Recap: They’re ONLY spiders.

Episode 3:

Inside the TARDIS, Adric tries to figure out what’s going on.

The Doctor and Dexeter examine the marsh creature in the lab. The Doctor sees that Dexeter has taken some tissue samples from the creature. They discuss the embarkation being the prime purpose for the citizens… which makes The Doctor question why Dexeter is devoting so much time to the marsh creature.

Login arrives and overhears The Doctor talking about leaving. He asks The Doctor to show him how he gained access.

The youths in the TARDIS argue. It’s compelling tv, yo.

Romana is prone, barely stirring; multiple spiders rest on her.

As Login and The Doctor head towards the entrance, they pass some maintenance workers. The Doctor realises they’re replacing a perfectly fine circuit and asks Login about it. The new Deceider says that he does not know of these things, but says they are following the manuals.

When The Doctor points out that at this rate, it will be years before the starliner launches, Login says it will be generations. This horrifies the Time Lord.

Login offers to help The Doctor find his ship, in exchange for help finding Keara. The Doctor agrees and Login orders the men guarding the door to unseal it. As they argue, the TARDIS appears in the gallery, right next to The Doctor.

The Doctor is surprised when Keara exits, not Romana, and then the rest of the Outlers. The Outlers are grabbed by the guards and Login tells his daughter there will be an inquiry; meanwhile, The Doctor (and Adric who never fully exited the TARDIS) slip back in and try to reverse the trip to go back to Romana.

The TARDIS returns to the outler cave. Romana is sitting and says she’s fine, but has no recollection of who The Doctor is.

Dexeter speaks to the first two Deceiders; Dexeter is preparing to do some procedure and says he would prefer to have a fully grown marshman. Nefred asks Dexeter what he hopes to learn and the scientist says he wants to know the nature of the creatures.

Nefred says that he knows of the creatures from his secret knowledge of the system files. He instructs Dexeter that the experiments must be kept secret. Dexeter agrees, and Nefred tells him also to postpone the procedure while he and Garif confer.

In the TARDIS, Adric is tending to Romana who is laying down. The Doctor says she’s in some sort of coma. Adric says that K-9’s head was not in the cave.

The Outlers (including others who were not on the TARDIS) are brought to the Deceiders’ hall and told to wait. When Varsh says that this is all just mind games, a ploy to control them, Tylos brings up that Varsh said the same about mistfall.

Garif and Login meet with Dexeter, saying that the First Deceider has explained “something of the position” to them. Early tradition had kept any research into the origins of the marshmen from happening, but Nefred has given the okay for Dexeter’s experiments on one condition – that the Deceiders supervise and there is to be “complete secrecy”.

Nefred is in the chamber, reading from the system files, while the Outlers spat amongst themselves. The other two Deceiders arrive and Nefred begins speaking of the vow the original inhabitants of the starliner gave to repair the ship and to return to Terradon. Each generation renews that vow and the Outlers have forsaken that. Login says that the Outlers are children, seemingly asking for lenience.

Nefred says there is no punishment, that they are to rejoin the community and the work towards embarkation.

The TARDIS returns to the gallery, startling the maintenance unit there.

Dexeter speaks to the Deceiders, who watch from their hall over a video link. The scientist is about to cut open the creature (who is awake now) to examine its brain. I don’t like Dexeter very much any more.

The Doctor and Adric storm into the Deceider’s hall, angry that he’s going back on his word not to harm the creature. As Dexeter cuts into the creature’s head, Romana, who has strange markings on her face, wakes and screams.

The Doctor pleads for Dexeter not to go any further, but suddenly the creature breaks free of its restraints and attacks Dexeter. It goes on a rampage, smashing the laboratory. Seeing The Doctor’s face on the video screen, it approaches it, touches the screen, then smashes it… the creature is seemingly electrocuted as a result.

The Doctor sends Adric back to the TARDIS. The Time Lord chastises the Deceiders, who assert they were within their rights. He reprimands them as the leaders and says that if Nefred is First Deceider, he is responsible. Nefred admits he is responsible for the community, but The Doctor shouts, “No, no!”

He then asks Login if they’ve let him in on the secret and the fraud of perpetual movement, the endless tasks going in circles, the same components being replaced over and again.

When Login says that the manuals promise them a return to Terradon, and Garif says that the ship must be made ready first, The Doctor scoffs. He tells them it’s been made ready for centuries, it could take off in half an hour.

Login is astonished and asks the other Deceiders if this is true. Nefred says that The Doctor understands much (to which he replies, “True,”) but not everything. (The Doctor agrees to this, as well.) Nefred says they are standing in the Great Book Room. The books are manuals on how to repair and replace every inch of the ship.

However, there is one secret that has been kept from them – nobody knows how to pilot the ship!

The Outlers are brought to several locations in a hall and run through the maintenance work. They seem incredibly unhappy.

The Doctor uses Dexeter’s lab to examine a spider; Login tells him that the spiders only appear at mistfall and nobody has ever examined one before. The Doctor puts it under the microscope and says everything looks as expected, but then says he recognises a certain cell shape… or at least that he’s seen it before.

When he asks Login about the mistfall, whether anyone’s ever examined it, the Deceider says yes, but the information is priviliged. He does tell The Doctor that every fifty years, another planet takes Alzarius away from its sun, and the cooling process inevitable. The Doctor says this is what causes the mistfall.

The Doctor suddenly realises that Dexeter had a slide of the marshchild, and while he begins to look for it, Adric bursts in, saying Romana is gone. The Doctor takes off with the boy. They return to Romana’s room in the TARDIS, to find it demolished.

Adric says it must be marshmen, but The Doctor scoffs.

We see Romana walking down some stairs, somewhere deep within the starliner.

The Doctor and Adric follow a trail of clothing parts through the ship.

Romana opens a hatch, letting in the marshmen… and the credits roll.

Nicely done cliffhanger there. Whatever will happen!?!??!?!!?

Episode 4:

Over the PA, a security alert is issued as a dozen or more marshmen enter; the last marshman and Romana rub hands in some greeting.

The marshmen make their way into the ship as Romana opens another hatch, letting in more marshmen.

The Outlers are trapped in the gallery by the marshmen. Varsh throws a bag of components down and the marshman start picking them up. As the Outlers slip off, one of the marshman threatens the maintenance man they were with and Tylos goes back to save him, only to be attacked and left behind by the maintenance man.

The Doctor and Adric wander the corridor; when The Doctor realises they’ve been walking in circles, he says, “I think we’ve come full circle,” and this triggers Adric’s recollection of Draith’s last words – “Tell Dexeter we’ve come full circle,” which he passes on to The Doctor.

Suddenly, The Doctor asks Adric about his knee, but Adric says that was hours ago, he’s fine – old people can take longer to heal, apparently, “sometimes a whole day”! (Sign me up, maybe?)

The Doctor sees great significance in this, saying that rapid cellular adaptation settles it. They head back to the science unit, but stop when the PA announces that everyone should stay in their quarters. Varsh and Keara show up and The Doctor sends the three youths to hide in the science unit.

More marshmen come in, presumably through a third entrance?

The three Deceiders confer, trying to figure out how the marshmen entered, whether The Doctor betrayed them. Nefred says he doesn’t think so. When Login asks what they’re going to do, Nefred turns it back on him, asking him the same.

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS in the gallery, finding Tylos (or his body, at least). A marshman shows up, weilding the club that took out K-9, which still has the robot dog’s head attached to it. The Doctor snatches the head off the club, holding it in front of his face to intimidate the marshmen.

Romana arrives, her face having pulsating patterns on it. This startles The Doctor.

Varsh, Keara and Adric hang out in the science lab. Adric swaps out the broken image translator from the TARDIS with one from the microscope.

The Doctor tries to talk down Romana, as she takes swipes at him. He coaxes her to stay by the TARDIS.

The Deceiders and citizens go through books, maps, trying to figure out how to close off the marshmen and protect the citizens. Login is amazed as the other two Deceiders say they must reference other books before they can agree with his plan.

Adric argues with Varsh and Keara, as the latter two leave the science lab.

Nefred says that the marshmen will adapt to whatever they choose to do and so they must do nothing. Login is horrified, offended. I like Login. As they argue, the marshmen force their way into the hall.

The Doctor encounters the three Outlers and tells them that Tylos is dead.

The marshmen go on a rampage, knocking down books, smashing things, attacking Deceiders and citizens alike.

Back in the science lab, The Doctor tries to use the microscope, but the burnt out circuit won’t work. Adric gives him the one he took from it and The Doctor chastises him for stealing it for the TARDIS.

The Doctor plugs it into the microscope, but says if it works in the TARDIS, it will prove they’re in E-space – the Exo Space-Time Continuum. He powers of the microscope and has a look at the marshchild sample.

The Deceiders carry Nefred, who was injured by a marshman, into the area Romana let the marshmen in. Login gives orders to citizens with them to close the bulkheads.

The Doctor has worked up some solution to “put Romana to rights”.

Nefred seems to be dying. He speaks weakly to the Deceiders, saying they have procrastinated too long. He says The Doctor must teach them to fly the ship, it is his wish that they leave Alzarius. Garif adds, “And return to Terradon,” but Nefred says they cannot return there – they have never been there. And with that, the First Deceider passes away.

The marshmen break into the science lab.

Garif begs Nefred’s corpse to tell them what to do. Login says they must find The Doctor.

The Doctor tells the youths to avoid all contact with the marshmen. Adric grabs the serum before a marshman grabs it. Using oxygen cannisters, they force the marshmen back, making it too rich for them.

As the youths force the marshmen out, The Doctor works on the slides some more, until Romana arrives. He backs away from her, but when she collapses, The Docotr tells her to get the serum.

Login and Garif and two citizens come across the marshmen being forced back by Adric and Varsh.

In the lab, The Doctor and Keara work on Romana. He asks her how long the ship has supposedly been there, the girl says forty generations. The Doctor says that can’t be right. He says evolution goes in quantum leaps, but not that fast.

He goes back to the microscope, studying slides. Romana begins to stir. The Doctor says he needs to determine the evolutionary process from spiders to marsh creatures… and beyond.

Romana recommends trying gel electrophoresis, which The Doctor thinks is a great idea. Romana smiles, her face back to normal.

In the gallery, Varsh/Adric/Deceiders/etc see Tylos’ body, which has the markings on the face like Romana’s did. Adric’s cylinder is starting to run out of oxygen and Varsh sends him ahead. He stays behind to keep a marshman at bay.

Romana says it’s been more like four thousand generations since the starliner crashed. (That’s like, what, ten thousand years.) They show Keara the samples of Dexeter, the spider and the creature – the cells are all the same!

Adric runs in to get another cannister, saying Varsh is trapped.

Varsh continues to blast the marshman with the oxygen – seems to me he could have run off at any point now. Since he didn’t run off, another one shows up and Varsh runs out, but he is grabbed and pulled through as the security door closes.

By time Adric opens it, Varsh is dead. The Doctor tells Login to flood the starliner with oxygen.

The marshmen flee the ship to get away from the oxygen. Garif worries that if they adapt to the oxygen they could break the ship. The Doctor says they could, but they could learn to read and repair the ship, just as they did 40,000 generations ago. (I thought it was 4000.)

Oh, that’s so cool. I remembered this about an episode ago, but still, major goosebumps.

Login realises that was what Nefred meant. Garif is horrified at the idea that they descended from the marshmen.

The Doctor has a great quote, “We’re all basically primeval slime with ideas above its station.”

Login points out that if they learned how to get out, they can learn to get back in.

Adric is hanging out by the TARDIS and slips in when he hears the Time Lords and Deceiders approaching. When The Doctor points out that the marshmen somehow know that the inhabitants are descended from them, and that’s why they’re aggressive to them, Login asks The Doctor to fly the starliner.

Romana appeals to The Doctor, too, saying that if they stay, generations will die. The Time Lords set up the launch sequence and leave the rest to them – they have a manual that is complete enough to do the rest.

Login says they must decide together, but Garif says it requires more thought, whether to launch the ship or not.

In the TARDIS, The Doctor tells Romana (who is finishing putting K-9 back together again) that he was invited to be a Deceider, but he decided not to accept.

Romana finds the image translator that Adric left on the console. He plugs it in, and it works – this confirms they are in E-Space, or as she calls it Exo-Space.

Using the scanner, they watch as the starliner takes off.

Romana says they’re trapped, unless they can find another CVE (Charged Vacuum Embointment – the event they passed through on their way to Gallifrey.) K-9 affirms this… and the credits roll.

Well, for the most part, one of the best serials in a long time. I really enjoyed the plot twists. Excellent fun, good characters, just the right amount of silly.

And, well… no, I shouldn’t say anything just yet.