I know I’ve seen this, pretty sure I’ve seen all of this season, but I’m drawing a blank about what this one is about…

Episode 1:

We open with a spacecraft flying through space (hey, that was a theme a couple seasons ago, wasn’t it?), a big blocky vehicle, vaguely Battlestar Galactica looking.

Inside, the TARDIS materialises.

Adric tells Nyssa they’ve arrived. Nyssa goes to fetch The Doctor, but he and Tegan come in. The Doctor says they’re ahead of schedule and asks Tegan when her flight was. She gives the time and he consults the console, confirming the date and time – saying she has a couple hours.

However, when he opens the scanner screen, they see it’s not Heathrow Airport outside! Adric defends the coordinates he set, but The Doctor sees traces of a magnetic field. Checking more, he sees the atmospheric readings are all wrong for Earth. He dons a rebreathing helmet and heads out, issuing orders for the companions to remain in the TARDIS.

Stepping out, he begins examining the machinery in what appears to be a laboratory of some sort. A floating orb begins following him about, though he is quite unaware.

Opening a viewscreen, he sees the stars outside and wonders if he’s on a spaceship.

Someone in a control room orders the orb to look at the “intrusion” and it floats back to view the TARDIS. Several people talking (we don’t see them yet) say they do not know the object. The orb then follows The Doctor, as instructed.

The companions wait for The Doctor; Tegan is a worry wart and wants to get a helmet of her own to go out. She claims he might be in trouble (though they can see him poking about casually and haven’t noticed the orb yet, so I’m not buying that.)

Adric has a great line, “Oh, he’s always in trouble, Tegan. Haven’t you noticed? It amuses him.” He urges her on patience and she gets (melo)dramatic. Adric makes some very chauvanistic comments, offending both Tegan and Nyssa.

The Doctor finally notices the orb observing him.

Nyssa and Adric discuss some of the technology they see outside. The Doctor returns and tells them about the ship and the “monopticon”, the orb. He tells them to get helmets and they go out to poke about.

The inhabitants of the ship, watching from their control room, run a scan and identify the TARDIS as Earth origin, saying that is their destination. (Okay, it looks like an Earth object, but shouldn’t it scan as otherwise?)

The Doctor and Nyssa start geeking out over the technology; Nyssa notes that there are several devices that do the same purpose, but of different technological phases. The Doctor says that is what is interesting.

The orb zooms in on The Doctor as commanded by the (still unseen to us) controllers. The Doctor determines that the orb has a force shield. He attempts to engage it in conversation.

The inhabitants have determined the intruders to be Earthlings.

After The Doctor asks the orb if he could be taken to the leader, a door opens; Tegan and The Doctor go through, leaving Adric and Nyssa behind in the laboratory – Nyssa is attempting to get a device working and The Doctor tells Adric to stay with her (much to his disappointment.) He sulks and yells at the orb, like the whiny snot that he is.

Nyssa gets him to help her with machinery.

The multiple voices in the command area discuss the Earthlings, wondering if they’re more advanced than expected, and wondering if they’re more civilised than they understood.

Nyssa sends Adric into the TARDIS to fetch the time curve circuits, wanting to use the device to scan them.

The Doctor and Tegan arrive at the command room. Three alien, green skinned humanoids, sit in what seems to be a throne of sorts. The lead one introduces himself as Monarch. His companions are Enlightenment and Persuasion, the former seemingly female, Monarch and Persuasion seem to be male.

The Doctor explains that they come in peace and inadvertantly. Monarch orders the computer to initiate full life support so they may remove their helmets.

Monarch explains he is the supreme leader of the people of Urbanka. The Doctor realises they are a long way from home. It comes up that the Urbankans have not visited Earth in 2500 years.

Enlightenment asks Tegan about female fashion and she begins to draw a sketch for the alien. There is a slight tension in the air that The Doctor seems to note as well as Tegan.

A human approaches Nyssa from elsewhere in the lab. He is an old man in white robes. When Adric comes out seeking her, she is nowhere to be found; only the orb floats. When he asks where she is, another door, I’m not sure if the same one the old man came through or not, opens, and Adric passes through.

Monarch asks questions about how the TARDIS got on his ship; again, The Doctor seems tense about answering. As they talk, Adric arrives. He defends his sums and Monarch challenges him to show off his knowledge.

Tegan presents the sketch of a man and woman in fashionable gear to Enlightenment and Monarch instructs the visitors to go to another room for refreshments.

Monarch praises Enlightenment for getting a sketch from Tegan.

Adric is worried about Nyssa, as they head elsewhere. The Doctor tries to reassure the boy. They are led into a room where Nyssa awaits (as well as an orb.)

In the laboratory, Monarch inspects the TARDIS. He attempts to gain access using a laser key, then a directional cobalt flux, but neither unlocks the door. He is frustrated and storms off.

Bigon, the old man who approached Nyssa in the lab, enters, carrying trays. He introduces himself. Bigon admits that he is an Athenian, and sets out a meal of fruits, nuts and juices for them. A man in primitive dress enters and speaks to Tegan, who speaks Australian aboriginal tongue (of course she does.)

She says the man says he is on walkabout, going to Heaven.

Monarch is watching this from the command room; Enlightenment and Persuasion are nowhere to be seen.

In the refreshment room, a woman in Mayan dress enters, then a Chinese man in traditional robe. The Doctor questions what they’re doing on the ship and wonders if they’re hostages; through the orb, Monarch communicates to them not to answer The Doctor’s question (though it is not obvious to The Doctor and companions what is said.) Bigon says if Monarch has not told them, they must not answer.

A man and woman in green arrive; they are the spitting images of Tegan’s drawing! They tell them that Monarch says they will be at Earth in four days and they are to complete the journey with them. When The Doctor asks who they are, the male responds they have already met. “This is Enlightenment, and I am Persuasion.”

At this shocker, the credits roll.

Nifty bit, that. I remember this serial in general and a few specifics (like that last bit), but more than that, not much.

Episode 2:

Tegan is very upset by this development. Enlightement assures her that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

They explain their technology allows them to do this. Adric questions if he could do it and Enlightenment says he could, but he has no need… adding an ominous, “Yet”. Persuasion informs them that they do have a need, as the dominant emotion on Earth is fear and the last time they visited, they were greeted with hostility.

Monarch, still watching, consults his computer on Gallifrey.

The Doctor inquires the purpose of the journey to Earth. They explain that Urbanka no longer exists and they are going there for resettlement, bringing three billion of their people with them on the one ship.

Monarch instructs his ministers to relate no more, and the orb in the room chirps. The computer tells there is no entry on The Doctor or Gallifrey.

Once the meal is complete, Bigon is instructed to lead the visitors to their quarters. Bigon says they will be comfortable there, “I was.” They are led into a room that doesn’t look very comfortable.

Adric asks Bigon where the others of the three billion Urbankans are.

Bigon assures The Doctor that he has no need of the accomodation any longer. He mentions being rescued from Earth one hundred generations ago. Monarch (now accompanied by his now human seeming ministers) complains that the old fool is chattering.

Bigon suddenly departs, though there was no orb to relate Monarch’s displeasure.

Tegan is quite panicked and says she wants to go now, once The Doctor says he doesn’t anticipate any difficulty getting back to the TARDIS. However, the Time Lord has other plans.

The Doctor places his hat over the orb in the room and then activates a small device, cutting off Monarch’s listening ability. Monarch seems pleased at The Doctor’s intelligence, saying he could be a valuable ally. Persuasion says he could be a dangerous enemy, too.

Tegan then complains about the buzzing from The Doctor’s device (she complains a whole lot, I don’t remember her being so fucking obnoxious…) He tells her if they want their conversation to be private, she will have to put up with the buzzing.

Adric says there’s no way three billion people could fit on one ship and the Urbankans must be lying… or mad. The Doctor points out that Enlightenment didn’t speak of three billion people, but of a population. When Adric says they’re the same thing, The Doctor calls it “sloppy thinking”, pointing out there are at least three billion bacteria in the room they’re in.

The Doctor realises that the Mayans flourished 8,000 years ago, the Futu dynasty in China about 4,000 years ago. He suggests the aborigine was taken twelve thousand years ago.

Tegan says that’s mad. The Doctor says that the humans they met could be descendants of the originals taken. He lays out that the Urbankans visited four times that they can guess at, taking at least one representative each time. Now they’re coming back, looking to place three billion Urbankans with three billion humans. (Funny, a quick Google search suggests that the population of Earth in 1982 was 4.2-4.6 billion.)

Monarch tells his ministers to find a way to separate The Doctor from his companions, saying the boy and girl (Nyssa and Adric) will tell him more about The Doctor than he will himself.

The Doctor leads his companions out of their quarters. The Doctor and Tegan pass into an open door, which closes and cuts off Adric and Nyssa from them. The two teens go through another open door.

The Doctor says they were meant to lose them and cautions Tegan to stay calm.

Monarch says for the youths (or all, i’m not sure) to be allowed to move freely. He tells Enlightenment that he wishes to examine Bigon and she departs.

In a common area, we see groups of people – Athenians, Mayans, Futu chinese, aboriginals. Five Mayan women do a dance as music is played. The Doctor and Tegan enter and Persuasion joins them, inquiring about the “junior companions”.

He explains this is a recreation; when The Doctor asks how Urbanka is represented, Persuasion says they have no culture, “Such concepts are for the primitive.”

Monarch scolds Bigon for telling The Doctor too much. He says he wants to know more about The Doctor before telling him about “the ultimate”. Bigon warns him that when he does, The Doctor’s hand will be against him.

Then I will cut it off,” Monarch replies, matter-of-factly.

Nyssa and Adric wander about, watched by orbs. They find themselves in a greenhouse; the plants are tended by aboriginals, who barely acknowledge them and do not speak to them. The youths leave.

The Mayans’ dance comes to a conclusion. Those assembled applaud. The Chinese present their entertainment next, two Chinese dragons come out and dance.

The Doctor tells Tegan not to fret too much, telling her to pretend to be enjoying herself at least.

Nyssa and Adric walk into a room where they have difficulty breathing. For two geniuses, it takes them long enough to remember they’re carrying around their helmets. (Watching, Enlightenment remarks that they have lungs – why this is worth stating, I don’t know. Monarch says, “Let them remember that.”)

Putting their helmets on finally (morons), they see Athenians working on computers. Adric realises the Athenians don’t need oxygen! He taps the arm of one of them, telling Nyssa the man’s arm is ice cold.

Nyssa sees a silver disk on the back of the man’s hand and realises they all do. When she messes with the disk, Monarch says she goes too far. The orb in the room chirps and the man shoves her away, never acknowledging her otherwise.

Another door opens and the youths depart.

The dragons depart to much applause. Bigon enters and claps his hands one, as four men enter. Two in gladiatorial gear face off against one another.

Bigon kneels by The Doctor and pretends to explain the contest (as Persuasion is watching from across the room), saying he needs to see him in private, as soon as possible. He asks The Doctor to make a diversion in about ten seconds and steps away.

The Doctor gets up and collapses, drawing attention from the orb and Persuasion. Bigon slips off as Persuasion checks on The Doctor, who says it was just a dizzy spell, “Must be the altitude.” (Enlightenment remarks to Monarch that was a fatuous remark, and Monarch replies, “Ah, the flesh time,” a phrase used a couple times before.)

Adric and Nyssa wander into another room, this time Chinese tending the machines. They find an induction furnace.

Enlightenment questions if it is wise “to let the children see the Mobiliary chamber?” He assures her he is in charge of things.

The gladiatorial fight ends with one running the other through with his sword. The audience applauds, but Tegan runs off, horrified. The recreation continues, the fallen man being dragged off, and aboriginal dances taking the floor.

Tegan runs into their quarters, where Bigon awaits. She’s rather upset. The Doctor follows, activating his buzzy thing. He chastises Bigon for his taste in entertainment; Bigon consoles Tegan, saying, “It is not as it seems!”

Nyssa and Adric watch the slain gladiator enter and lay down on a bed, where he is repaired – a cover slides down over the bed and glows brightly, then rises. The wound is completely healed.

Monarch orders for the children to be brought to him, and the healed gladiator and his companion approach Adric and Nyssa, who back away, fearfully.

Tegan (now composed) admits that The Doctor was right. Bigon explains that the first visit was over 35,000 years ago when Kurkutji (the aborigine) was taken. He explains that Monarch has increased the speed of the ship, cutting back the time between visits, with each trip.

Bigon reveals that he is not organic; he peels back his chest and slides up his face, to reveal a robotic body… and the credits roll.

And that’s our cliffhanger for today, kids. See you Thursday!

(This is really a slow-paced serial and could be better – the concept is neat enough to keep interest, but not as well as it should.)  

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