Recap: There’s a giant penis in a pit. There’s an evil Lady. Metal is precious. Everyone, the good guys and the bad, are in the pit. The Doctor got smooshed by the giant penis monster which is part of some bigger creature, like it can separate itself. Ewww.

(spoiler)

Episode 3:

You know, this show really does suffer from “the hero does incredibly stupid things and only survives because he’s the main character” at times.

Organon calls out to the guards to help The Doctor; instead, they retreat with the astrologer into a cavern. The creature comes up and apparently manifests a door in the cavern, blocking the guards and Organon from the chamber. The door looks like the thing hanging in Lady Adrasta’s palace that The Doctor was so interested in earlier. The guards try to get through, but they cannot.

The Doctor rises, the creature that was on him nowhere in sight. He lights a match and inspects the door. When he taps on it, Organon, on the other side, declares it’s him and tells the guards they must hurry. The head guard sends one back to inform the Lady Adrasta while he and the other do Organon’s bidding. (Why, I’m not remotely sure.)

The bandits sneak through the jungle, approaching Adrasta’s side gate. There’s only one guard, and they dispatch of him quickly.

Adrasta’s party gets word from the guard, while Romana checks on K-9, who says he’s nearly charged. She tells him to be ready. I really hate the substitute voice actor for K-9 this serial.

Adrasta informs Romana and K-9 of The Doctor’s plight; she says she hopes K-9 is strong enough to blast the shell (the door – Romana is quite interested in the phrasing “shell” in regards to the door) and to kill the creature as well.

The party sets off, K-9 following.

At the palace, another guard is killed by the bandits, who have made their way inside.

The Doctor pokes about the cavern, finding lumps of pure cadmium, iron – saying it could not have come from the mine (ore, but not pure iron.) Moving on, he finds the creature – though I’m not sure if it’s the one that broke off or the ginormous creature.

He tries to make friends with it, speaking to it, praising it, saying there’s no way he could harm it. He notes the creature has green veins, and wonders about chlorophyll.

It is, in fact, the small creature/segment. The Doctor approaches it, talking soothingly, touching it. He notes it doesn’t have any eyes but is aware of him. Nor any mouth, that he can see.

He even tries talking into the protrusion… there’s probably a slash fic out there about this scene. Ewwwwww.

The creature suddenly moves, pinning The Doctor against the wall. With its protrusion, it clears off dust from the nearby wall, revealing the design that was on the shell as well as the piece hanging on the wall in the palace.

The Doctor realises he’s seen that before.

In the palace, the piece seems to be awake. Lights flash on the five crystal/glass face pieces. A guard patrols the throne room, not bothering to notice (or care if he did) the activity, which doesn’t last.

The bandits enter the main area, squabbling over pieces of metal they pick up. The head bandit calls out to the guard, luring him into an ambush. They begin grabbing every metal piece they can lay their hands on, including hinges on the door.

The piece on the wall begins glowing and beeping again and the bandits take the ‘wheel’. Their lookout reveals that the guards are coming and they flee.

The Doctor tries to understand what the creature wants with the wheel, but agrees to fetch it for it. As he sets off, he notices some bits of shell (shaped like the wheel) and picks them up, but the creature gets aggressive until he sets them down. As he walks off, his scarf drags with one of the shell bits on it.

Romana and K-9 arrive at the barricaded cavern. Lady Adrasta is irate that Organon was not killed by the creature. Romana determines that the barricade is identical in composition to the giant shell piece they found in the Place of Death.

K-9 blasts the barricade with his… they’ve never identified it (maser, laser, something else?) It begins to glow red.

The wheel begins beeping and lights flash on it. Torvin and another bandit examine it and it seems to possess them. They carry it off together, without a word.

K-9 says the material is too strong, it is self-renewing. As Adrasta rants about it, The Doctor smashes through with no problem. Adrasta demands to know how he did it and he says he asked it and it said “my pleasure.”

Adrasta reveals far more knowledge/experience than she’s let on when she replies, “Liar! The creature can’t talk without…” she stops, realising she’s said too much and sends her guards to investigate.

The Doctor asks how she knew so much about the creature, but Adrasta says he asks too many questions. She sends some guards and Karela with K-9 and Romana to go and kill the creature. The Doctor is held under swordthreat to stay.

K-9 has to shut down to conserve energy and Romana carries him.

The Doctor pleads with Adrasta to call them back, saying she could be sending them to their deaths. This has no weight with Adrasta. When The Doctor says the others have been gone a long time, Adrasta tells Organon he will go to investigate, or “that guard standing behind you will cut your throat from ear to ear.” Quite delightful, that Adrasta, what what?

There actually is some cute banter between Organon and The Doctor during the past several scenes. I’m not going to relate everything, it would be too much for too little, but since I’m being so negative, I will note the positives, few and far between, though they may be.

As he sets off, he stops, delighted as Karela, Romana and K-9 return; Karela says she sent the guard down a passageway they found to investigate. Adrasta starts yelling for Karela to take them through again. The Doctor argues with her, saying K-9 isn’t powerful enough to kill it.

Again, angry, Adrasta lets something slip, “K-9 is quite capable of killing the Tythonian.” When The Doctor asks her, “The what,” she replies, “the creature.” They continue to argue, Adrasta saying that she will have Romana killed if she does not comply.

The Doctor and Romana work together, he holding a mirror and she pointing K-9 towards it; K-9 is able to blast both guards. When Adrasta tries to flee, she almost runs into the creature. The Doctor grabs her and stops her from fleeing. However, he’s too busy gloating and playing his games, and she pulls out of his arms and puts a knife to his throat, demanding that Romana have K-9 kill the creature.

She gives Romana six seconds, but just then, Torvin and the other bandit walk in with the wheel, which is tinkling and lights are flashing. Adrasta yells at them to get away, but they ignore her. The Doctor frees himself from her as the bandits place the wheel onto the creature.

Adrasta screams out, “No. No! No!!!!” over and again.. and the credits roll.

Interesting cliffhanger there.

Episode 4:

The two bandits snap out of the spell once the wheel is placed on the creature. Seeing Adrasta, the bandits flee. The Doctor approaches the creature and says, “Hello,” touching the wheel. The creature replies, in The Doctor’s voice, “Hello.”

Karela arrives in the palace, ordering a guard to summon the Huntsman.

The two Time Lords and Orgnaon are completely unable to realise that the creature is talking with The Doctor’s voice. For fuck’s sake. Romana’s standing just behind and to the side of The Doctor – she could see his mouth moving is he had said it.

The Tythonian is using The Doctor’s larynx to speak. It introduces itself as Erato, from the planet Tythonus. Romana gets rather rude with the creature, asking what it is doing, “skulking about in pits, eating people”. Now, I realise that this was actually the first serial of the season filmed and Lalla Ward’s grasp on her character wasn’t quite solid yet… but damn, Romana kinda sucks in this serial.

Erato is the Tythonian High Ambassador, who came to Chloris on a trading mission. The Doctor removes his hand from the wheel, cutting off Erato’s ability to speak. He says it’s all Adrata’s fault.

Suddenly, they realise that K-9 is covered in wolfweed again and Adrasta has back up. Adrasta orders The Doctor to be killed, but the Time Lord tells the Huntsman that if he does, he’ll thrown the world into a dark ages for a madwoman. The Huntsman insists that The Doctor be allowed to speak.

The Doctor has deduced that Erato came as part of a trade agreement; Tythonus is a planet rich in ores and minerals and Chloris is rich in plant life. When Erato offered metal for chlorophyll, he unfortunately came to the one person who benefitted from the lack of metal – Adrasta, who holds the monopoly on metal on the planet. (again, that’s so stupid. One mine on the whole planet?)

Adrasta claims it is all lies, that she didn’t throw the ambassador into the pit, that The Doctor is throwing his voice when he touches the wheel, saying what he wants, trying to fool everyone. (I see where this is going!)

The Doctor suggests that Adrasta touch the communicator wheel herself and they can hear the truth in her voice. (see, I knew it!) Of course, she refuses and, once more, orders the Huntsman to kill The Doctor.

Once more, the Huntsman refuses, saying they should hear the truth of things. He tells her to speak with the creature, but she refuses, until the Huntsman cracks his whip, and his wolfweeds herd her towards the creature.

Erato speaks with her voice when she is forced to touch it. It confirms The Doctor’s theory. Erato says it has a score to settle with Adrasta. The Huntsman agrees, and sets his wolfweeds on Adrasta. She falls under them and Erato lumbers forward, smooshing her as well.

Karela runs off as her mistress is slain (and the wolfweeds are eaten by Erato).

The Huntsman declares that with Adrasta, the dark ages die, too. Erato thanks them for the meal and apologises (with The Doctor’s voice) for the unpleasantness.

When the Huntsman thanks The Doctor for all his help, The Doctor says not to say that, not yet. When asked why, he can’t explain. (Well, there still is two thirds of the episode left, so something has to go wrong…)

Later, back in Adrasta’s palace, Organon is arguing with Romana that The Doctor was going to let him die. Romana defends The Doctor and… oh, I really don’t care. I don’t know if this is supposed to be more comedy or what, but it’s just dumb.

The Doctor arrives and says that Erato should be out of the pit by now and now they can learn the truth. Romana is startled and perplexed by the idea that Erato might not have been telling the truth, or all of it.

The Doctor explains that the big shell was the remnant of Erato’s craft. He says the photon drive propulsion was hidden amongst the shells in the pit. Romana begins following his logic, positing that the noise the shell was making when they first arrived was a distress signal.

(K-9 confirms that Tythonians can lived up to 40K years, so 15 years really wasn’t that long.)

Romana’s logic suddenly makes a leap that would impress Superman, jumping to a conclusion that “something dreadful” is going to happen and Erato wants to leave before it happens…

I guess this is supposed to be clever, but I’m not really enjoying it. In short, as Romana laid out the bullet points, The Doctor replied, “yes” to each. Then she points out he played into Erato’s hands (so to speak) and he says “yes”. Then she yells at him, asking if he can say anything but yes, to which… well, you know.

Then the tables are turned. The Doctor speaks, pausing so Romana can say “yes” each time.

I told you it wasn’t clever.

Anyhow, he says that once Erato has come clean and before he can escape… The Doctor pulls out the piece of a shell that he carried off on his scarf, “do remind me to give him back his photon drive?”

This conversation is being watched through a window by the bandits, who are still in the palace, apparently. (Sigh) They’ve overheard about metal for everyone and are worried their haul isn’t going to be worth anything now.

(is this episode over yet? Can I fast forward to the end? No?)

One of the bandits tries to explain if they get the spacedrive, the mosnter can’t go back home and ruin the value of their metal. Torvin argues they need to leave before they’re caught and takes them out.

Karela is hiding (in plain sight, basically) listening to them.

The Huntsman approaches The Doctor to say that the creature is out of the pit and ready to speak to The Doctor. The Doctor gives Organon the drive and tells him to guard it with his life.

The Doctor, Romana and the Huntsman go to the side door, where the blob of Erato and the communicator wheel await. Romana is instructed by The Doctor to take the comm and she touches it, while The Doctor asks what he has to say.

Meanwhile, Organon is looking at some astrological charts he requested, saying there are “strange perturbations in the sky”, though he doesn’t know how to interperet them.

Erato says that they only have twenty-four hours to live, that his brethren on Tythonus have set a neutron star in motion, on course to plunge into the sun. “The neutron star has been on its way for several years. Like most stars, it has no guidance system.” Okay, then how have they guided it towards Chloris’ sun?

Organon is knocked out by someone.

The Doctor asks Erato if he can spin out aluminium from his body, to which the Tythonian confirms.

Karela follows the bandits in the woods.

The Doctor consults K-9 for data which comes out on a ticker tape. Erato argues that his plan is madness – he wants to surround the neutron star with aluminium when The Doctor uses the TARDIS to exert short bursts of graviational pull on the star to slow it down so Erato would be able to spin the aluminium around the star and then they could let it go so it would “spin harmlessly into space”.

Erato agrees to help and The Doctor sends Romana to fetch the photon drive, but she finds Organon unconscious.

The bandits return to their camp, celebrating their haul. The one bandit, Ainu, is still arguing they should have gotten the one shell (the photon drive), so I guess it wasn’t he who knocked out Organon.

Karela stabs Torvin in the back and tells the bandits that she has the piece of shell hidden. She offers them a deal, work with her and they can run the planet together.

The Doctor arrives to tell them that the planet is going to die when the sun explodes. Karela doesn’t believe him. The Doctor orders K-9 to destroy the bandits’ treasure. The Doctor asks Karela where she hid the fragment and she seems reluctant but willing to come forth.

Later, on the TARDIS, the Time Lords prepare to slow down the neutron star. Erato is in position, and they hit the star with a gravity tractor beam. They can only do short bursts, but Erato says they must hold it, as his ship is being sucked in. They manage to hold it, though the danger to the TARDIS is high, the strain is great… but Erato spins and tells them they can shut it off in five seconds.

However at one, the control circuit fries and The Doctor says he can’t shut it off – “We’re pulling the star towards us!”

Okay, so dematerialise. No big, right? There’s another explosion and they’re thrown to the ground and Romana says they have to dematerialise (hah!) They do just in the nick of time and the star passes through them.

Erato says he thought it was impossible. Romana agrees, saying their chances were 74,384,338 to one against success. The Doctor says that 74,384,338 is his lucky number.

That’s not even remotely clever or funny. That’s just dumb.

Back on Chloris, Organon is looking into a crystal ball, “I see something tall, something dark…” and the TARDIS appears. The Huntsman walks in, demanding to know how that got there. The Doctor and Romana step out to say they came to say good bye and give the Huntsman (who is now in charge) a scroll from Erato.

The Huntsman opens the scroll, saying it is a draft contract for a trade agreement. There’s a supposedly funny moment as the Huntsman whispers that, but Organon overhears it and uses that to pretend he knew it in advance.

Meanwhile, The Doctor and Romana leave and the final credits roll.

Mostly a stupid serial. I remotely did not care for CITY OF DEATH and this one wasn’t much better. This season is not very promising, two of the first three sucked.

Oy. 

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