I recall liking this one, but no specifics. So, let’s do the thing!

Episode 1:

Men in military looking uniforms dig in the dirt, pulling a piece. Suddenly, the ground seems to be digging out from beneath them. There’s a partial collapse of the tunnel and Captain Revere is pinned under some of the fallen beams and rock. Then, strangely, the Captain disappears!

Turlough listens to loud banging and clattering; Tegan tells him it’s all right, that The Doctor “gets like this sometimes, nothing to worry about.”

The Doctor shows up and The Doctor decides to remove the hat rack from the console room. While Tegan argues with him that there are more important repairs to worry about, the TARDIS console sounds an alert – BOUNDARY ERROR – TIME PARAMETERS EXCEED shows up on the screen.

The Doctor says they’re on the outer limits – too far in the future. Tegan says they’re in the Veruna system. The Doctor says it’s ironic, being that Veruna is where the human race went after… and he decides not to fill in the rest.

When Tegan questions what he’s leaving out, Turlough reads from the database – a group of refugees from the DOOMED planet Earth fled here. Tegan asks if they can visit, but The Doctor says the colony is too new, there’s too much to risk.

He dashes off with his hat rack, looking for its mate.

In the Captain’s death, the Research Room is shut down, despite the protests of a bespectacled man in uniform. Range (the guy in specs) argues, as the other guy (apparently the 2nd in command) has the communication gear shut down.

They’ve been there forty years, apparently, crashed there. The man who had been manning the comm link says no big loss, since nothing has come through in forty years.

Chief Science Officer Range continues his protests; the other guy brings up Plantagenet, the son of Revere, who apparently is the new leader. Range continues the continuation of his protests, saying that surely the research into the daily bombardments must be important to continue.

In the TARDIS console room, Turlough and Tegan view the planet on the scanner; when Turlough and Tegan agree they want to visit, The Doctor says they can’t. Before he can initiate a dematerialisation, they get caught up in a meteorite storm and are dragged towards the planet – though The Doctor says the TARDIS should be able to withstand all of that.

The people on the planet dash about, as alarm klaxons sound. Several are struck down by the impacts of the meteorites. The TARDIS materialises in the midst of this (yeah, you know what’s gonna happen…) and when the storm subsides, Range and others rush out to check on the fallen.

The Doctor pokes his head out and hears the cries of a wounded woman. He rushes to her, followed by Turlough and Tegan. They help the wounded into the ship, as do the others.

When The Doctor asks for antiseptic, CSO Range doesn’t know what that is. The Doctor is horrified at the lighting and sends his companions to fetch some lighting and medical supplies from the TARDIS.

Range tries to introduce his daughter, Norna, who was helping him bring in the other wounded.

In the TARDIS, the companions find that the door into the depths of the TARDIS is locked… though Turlough says it’s not locked, but worse. It seems that the door is incapable of opening, suddenly.

The Doctor insists that he’s not there, officially, and asserts that if anyone asks whether he had any impact there, “you can tell them I came and went like a summer cloud.” Others have gathered, wondering who the visitor is.

Range explains that the meteorite showers have increased over the past few weeks, saying they’re attacks, not random storms. He says they’re at war, but they don’t know with whom.

The Doctor says that’s going to change (so much for the summer cloud, what what?), then exclaims in surprise at seeing a hydrazine steam generator. Range is baffled.

The acting commander type reports to Plantagenet, saying there’s been an arrival of three strangers. Plantagenet and the other guy assume they’re part of an invasion force (yep, saw that coming.)

Range says all the “failure proof technology” on the colony ship failed, seemingly destroyed in the crash. Their grasp on the tech is very tenuous.

The companions arrive to inform The Doctor about the door. The Doctor blows it off as not that big a deal, much to the frustration of the companions. The two of them help Norna go for an acid jar (battery). En route, they see food being handed out – Norna says it’s rationed on Frontios, which is why the colony ship is guarded.

She tells them to hide as Plantagenet and his men arrive. Norna petitions him for bandages and supplies, and he grants her access to the medical supply room.

Tegan and Turlough slip past the guard in a rather silly fashion and enter the ship. Inside, when Tegan exclaims at the size of the ship, Norna says thousands of humans were on board, though most died in the crash or following infection.

Range explains that Captain Revere believed the meteorites to be part of a “softening up” process, preceding an invasion. Range says that the survivors of the crash busied themselves with survival and could not have caused any offense.

It seems the meteorites have been falling for thirty years now! Rather strange, that, and The Doctor points out that the invaders are taking their time.

Plantagenet shows up, suggesting that The Doctor might be one of the “unknown invaders”. (Shocker.)

Norna finds the door to the medical room sealed and leads on the companions another route.

The Doctor tells Plantagenet that they were forced down in the meteorite storm. The Doctor lets Plantagenet have it, after the young man asks what he thought. There’s a great line – “I think, and you DID ask what I thought, that your colony of Earth people is in grave danger of extinction!”

Norna leads the companions across the hull, cautioning them to be quiet, saying they can be heard by those within.

Plantagenet gets on a rant about winning the war with the invisible aggressors, and the struggle for the future, etc etc etc. He takes particular offense when he realises The Doctor has been tinkering with the generator.

Norna and the companions hide from their pursuers, the other military dude (still no name for him) and some guards. They slip into the room and fetch the acid jar.

When the guards don’t find anyone, military dude sets them to guard while he goes to inform the leader.

While trying to raise the acid jar, the pulleys sway and some acid spills on the floor, eating through it. They get it on the roof, but the guards have sat down with a third man (the communication guy) who brought them food.

The Doctor and Plantagenet argue over whether The Doctor’s ship is capable of interstellar travel. The sky is darkening, which apparently is sign of impending attack.

Plantagenet is informed that Norna and the companions have been seen on the colony ship. Range tries to play peacemaker, saying The Doctor is there to help.

A guard tries to stop Norna and the companions and gets hit in the head by the acid jar. Turlough picks him up, taking him to the medical center, while Tegan and Norna carry the acid jar.

The Doctor insists on showing Plantagenet and his crony the TARDIS, hoping to illustrate that it’s not a weapon. The Doctor worries that the storm has started, but the crony says that they have not heard from the Warnsman yet.

Just then, Turlough shows up with the wounded man, who just happens to be the Warnsman, of course. The Doctor asks the companions where the mu-field activator is (something he’s done at least once since they told him they couldn’t get past the console room, I’m not sure if there’s significance to that or not.)

Turlough asks if they can continue the conversation under cover, and The Doctor leads them to the TARDIS, but just then, there’s an impact. Everyone scatters.

Plantagenet’s crony, WHO IS FINALLY NAMED as Brazen, suggests that The Doctor is behind the attack as a diversion; Plantagenet says he doesn’t think so, but suspects there is a connection of some sort between The Doctor and the attacks.

In the medical center, guards bring in the acid jar.

The Doctor says he’s had enough of this planet and thinks it’s time to leave. As they try to make their way to the TARDIS, there’s another impact, and they have to take shelter again.

Plantagenet and Brazen go in the medical center; Plantagenet clutches his chest, but waves it off when Brazen asks if he’s been hurt – however, some men bring in a wounded person, so he may have just been brushing it off because of their presence – as their leader, he cannot afford to look weak/wounded.

It gets lighter outside and The Doctor and companions head to the TARDIS, only to find wreckage and the hat rack.

The TARDIS has been destroyed,” The Doctor proclaims… and the credits roll.

Now THAT is a cliffhanger. Wow.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

Plantagenet and Brazen and his guards confront The Doctor; Brazen urges to have The Doctor “dispatched”.

Norna steps forward, in the path of the raised rifles, asking why Captain Revere dedicated his life to the rocks of Frontios. Plantagenet says everyone knows that answer, he saw the value in them, saying there must be a reason for the perpetual bombardments.

Tegan is instructed to assist Range with the lighting.

The Doctor says if they want him to find out, he can investigate, but when he calls their bluff, Plantagenet gives the order to kill him. Norna grabs the first rifleman’s gun and struggles, but Turlough grabs the hat rack, brandishing it as a weapon.

When he grabbed it, there’s a discharge of residual energy from the TARDIS, but this gives some credence to his presenting it as a weapon to be feared. Brazen postulates that it is the device that calls down the bombardments.

Meanwhile, Tegan complains that the battery better work, after all their efforts. She asks Range for reassurance that The Doctor is safe, and he says he is, for the time being. He brings up the ‘retrogrades’, their term for deserters. Apparently the retrogrades are shot by the “orderlies” (guards); when Tegan points out that each death brings them closer to extinction, Range says he is well aware of this.

Plantagenet demands an answer to the question; The Doctor says he would like to know about the rocks under the soil, too. He tells them that they’re in the same shell-hole as far as the war goes – if it is war, which he isn’t too sure.

The Doctor picks up a rock, saying they should use the instruments in the Research Room to determine where the meteorites are coming from. Brazen says it’s sealed, per the orders of the late Revere. Plantagenet says there’s nothing of use in it, which Turlough argues, saying it’s full of invaluable equipment – that was where they found the battery, after all.

Turlough lifts up the hat rack again, demanding they open the Research Room. They do so. In the research room, Norna says she can help The Doctor with chemical tests, but when Turlough puts down the hat rack, Plantagenet moves to attack with a pry bar (crow bar for us Americans.)

Turlough brandishes the hat rack and Plantagenet clutches his chest and collapses. Turlough turns to The Doctor, confused as to what he did.

I think this joke’s gone far enough,” the Time Lord says, taking the rack from Turlough and setting it down. He and Brazen move to Plantagenet, The Doctor tending to the man.

Range and Tegan work in the medical lab. A woman cries out for Range, and he dashes over to assist her with the battery. Tegan pokes about in the locked drawer he had left open and finds a pouch labeled “deaths unaccountable”. She takes it and shuts the drawer, but finds it locked when she tries to open it up again.

The Doctor confirms that Plantagenet suffered a glancing blow earlier. Amazingly, Brazen doesn’t jump at the chance to accuse him, but accepts this, since he had seen some sign of it earlier. (Remember?)

Range catches Tegan and tells her, “Curiosity is dangerous on Frontios.”

Not as dangerous as ignorance,” she retorts. He tells her that she needs to forget what she saw, when she explains.

Their conversation is interrupted by The Doctor coming in with the guards and Plantagenet. The Doctor rigs up a defibrillator.

While Norna runs tests, Turlough goes on about how they should have dug bunkers, like the Arar-Jecks, who dug a huge city during the Twenty Aeon War.

Norna says there was a quarry (where the stones for the medical center had been taken from), which had been a shelter, until Revere made a law against it. She said Revere never gave any reasons for his laws, except once, when she was a child, he said the earth was hungry, and that was why they couldn’t go underground any more.

The Doctor continues to try to save Plantagenet.

Turlough asks Norna about some labeled rocks; she says they came from the quarry. He points out that some of the dates are recent.

Brazen accuses The Doctor of having killed Plantagenet, but just then the leader blinks his eyes.

Turlough goes back to the block and tackle and questions why it’s there. What is so heavy they need it?

Plantagenet accuses The Doctor of bringing death. Brazen points out that The Doctor is the one who saved his life. The Doctor confirms this, but says, “Not a word to the Time Lords”.

Norna and Turlough banter. He realises that the block and tackle is used to lift the heavy metal floor plates.

The Doctor and Plantagenet bond. Plantagenet insists that he must be visible to his people and resists Brazen’s desire to move him to the colony ship.

The Doctor says that the meteorites come to Frontios because of the thin atmosphere (a point as of yet unmentioned in the serial.) When Plantagenet asks why so frequently now, the Time Lord says he needs to return to the Research Room to test some theories he has on that.

Plantagenet insists that Tegan stay with him, seemingly as insurance – The Doctor insists that Range accompany him, in return. Brazen sends a guard to “keep an eye on them.”

Turlough and Norna go down into the tunnels; Turlough says the rock is moth-eaten, and it somehow reminds him of something, but he can’t place a finger on it.

On their way to the research room, The Doctor tells Range he thinks the attacks are natural meteorites. Range questions how that could be so, since they’re in such great quantities. The Doctor says this is unusual, but possible.

Brazen and Tegan talk and she slips up, mentioning deaths unaccountable. Brazen demands to know what she knows. She tries to play it off, but she brings up the data store. Brazen drags her off to Range’s drawers (hee hee). They’re off screen at this point, Tegan arguing, “You can’t do that to Mr. Range’s records,” while Plantagenet wakes and seems to try to roll off his bed.

Range tells The Doctor that the autonomous systems failed, which is what led to the crash. In the research room, The Doctor begins to examine the results Norna left behind, saying it supports his theory, but he stops when Range seems upset by the open entrance to the underground area.

Range confesses that he’s long suspected that the reason why Revere made underground off limits was because the Captain had found something down there that was dangerous.

Brazen says Range has been spreading the rumours – disinformation about the status quo. He storms off.

Tegan hears Plantagenet’s cry for help – the man is on the ground next to his cot. Tegan rushes off and we see Plantagenet disappear into the ground, just like it seemed his father did.

Norna and Turlough note the rock is different where they are – smooth, like glass.

The Doctor goes into the tunnels on his own, leaving Range behind to man the research room.

Turlough seems upset, anxious to go back. Norna goes on without him and he rushes after her. Two figures, which at first seemed to be rock formations, move and follow – they seem to be insectoid.

Tegan tells Brazen that Plantagenet was sucked through the floor. She tries to leave to find The Doctor and tell him, but Brazen doesn’t let her.

Just then, a crowd of people show up; Cockerill, the guy who’d been manning the communication unit says he’s been trying to control the crowd, but “there’s unrest about the leader,” he explains.

You’re an Orderly, aren’t you, so keep order! That’s the meaning of the word,” Brazen barks at Cockerill. He chases the crowd out, admonishing them for acting like they were in a wax museum.

Range follows The Doctor, who hears someone and hides. He says Norna is his daughter and wants to share in the risk.

Tegan tries to escape, locking Brazen and a guard in the medical center. As she leaves, the citizens are looting the food stores.

Turlough keeps feeling something… says he keeps seeing something out of the corner of his eye. Suddenly the word ‘tractators’ pops in his head. Even so, he’s still not fully aware of what he’s trying to recall.

Norna continues to basically ignore his concern, saying, “Just a little bit further.”

Tegan arrives at the research room, finding it empty. Seeing the open passageway, she grabs a lantern and calls out.

The Doctor and Range stop and listen. Suddenly, there’s a scream and Turlough rushes into their arms, saying, “Tractators – I’ve seen them.” The Doctor leaves Turlough with Range and goes on to investigate.

Brazen and the guard(s) with him try to break out.

Tegan finds Turlough and Range and goes on to find The Doctor. Range calls after her, but she ignores him. Turlough seems almost in a fugue state. Range asks if his daughter is safe.

We see a large group of the insectoid creatures, apparently the Tractators. Norna is in the middle of them, surrounded by a purple nimbus of energy. The Doctor enters, seeing them, “So, they’re Tractators”.

Tegan appears opposite where The Doctor is, and he calls out to her to get back. She does, but The Doctor is seen and the purple nimbus surrounds him and he is forced over by Norna… and the credits roll.

Another excellent cliffhanger. Well done. I am rather enjoying this story though I still do not recall much about it at all.

See you Friday!

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