One of the rare 2-episode serials, this will be covered in one post. I don’t remember anything about this one, so here goes.

Episode 1:

We open with a medieval castle main hall; a feast is being had – people sit at tables eating, laughing, as a minstrel plays, a jester makes his round. At the head table, a man in a crown slams down his goblet, saying this is a poor welcome. His host protests, but the king (or whatever his title) speaks over him, saying “We have come to ask but a pittance.” The King says that Lord Ranulf has insulted him by not giving him more, that he holds up the Crusade.

Ranulf insists that he’s already given the king his fortune. One of the king’s men, Sir Gilles, throws down a glove in challenge. Ranulf’s son takes up the glove, saying his father is in ill health. Ranulf pleads for his son; the son begs his father not to insult him. The king decrees that the son and champion will meet on the morrow, and departs to his chambers.

The next morning, everyone gathers for the combat. Ranulf’s son and Gilles are mounted and don helmets, taking up their jousts. Ranulf and his wife look on worriedly. The signal is given by the king and the men joust. As they make their second pass, the TARDIS appears in the middle of things.

Turlough complains that they’re back on Earth, asking if The Doctor set the coordinates for Earth. The Doctor says he did not. As Turlough activates the scanner, Tegan inquires the date. “March 4, 1215,” The Time Lord replies.

She questions if it might be a trap by the Black Guardian, but The Doctor doesn’t think so. They depart to investigate. Gilles tells the king, “I have no need from Lucifer,” which gets the assemblage antsy. The king calms everyone down, saying there is nothing to fear, and bids the “demons” to attend him.

The Doctor says that the king is King John and they’re three months before the signing of the Magna Carta. The King greets them, but The Doctor says they are not demons. The king insists they are and bids them sit with him to watch the trial by combat.

The jousting resumes; this time, Ranulf’s son is knocked from his horse. Gilles dismounts and approaches and readies to strike down the boy. The Doctor asks if blood must be shed, and the king gives the order to spare the boy.

Later, the boy whines that he is dishonoured. He is ungrateful to The Doctor, and Ranulf apologises, welcoming them to FitzWilliam castle. Tegan complains about the cold, as they are led to a room.

The Doctor says that there’s something very wrong, something to do with the date.

Turlough, who is lingering in the hall, is confronted by Ranulf’s son, at swordpoint.

The Doctor says March 4th was the date that King John is to take the oath, to take the cross as a Crusader, but he did that in London, not here. Tegan asks who cares, but The Doctor says it’s important. She makes a snarky comment about “No wonder he was forced to sign the Magna Carta, I bet there was something about under-heated housing in it.”

The Doctor corrects her, saying that King John was not forced into signing it, that he was just as much for it as anyone else.

Ranulf’s son has Turlough taken prisoner.

Ranulf and his wife discuss their son’s wounded pride. Ranulf says that with time, all wounds heal. He’s more concerned in why the king seems different. As they talk, Gilles and his men arrive to take Lady Isabella into custody, as insurance for Ranulf’s continued “good behavior towards our sovereign lord, the King.”

Ranulf and his men attempt to interrogate Turlough. They are about to throw him in an iron maiden or somesuch, when the guards escorting Isabella come through. A fight breaks out, and again Gilles bests the son. Gilles gives the orders to have them imprisoned together and pronounces, “And then we will examine this demon’s blue engine.”

At this, the camera does a close up on Gilles and there’s no doubt that it is, in fact, Anthony Ainley playing the role. So, yeah, you know what that means.

Tegan questions that King John is a good man, but The Doctor says that the king could have easily crushed the rebellion if he didn’t want to sign the document.

Just then, Ranulf and his men burst in, demanding to know what they’ve done to the king, saying he is bewitched. The Doctor again insists that they are not demons, nor do they intend any harm.

The Doctor offers his assistance, begging Ranulf to trust them. Ranulf dismisses his men and begins to talk about the King and this Sir Gilles. Ranulf says that the king has never trusted French men before. As he’s laying out his laundry list of complaints, he mentions his cousin begin summoned to London to take the oath, yet the king has not mentioned the cousin or why he did not accompany the king back.

The Doctor realises that the king must be an impostor. Ranulf questions this, saying no impostor could be so identical. Ranulf gets worried, thinking The Doctor is a sorcerer. They beg him to trust him and he departs after inviting them to join the household for a meal.

Gilles and a bunch of men on horseback and people accompanying them arrive at the castle. (I thought they had been there for a day already… maybe this is a later retinue Gilles went out to meet.)

Tegan asks The Doctor about finding out what happened to Turlough. He says they will, telling her they will stay just a while longer before going.

Ranulf’s cousin and another knight are stopped by Gilles and two other men, as they head to the castle. Geoffrey scoffs when Gilles says that the King is there; he says he just left the King in London that morning. Gilles gives the order to take the knights prisoner.

In the grand hall, the king welcomes Tegan and The Doctor to sit at the grand table.

Turlough, Isabella and Ranulf’s son are chained in the room with the iron maiden or whatever it is. They ask if there’s nothing he can do to help them escape (thinking him a demon), but he says they would have a better chance at calling upon Hell for help than he.

Three men come in and retrieve the iron maiden.

As the feast goes on, The Doctor and Tegan discuss amongst themselves about who the king is, if he is not the true king. King John calls for a lute and then plays and sings a song about the crusade. When that is done, Sir Gilles calls for “some additional entertainment” with a really bad French accent.

The men bring out the maiden, and then Geoffrey is brought forth. Geoffrey says he did not ignore the King’s summons… and Ranulf pleads for mercy.

The Doctor interjects himself, saying the iron maiden would be too lenient, and suggests boiling in oil. This delights the king to no end, who says it’s been a decade since they’ve done so.

The Doctor says that Sir Gilles is in bad taste, trying to follow up the lovely performance of the king with something else, when NOTHING can follow the king’s lute playing. Sir Gilles challenges The Doctor to a duel, striking him with his glove.

The Doctor removes his coat and asks Ranulf if he may borrow his sword. The lord of the castle says that Gilles, “Is the best swordsman in France.”

Well, fortunately, we are in England,” The Doctor replies.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen these two sword fight, what what?

Sir Gilles and The Doctor square off. The king calls for them to begin, and they do. Back and forth they fight, as everyone watches and oohs and ahhhs. The Doctor gets the best of Gilles, disarming him.

As the King cheers, “Bravo, my demon,” Gilles pulls out his Tissue Compression Eliminator and holds off The Doctor as his face shimmers and reveals The Master! (Dum dum dummmmmmm!)

Oh, my dear Doctor, you have been naïve,” The Master says… and the credits roll.

Well that’d have been a great cliffhanger if it wasn’t painfully obvious that it was Ainley.

(spoilers)

Episode 2:

Tegan throws a knife at The Master, who catches it. He offers The Doctor a choice of the TCE or the knife, but our hero takes the TCE. The Master laughs, saying it is useless in his hands, as he has “moral scruples”.

King John gets bored of the talking and demands The Doctor kill the champion. When he refuses, the king orders his men to put Gilles/The Master in the iron maiden.

As they place him in, The Doctor begs for mercy. King John gives The Doctor a choice – the maiden will embrace either Gilles or Sir Geoffrey. Gilles screams as he is placed within, but it turns out that it is his TARDIS, as it vanishes from sight.

The Doctor tells Tegan that The Master is trying to ruin King John’s reputation, tampering with history. As Ranulf unties Sir Geoffrey, the two of them discuss that this cannot be the king, as Geoffrey saw the king in London.

King John proclaims that The Doctor is his new champion.

Geoffrey tries to slip off, to go to the real king, but The Master gives his faux king the order to stop him.

The Master’s TARDIS arrives in the cell; he tells the prisoners that he is no demon, but there to help them and save the king from the demon that has bewitched their sovereign.

The jailer is brought in and given orders to release Isabella and her son. He tells them that The Doctor is trying to ruin the king’s reputation, so that the barons will rebel. Turlough insists it is not true, saying The Master is “the Evil One”.

The Doctor is sworn in as the king’s champion and knighted Sir Doctor. The champion’s first act is to order Geoffrey arrested, but tells the men to unhand the knight – as a man of honour, he expects that the knight will behave. Geoffrey leads The Doctor and Tegan to the dungeon, and the king announces he is going to his bed.

Tegan demands to know what’s going on; The Doctor tells her that the dungeon is the most likely place that The Master would hide his TARDIS.

The Master, Isabella and her son hide as The Doctor and company head by towards the dungeon.

There, they free Turlough and see the maiden. The Doctor tells Geoffrey is no longer a prisoner and says he is here to help. The Time Lord explains to Geoffrey that he serves the false king to buy time and to gain access to the maiden.

Tegan urges they flee, but The Doctor says they must grab the impostor and take him to London, to expose the plan. But first, he leaves the TCE behind for The Master, despite Tegan’s protest.

Ranulf thanks The Master for freeing his wife and son. He offers a reward, but The Master says he needs no reward, he is only there to save the king from the demon.

Outside the castle, The Doctor and company discover that The Doctor’s TARDIS has been taken back to the castle. Geoffrey says he will ride to London immediately to alert the real king what is going on.

Ranulf tells his servants and guardsmen to follow The Master’s instructions in all things. Ranulf’s son arrives to say that the dungeon is empty. Ranulf sends his son and some men to capture The Doctor and his blue engine.

The Doctor and Tegan return to the castle, only to be taken by Ranulf’s son and his men.

Geoffrey heads off on horseback, but it shot by a crossbowman at The Master’s behest.

The Doctor and Tegan are brought before Ranulf. They accuse them of killing Geoffrey, but Tegan manages to trick them into letting her into the TARDIS. She activates it, and The Doctor slips off as the men are distracted by this.

Wandering the castle, he hears the faux king playing his lute and singing. When he enters, he sees a robot seated, playing the lute. The robot greets him, “Welcome, my demon.”

The Master appears, “Allow me to introduce Kamelion.” It turns out that Kamelion was on Xeriphas (where The Master was trapped after Time-Flight) and The Master used it to help escape. At The Master’s mental command, Kamelion changes appearance, to that of King John. He then has Kamelion change into The Doctor.

The Doctor asks if he might try, and The Master lets him. The Doctor wills Kamelion to take The Master’s form. The Doctor lays out his understanding of The Master’s plan, which seems to be spot on – no Magna Carta, changing history!

Turlough is brought in as the one who killed Sir Geoffrey, who argues his innocence. But it turns out that Geoffrey is still yet alive. He gasps, “The king… Doctor… seek…” and falls unconcious (dead?) Ranulf says The Master will tell them what to do, and they drag off Turlough to go consult with him.

It comes up that Kamelion has his own will, though he is easily manipulated. The Master insists that Kamelion will never turn against him. The Doctor attempts to will it, but it seems to have no effect. The Master gloats that his enemy is old and perhaps it is time to regenerate.

The Master then goes on to rant about how he will use Kamelion to destabilise/ruin the key civilisations of the universe, resulting in chaos. Yep, he’s an anarchist. And you wonder why he’s my favourite Time Lord?

They banter more, The Doctor doing the “you will never succeed” line. The Master asks for his TCE, but The Doctor says, “Safely in my TARDIS,” which is a bit of a lie, innit?

Just then, Ranulf bangs on the door, calling out, “Your majesty!” Kamelion, at The Master’s will, changes form. Ranulf informs his liege that Geoffrey has been slain. King John orders for boiling oil.

The two Time Lords lock wills for control over Kamelion.

Tegan bashes the TARDIS console. She’s been trying to figure out what to do.

As the Time Lords mentally struggle, King John becomes blurry. Ranulf and his men return, seeing this. The Master orders them to kill The Doctor, but the TARDIS arrives just then.

For some reason, Kamelion takes the form of Tegan, and The Doctor grabs the robot, whisking it off to the TARDIS. Turlough holds off The Master and the men with a sword, and he too slips into the TARDIS, which dematerialises.

The Master says he’s not yet defeated.

Kamelion takes it’s true form. Tegan asks, “What is it?” Kamelion replies, “Who is it, if you please.” The Doctor tells Tegan that he left the TCE activated, which should wreak havoc with The Master’s coordinate drive system, giving him no control over his TARDIS. Tegan gets in a dig, saying that’s much like their own.

The Master is shown slipping into the maiden, which then dematerialises.

Tegan says Kamelion can’t stay, but The Doctor questions why not. Kamelion points out that it is very cooperative and would make “an excellent colleague”. Turlough votes that Kamelion should stay.

When the robot asks where it will be quartered, Tegan (who is pouting over being out-voted) says, “You can have my quarters, for all I care.” The Doctor decides it’s time to take her home, since she doesn’t want to be there any more.

Much like when I threatened to run away once, as a child, my Mom nipped that in the bud by starting to pack my stuff. I instantly changed my song and begged her to let me stay…. and Tegan starts insisting that she doesn’t want to go home, that she still wants to see the sights The Doctor is lamenting that he wanted to show her.

Even Turlough joins in on it. They bring up the “Eye of Orion,” which he has seen and says is very beautiful.

Finally Tegan asks The Doctor to show her the Eye of Orion. He agrees and walks off; she asks him if he’s going to reset the coordinates (believing he set them for her time on Earth), but he tells her they’re already set for the Eye. With a grin, he turns and heads into the hallway… and the credits roll.

A fun serial, bit light on plot, but fun. Always good to see The Master return to his roots as a meddler.  

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