Yes, I’ve seen this one. Yes, it has the return of my favourite character of all from the show. Oh, yes, I’m excited.

Episode 1:

The Doctor confirms to Adric that they’ve made it across to N-Space. He explains that N-Space is much larger than E-Space. When Adric comments on all the stars, and asks if The Doctor knows them all, our Time Lord replies, rather wonderfully, “Well, just the interesting ones.”

Adric references the console (seems he’s getting rather comfortable with it – or perhaps she is with him) and finds a nearby planet, Traken. The Doctor says it is a great planet, an empire held together by people just being nice to one another.

When Adric points out that they’re going to Traken, The Doctor says it must have been Adric, but the boy says he didn’t. They end up in orbit around one of the planets. Suddenly, The Doctor notices that a man in a chair is inside the console room with them.

The man is very wizened, ancient. The Doctor guesses him to be the “Keeper of Traken”. The Keeper says that his time is coming near and his power is ebbing away. He invites The Doctor to come to Traken, saying there is great danger, that Traken faces disaster.

The Doctor and the Keeper regale Adric with tales of Traken and its goodness – The Doctor tells stories that are spoken about the empire and the Keeper says they’re all true.

Using the scanner screen, he shows them the planet and the people of Traken. He speaks of the Fosters, the “guardians of the spiritual welfare of our capital”. As we watch, a group of men tend to a forestal garden.

A glowing red dot that was approaching the planetary scene is seen landing near where the Fosters work. It appears to be a humanoid shape, a statue. The Keeper says they are called Melkur, “literally, a fly trapped in honey” and says the Fosters know there is nothing to fear, and the Melkur’s evil will be kept to the grove, where it will only produce weeds, before calcifying and passing into the soil.

A woman is shown attending to the Melkur, setting flowers at its feet, speaking to it kindly. Her name is Kassia.

When The Doctor says that evil seems to be under control, the Keeper says this scene was from years ago; Kassia has since grown up and become a consul. He says the day of her marriage to a man named Tremas has “somehow become the turning point for Traken.”

On the screen we see the newlyweds kiss as their friends and family cheer. Tremas calls for the applause to end, saying it is heady and he’s already drank too much. Everyone laughs with him. (Tremas is played by the wonderful Anthony Ainley, who gives a masterful performance.)

We see that Tremas has a daughter, from a previous marriage. The others begin playfully teasing Kassia for her dedication to the Melkur, even after all these years, saying they thought she was married to the statue.

The Keeper is shown appearing at the wedding and he calls the two of them to receive his blessing. The Keeper releases Kassia from her duty to the Melkur, saying the Fosters may tend to it in her absence… but then he changes his mind, saying that Nyssa, Tremas’ daughter, will take the responsibility.

Nyssa kneels with her father and his wife, to take part in the blessing. The Keeper says that he is nearing the time of his passing (and it’s worth noting that the Keeper is played by Denis Carey, whom we last saw as Professor Chronotis in SHADA!) The Keeper calls a blessing on the three before him.

In the TARDIS, the Keeper says that he sensed more than just the approaching end of his time and the transition between Keepers. He reveals that he named Tremas as his successor as Keeper, but he has sensed an all-pervading evil in the three he was blessing.

The Doctor and Adric promise to do whatever they can do. The Keeper says that they must confront power that could even obliterate a Time Lord and then bids them farewell, disappearing from sight.

On Traken, we see Tremas and Nyssa and a proctor discussing Kassia, who is absent, saying farewell to her Melkur – obviously, this is the same night we have just witnessed on the scanner.

Kassia stands in the grove, talking to the Melkur; she is unhappy about the appointing of Tremas as Keeper Nominate, saying when he becomes Keeper, she will lose her husband. She knows that the Keeper’s passing will be soon, and the Melkur echoes her, saying, “Soon…”

This startles her.

On the TARDIS, The Doctor has brought out several old time logs, saying he’s not sure if he’s ever been to Traken. He gives one volume to Adric and peruses one himself, telling Adric to look for any references to Traken, the Keeper, all-pervading evil or, as Adric suggests, universal harmony.

On Traken, several people gather around a body. One man directs several others to pick up the body. He tehn engages in conversation with two men, one being the proctor Tremas and Nyssa spoke to the night before. They speak of Kassia calling a meeting, one saying it must be “another of her strange ideas”. The elder defends her, saying she is a “gifted sensitive”.

They discuss the death, the proctor saying that the man died is a most unsettling way, his face wracked by fear. The elder man says that there is rumour enough abroad, restlessness within the consuls of the Union. The proctor suggests that the Fosters should be armed.

Tremas, who has been scanning the courtyard with a device, saying that if the readings are true, some force is taking possession of Traken. The elder man is equally alarmed.

Adric complains that the time logs are problematic and contradictory. The TARDIS arrives in the grove.

Tremas addresses a meeting of consuls, saying they are unsure if the death was murder or not. He explains that the death is a result of a high energy source. Kassia rises and (after murmurning to herself about a sign, something to do with the Melkur) says that she senses something and urges them to arm the Fosters.

The elder consul urges not to be alarmist, they must have reason. She asserts that she does have reason, but will not explain.

The Doctor and Adric exit the TARDIS, finding the Melkur. Adric says it looks almost alive, but The Doctor says it looks calcified to him.

The consuls debate – Kassia says the people are alarmed at the changes, the others try to reassure her that these things are to be expected at the end of the Keeper’s lifespan. The elder consul says the Keeper will speak when the time is right.

Adric and The Doctor slip into the building, only to be arrested by armed men.

The council votes to summon the Keeper, but before they do so, The Doctor and Adric are brought in. The proctor says he has found the cause of the evil.

In the grove, the Melkur regards the TARDIS and its eyes glow red.

Tremas asks who they are. The Doctor complains about Traken hospitality, saying they were invited by the Keeper. (He says, “Excuse my namedropping,” which I must scoff at.)

The consul is surprised, but Tremas says that the Keeper promised one who would come to help. The elder consul questions if The Doctor’s craft is in the grove, which he agrees that it is. Proctor Neman is ordered to send men to investigate.

The Melkur beams the TARDIS with energy from his eyes and it disappears.

Proctor Neman reports that the Fosters have searched the grove, there is no craft!

The Melkur’s head turns, watching Fosters move about the grove.

The consuls gather around the Keeper’s chamber, to summon him.

The Melkur enters the building, the hall of the council.

The council activates machinery to summon the Keeper. He appears in the chamber. When he is told of the strangers, he orders them brought forward. The Melkur watches from beyond the door of the chamber, its eyes glowing red.

The Keeper cries out that they are invaded by infinite evil and disappears. The Melkur scurries away and the council turns to The Doctor and Adric, believing the Keeper was speaking of them… and the credits roll.

Oh, I’m loving this. Such a great serial already. I am loving Anthony Ainley as Tremas – it’s a shame they couldn’t come up with a recurring role for him.

Episode 2:

The Doctor pleads for common sense as one of the consuls calls for their execution. He asserts that the Keeper was attacked by someone there or nearby. Kassia asserts that the strangers are the creatures of Melkur. She gets all melodramatic and passes out.

The Melkur exits the building.

Kassia is placed in a chair, and The Doctor asks about the Melkur, saying he wished he knew more about it. He says that it must have been some form of energy attack, and bemoans having an instrument to measure it, but then sees Tremas holding the device he was using at the scene of the death.

Tremas and The Doctor discuss being scientists and they beging consulting the device and each other.

The Melkur kills a man on its way out of the building.

Tremas seems to be playing both sides, consulting the strangers, but not willing to tell the council too much – and when he speaks to the council, he says he is unsure of The Doctor, but when Kassia calls for execution again (bloodthirsty bitch), he claims ancient privilige and puts the strangers under his protection.

The council reluctantly agrees, and they explain to the strangers that their behavior under his protection will reflect upon him as well. It is then noticed that Kassia has slipped off.

She runs into the courtyard, finding the dead bodies the Melkur left behind. She hides the body, saying it mustn’t be discovered, it is too soon. Just as she drags the second body away, the consuls, The Doctor and Adric enter and custody of the strangers is formally placed in Tremas’ care. The council departs and as the sun is about to rise, The Doctor asks for breakfast.

That morning, Nyssa tends to the Melkur while Kassia watches, seemingly jealous. Nyssa brushes off the moss and such off the statue’s shoulders, lays flowers at its feet and departs. Once she’s gone, Kassia approaches the statue, asking, “Yes, Melkur?”

Nyssa returns home as The Doctor, Tremas and Adric finish up breakfast. Introductions are made and The Doctor asks if she’s seen the TARDIS. Tremas offers to take The Doctor to the grove, leaving Adric behind with Nyssa.

Kassia apologises to the Melkur for her failure in trying to destroy the strangers, but the Melkur says the law that protects them now will end up destroying them. Melkur assures Kassia that Tremas will not become Keeper. It instructs her to listen and obey without question.

Nyssa shows Adric their technology and they discuss the Source, the bio-electrical technology that gives the Keeper the power to guide the Union. Adric references Tremas’ device and asks for pen and paper.

The elder consul, Seron, returns home to find the others (minus Tremas) gathered there. Kassia says that Tremas has been hiding information from them – the nature of the energy emissions. Seron chastises them for disharmony, saying that he and Tremas have discussed the energy emissions together.

Seron says that the knowledge is dangerous and could tip the populace into superstition. Kassia questions Tremas’ suitability for the position of Keeper and the others suggest rapport with the Keeper, as “It is the only way we know to resolve this problem.”

Seron says that it was he that advised Tremas to keep the knowledge from the others; the other male consul says that it must be Seron who enters rapport, but Kassia hisses that is not intended. Seron demands to know whose intent she speaks of, but she does not answer.

Seron says he will submit to rapport and asks that Tremas keep vigil for him, but the others say with Tremas under suspicion, this will not do. Kassia says she will take vigil.

Seron’s reply is awesome, “Thank you, Kassia. Under your zealous eye, we may be certain justice will be done.” He asks them to leave, so that he may prepare himself.

The Doctor and Tremas find a group of citizens assembled at the gate to the grove. Proctor Neman suggests that they not visit the grove, as it may confirm the populace’s belief that the Melkur has been redeemed and will soon save them from the current troubles.

As The Doctor begins to complain, Tremas leads him off, warning him that Neman is too fond of money to be trusted implicitly. He tells the Time Lord that there is another way to the grove, a service vault beneath the Keeper’s chamber.

Adric continues to work on the readings, saying he thinks he knows, but it is impossible. When Adric wants to find The Doctor, Nyssa says he is to stay with him. Adric says she’ll have to come along, and they head off to the grove.

Melkur gives Kassia a gift, a collar, which he tells her to wear as a token of her allegiance. The collar glows once she puts it on and the Melkur bids her to go be her eyes and ears.

She complains that all is not as the Melkur foresaw – she says Seron will enter rapport instead. She begs it to spare her husband.

Inside a control room, Kassia begs on the monitor screens. There are control panels all about. A dessicated hand presses a button, turning off the monitors, and a voice laughs.

Tremas and The Doctor enter the hall holding the Keeper’s chamber, but they see someone is in there, and hide. As they hide, they see Kassia exit the service tunnel. Tremas calls out to her, but she seems to be in a trance and does not notice.

Once she has departed, they enter. Inside, they see the “Source manipulator”, the device that gives the Keeper his power. Tremas leads The Doctor on, while the Time Lord pontificates about how such power could be a great temptation to those “less principled”. Tremas agrees, saying he has had such thoughts himself.

The figure at the control panel is alerted when they enter the grove and turns on the monitors. Again we only see a hand.

The Doctor determines that the TARDIS is actually there, just slightly displaced, temporally. He asks Tremas for help and they set off to get some equipment.

The figure in the control room turns off the monitor, saying, “Find your TARDIS, Time Lord, much good will it do you now.”

Nyssa asks Proctor Neman why the people are gathered at the gate to the grove. He says they are allowed there, but she says they offended the dignity of the Keeper and they should be removed. He argues that it is not lawful, but she reminds him her father and the counsuls determine what is lawful. She pays him and he acquiesces.

Once they’re gone, she waves for Adric to come. Finding the gate locked, Adric borrows her brooch to pick the lock. Adric slips through, but before Nyssa does in, Katura (the elderly lady consul) and Luvic (the other male consul) see her and tell her it is too dangerous and insist she let them take her home.

Adric hears all this from the grove and moves in on his own. This is observed by the figure in the control room.

Adric moves through the grove, wary of the Melkur. The Doctor and Tremas startle him and he says he must talk to them. The three go elsewhere to confer.

Seron is accompanied by the other consuls. He and Kassia enter the Keeper’s chamber hall.

Adric says the wave loop pattern of the emissions seems familiar and might be from some form of a TARDIS. The Doctor, reviewing his figures, says he might have a point.

Seron claims rapport with the Source so that the Keeper might make judgment. Kassia works controls at the Keeper’s chamber.

In the Source chamber, The Doctor takes a device and modifies it, making a “fully fledged full backflow inducer. Tremas sees the Source manipulator active and says the Keeper is being summoned. The three of them rush out to investigate.

Seron is caught in a beam of brilliant light. He goes stiff, then spins, moaning and collapsing to his knees.

The Keeper appears, saying, “You are blameless, Seron, but doomed. And we are both betrayed.” He turns his head to regard Kassia before disappearing. Seron rises, asking for Seron’s forgiveness, saying she serves a greater purpose.

Her eyes change, first seeming to fake, then glowing red.

In the control room, we see through Kassia’s eyes. Seron speaks to her, accusing her of treachery, reaching out to her, begging her to reject it.

She says she cannot and says, “Now, Melkur, now!” From her eyes, energy beams out, striking Seron dead.

Tremas arrives, asking what has happened, what she has done. The other consuls enter, accompanied by Fosters. Kassia tells them Seron has been rejected by the Keeper. She says the Melkur is behind it all and accuses Tremas and his charges as being the agents of evil.

Tremas, The Doctor and Adric rush back into the vault as Luvic orders the Fosters to arrest them. Kassia calls for the Fosters to stop, ordering them to come with her instead.

Back in the vault, The Doctor takes the device he was working on and leads Adric and Tremas to the grove. In the grove he activates the device, saying they must wait.

The Melkur speaks, saying recovering the TARDIS won’t help. The TARDIS appears, but Kassia steps out, blocking them from it. When Tremas approaches her, asking for help, she says not to look in her eyes, but he does and he is stunned by beams of energy.

As The Doctor and Adric help Tremas up, the three of them are ensnared in a net by the Fosters.

Kassia steps over to the Melkur, saying it is done, but the Melkur says it is just beginning. Kassia looks confused at the words… and the credits roll.

Oh, this is just so, so good. And a great cliffhanger, because we still don’t know WHAT the Melkur is up to… and one you’ll have to ponder over the weekend. See you Monday!

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