them, and she will die.

She claims he’s bluffing. When The Doctor tries to appeal to the pirate captain again, Xaxia presses a button on a device on her waist, apparently shutting the captain down. She instructs him to deal with the threat of the approaching Mentiads and he tries to resist, even attack her – but she seems to have at least direct control of the mechanical parts of his body. The captain submits and orders the bridge be sealed and other measures taken.

A door slides down, cutting off the path in front of Romana and the others; Mula remarks that it doesn’t seem that The Doctor has taken control.

Fibuli reports that Calufrax has been completely rendered. Xanxia asks about finding a planet with PJX 1-8, which alarms The Doctor, which he recognises as quartz. He asks Fibuli which planet, and the technician answers – Terra in the Sol system.

Horrified, The Doctor asks if she means “to go on with this madness?” He appeals to the captain, saying there are billions of inhabitants. Xanxia orders the captain to jump immediately, but the captain says it will take ten minutes to set the coordinates.

The Doctor slips out of the bridge; Xanxia says that as long as the engine room is sealed, he can do no damage.

Outside, The Doctor meets up with Romana, Mula and the Mentiads. He asks Romana where Kimus and K-9 are, but shortly after, Kimus arrives, to say the engine room is barricaded. The Doctor tells Kimus and Mula to stay and he instructs Romana and the Mentiads to follow.

Outside the engine room door, they encounter K-9, whose batteries are nearly depleted from his attempts to burn through the engine room barricade. The Doctor asks if he can set up an interference wave to allow the Mentiads to use their power, but the robot says he needs to be recharged first.

Using a power cable, the Time Lords hook him up and he begins to interfere with the crystal wavelength, allowing the Mentiads to try to open the door.

Romana reminds The Doctor of when the TARDIS couldn’t materialise on Calufrax because Zanak was materialising at the same exact time. After asking Pralix to open a channel to his mind, the two Time Lords set off for the TARDIS.

Fibuli reports that the psychic interference device is being counter-jammed. The captain says there is less than three minutes to dematerialisation. He orders, over the PA, for the guards to find and destroy the counter-jammer. Fibuli asks if the guards know what one looks like, and the captain modifies the order to “destroy everything!”

As they take the aircar back to the city, The Doctor tells Romana how he helped Isaac Newton discover gravity. Yes, even back then, he was a name-dropper (always has been; if you’ve been following this blog, you know this.) The Doctor takes the aircar in towards the TARDIS, but Romana says they’ll never make it.

Kimus tells Mula to wait there and goes to ask Pralix what’s going on. Pralix tells him not to disturb him, the other Mentiads says they don’t yet have the power to open the door. K-9 says the counter-jamming field is increasing.

The Doctor and Romana are in the TARDIS, preparing to materialise at the same moment in space/time as Zanak, to protect the Earth. They man the console and prepare.

Xanxia whines that the waiting is intolerable. When the captain says they are just now ready, she all but screams for them to jump immediately. A countdown of five begins.

Watching the readings, Romana tells The Doctor to dematerialise, and he does.

We see the planetary view of Zanak, which fades from sight.

Fibuli, quite excitedly, reports that there was a slight variation in the warp oscilloscope during dematerialisation; the captain says to monitor it, giving the five second countdown order for materialisation.

Romana tells The Doctor to materialise just then.

All the circuits in the bridge are jammed; Fibuli posits that it must be the TARDIS, doing what they are doing.

The Doctor says both ships (the TARDIS and the planet Zanak) will suffer until one of them explodes or until the Mentiads open the engine room door. He contacts Pralix mentally. On Zanak, Pralix tells his brothers to focus, to help him hear The Doctor.

Romana is horrified when The Doctor instructs her to turn off the TARDIS’ forcefield, saying it is the only protection they have. He tells her to do it, regardless. She does and things get worse.

Xanxia demands more power when Fibuli says they must back off or be destroyed.

Pralix tells The Doctor they can only lift a spanner, not the door; The Doctor says that’s it, “a spanner in the works!” (That’s wrench for my fellow Americans.) He tells Pralix to project their minds beyond the door They do and find a spanner and use it to destroy one of the machines within; there are great explosions.

On the bridge, the captain, Xanxia, Fibuli lay about wreckage.

The TARDIS arrives just by Xanxia’s old body. When they emerge, The Doctor tells Romana they can’t shut off the time dams, it could blow the whole planet, but he says they can adapt the captain’s plan.

The captain is awake and discovers that Fibuli is dead. He seems to mourn his underling’s passing, but Xanxia yells at him to pull himself together. She storms off as the captain promises Fibuli that he will be avenged.

The Doctor shows Romana the remnants of the planets. She realises that the captain’s bluster and shouting was an act, to draw Xanxia into a false sense of security while he worked on this – whatever it is.

The Doctor says that should be a lesson not to take anything at face value.

Xanxia urges the captain to hurry as he works at a console.

The Mentiads, Kimus and Mula are outside the bridge door; Kimus says he cannot open it, but the Mentiads feel their power building and focus on the door.

Romana reveals the captain’s plan – once he had the power of enough planets (Calufrax was meant to the final piece), he’d be able to restore the flow of time within the time dams, allowing Xanxia to die and freeing himself of her tyranny.

The Doctor says it wouldn’t have worked, though, as Calufrax wasn’s an actual planet, but the second segment of the Key To Time.

Romana says they can’t retrieve the segment without creating a gravity whirpool. The Doctor asks, “What if I do something IMMENSELY clever?”

The Mentiads focus on the door. The captain tinkers with the oscillator. Xanxia asks if it is ready, and he says, almost moaning that he is ready.

The Mentiads open the door and the captain yells, “I shall be free from you, you hag!” He activates his device, but The Doctor runs in, yelling that it will not work. Xanxia uses the opportunity to slam her hand against the device she used to control him, yelling at him to die.

The captain’s mechanical parts spark and smoke and he collapses.

Xanxia grabs a blaster from a guard and turns it against The Doctor. Kimus enters and fires on Xanxia; her body shimmers and disappears. The Doctor tells the natives to depart. He asks Romana to take K-9 and return to the TARDIS. He approaches the captain and the console and starts poking about.

We see the natives walking on the field, leaving the mountain area.

The Doctor walks into the TARDIS, laughing. Romana asks what he did, and he says she’ll never believe it. He gives a long, convoluted explanation, but in short, they’re going to fill the center of Zanak with the crushed remains of the other planets, which will expand to fill the hollow center.

The segment to the Key To Time will be cast into the space-time vortex, which they can use the TARDIS to pick it up.

They then blow up the bridge – the Time Lords wire the explosives and the Mentiads use their power to press the plunger down and BOOM.

The Doctor tells Romana they have a job to do… and the final credits roll.

A highly satisfying serial, but since it was written by Douglas Adams, I cannot say I’m surprised one bit. The chemistry between Romana and The Doctor is improving, K-9 is awesome as always. I do feel we got cheated on some of the back story – I would have loved to know the story how the Mentiads turned against the captain and so on.

Advertisements