I want to say I’ve seen this one, but I really am not sure. Let’s find out!

Episode 1:

Inside the TARDIS, the console hums as The Doctor and K-9 play chess on the floor. Romana comes in to remind him about their task to seek out the Key To Time. She places the tracer in the console, since he’d rather play chess.

The TARDIS materialises in a wooded area. Romana says the planet is called Tara. They scan outside, seeing the trees. The Doctor says it would be good for her and sends her to get changed. She finds appropriate garments in her wardrobe.

The Doctor rummages through a cabinet,finding a fishing rod. The Time Lords depart the TARDIS, Romana armed with the tracer, The Doctor heading off to go fishing. He tells Romana he’s taking a day off and she is to find the next segment all on her own.

Following the tracer, she sets off to do so. Something seems to be following her in the woods. She eventually senses something, stopping to look around, but doesn’t see anything. Moving along, she comes across a statue, part of which turns out to be the fourth segment. Touching it with the tracer, she reveals the true nature and takes the segment.

Just then, a creature (presumably what was following her) pops out of the foliage – it rather looks like a cross between an Ewok and a creature from Where The Wild Things Are.

A man in armour and cloak, brandishing a rapier that either is electrified or emits blasts, arrives and chases off the creature. He turns to Romana and is astounded by her presence. When she asks whom he is, he asks if her head has been damaged.

Seeing the segment, he snatches it from her hands, saying that it must be registered with the Knight of Castle Gracht, who turns out to be himself – Count Grendel (oh, there’s a name that doesn’t carry any connotations. Nope, not remotely expecting him to be the villain.)

He notices the family emblem is missing from the state – it was the part that was the segment, so Romana doesn’t clue him in on it. He insists that she accompany him to his castle, so that his steward may register her stone, while his surgeon looks at her ankle (which she twisted while backing away from the aggressive creature.)

Meanwhile, The Doctor is fishing. Rather, he’s napping, when some men wake him up. They inform him he’s on Prince Reynart’s hunting ground. It comes up that he’s skilled with things as electronics, and they ask him if he can mend an android. At swordpoint, they encourage himto assist.

Count Grendel takes Romana on his horse to his castle. Once there, he sends for Madame Lamia, his surgeon. He carries Romana into a room filled with electronic devices and machinery. Lamia enters and is introduced as his Surgeon-Engineer. She, too, reacts to Romana’s appearance is surprise, almost disbelief. She examines Romana and praises the job, asking Grendel who did it. Grendel says who did it is not important, but why.

Romana is restrained by the table and they begin to talk of cannibalising her for parts. Lamia pulls out an electronic saw and turns to Romana.

The Doctor is accompanied to a building in the woods. There, he is introduced to the prince, who questions him about his knowledge of androids. The prince offers him one thousand gold to fix the android, but The Doctor talks him down to five hundred, instead. He is shown to the android, who is faceless, and we see the interior workings within.

Romana complains about them wanting to remove her head when her ankle is the issue; Lamia checks the ankle and sees that it is swollen. She realises that Romana is not an android, but Grendel says he might have a better use for her now.

As The Doctor fiddles with the android, the prince and his swordmaster, Zadek, discuss peasant skills – apparently, knowledge of electronics is not for the high born. When The Doctor wants to know what the android is to be used for, he explains that on the morrow, he is to be crowned king. However, Count Grendel will kill him if at all possible, or at least prevent him from reaching the throne room at the ordained time – if he does not appear when he is supposed to, he forfeits the throne.

He says that the only contender to the throne is the Princess Strella, but nobody knows where she is.

The android will be used as a diversion to get past Grendel’s men to get to the coronation room.

Grendel instructs Lamia to do something she doesn’t want to. She gives Romana an injection that knocks her out.

The android of the prince is fixed and operational. The Doctor says had he the proper tools, he could have done a much better job, but they feel it is good enough to fool Grendel. They pay him the five hundred gold and ask him to join them for some wine.

The prince grows faint and collapses, as do Zadek and the swordsman. The Doctor struggles to the door before collapsing. He opens it and then rolls over to his back, revealing Count Grendel… and the credits roll.

Interesting planet, great intrigue. I do believe I have seen at least some of this serial before – I do recall the electrified swords and the prince seems familiar.

Episode 2:

Farrah, the swordsman, wakes up the Doctor, again at swordpoint. He thinks The Doctor is a traitor. It seems the prince has been kidnapped. Zadek and Farrah argue over The Doctor’s complicity, while The Doctor checks on the android, which is still there.

Zadek says he and Farrah will go do battle with the count’s men. The Doctor says that they should take the android to the coronation room and have it crowned as king. Zadek agrees to this, on the condition that The Doctor is with the android at all times.

K-9 is in the TARDIS, resting. He stirs to life. Outside the cottage, The Doctor is seen blowing his dog whistle. K-9 departs the TARDIS.

Zadek warns The Doctor that they will be watching him closely. When K-9 arrives, Farrah draws his sword (despite The Doctor’s admonitions not to) and K-9 blasts Farrah’s wrist, causing him to drop the blade. The Doctor hands the blade back to Farrah, “I don’t like to say I told you so, but I told you so.”

K-9 informs The Doctor that Romana has not returned to the TARDIS. From her direction, Zadek suggests that she might have fallen into the hands of the count.

Romana wakes, learning she’s been unconscious for twelve hours. When she asks the count what use she could be to him, he takes her down into the dungeons, and opens the viewing hole on a cell. Romana looks in, seeing a double of herself – the Princess Strella!

The Count plans to marry her and then kill her, to usurp her place in the succession. Grendel plans to marry Romana in front of the nobles, as the Princess refuses to play along. Lamia seems very unapproving of Grendel’s plans – it seems there was once some shared affections between the count and the surgeon-engineer.

He takes them into another cell, where the prince lies on a bed. The prince asks why Grendel doesn’t kill her. He thinks Romana is Strella, but she persuades him otherwise. Romana says that the prince is ill, and the count says that’s why she has been brought there, to tend to him – Lamia places a manacle around Romana’s neck and they leave the two of them there, saying it’s time to attend Reynart’s coronotion, “A pity you will miss it!”

Back at the castle, The Doctor sends K-9 off to the count’s castle to search for Romana. The Doctor accompanies Zadek, Farrah and “George” (the android) to Tara for the coronation. As Zadek heads off to scout ahead, Farrah tries to talk to George, but The Doctor says he’s switched off the communication circuits to conserve energy, though he assures the swordsman that the prince will give a speech at the coronation.

Zadek returns to say he’s found the secret passage’s entrance. They slip off. At the entrance, a guard in grey, one of Grendel’s men, patrols. Farrah slips off to deal with the guard, dispatching him quite easily. They slip into the passage.

Lamia works on an android, and then stops to investigate the segment to the Key To Time. She tries scratching it , then drilling it. She is perplexed by the toughness of the material.

K-9 scans the Count’s castle from afar.

Romana tends to the prince’s wounded arm (though we never saw or heard how the injury came about.) Two of Grendel’s men come in, grabbing Romana, unshackling her, as the prince protests at their rough handling of her. Without a word, they take her out.

The Doctor asks about the tunnels they’re using; Zadek says they were build two hundred years ago for the court to move about.

A patrol of guards find the guard Farrah knocked out and head into the tunnels.

A large clock ticks on the wall of a great room as a variety of nobles and the like murmur and chatter. Guards dressed in the style of the prince’s men are relieved of their posts by Grendel’s soldiers. The count opens two doors and enters a side room – the throne room. He walks up the steps and seats himself in a chair, hurriedly getting up and slipping out again.

In the tunnels, the guards are on the trail of The Doctor and the others.

Back in the great hall, Grendel looks about as the clock ticks. One of his men shows up to tell him all is ready – they have men amongst the peasants who are waiting for the cue (the prince’s lack of appearance) to start demonstrating loudly their loyalty and affection of the house of Gracht.

Grendel confides that he plans to reject the crown once, but not twice. He does not know if he trusts the Archimandrite to offer it a third time.

Just then, the Archimandrite, an elderly man dressed in colourful robes, enters. (He’s played by a familiar face – Cyril Shaps, who played Viner in the Patrick Troughton serial TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN, as well as in two Jon Pertwee serials – Dobson in THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH and Professor Clegg in THE PLANET OF THE SPIDERS!) He approaches the count, saying the hour approaches. They discuss the law should the prince not be there at the appropriate time. The Archimandrite confides in Grendel that should the prince not show, they may well choose Grendel, who plays the humble and surprised man.

In the tunnels, George bumps his head against a low rock several times. The Doctor checks on him, saying he should be all right. Suddenly, the guards arrive and open fire on them. Zadek tells The Doctor about a lever to open a door, but it is stuck!

In the great room, eyes watch the clock. Again, the Archimandrite consults with the count, to say that the prince is nowhere to be found. Grendel tells the Archimandrite that whomever they choose, should the prince not arrive, will be given the protection of his guards.

The Archimandrite seems to be unsettled to discover that the men guarding the area are not the palace guards, but the count’s. The Archimandrite suggests offering the crown to Grendel, who says it would avoid “certain…unpleasantness later” but then says they must wait and follow procedure first.

The clock tolls and the Archimandrite gives the order to open the doors to the throne room. Grendel’s men do so and the nobles start filing in.

They stop, as they see the prince seated on the throne, with The Doctor, Zadek and others standing behind and to the side of the throne. Grendel cannot believe his eyes.

The Archimandrite approaches the throne and then turns to the assemblage, instructing them to kneel. Grendel does not and must be told again before he does so. The prince is then crowned, but when he doesn’t go into the speech of accession on time, the Archimandrite tells him he must.

The Doctor reaches behind the king’s head, flipping on the communication circuit, and George begins the speech. He slurs one word, but The Doctor whispers to Zadek that he has more work to do.

When the Archimandrite says it is time for the nobles to swear fealty, they all turn as Princess Strella enters. The Doctor stares, thinking it’s Romana (and perhaps it is…). She gives the speech of fealty, and kneels down at the base of the steps to the throne, but The Doctor grabs the sceptre from George and rushes down the steps, yelling, “No,” and striking Princess Strella!

The crowd gasps… and the credits roll.

Fascinating little twist at the end. Not sure what’s going on – we’ll find out Wednesday!

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