Recap: The Doctor and Romana come to Cambridge, summoned by retired Time Lord Professor Chronotis. He has a book that “accidentally” came with him from Gallifrey and wants them to return it. But the book is missing. An alien named Skagra (who has a mind draining orb and an invisible space ship) wants the book, too.

When we left off, The Doctor was on the ship, asphyxiating.

Episode 4:

Chris and K-9 pace their cell in a clockwise motion. As Chris gives up, they’re transported out and the ship returns the oxygen levels to normal once they find the control room. K-9 informs The Doctor that the TARDIS is gone.

(All this is a combination of filmed sequences and short video and stills with narration.) The TARDIS is on a command ship in space. Skagra revealed little to Romana except he need Time Lord tech to discover what the Time Lords have hidden. (Whatever that means.)

On board, Romana meets the Krargs (ok, that’s how you spell it), creatures made of crystalised coal. Romana watches as Krargs are formed in vats.

Back on the invisible space ship, The Doctor orders the ship back to its last destination. On board, however, a Krarg forms. The ship lifts off and heads into space.

Once realising that the journey would take three months, The Doctor orders the ship to stop. The Doctor manages to have the ship rewire itself so it could travel anywhere in minutes (uh huh). As he does this, the Krarg completes forming and exits the formation chamber.

The ship dematerialises, much like a TARDIS, even making the signature sounds. (Ooooooohkay.)

Back in Chronotis’ office, Claire wakes. She bangs her head on a table as she gets off the floor and helps herself into a chair. Professor Chronotis, dressed in a sleeping gown, startles her, demanding to know what she has done with his machine.

He fiddles with controls and then asks her if she wants tea.

Skagra is using the sphere (orb) to go through The Doctor’s knowledge, trying to find out about the book. Though many images are on the screen, the word INSOLUBLE keeps flashing.

It seems the book is the key that which the Time Lords imprisoned their most feared criminals.

On the invisible ship, the Krarg bursts into the command center, attacking The Doctor and his companions, but K-9 is able to render the Krarg immobile.

Professor Chronotis tells Claire that they’re “standing obliquely to the time fields” – it seems that whatever’s gone on, it not only has brought him back, but he doesn’t seem to be quite as scatter-brained.

It turns out that the room (or at least the machine she messed with) is a TARDIS, cobbled together from junk fields. Chronotis tries to explain to Claire, but it’s rather lost on her – the gist is when she activated the machine/TARDIS, it pulled him out of the time field and into here, saving his life, presumably.

Think of me as a paradox in an anomaly and get on with your tea.” – Okay, that may be the best Doctor Who quote, ever.

Talk of the book comes up; Chronotis confirms that it is “they key to Shada”. He tells her that Shada is the ancient time prison of the Time Lords. Chronotis is adamant that Skagra must be stopped – it seems that he knows whom Skagra is seeking to free, though he does not divulge that with us.

Skagra is still searching The Doctor’s memories via the orb (sphere), viewing The Doctor’s last few hours, hoping to find something. That accomplished, he takes the sphere (orb) and Romana back to the TARDIS.

The Doctor takes Skagra’s ship to it’s previous destination – the location where Skagra was first seen – the Insitute for Advanced Science Studies. Leaving K-9 there to control the Krarg, Chris and The Doctor disembark. They poke about, but things are far greater disrepair than when we last saw it. They come across five people in the room where we first saw Skagra, but they’re all greatly aged with long beards!

Back in the TARDIS, Skagra is pondering over the book. As he turned the pages, he realised that the central column in the console was operating along with – when he stopped, the column stopped. Skagra deduced that time ran backwards over the book and by turning to the last page, he could get to Shada.

The Doctor explains that the old men are victims of Skagra, having had their brains drained. He then asks Chris to do something for him, warning him it won’t be pleasant.

Skagra returns to the command ship, telling the Krarg command to prepare to go to Shada. He then tells Romana that she’s going to meet one of the most powerful criminals in history – Salyavin!

The Doctor places one of the men on the group chair; Chris is seated two seats away – The Doctor tells him that he’s going to use his mind to allow the elderly man’s mind to function… if all goes well. The Doctor flips some switches and fiddles with some dials. Chris goes limp and when The Doctor checks on the other man, he awakes and says, “Skagra!”

Back on Skagra’s ship, K-9 is keeping the Krarg in place, but the creature strength was growing.

The Doctor speaks to the man, learning his name is Caldera. The Doctor seems to recognise him as a famous neurologist. Caldera introduces the other men, saying they are all great minds. He also includes a Doctor Skagra in the list.

He says Doctor Skagra is a “geneticist, astro-engineer, cyberneticist, neurostructuralist and moral theologian.”

The Doctor asks who he is, where he is from, but Caldera does not know. Caldera says the Think Tank was all Skagra’s idea, in order to collect all the intellect – once they helped build the orb (sphere), he used it to steal their brains.

The Krarg that K-9 was blasting to keep it immobile was now surrounded by a haze of energy.

Caldera said Skagra stole the intellect of the whole of humanity, but he still needed one mind, one unique mind. The Doctor asks who that man was, what he was called, and Caldera reveals that it is Salyavin.

K-9 gives up blasting the Krarg, realising the creature is too strong, and retreats into the facility. The Krarg follows.

Chris wakes up, feeling marvellous. K-9 arrives, pursued by the Krarg, glowing with malefient energy. It approaches The Doctor menacingly… and the credits roll.

Episode 5:

The Doctor tells Chris that he needs ten seconds. Chris tries to distract the Krarg while The Doctor moves around, but the creature strikes the group chair, well aware of The Doctor’s motion.

The Room fills with smoke as the Krarg moves on The Doctor. Chris grabs The Doctor and pulls him out, K-9 leaving as well.

The Krarg remains, attacking the old men, before leaving the room in pursuit.

The Doctor, K-9, and Chris rush back to Skagra’s ship, barely escaping the Krarg. The Doctor orders the ship to dematerialise immediately, and just after it does, the facility in space blows up. (Based on the chair being damaged? Really?)

Chronotis works on the “perambulator”, saying that when Claire got it to work, it was just a spasm… one he hopes was not a dying spasm, as they are stuck and time is moving away from them. He mentions that, should they manage to disentangle themselves, he will have to be careful, else he might cease to exist.

Claire asks who this Salyavin is and Chronotis says he was a criminal who’s exploits have been exaggerated, describing him as a brilliant hot head with a peculiar talent.

Chronotis gets frustrated, saying he cannot fix the device, and it is beyond Claire’s capacity. He fetches a pipe wrench and tells her that he is about to do something, something she is never to speak of. He makes her promise first, before doing anything.

He locks eyes with her and the old Time Lord’s eyes glow brightly. Suddenly, she completely understands the devices they’re working on and comes up with an alternate solution to their dilemma.

Skagra’s ship appears on the Krarg command ship and The Doctor, Chris and K-9 disembark, encountering Romana, Skagra and a “multitude of Krargs”. Skagra’s intentions are revealed, he wants to use the sphere (orb) to make the universe one mind – his.

The Doctor, Chris and K-9 are taken prisoner but make a break for it; Romana is dragged by Skagra back into the TARDIS, accompanied by Krargs.

Spotting a door, they slip in, finding Professor Chronotis and Claire in there, in the professor’s office! Chronotis asks what The Doctor thinks of his TARDIS and our hero says it is “ace”. (Hmm, makes me think of a companion…) The Doctor compliments Chronotis for being “old sly boots” for hiding his TARDIS as his living quarters and office.

Claire and Chris try to compare notes.

Chronotis explains that with the book and the TARDIS, Skagra can get to Shada – again the name seems to ring a bell with The Doctor, but he doesn’t really know it. Chronotis explains that it is the Time Lords’ prison planet, but it’s been wiped from most memories.

The Doctor and Claire talk about who Salyavin was – seems he had the ability to project his mind into other people’s bodies. This is why Skagra wants to put Salyavin’s mind in the sphere.

In the TARDIS, Skagra turns the pages of the book, activating the TARDIS, sending it to Shada.

The Doctor says that with Salyavin’s power, Skagra could put his mind in every body in the universe, merging them all into one great mind – his own.

Chronotis says that they can follow the other TARDIS’s space time trail, which is how they got to the Krarg ship in the first place.

On Shada, Skagra goes to the records centre, looking for where Salyavin would be located, discovering he is in Cabinet 9, Chamber T. Taking Romana with him, Skagra heads there, leaving guards behind at records.

Arriving at Shada, the Time Lords and K-9 depart, leaving Chris and Claire behind. Chronotis seemed to know wha Skagra was thinking and insisted they head in a particular direction.

Skagra began to revitalise the prisoners in their cabinets. The prisoners begin to stir.

Chris and Claire sit in the professor’s TARDIS, musing on “how some days work out”. Claire tries to talk to him about the professor, saying there’s something very strange about him. Claire admits that the professor did something to her mind.

The Doctor, Chronotis and K-9 arrive as Skagra is revitalising Cabinet 9 in Chamber T. Skagra warns them back, but when he opens the cabinet, a dummy is inside. This enrages Skagra.

Chronotis explains that HE is Salyavin. (Whoa.)

Claire tries to get Chris to understand what the professor did to her – Chris realises that is the same ability that Salyavin was purported to have, and uniquely so. They leave the professor’s TARDIS, concerned.

When Skagra sends the sphere (orb) after Salyavin, intent on draining his mind (hey, wait, didn’t he already do that?), K-9 blasts the orb (sphere) into pieces. However, each fragment reformed into another, smaller sphere (orb). One of these landed on Salyavin!

Skagra gloated as the orbs (spheres) came together, proclaiming this was the beginning of the universal mind. Each of the spheres (orbs) attached themselves on a prisoner, and they turn on The Doctor. Just then, Chris and Claire arrive. Chris rushes forward, trying to help, but a sphere drained his mind and took over his body.

The orb(sphere)-zombies march on The Doctor… and the credits roll.

I have to admit, that almost gave me chills.

Episode 6:

K-9 blasted one of the sphere (orb)-zombies, which collapsed. A Krarg picked up K-9 and hurled him through the doorway.

The Doctor saw his chance and, grabbing Romana and Claire, led them and K-9 through the nearest door, which happened to lead them to the professor’s TARDIS. (Convenient, that.)

The Doctor lays out what they’re up against – all the minds that Skagra have stolen are in the melting pot that control all the orb zombies… and with Salyavin/the professor’s mind in there, they can control anyone.

Romana points out that, since all the minds that Skagra have stolen are in the melting pot, this includes The Doctor’s! This pleases The Doctor to no end.

Skagra and his zombies return to the TARDIS, where he lays out his plan to take them each to great population centers to bring about the “Great Mind Revolution”.

The Doctor and Romana argue the odds of some plan – she says he has about as much chance as.. “well, as anything that stands as little chance as you do out there.” Romana is pretty cool sometimes. The Doctor tells Claire to hold on very tight as he and Romana begin operating the controls.

Skagra realises that something was very wrong.

In the vortex, The Doctor snags his TARDIS in the force field of Chronotis’ TARDIS. Claire is instructed to hold on to one of the controls, no matter how rough the ride gets.

The Doctor instructs Romana to lower the shields around an area in the room. With difficulty, she does so. The Doctor moves into the spot, moving into the vortex towards the other TARDIS. Despite circuit malfunctions, The Doctor makes it to the other TARDIS (his TARDIS, to be specific.)

K-9 slows down circuit malfunction, hoping to give The Doctor every second he needed to gain entry. Claire begins complaining that the switch is getting too hot to hold down.

The Doctor feels himself starting to slide backwards.

There’s a stupid sequence where Romana tries to reach a pencil for Claire to use, but she can’t reach it, so Claire lets go and walks over to fetch the pencil. Sigh.

The force field lets go of The Doctor’s TARDIS, which spins off into the vortex. The Doctor vanishes altogether.

Romana tends to Claire’s burnt hand. I’d be tending to her head with my foot. Romana says she doesn’t know what happened to The Doctor. Romana says they’ll have to go ahead as planned.

The Doctor regains consciousness in a small equipment room in the TARDIS (would have been really cool if it had been the secondary console room.) He rummages through the equipment.

Skagra pilots the TARDIS to the carrier ship. Unaware of The Doctor’s presence on board, Skagra planned “an infinite concert of the mind” from the command deck of the carrier ship.

(Okay, so why are the Krargs helping Skagra?)

K-9 effects repairs to the console and Romana and Claire begin operating it again.

The Doctor cobbles together a helmet from various electronic equipment in the room.

On the command deck, a door appears – the usual for of Chronotis’ TARDIS. K-9 emerges, confusing the waiting party. (This is all narration, so not sure, but assuming Skagra, zombies and Krargs.)

The Doctor, who had been watching this from the scanner in his TARDIS, emerges from his own capsule, wearing the strange helmet.

Skagra threatens The Doctor’s life, but he just presses a button on his helmet and looks hard at Skagra… as did all the orb (sphere) zombies… in unison.

Skagra tried to control the prisoners, but The Doctor points out that his mind is in there, too. Skagra reasserted his will and some, the closest to him, seemed to fall under his sway. The ones in between were confused, and the closest to The Doctor were aligned with the Time Lord.

Their wills locked and The Doctor began to win, until a Krarg distracted him. Skagra began winning control while The Doctor had K-9 trap the Krarg in a beam.

The Doctor reasserted his will and again the prisoners were split in two groups – Skagra’s minions and The Doctor’s. The two groups began grappling with each other. The Doctor managed to manipulate things so that the Krarg was dissolved, but more arrived, keeping K-9 busy.

As Skagra thought victory was in his grasp, Romana cautiously emerged from the door. She slipped into the Generation Annex, filled with the vats of Krarg generation. She tipped the vats, sending the heavy gas into the command deck.

She and Claire took wires from the vats, each going to one side of the gas-filled command deck.

Skagra was getting the upper hand once more, forcing The Doctor back towards overheating Krargs. Plunging their wires into the gas, Romana and Claire force the Krargs to dissolve.

As Skagra’s concentration was disrupted, The Doctor is able to gain control of the zombies and send them after Skagra. The villain ran for his ship. Once there, he ordered his ship to take off, but instead, the ship beamed him into the cell.

Skagra demanded to be released by the ship. The ship says it can no longer accept his orders, as he is an enemy of the ships lord, The Doctor. The ship ignores Skagra’s orders, instead espousing the virtues of The Doctor and the modifications he made to its circuitry.

Skagra falls to his knees, demanding to be freed as the ship promises to tell him all about how great The Doctor is.

The Doctor freed the prisoners from the orbs, telling them he would take them back to Shada. He says that Shada was only forgotten because Salyavin made the Time Lords to forget to cover his escape, and thus the stealing of the book.

Back in Cambridge, Wilkins and a policeman walk; it seems that Wilkins has reported the theft of the professor’s room.

Well, you see, sir, in my experience, people don’t usually steal rooms very much.”

Wilkins doesn’t appreciate the policeman’s sarcasm.

Romana wonders if Salyavin/The Professor was still alive on Shada, considering that he called The Doctor originally since he was at the end of his lives.

The policeman and Wilkins arrive at the door in question. The policeman knocks and Chronotis calls out, “Come in!” They enter, to find The Doctor reading from a book as Romana, Claire and Chris listen and Chronotis is serving tea.

The policeman, seeing the TARDIS, wonders where they got a police box. The Doctor and Romana say their goodbyes and enter, saying they’ll keep the professor’s secret.

The policeman asks what secret that is, but before the professor can answer, the TARDIS dematerialises, much to the policeman’s dismay. When the policeman asks where the police box went, Chronotis pretends he doesn’t know what police box he’s talking about and the copper says he’s taking everyone in for questioning.

In the TARDIS, Romana says she found it hard to connect Chronotis and the great Salyavin, since he was such a nice old man.

The Doctor replies that, in a few hundred years, it was possible someone would meet him and say, “Is that The Doctor? He seems like such a nice, old man…” and the final credits roll.

Quite possibly the best serial from this season, though that’s not saying a whole lot – the only other good one was the first one, the one with Davros. This was a bit too goofy for my tastes, to be honest, otherwise I would say it was a great serial.

Ah, well.  

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