Recap: Trapped on a leper ship, The Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa link up with two raiders. They end up at Terminus, a space station at the exact center of the known universe. There, a group of armoured men called the Vanir pass the Lazars (lepers) on to a wolf-headed creature called the Garm. 

We left off with The Doctor in mortal combat with Valgard, one of the Vanir.

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

Kari recovers and grabs her blaster. The Doctor asks for help, and she shoots her gun, ricocheting the blast off a nearby surface, hitting Valgard in the back of the head, downing him. The Doctor and Kari head into the Forbidden Zone as he struggles to his feet.

Olvir hides from a group of Vanir, finding himself in a room with suits of their armour.

Turlough and Tegan finally break out of the service hatch tunnel system.

In the Forbidden Zone, The Doctor and Kari move along. The Doctor uses Kari’s radio to determine that “the level is acceptable… for the time being”, seemingly suggesting he knows of the radiation/whatever that makes it the Forbidden Zone? Kari remarks on how the static is always the same pattern. They move on, gasping (from… radiation?), unaware that the Garm is trailing behind them.

Amongst the Lazars, Nyssa attempts to speak to the Vanir, but they won’t listen. One of the other Lazars, a woman, speaks to her, saying the Vanir only care about hydromel, the drug they’re addicted to, that keeps them alive. She says they’re supposed to cure them, but she suspects they’re going to let them die instead.

Eirak slots a tube of hydromel into his armour, then begins inventorying the cache. As one of his men enters, he slams one of the tubes down (shattering it, much to the horror of his man), saying it’s coloured water and that the size of the consigment has been reduced.

The subordinate wonders why The Company has reduced the quantity, why they haven’t sent anyone to observe, oversee. Eirak says perhaps they have, after all, they’re only slaves, The Company doesn’t have to tell them anything. Just then, Valgard arrives to inform them about the presence of The Doctor and Kari and their entrance into the Forbidden Zone.

The others immediately jump to the conclusion that they must be agents from The Company. Eirak says the FZ is the perfect place to hide. He tells the others that the consignment has been reduced and if the strangers are Company agents, they may have information the Vanir need.

When Eirak suggests someone needs to go in after them, Valgard calls him out, saying why doesn’t he go, since he’s their “honoured leader”. Valgard calls his bluff. Eirak turns it back on him, saying if Valgard brings back the spies, he’ll step down and let Valgard become leader.

Nyssa’s chatty Lazar says there’s no way out. Nyssa asks her about the FZ, and she says that the radiation in the FZ is too strong for the Vanir, but that’s where the Lazars go to be cured. When Nyssa asks what the Garm is, she remarks, “You’ll find out soon enough.”

Olvir is getting dressed in Vanir armour and garb when another Vanir tells him they’re moving the Lazars, tank three. Olvir replies, “I’ll be down in a moment,” and it’s obvious the Vanir doesn’t recognise his voice. The Vanir hesitates but departs without saying a word.

Tegan and Turlough come across a drone, but slip by it easily.

The Vanir who spoke to Olvir returns to Eirak, telling him there’s a third intruder. Eirak and the man head off to take care of the intruder.

The Doctor asks Kari about the radiation leak; she speculates it’s part of the cure, but the Time Lord points out Olvir says there isn’t a cure. She suggests maybe the Vanir can’t repair it.

In the equipment room, Eirak and the other challenge the intruder, but it’s only an empty shell of armour. The other Vanir protests that it spoke (and he also saw the back of Olvir’s unhelmeted head, too, but he doesn’t say anything about that) but Eirak calls him a fool, accusing him of developing the Lazar disease.

Olvir approaches Valgard, who is standing outside the FZ. He lowers his visor before Valgard turns around. Thinking he’s being pressed by his fellow Vanir, he slams down his helmet, says, “I’m going,” and enters as Olvir watches.

The Vanir take Nyssa as she’s “hardly touched”. (They call her it, not her.) She struggles, protesting, but Eirak says the fit ones go first.

The Doctor and Kari hear someone singing.

Turlough asks Tegan if she had to kill someone, could she do it? She says if it was to save a friend, defend herself, she could. He asks about cold-blooded murder, and she calls him weird and storms off. BG’s voice echoes in his head, calling him a fool.

The singer is Bor, who is sick and burnt by the radiation and confused. The Doctor approaches, asking if they can help. Bor thanks them, then heads off singing, leaving The Doctor to drag some items the Vanir had been before.

In the flight deck, Turlough and Tegan see the star charts.

Bor leads The Doctor and Kari to the Terminus entrance. Bor takes the items, propping them up against a damaged engine unit, apparently the source of the radiation. He collapses, so The Doctor and Kari help him away.

Bor introduces himself, but he doesn’t remember meeting them. He says the short term memory is the first to go. He explains that he tried taking down the control cables, but pulled the power lines instead, thus his injuries. According to Bor, all the engines are unstable and if one goes, it’ll be a chain reaction.

He also tells them one of them has already exploded, a long time ago. He gets confused, saying it’s all in the computer. He points out the nearby engine, saying it’s the next to go.

When Kari asks why Terminus wasn’t destroyed when the first engine exploded, he says it was protected. Before he can say any more, Valgard arrives, telling Bor to say no more, that they’re company spies.

Kari threatens Valgard with her gun, but he says her power pack is exhausted from their last encounter. He and The Doctor begin fighting again, and Valgard is thrown against the wall of debris against the engine. Bor runs forward and The Doctor tries to restrain him, but then, the Garm arrives.

Nyssa struggles as the Vanir chain her up. One says this is for her own good, so she’ll be cured. “At least, that’s what I’m told.” He activates the machinery, and the Garm, who has picked up Bor, heads off. The Doctor and Kari follow. Valgard struggles to his feet – that’s like a theme.

Nyssa screams as the Garm arrives. The Vanir collect Bor from the Garm and hustle him off to Eirak. Olvir shows up, trying to free Nyssa as the Garm closes in. He shoots the Garm, who just looks at him like he’s a fool.

The Doctor and Kari look for the control lines (I guess they didn’t follow the Garm.)

The Garm takes Nyssa off into the FZ. Olvir watches, then follows.

Tegan and Turlough press buttons. He tells her to wait there, after saying there must be a way to recreate the door that brought them there, and heads off.

Kari and The Doctor discuss whether Bor knows what he’s talking about.

Bor tells another Vanir that Terminus’ pilot is dead, but “he’s going to fire up the engines and they won’t take it and the big bang will happen all over again”. Eirak arrives, asking where his helmet is. When the Vanir with him says Bor needs hydromel, Eirak says there isn’t enough to spare.

Turlough consults the crystal. BG yells about not destroying The Doctor. When Turlough argues he hasn’t found him yet, BG causes Turlough pain. He cries out, saying he has a plan and asks BG for help getting back to the TARDIS. BG tells him to look for a bypass switch under his feet.

Tegan arrives and Turlough tells her he just thought of something.

The Doctor and Kari find Terminus Control… and the dead pilot.

Olvir arrives at the engine room; the Garm has Nyssa and when Olvir rushes in, Valgard attacks him.

The Doctor says that Bor was wrong – the engine didn’t explode. He says that Terminus was once capable of time travel. The Time Lord says such a large ship would need immense amount of energy to travel through time. He starts laying out what they’ve learned thus far – Terminus is in the center of the (known) universe. The Doctor says that the fuel was unstable and the pilot ejected it, unfortunately, into a void. It exploded, causing a chain reaction, an enormous one. Biggest explosion of all time, Event One. The Big Bang.

Kari says that’s impossible, but The Doctor says if life on a planet can be started by chance, why not the universe? He postulates that the ship was catapulted through time billions of years. He says if the second engine exploded, it would cause the death of the universe. (Dum dum dum!!!! Bit over the top in the risk category there, what what?)

Tegan and Turlough find the emergency bypass. Turlough pulls some cables and there’s a small explosion, a shock pushes him into Tegan’s arms.

In the Terminus Control, The Doctor and Kari feel the shock wave. A computer comes to life and The Doctor checks it, saying it has started an automatic sequence to jettison the unstable fuel. (Oh noes!!)

If we don’t do something quickly, the whole universe will be destroyed,” The Doctor proclaims as a handle starts moving… and the credits roll.

Okay, that’s a bit too over the top to be actually effective. Meh.

Episode 4:

The Doctor takes off his cricket jacket, so you know it’s serious business.

Olvir and Valgard fight. The raider beats the sick, wounded Vanir. Nyssa screams as the Garm carries her off. Even though the Garm is like seven or eight feet tall, Olvir doesn’t notice him walking out of the area with Nyssa over his shoulder, he just stares at where she was, crying out, “Oh, no, Nyssa!!”

That’s kinda dumb.

The door partially appears, and Tegan says they must make it appear fully. She and Turlough return to the bypass panel.

Olvir looks around, confused. He sees his blaster too close to the exposed engine to grab safely.

Turlough works on the device, saying it won’t move. Tegan says she can help and joins in.

Valgard tells Olvir that if he gets any closer, he’s a dead man. Olvir calls him a liar. Cuz, you know, what Valgard says only makes perfect sense and fits with all known information present. Fucking moron.

Valgard says Olvir isn’t company, he’s been combat trained. In fact, they just happened to have had the same trainer, Colonel Pereira – Valgard recognised the moves, saying he was with the Colonel for five tours until he was turned in for a reward.

The Vanir explains to Olvir that they’re forced to work for the drug that keeps them alive. He asks Olvir for help, saying he’s dying. He tells Olvir that the Garm is there to cure Nyssa, not harm her, but Olvir doesn’t trust him and goes off on his own.

After he does, we see that Olvir was wise to distrust the Vanir, as he was playing injured and gets up easily. He uses his staff to pull the blaster away from the engine, then picks it up, smilingly sinisterly.

The Doctor and Kari struggle with the handle, trying to move it back to a safe position, but they cannot.

Turlough and Tegan rest, being unsuccessful in removing the bypass. The liner computer announces the ship is about to depart Terminus. Tegan yells out, but Turlough tells her the ship is on automatic. Rushing off, she says she has to try.

Turlough gets up, seeing the door has reappeared.

In the flight deck, Tegan calls out to the computer to stop. She begins pressing buttons and yells shut up and slams her first down, which causes the ship to abort the launch.

Turlough makes it to the TARDIS console room.

Nyssa wakes up in a chamber, confused.

The Doctor bends a pry bar, trying to move the handle. Kari remarks that the pilot must have had the strength of a giant and they both think of the Garm, and rush off to find it.

The BG says that Turlough has been a poor investment of his time and energy and as a failure, there is only one course to follow. Turlough glances over at the crystal, which is on the console, and the crystal flashes brilliantly and Turlough screams.

Olvir confronts the Garm, announcing that he is unarmed. When he asks if the Garm can understand him, it responds in a booming voice, “PERFECTLY.” The Garm tells her that Nyssa is recovering and he leads the raider to her.

Bor says that in a couple hours, there won’t be a universe or a Company, but he can’t remember what’s going to happen. The other Vanir (Sigurd or something like that) tries to get to the hydromel to help Bor, but it’s locked up.

The Doctor summons the Garm.

Olvir tries to open the door to where Nyssa is.

The Garm walks to answer the summons.

Nyssa hears the door rattling and moves.

Tegan returns, looking for Turlough.

The Garm answers the summons. The Doctor tells Kari they have to get him to the control room. When The Doctor tries to lure him on, the Garm says deception is unnecessary, he must obey once the summons is sent.

Olvir opens the door and Nyssa trips him and pins him, then realises who he is. He asks her how she was cured and she says she was exposed to a massive dose of radation (at the damaged engine.) She says it’s not proper treatment, but there’s no control – the cure works, but without control most of them are just trading one disease for another. Olvir says she’s probably right but they don’t have time for that now.

Eirak and several Vanir lead another Lazar to the signal box. He finds it is gone and throws a hissy fit.

In Terminus Control, the Garm asks if this is necessary. The Doctor tells him if he fails, it’s the end of the universe. The Garm grabs the handle and struggles with it.

As everything starts shaking, Bor says, “Beginning of the end, boys.”

We get a montage of the Garm trying to move the handle, Olvir and Nyssa running about, the engine glowing bright. Finally, the handle starts moving… and the Garm forces it all the way. The Doctor says that is it, and flips some switches and pulls some cables.

The Garm asks if he has served The Doctor well. The Doctor says that he has. The Garm asks him to destroy the box and set him free and The Doctor does so.

Valgard encounters Kari and The Doctor, taking them prisoner. Nyssa and Olvir distract and disarm him. Nyssa tells The Doctor that the cure works, but the system is far from safe.

Nyssa says with the Garm’s help, Terminus could be turned into a proper hospital. Valgard says The Company would never go for it, and since they control the hydromel, that’s the end of that. Nyssa’s response is to ask if they had an endless supply, they’d be free of The Company, and if that were so, would they be willing to help change Terminus for the better?

This question leaves Valgard speechless.

Bor asks if he’s dead yet. Sigurd tells him to try to sleep. Valgard shows up, cautioning Sigurd to keep quiet, saying he has people with him. The Doctor and others enter, but when Valgard shows them to the hydromel, Sigurd protests.

Shooting the lock off, The Doctor opens up the hydromel. Nyssa looks at it, not examining it, not doing anything a scientist would, other than turning the tube over in her hands, but declares, “It’s crude stuff, probably organic,” but she could probably synthesize, if not actually improve upon it.

They explain to Sigurd that if they produced their own on Terminus, they wouldn’t need The Company. When he protests, saying that The Company would send soldiers, Nyssa points out that no soldier would go there with the reputation that Lazar’s disease has. Valgard agrees with her logic and Sigurd begins to see the light.

Bor calls out to Sigurd, who takes him some hydromel.

Kari and Olvir are sent to ensure that the engines don’t start up again. Olvir questions if they’ve found the right cables, saying he wouldn’t want to accidentally destroy the universe by mistake.

He shoots the control cable with his blaster. The engine is seen dying.

Eirak returns to base, only to find Valgard, The Doctor and Nyssa there. Valgard, backed up by Sigurd and Bor, says Eirak owes him his position. There’s a nasty stare down and The Doctor asks about seeing the damaged engine.

The Doctor and Nyssa and Valgard run into Tegan. The Doctor is displeased and chastises her, but Nyssa tries to smooth things out. The Doctor takes Valgard aside, explaining that the Vanir need to contact the authorities to explains what’s been going on.

Nyssa tells Tegan she has something to tell her. As The Doctor and Valgard speak, we can see the two women talking in the background. Tegan tries to storm away, but Nyssa stops her. They keep talking, but the body language shows that something is up.

The Doctor tells Valgard to talk to the Garm – now that there is no control, they’ll have to earn his trust, but he says they should find him very agreeable. Tegan butts in, demanding that The Doctor talk to Nyssa.

Nyssa says she’s staying, to help transition Terminus. She says they need her here, that she can put her skills to a proper use here. Tegan continues to argue and Nyssa puts her foot down, saying she is adamant.

Please, let us part in good faith,” she implores them.

You do fully understand the commitment you’ll be undertaking,” The Doctor asks her. She says that she is aware that life will be hard and she is willing to stay. She gives The Doctor a kiss on the cheek and then the ladies hug. The Doctor turns away, upset.

Okay, I’m getting weepy. I forgot about this.

Turlough is awakened by the booming voice of BG. He tells Turlough that The Doctor is returning and this is his last chance. Turlough says he cannot do it, that the Guardian should kill The Doctor himself, even if he takes the blame, he doesn’t care.

BG tells him he has little choice. As The Doctor is heard calling out Turlough’s name, BG says, “This is your last chance. I shall not say that again. Kill The Doctor,”… and the credits roll.

Great ending to a very, very cool serial. I loved the concepts behind the story. Could’ve done without the end of the universe crap – just make it a big enough explosion to destroy a nearby planet of a few billion, that have been big stakes enough, ya know?

But a great farewell to Nyssa, a great furthering of Turlough’s drama, a neat concept… and I’d love to see further stories of Nyssa and the Vanir. I wonder if Big Finish did any audio plays about her? (The short answer is yes – apparently, fifty years after leaving the TARDIS, she rejoins The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough, though it has only been a matter of days or weeks for them.)

And onward we go…

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