Recap: The White Guardian sends The Doctor to a specific coordinate, saying he must stop something or someone from winning. But there are too many questions. Turlough seems to rebel against the Black Guardian. There’s a race of old Earth water-ships in outer space. Someone is sabotaging the other ships, trying to win.

We left off with Turlough, frightened, about to jump off the ship.

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

Turlough leaps from the deck, despite The Doctor’s half-hearted attempt to stop him. (Bad acting? Bad script? Character didn’t realise Turlough was serious, despite he was climbing the rail?) The Doctor calls “Man overboard” and the crew reacts.

Tegan chastises Mariner for not doing anything, but he says, “It would be ridiculous to risk losing the race for an ephemeral.”

They throw a lifesaver out to him, but it’s to no avail. However, the buccaneer ship heaves to and nets Turlough, rescuing him.

The Doctor goes to talk to Captain Striker, saying he needs to get to the buccaneer ship. Mariner remarks to Tegan that it is surprising that the buccaneer captain would turn aside from the race to save Turlough. Tegan replies that she’s glad Turlough is safe.

Mariner’s reply is ominous, “Is he? Your friend might be better dead, than with the captain of that ship.”

Turlough is carried through the halls of the ship, thrown to the floor and instructed to crawl to Captain Wrack, a woman in buccaneer garb. She gives one her officers a sword, saying it is a gift for Captain Davies. They make a reference to her “present to the Greek” and both laugh. Before she dismisses her officer, she gives him some letters – invitations, apparently. She tells him that first to deliver Captain Striker’s, saying he can’t refuse, “…not with live bait dangling on the hook,” referring to Turlough.

(It’s worth noting that Lynda Baron, who plays Captain Wrack, appeared in the First Doctor serial THE GUNFIGHTERS, as a singer (though apparently off-screen only), and the Eleventh Doctor serial, CLOSING TIME as Val.)

Mariner tells Tegan (who is still on the deck) that Turlough is safe. Mariner compliments her on her mind, saying he’s never experienced one like hers. Offended, she blocks her thoughts from him, but this just makes her more entertaining to him.

Striker asks why Turlough jumped, but The Doctor doesn’t know why. When he insists that they get him back, Striker says he’s made his choice. The invitation from Wrack arrives for a ball. Striker declines, but The Doctor and Tegan (who arrived with Mariner along with Wrack’s officer) ask if they may accept in his place. He agrees, and Mariner asks for permission to escort them, which is granted.

After Wrack’s man leaves, Mariner explains they may need his company as Wrack has “strange ideas about entertainment.”

Wrack is playing with Turlough, whose wrists are manacled above his head, asking if he’s ever seen “a man flogged to death” or keelhauled. She demands to know what he wants aboard her ship – she says his mind is so devious (apparently to read?)

He tells her that he came to her because he believes she is going to win the race and he wants to be on the winning side. She encourages him to open his mind to him and releases him from the manacles, as the acceptance is delivered from Striker’s ship.

Tegan, dressed in a fine gown, exits her room while an impatient Doctor waits. Suddenly, the ship rocks and Mariner arrives, saying they’re under attack. They rush to the wheelhouse, where they see an asteroid storm!

Wrack pilots her ship through the storm, but gives it over to her (I’m guessing he’s the first mate, as he seems to be her right hand man) officer who delivered the invitation(s), when he reports to her that Davies’ ship is closing on them. She instructs Turlough to accompany her.

Wrack leads Turlough to a door marked “Vacuum shield”; she flips a switch and an “On” lights up. As she opens the door, Turlough asks what’s going on, but her reply is “You’ll find out,” and she enters laughing.

The Doctor, Tegan and officers watch as Davies’ ship begins to pass Wrack’s.

When Turlough can’t open it, he listens at the door and hears a muffled, but deep voice talking (sounds like the Black Guardian’s voice to me). Suddenly, the ship rocks and he’s knocked to the floor.

Suddenly, Davies’ ship explodes.

Wrack locks the door as she exits, saying she’s “improved my chance of winning”.

Mariner says Davies’ ship must’ve been hit by an asteroid, but The Doctor suggests otherwise, bringing up what happened to the Greek ship when it challenged Wrack’s ship for second place.

The launch from the buccaneer ship has arrived and The Doctor, Tegan and Mariner depart.

Wrack leads Turlough to the location of ball; Wrack’s first mate tells Turlough that his friends are en route. Turlough wonders what they want, but the first mate says he’ll be able to ask them that himself.

Mariner leads his charges to the stateroom. Tegan says she’s scared, but Mariner assures her there’s no need. They arrive and see the assorted Eternals from the different ships, each representing different eras of Earth’s sailing history.

Turlough is skulking about the ship, having left before his friends reached the stateroom. He ends up at the door.

Wrack approaches to meet with the new arrivals, taking Tegan away to meet the other Eternals. The Doctor asks Mariner if he can sense Turlough’s mind, but his answer is “not clearly”.

Turlough turns on the shield and opens the door; within he finds a metal room with a grate in the floor that is open to space (but I’m guessing shielded.)

Mariner ‘finds’ Turlough, saying he’s in the grid room, iron chamber. He gives The Doctor directions, saying the boy is in danger. The Doctor rushes off, asking Mariner to look after Tegan.

As Turlough kneels in front of the grate, a crewman closes the door and locks it. He then turns off the shield. Turlough bangs at the door in vain as “VACUUM SHIELD OFF” flashes over the door. He pulls out the crystal, calling for help; the Black Guardian shows up, “I have warned you, boy, you have failed me. You will die!” As Turlough begs, he turns from him, laughing, and fades from sight.

The Doctor searches the halls for the grid room. He flips a coin to decide which way, but then flips it again until he gets the result he wanted.

In the stateroom, Wrack’s first mate distracts Mariner as Wrack leads Tegan away. She takes Tegan to another room, saying she had brought her there to meet someone, but they’re gone. Tegan asks if they can go back to the party, and the captain says they can, “But first, have you heard of time standing still?”

Tegan replies in the affirmative, saying it’s an expression; in mid-sentence, she’s frozen with a wave of Wrack’s hand, who says it means what it says and she’ll be kept so until “I have finished with you,” and then the captain gives her best evil villain laugh.

Again, Turlough pleads to the crystal, screaming out, “Help me, please, help me,” but BG’s voice replies, “Die boy!!!”

The Doctor hears the alarm from the vacuum shield.

Turlough starts calling out for The Doctor, who resets the shield and opens the door. He asks Turlough what he’s doing in there; he says Wrack said it contained the secret of her power (no, she said it was how she would win the race…). The Doctor agrees that it is part of the ion drive system and is open to space for “better reception”.

Then, the Time Lord looks up, above the grate, where an electronic eye is. He says it’s an amplifier. Turlough asks if that’s how she destroys the other ships, which The Doctor confirms, but says they’re still missing a piece of the puzzle. Wrack still needs something to focus the power onto.

Wrack is seen opening a chest full of stones and pulling one out.

Turlough asks how big the focus would have to be, and The Doctor gestures with his fingers, indicating a size comparable to the stone Wrack was just shown holding. Suddenly, The Doctor remembers the clasp that the Greek captain was wearing, the one that was out of period.

When the Time Lord explains to Turlough about the Greek’s clasp, the companion tells him about the sword that was sent to Davies as a present, that it had a crystal on the hilt. When Turlough wonders if she’ll try the same with Striker, The Doctor points out that neither the captain nor Mariner trust her and would not accept a gift from her.

Turlough remarks, “Luckily for us,” but The Doctor says that won’t stop Wrack. “She’ll find a way,” he says.

We see Wrack place the crystal in Tegan’s tiara. She giggles and remarks, “Perfect.”

Turlough wants to leave the grid room, but The Doctor says not until he’s worked out a plan – their minds are harder to read there. He says he must find a way to stay on the ship, to stop Wrack from winning. Turlough offers to stay, but The Doctor says he couldn’t cope.

They leave the room and are taken prisoner by Wrack’s first mate and crew.

We end with Wrack doing the typical bad guy gloating (though to nobody by the time frozen Tegan, who is insensate, and the viewers), saying that nothing will result but their ultimate destruction. Then she laughs… and the credits roll.

Poorly done cliffhanger there. One of the worst ever.

Episode 4:

Wrack brings Tegan out of her temporal paralysis and they head back to the party. Mariner sees Tegan and rejoins her, asking where Wrack took her and if she was all right. He was quite concerned, and confesses that he was worried and that “I am empty without you… you give me being.”

She asks if he’s in love with her, and he replies, “Love? What is love? I want existence.”

Turlough claims that he saw The Doctor spying and was trying to apprehend him; Turlough says the spy should be sent back to Striker. Mariner and Tegan are all but dragged from the party and taken to the launch. The Doctor explains that he thinks Turlough is trying to prove himself by stopping Wrack from winning.

In the wheelhouse, Wrack pours Turlough a drink, questioning why he stayed. Again, he claims he wants to be on the winning prize and, when she asks, he admits he hopes to share in the prize. She says the prize is Enlightenment, “in all ways,” and when she has it she will no longer depend on ephemeral minds and be able to “create and destroy as I wish.”

She then directs Turlough to observe her crew setting up the plank, remarking it’s a great tool for dealing with those who get in the way.

Back on their ship, Tegan and Mariner go to their rooms to change; The Doctor goes to the wheelhouse. We see Tegan’s tiara, still bearing the crystal, on the bed.

On Wrack’s ship, a man is forced to the plank, but when he is off, he disappeared; Wrack explains that the man was an Eternal, and since he is “out of the race”, he is no longer there. She remarks that ephemerals are different and asks if they should send one of the crew off.

Turlough says no, but then she says they should go to the deck themselves as the crew is waiting for him. She accuses him of being a spy, saying while his mind is hard to read, it is always clear that greed is predominant. She accuses him of wanting all the prize for himself.

Her men start to drag Turlough off, but he tells Wrack that he heard the voice that speaks to her, saying he knows the voice. “I serve him… as I wish to serve you.”

In the wheelhouse, Striker points out their destination – a glowing form in space, looking much like a city, which he entitles “The Enlighteners.”

Wrack’s ship is gaining on Striker’s ship. She tells Turlough that they will go together to their Guardian “…and listen to his voice.”

The Doctor realises that Wrack’s ship has pulled level, but not passed them, because they intend to attack. He pleads with Striker, who orders more sail. The Doctor realises the focus must be on the ship somehow; he asks Tegan if she was given anything by Wrack, but she says she was not.

In the grid room, Turlough watches with trepidation as Wrack steps below the eye, on the grate, and a column of black energy engulfs her, leaving only her face floating in it visible.

The Doctor explains the focus is likely a crystal, a jewel, and it could be part of anything – he gives examples of what she’s used already. Tegan seems to wonder…

Wrack calls out, “Speak to me, come to me,” and then with the Guardian’s voice, she replies, “I am here…”

Tegan tells The Doctor and Mariner about the tiara as they rush to her room.

The Guardian focuses the power through Wrack’s mind.

The crystal in the tiara begins glowing, flashing.

The Doctor arrives and smashes the crystal with a fire axe, splintering it.

Wrack’s face in the darkness becomes smaller, many.

The Doctor realises they have to get rid of all the shards and he, Tegan and Mariner collect them, then dash to the deck.

(This is the obligatory running scene, because this IS Doctor Who, after all.)

On the deck, out of breath, The Doctor collapses, crawls to the rail and tosses the collected shards into space. Mariner and Tegan arrive in time to see it explode.

The darkness fades and Wrack realises Striker’s ship still exists.

Mariner compliments The Doctor, saying he didn’t think an ephemeral could outwit an Eternal. He points out, though, that all The Doctor had to do was imagine the crystal in space and he could have used his power to make it happen, with so much less effort.

Then why didn’t you,” asks Tegan, almost snarkily.

The Doctor says he couldn’t have thought of it on his own – they depend on the ephemerals far more than they do on the Eternals. Mariner suddenly stops and looks around, noting that the wind is dying.

Wrack’s first mate arrives in the grid room; she snaps at him, aware that Striker’s ship is still intact. The mate tells her that the winds have dropped, and Wrack proclaims that the race is hers – and the prize – as her sails can catch the slightest hint of a breeze.

Captain Striker is outraged that Wrack is going to win. The Doctor says there’s still Turlough, but if he is to help stop her, he needs the TARDIS back. Striker says it is hidden within The Doctor’s own mind, and Mariner instructs The Doctor to concentrate.

The Doctor closes his eyes and then opens them, grinning to see the TARDIS. When Tegan moves to accompany The Doctor, Mariner insists that Tegan stay… or they both stay. Reluctantly, The Doctor goes by himself.

He arrives as Wrack is about to summon forth the power again; he tells her that the power will control her. She laughs and says he has no time left; the door is slammed shut and Turlough approaches from behind it, menacingly. Wrack orders he and her first mate to throw The Doctor into the void.

Back on Striker’s ship, Tegan and the officers watch the screen. A glowing light can be seen exiting the buccaneer ship. Striker says, “Man overboard.” Tegan insists it must not be The Doctor, it cannot be.

Striker and Mariner watch Wrack’s ship move closer to the finish line, bemoaning their loss. Tegan is silent. On the screen, we see two figures turn into outlines and then fade.

Tegan asks if The Doctor is dead. Striker replies, “I don’t know,” and he turns away as Tegan mourns. Mariner sees grief in her mind, asking what it is. Striker says they must go to Wrack’s ship to pay homage, as she has won.

All about Wrack’s ship, the crew fade away.

In the stateroom, both Black and White Guardians appear. Black holds a globe that he sets on a fitting on the table. The globe glows and he opens the top half, revealing another globe within, glowing even brighter – enough so that both Guardians must shield their eyes briefly.

Let the victor receive his prize,” The White Guardian proclaims. As they wait, they banter. “You shall never destroy the light,” the WG tells his counterpart. “Others shall do it for me,” BG retorts.

Destroy the light and you destroy yourself – dark cannot exist without knowledge of light,” the White Guardian tells BG.

Nor light without dark,” BG replies. “Your powers are waning.”

Others… will recharge them for me.”

Both sit down, BG gloating, “These creatures have no knowledge of good and evil. Enlightenment will give them power. They will invade time itself! Chaos will come again. And the universe will dissolve.” The White Guardian has no reply.

Where is the captain of this ship,” BG demands, looking about. “Where is the captain, to receive the prize?”

From the entrance, The Doctor replies, “I’m afraid the captain cannot be with us.” He and Turlough walk in. “Both the captain and the first mate met with an unfortunate accident – they both fell overboard.”

He explains that he brought the ship into harbour with Turlough’s assistance. BG warns him that he has not been defeated, their war still goes on. WG tells The Doctor that Enlightenment is his.

The Time Lord says he isn’t ready for it. “I don’t think anyone else, especially Eternals.” As he says this, Mariner, Tegan and Striker enter. Tegan runs to the Time Lord, but he tells her not now.

The White Guardian agrees with The Doctor, saying the Eternals should return from whence they came; Mariner argues, saying he wants to stay.

Back to the echoing void, back to Eternity,” the White Guardian says.

Mariner asks Tegan for help, but she cannot help him. He and Striker fade away as he reaches to her, saying, “I need you.”

The White Guardian says that while nobody is deserving of all of Enlightenment, he can allocate a portion to Turlough, who assisted in bringing the ship to harbour. Turlough appoaches, amazed. He says it could buy a whole galaxy.

The Black Guardian points out that, under their agreement, it belongs to him. Unless Turlough wanted to surrender something else in its place. He says The Doctor is in Turlough’s debt for his life – BG tells Turlough if he gives him The Doctor he can have Enlightenment, the TARDIS, whatever he wished.

The White Guardian leans forward, asking which shall he give, The Doctor or Enlightenment? “The choice is yours.”

The Doctor watches calmly as Turlough struggles for a moment with the choice, then violently shoves the globe at the Black Guardian, “Here, take it!” The globe crashes into the Black Guardian, setting him on fire. BG screams as the flames engulf him and he disappears.

Light destroys the dark,” the White Guardian remarks as Turlough, Tegan and The Doctor watch. “I think you will find your contract terminated.” Turlough pulls out the crystal, which is now completely black, dead.

I never wanted the agreement in the first place,” he says, throwing the crystal into the fire.

The Doctor steps over behind Turlough, “I believe you.” Tegan proclaims he’s mad for this. Turlough insists it’s true.

When Tegan claims that The Doctor only trusts Turlough because he gave up Enlightenment for The Doctor, the Time Lord replies, “You miss the point. Enlightenment wasn’t the diamond – it was the choice.”

Rising from his chair, the White Guardian warns The Doctor, “Be careful, Doctor, once, you denied him the Key To Time. Now you have thwarted him again. He will be waiting for the third encounter. His power does not diminish.”

Turlough says the Black Guardian is destroyed, but WG corrects him, “While I exist, he exists also. Until we are no longer needed.” He fades from sight without another word.

When Tegan says she wants to get away from there, The Doctor asks where to. Turlough says he wants to go to his home planet.

The Doctor replies, “Why not,”… and the credits roll.

What a fun, fun story. Okay, so Steven Moffat, we need the third (and final?) confrontation between The Doctor and the Black Guardian to happen. Make it so.

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