Recap: Two ships are locked together in some strange materialisation accident. The Doctor and Romana are trying to help out, but there are there mysteries – a murder, a drug smuggling ring and monsters on the ship(s). Forced to flee from the local authorities, the two Time Lords leap into a projection taken from the planet Eden…

Episode 3:

The Time Lords enter ‘Eden’, cautiously moving along, hearing sounds of creatures. As they pass on, we see a creature like the one on the ship following them.

The Azurian officers and Dymond break into the lounge, searching for The Doctor. The officers are being played for laughs, apparently – they’re basically stupid, almost Keystone Kops stupid. This really doesn’t add to my enjoyment.

Officer: “What’s that?”

Dymond: “It’s a door.”

Really?

Inside “Eden”, the Time Lords discuss how people and animals can go in and out of the projection. Conversation turns to talk of the customs officials being idiots and bureaucrats (the show’s writers have always been critical of govt employees and I’m generally not inclined to disagree, but when they’re farcical it detracts from the story.) As they move along, they get caught up in the vines of a giant fly-trap type plant. The Doctor escapes by biting the root of the plant.

Tryst argues with the customs officials; the dialogue furthers the farcicalness of the officers. Tryst opens the door they wanted, saying only his key can open it.

The Time Lords hide from a monster, but it doubles back on them and attacks them. A man appears and fires a weapon at the creature. He introduces himself as Stott. It seems he is the man that The Doctor chased earlier.

Stott leads them to his base, telling them he’s been there for half a year. He’d been separated from the others and caught up in the CET machine. He informs them that the creatures are called mandrels.

Stott reveals that the accident between the two ships altered the field of the CET and he’s been able to leave since then. When The Doctor asks why he didn’t tell them, he explains that he’s a major in the Intelligence Section of the Space Corps, on assignment tracking drug running.

When they tell him that Tryst thought he was the smuggler, Stott says Tryst is a fool, not even knowing that his expedition was being used to smuggle Vraxoin. It seems the CET machine is being used to transport the drugs – this way it wouldn’t show up on any scans.

Stott says that the supply is somewhere in Eden. The Doctor is keen to get the ships separated, and Stott says he can exit the projection to get to the power units. They exit and meet K-9 who is waiting there, explaining there have been five of the mandrels on the ship.

A representative of the passengers complains to a crewman about the delay. The crewman makes all the usual claims of the captain doing everything to get them to Azure. As they talk, they approach a lift and when the door is opened, mandrels attack! The crewman sounds the alarm before he is knocked down.

Rigg laughs his ass off as he watches the mandrels attack the passengers. One of the custom officers arrives and calls for back up and tells Rigg he’ll be charged; Rigg is still well under the effects of the Vraxoin and is laughing it all off.

A mandrel arrives at the power units and attacks The Doctor. K-9 comes to the rescue and kills it. Romana is a bit of a wussy, not wanting to come near the dead mandrel until The Doctor kicks it to illustrate it being dead. (You know, when I was a kid, I had a crush on Romana. Now I’m an adult, I still find her physically attractive, but I don’t much care for her character.)

Captain Rigg is arrested for gross neglect of duty. Tryst argues against killing the mandrels, hoping to conserve the species.

The Doctor sends K-9 and Romana (the latter accompanied by Stott) to the different areas to try to separate the ships again.

The custom officers order the crewmen to find and arrest The Doctor and Romana; the background score is a pompous marching music. They really don’t like customs officers in the Doctor Who office, do they?

Dymond and Tryst exchange some mysterious, conspiratorial words – Dymond asks if he should put it on destruct, Tryst says no, not yet at least, saying they’ll keep in touch. Their tones of voices, facial expressions and body language imply they’re up to no good. Dymond heads into the airlock to return to his ship.

Back in Eden, Stott shoots another mandrel that threatens he and Romana.

The Doctor continues his work on the power units, unaware that the mandrel was not killed. It rises and approaches him from behind. The creature swings its claw but misses, though the Time Lord is now aware.

Romana exits Eden back in the lounge, sending Stott to go back to The Doctor.

The Doctor plays hide and seek with the mandrel. He makes it back to the power unit to continue working on the machine while the creature is elsewhere. However, the creature hears the beeping of the machine and smashes it. The feedback results in the creature dying, turning into a powdery substance.

The Doctor identifies the substance as Vraxoin.

The customs officers fetch drinks from the beverage station, one telling the other this is sure to get them promoted – big case, lots of death, two culprits. The other argues that they don’t know enough about “those two”. Romana is nearby, listening in.

K-9 takes position at the demat gun outside the TARDIS. The Doctor, still at the power unit, hurries to repair the damage from the mandrel. From the clock, he doesn’t have much time.

Romana makes it to the bridge, where Rigg is (which makes no sense, as he was taken under arrest earlier….). She moves to the controls, but he stops her, saying she has something he needs – apparently, he’s starting to go into withdrawal. He grabs her and demands that she give him “the stuff”.

She argues, saying she needs to set the controls and she’ll help him, but he threatens her instead, then attacks her, stopping her from reaching the controls. The clock shows 2023 (with 2025 being the time all the controls need to be activated at the same time).

One of the customs officers blasts Rigg, but when Romana thanks him, he tells her that trafficking in drugs is punishable by murder. He stops her from activating the controls, indicating with his gun. The clock is at 2024.

The Doctor signals K-9 who activates the demat gun. Romana hits the controls at 2025. The Doctor runs through the overlap area and seems to stop… and the credits roll.

A confusing cliffy – if he’s under threat or danger, it wasn’t really obvious enough.

Episode 4:

The ships separate in orbit successfully. Romana recovers from the experience and escapes before the customs officer does. Dymond calls from the Hecate, to inform them the ships have separated. Officer Fisk checks but the Empress seems to be undamaged as well.

Dymond says he won’t be pressing charges, but Fisk says he can’t leave, he needs him as a witness. Dymond says he has to leave ASAP or he could lose his contract. Dymond pulls ranks and says Dymond’s ship was in a prohibited zone, too, and is subject to a fine, worse if he leaves.

Romana meets with K-9 at the TARDIS; K-9’s scan says The Doctor is not aboard the Empress.

The Doctor lays unconscious on the other ship.

Della is assisting the crew with the casualties. (Not sure why, other than they didn’t want to pay another actor for a speaking role.) She warns Romana that the guards have orders to shoot her or The Doctor.

Romana asks Della about Stott, saying they know neither she nor Stott were involved in the drug running, but “it would help if you could me what happened.”

Della says that something was bothering Stott that last day. Stott was searching for someone, but she doesn’t know who. Stott was stunned by a gun shot, but then a mandrel appeared and she ran away.

Romana asks how Della knows Stott died; she says Tryst showed her a visi-print. Romana informs her that Stott is alive and on the ship. She says they need to find The Doctor.

The Doctor wakes up, startled to find a CET projector in the room. Hearing a noise, he hides as Dymond comes into the room and taps away at a keyboard. When he leaves, The Doctor pulls up a record on “The Eden Project” and the profit margin involved.

He realises that Dymond is part of the drug smuggling. He moves out of the room, again hiding as Dymond walks near. He slips into a shuttlecraft ahead of Dymond (who is suiting up in a space suit). When Dymond gets in, the pilot attaches a breathing tube to the craft and The Doctor realises the risk he’s taking. The shuttle launches from the Hecate.

The two officers and Tryst talk, discussing the search for The Doctor. Tryst tells them that he thinks The Doctor went into the projection of the CET machine. Tryst tells them he thinks that one of his crew must have hidden the Vraxoin in the machine, but this time he implicates The Doctor.

K-9 senses that The Doctor has just come aboard and leads Romana and Della.

Dymond gets out of the shuttle, not noticing The Doctor seated right behind him, in plain sight. (Sigh.) The Doctor wakes from a meditative state/trance (he’s done it enough times we know what it is now.)

The Doctor reunites with his companions and Della. Guards arrive, K-9 blasting one of them. The other guard takes Della, but the Time Lords have run off. The guard takes Della to talk to Fisk.

The Doctor fills in Romana and she realises that Dymond and Tryst are the smugglers. Stott and a mandrel show up, but K-9 blasts the creature. The Doctor fills in Stott on Tryst being the smuggler, working with Dymond. Romana tells him the mandrels are the source (though how she figured that out isn’t explained.)

A mandrel attacks the guard escorting Della and she runs off. She runs to Tryst and tells him that he has to help The Doctor. When Tryst learns that The Doctor wants to get the mandrels back in the projection, he says he “is right behind him”.

In the lounge, Fisk and the others take The Doctor prisoner, but Stott leaps out of the projection. He hands over his Intelligence Service badge and tells them they need to arrest Tryst and Dymond.

In the bridge, Della tells Tryst that Stott is alive. Tryst says he can’t be. She accuses Tryst of shooting Stott. Tryst makes excuses about smuggling Vrax to pay for the expedition, to continue his research. The argument of the choice of the drug users comes up in the justifications.

As they argue, a mandrel runs intot he room. Tryst and Dymond shoot it, but Della escapes. Dymond chases her and shoots her, but he runs off when K-9 and Romana come around the corner.

A PA announcement is made, issuing arrest orders for Tryst and Dymond and countermanding the previous orders for The Doctor and Romana. Tryst says he smashed the communications unit so they cannot contact Azure to send a pursuit ship.

Fisk and Stott discover the smashed communications; Fisk explains that, though the Empress is faster, there’s no pilot or navigator. The Doctor arrives and sees the damage. He says now that the ships are separated, he can stabilise the CET projection.

The Doctor tells Fisk they’re going to get the mandrels back into the projection, to bait the hook for Tryst and Dymond. The guards, Stott and the officers do just that, herding the mandrels through the corridors, using their blasters to spur them onward.

The shuttle lands in the Hecate.

When the mandrels start resisting, The Doctor lures them forward using the dog whistle he uses to signal K-9. He leads the mandrels into the projection, much like the Pied Piper.

The Doctor returns (after a rather horribly unfunny comedy sequence), his clothes torn and tattered. He tells Romana she has a short time to rebuild the CET machine.

Aboard the Hecate, Tryst says he’s ready to make the transfer.

The Time Lords tinker with the CET machine and connect K-9 to it, using him to increase the power and range of the CET machine.

The transfer from the Hecate’s CET machine begins, giving The Doctor a shot. He instructs Romana to reverse the transmutation reflex, and once the transmission has been completed, The Doctor tells K-9 to lock in on the Hecate.

The Hecate takes off, the transfer completed.

The Doctor uses K-9’s coordinates and uses the CET machine to catch the Hecate. The guards go in the projection and pull out the smugglers. Tryst protests his involvement, saying he did it for the research funding.

The Time Lords take the crystals, planning to return the sample creatures and locations back to their home planets. Even the mandrels – The Doctor says that the people using the drugs do have a choice, and the mandrels have a right to exist, too – he just hopes nobody else discovers the secret of the Vraxoin and the mandrels.

Goodbyes are said and the final credits roll.

Definitely better than the previous two serials, but still not a great one. This entire season, barring DESTINY OF THE DALEKS has been really poor.  

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