No idea if I’ve seen this, but I want to say I have. Let’s find out?

Episode 1:

Atop a small mountain, a castle overlooks the land. Inside, a man and woman sit side by side on thrones. A man approaches, bows and says, “It is the time of selection, my Lord.” The man on the throne bids him to choose well.

Habris, the man who approached, is told to keep in mind what the Great One holds dear – spirit, blood and flesh. A third man in the throne room speaks to him and sends him off.

In a common hall, a man moves amongst those eating, having select ones line up. Habris and two guards enter and Habris regards the line up. Habris chooses one who was not part of the line up, the son of the man who had the others line up. Habris tells the parents he can promise nothing.

The Doctor tells Romana that the TARDIS is feeling “a bit queasy”. Romana harps on their being trapped. K-9 tries to get The Doctor’s attention, eventually telling him about a nearby planet that closely resembles Earth and is inhabited.

The TARDIS arrives in the woods. The Time Lords exit and The Doctor pulls out a spyglass, sighting the tower overlooking the village. When The Doctor says it looks to be a typical medieval setting, Romana points out that K-9 said there was high tech.

As The Doctor returns to the TARDIS to get his coat and scarf, he tells K-9 to stay behind. As he leaves, we see Adric is inside the TARDIS, listening through the door to the console room.

Outside, the Time Lords scare off a local. They enter the village and find Habris and the man whose son was taken (Habris says there is no news – obviously, some time has passed.) When The Doctor admits they are neither from the village nor the tower, Habris asks how he may serve him, addressing him as “my Lord”. When The Doctor does not give him any instructions, he begs permission to leave, claiming duties to be attended to.

The Doctor asks if there are any scientists? It seems there are no visitors; there are no other nearby villages (the village headman says there are no other villages, nothing else but village and tower.) He thinks he is being tested, since The Doctor is asking questions that everyone knows the answers to. He introduces himself as Ivo.

Ivo says that the Lords protect them from “the wasting”. Romana says this is silly and wants to leave. The Doctor asks how long the Lords have been around, and Ivo says forever. After the Time Lords depart, Ivo pulls out a communicator and contacts someone named Kalmar, telling him of the strangers.

Adric enters the console room, but is stopped by K-9. Adric admits he’s been a stowaway. K-9 explains that The Doctor and Romana have gone off, but K-9 warns him to stay. Adric uses logic to get K-9 to allow him to depart.

The Time Lords walk through the woods; The Doctor talks about going to the next village, but Romana says there isn’t one. There’s a strange noise, and several men in hooded robes come out and surround them.

Habris reports to the two Lords (dunno if the third guy is a Lord or just an advisor, but he’s there, too) about the strangers. The Lady is troubled by the appearance of strangers “at a time like this”. The Lord says they must be with the rebels if they were not found in the village.

The Lady asks why Habris did not seize them; he says they had the bearing of Lords, but he is chastised that they are the only Lords. He is sent out to order more patrols, but the third man, who is addressed by the man on the throne as Aukon, says he will find out more about the strangers, instead of wasting Habris’ patrols.

Aukon says if the strangers are still on the planet, his servants will find them, and there’s a bat superimposed over his face and eerie music plays. (I do love the look and feel of this serial so far.)

The Time Lords are escorted through the woods by the robed men. They pass some debris in the woods that looks out of place, technological. They are led into a bunker of sorts, where an older man tends to some electronical equipment.

The old man recognises “Doctor” as a title used to address men of science. He asks if The Doctor is a scientist. “Well, I’ve dabbled a bit,” the Time Lord replies. The Doctor ignores questions about who they are, saying the equipment is more interesting.

One of the rebels argues about the equipment, the generator, but Kalmar says once they rediscover the scientific principles, they can make weapons. The rebels argue more.

Romana asks how long this has been going on; Kalmar says forever, then expounds, “the Lords rule in the castle, the peasants toil in the fields, nothing has changed for a thousand years.”

When the rebels talk of overthrowing the Lords, The Doctor asks about “the wasting”, asking what it is. One of the rebels is about to answer, but Kalmar puts his hand on his shoulder, and he ends up only saying, “The wasting is… (whispered) the wasting.”

Ivo’s wife makes a stew in the common/dining hall. Adric sneaks in, but she catches him, asking who he is, why she doesn’t know him. He asks about the strangers. Ivo arrives, saying he should leave, but she argues for the boy to stay, at least for the night.

She gives him a coat that belonged to her son. Adric helps himself to the stew, albeit reluctantly.

The rebels tell The Doctor that reading, science, knowledge is forbidden, though some is handed down. They explain how they fled into the wastelands and found this lair and technology and have been trying to learn to use it, repair it.

The Selection” is brought up – they tell Romana that some youths are “taken to the tower to serve the Lords”.

The Doctor gets a machine working, but only briefly. The Doctor gives it a bang and it works – it seems it is an Earth computer! It is a flight computer for the space ship Hydrax, destination Beta II. Romana posits the ship passed through a CVE as well.

The computer lists the ship’s officers – Captain Miles Sharkey, Navigational Officer Lauren MacMillan and Science Officer Anthony O’Conner. Pictures of the three officers come up and one of the rebels says that he was a tower guard before he became a rebel – he knows those faces, he saw them every day – the King, Queen and Councillor Aukon!

The Doctor and Romana set off, saying perhaps it is time they get to know these Lords. As they walk through the woods, Romana hears the noise they heard earlier, before the rebels found them. Again, The Doctor says it’s just bats, and he’s right. Though, he’s wrong when he says they’re harmless, as one bites him.

They move on, as a great number of bats fly overhead, some swooping down and accosting them. The Time Lords run, at times falling to the ground to avoid the bats. A great number flies in… and the credits roll.

Very moody episode, I love it.

Episode 2:

The bats fly off, but Hagris and two guards escort them to the tower. At the tower, the Time Lords are greeted by the King and Queen, who say they know who they are, but don’t know why they are here.

The King and Queen aren’t surprised to find out that the Time Lords are space travelers, and offer them some refreshment of wine and meats and fruit.

Romana cuts her finger on the glass and the Queen and King seem VERY interested in her, all of a sudden. The Queen gets grabby with Romana’s hand.

The Doctor asks if they might be able to help them figure out how to get back home, but they say they cannot help – their technology is lost to them.

Adric learns of “the selection” from Ivo’s wife. She says some chosen become guards, but not most. She informs him that the day before, her son was taken.

Ivo insists that their son will be chosen for a guard. The wife speaks of rebels in the wasteland.

Habris arrives to make another selection – or rather, Lord Aukon himself is there to do the deed. Ivo’s wife complains that it was just a day since the last. Aukon comes in, makes eye contact with Adric, looks at everyone else… and realises that Adric is not the dull mind he pretends to be, and chooses him.

When Adric asks what is in it for him, Aukon promises him, “wealth, power, dominion over this world… and many others.”

The Time Lords tell the Lords that, while most societies advance, theirs is devolving. Romana says that, for this to happen, a greater force than the natural advancement of society must be restraining it, to force it back.

The Doctor says he has never seen such a State of Decay (and now that we have the title, the story can begin?) The King says that every ship of state must have a pilot, which The Doctor finds to be a very interesting choice of words.

The Time Lords bring up the Hydrax; the king says the records were destroyed, though the Queen tries to get him to shut up. Just then, Habris enters, saying it is time – Aukon has seen the sign, “the arising is at hand”.

The Lords make a hasty departure, telling the Time Lords to stay and if they need anything, “…there are guards outside the door. MANY guards.”

You know something? I don’t think they want to be followed.” – The Doctor

The Time Lords take seat in the throne room. The Doctor brings up the Brothers Grimm and how they discovered how language can change, names can change over time. Romana realises that the King, who is named Zargo, has a named that could be derived from Sharkey – she says it could be the same name, passed on through generations.

The Doctor agrees, saying MacMillan could become Camilla and O’Conner could become Aukon. Romana says that they must be the descendents of the original crew; The Doctor confirms this and says they’re in the ship, the thrones are the pilot and co-pilot’s seats.

They find an inspection hatch under the throne and they slip into it.

Aukon meets with Camilla and Zargo in a cave; he has brought Adric with him, saying he sensed another alien’s mind when his servants were seeking out The Doctor. Aukon names him “the first of the chosen ones”, but they argue with him, saying the chosen ones were to be from the peasants. Aukon argues that they’ve bred obedience and stupidity into the peasants for twenty generations.

He says they’ve bred out qualities that they need.

Zargo and Camilla say that the aliens are dangerous and must die – the King wants to feed Adric to “the Great One”. Aukon says Adric’s mind is strong, clear, but malleable.

Camilla argues for increasing their numbers, as the Great One instructs. If they do not, he will be mad. Aukon says he will take Adric to be prepared.

The Doctor and Romana make their way through stairs.

Kalmar and the rebels debate whether they should go rescue The Doctor and Romana from the tower. Kalmar says it is out of their hands, but the others argue for an assault on the tower to rescue them. Kalmar argues they must wait, they are not ready, and most of the others agree.

The one who disagrees is the one who used to be a guard; he says he will go in alone and rescue The Doctor, hoping that the Time Lord will bring back knowledge they can use to attack. He says he can be a guard again to get back in.

The Doctor and Romana climb ladders.

Habris apologises for the escape of the prisoners. Zargo threatens to feed him to the Great One if he does not find them.

The Doctor and Romana make it to the top of the turret, the inside of which is an exploration capsule. They determine that there is some power left in the power cells.

They hear a faint noise, The Doctor says more evidence – of something he has a suspicion about, something “too horrible to think about.”

The rebel sneaks into the tower, taking out a guard.

The Doctor and Romana have gone all the way down to the bowels of the ship, where they can hear the same thrumming sound. The Doctor says that he doesn’t think “the creature” lives in the tower, but since those in the tower feed it, it must be close by.

Romana asks what creature, but The Doctor plays coy.

The Doctor turns on a light and they see the walls of the room are filled with drained bodies. The bodies are in little bays, with pipes exiting, filling the old fuel tanks with blood.

Outside the tower, we see a pipe leading down the side.

The Doctor and Romana have climbed down the pipe and are in a cavern. They can hear the sound again, louder, more clearly. The Doctor says it is the sound of a giant heartbeat. They find a tube coming down, red with blood. Romana says it is a feeding system.

They creep through the cavern, The Doctor speaking of vampire legends on just about every inhabited planet. Romana gets all scared. As the move forward, we again hear the chittering noise of the bats.

When Romana asks where they are, Aukon appears behind them, saying they are in the resting place. He introduces himself and says, “Welcome to my domain.” We get a close up of his eyes… and the credits roll.

An interesting cliffhanger, and one we’ll have to end with – not a “Oh my god, how will the hero escape” one, but a powerful one nonetheless. One that makes you want next week to get here so you can find out what happens next!

Fortunately, you only have to wait until tomorrow.

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