Oh, wow. We’re here already. Wow. Let’s do it!

Episode 1:

A space scene opens the episode; we see a couple planets.

The TARDIS appears and we get a voiceover of The Doctor and Peri discussing Adrozani Minor, which seems to be a desert wasteland. They exit the TARDIS.

Peri finds coloured glass, which The Doctor says is fused silica, a sign that a spacecraft landed there, likely from the twin planet of Androzani Major. But why?

The Doctor sees tracks that leave the area and come back. This piques his curiosity and he heads off, Peri doubting the wisdom of following, but doing so anyways. They discuss the planet and its twin and his previous visit to Major.

Some men in a cave seem to be surveying. Two walk off, leaving one behind. The solitary man is attacked by a creature. The other two, hearing his screams, fire their guns and run back to him.

In the cave system, Peri slips down a slip area. The Doctor climbs down to pull her out. Peri has stepped into something that causes her leg to sting.

She asks about the celery stalk; he explains that he’s allergic to certain gases and the celery will turn purple in its presence.

Soldiers sit about a cave, bantering and trading insults. They detect someone approaching and hide, fearing the army. It turns out to be The Doctor and Peri, who poke about, finding bombs and gas carbine weapons. The Doctor finds the dice the men were rolling and hide, but are quickly apprehended as a large group of men in the grey/multicoloured outfits that the surveyors had appear. (As opposed to the soldiers who ran off.)

The apprehension of “two gun-runners” is reported to a base. Captain Rones is the one in charge of the group that apprehended The Doctor and Peri. The general at the base discusses someone named Sharaz Jek, saying they hope he doesn’t get his hands on gas weapons.

The General’s aide, Salateen (who is played by Robert Glenister, who is most well known for playing Ash in Hustle, and also happens to be the brother of Philip “Gene Mother-loving Hunt” Glenister!!!), has anticipated the General giving order to prep/check out the gas suits, which is already being done.

Elsewhere, a woman in blue named Krau reports to someone that General Chellak has captured two gun-runners. The man demands to see Chellak on vision immediately and Krau leaves to arrange this.

The soldiers (gun runners) plan to cut off the men taking away their weapons.

Chellak asks Salateen about the monster attack on Blue level. That’s five men so far. Just then The Doctor and Peri are brought in. The general informs them

that “anyone caught supplying arms to the android rebels faces execution.” Peri stammers and stutters at this, protesting that they weren’t supplying arms.

The general says if they cooperate, he’ll offer clemency. He wants to know all the details of how the weapons are brought in. The Doctor stands up to the general, saying Peri is complaining of pains in her leg and he’s not feeling well either.

The general receives a signal saying Trau Morgus wants to speak to him. He orders the prisoners placed in a side room.

Morgus sends a man on a mysterious errand, saying to be sure not to be seen. The man, a tall blonde in black, departs, and then Morgus activates the video link to speak to Chellak. He orders the prisoners brought forward, but Chellak argues. Morgus chastises the general for not doing well in his operation at all.

They argue.

A man in another place dressed in a body suit and mask seems to be tapping into both video feeds and is eavesdropping. He sees Peri and murmurs, “Beautiful…”

Seeing The Doctor and Peri, Morgus orders them gotten rid of. He changes tack with the general, complimenting him and says they must be executed. The general argues, but Morgus seems to outrank him.

The gun-runners put on gas masks and then attack a group of army men, using gas weapons.

Chellak says he believes The Doctor and Peri might be innocent, but he doesn’t have any chance of appealing the order. Salateen enters, reporting that Captain Rones’ men are under gas attack in the Narrows. The general orders the men to ready to march.

Salateen asks if they’ve heard of “death under the red cloth” and explains the tradition. They’re placed in detention.

Morgus and Krau converse in an elevator, talking about the execution. Morgus wishes it could be public. When they reach Morgus’ office, she tells him the President is coming at five. Morgus orders ten centimeters of spectrox to be taken from his private stock, saying in these difficult time, no more could be expected.

Chellak and his men arrive to find the whole patrol dead. He orders his men to clear the area and get the stretcher crew down there.

In detention, The Doctor contemplates something unusual about Salateen, while Peri is upset about being sentenced to death. The Doctor remarks that Morgus was quite interested in them until he saw them, then was dismissive.

Peri’s rash seems to be blistering; The Doctor has some on his hand from the fungus.

The man in the body suit takes a device out (he wears one glove, one hand ungloved.) We get a montage of him touching things and then ordering some men to report to him and then him laughing and doing other stuff. All the while, watching video of the Army men. And laughing and stuff.

Peri is surprised to learn that The Doctor doesn’t know everything when he ponders about spectrox. She says he won’t have to worry long as they seem to be ready.

Morgus hands the President a vial of spectrox. The President thanks him. Apparently it keeps them alive longer – the President is 84, but seems a man of fifty.

They talk of the war, of Sharaz Jek, of the danger to the flow of spectrox. The President says that the mood of the people is becoming ugly. The President points out that Morgus is benefiting from the war as the price of spectrox has risen dramatically. Morgus insists his conglomerate “is contributing handsomely to the cost of operations on Androzani Minor.”

The President points out that his conglomerate owns the planet, so that is to be expected. Morgus realises that the Praesidium is considering offering Sharaz Jek an armistice, ending the war, and this alarms him greatly.

The President says not immediately, but if the stalemate continues…

Krau arrives to tell Morgus that the execution is ready.

Salateen and men enter, to escort the Time Lord and human to their execution. The masked man (who has a multi-patterned mask of black and white, and seems to have one false eye) laughs, watching on his video screen.

The President, watching with Morgus, is disgusted that the prisoners are being given the honor of the red cloth execution. “In my day, we’d have filithy swine like that shot in the back,” he says.

Robed in red, Peri and The Doctor stand there. The Doctor states to Chellak that they’re innocent and this is a mockery of justice. Peri tells him to get on with it.

Their hoods are pulled down. The firing squad readies… aims… and fires… and the credits roll.

WOW. GREAT CLIFFHANGER!!!! Sure, you know they’re not gonna die, but still, that is awesome.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

The weapons are fired, The Doctor and Peri recoil and go limp. Chellak orders his men to stand down and check their weapons.

Morgus turns off the video, saying “Whatever his defects as a commander, Chellak brings a certain style to these things.” Yeah, he’s a right prick. The President says that the execution was too hasty, they should have been interrogated.

They begin bantering about the poor and unhappy. It seems Morgus is arranging things so he lays people off, they get in trouble for not having a job and can be shipped off to the east to work in labour camps, which he happens to have factories at.

We see The Doctor and Peri brought before the man in the body suit. The Doctor presumes that he is Sharaz Jek, who replies that he is “what remains of him” and insists they sit down and retire.

Chellak realises that the executed prisoners are androids. He and Salateen discuss the genius of Jek. Chellak says that it cannot get out that he had two androids executed, it would be the end of his career. Salateen says that only they and Ensign Cass know, and he could be sent off on a “deep penetration” mission, as “very few survive” those.

Jek asks if they’re from Earth; The Doctor says no, Peri says yes. The Doctor says they travel a lot. Jek says he was a doctor once, before the study of androids took over his life.

When The Doctor asks if they can leave, but Jek says they must stay. He gets touchy-feely with Peri, who flinches in disgust.

The gun-runners tells Stotz, their boss, they want out. There’s an argument. Stotz lets the man speaking for the others know that this won’t be put up with and next time, he’ll kill him.

Jek says he could never let them go – Peri’s beauty and The Doctor’s intellect are sorely needed. The Doctor mocks him, and Jek threatens him, saying he will break him to his will, or kill him. Jek tells them that Peri will live forever, that spectrox will keep away the ravages of time.

They try to argue, telling him that the army will beat him, but he says he has the spectrox and the resources to last five years and the people will not wait that long for their precious spectrox. He tells them he wants only the head of Morgus and he will give all the spectrox they want.

Krau reports a disaster at the copper mine; this is the place that Morgus sent his operative to in the last episode on a mysterious mission. The mine has been completely destroyed by an explosion. Morgus says this will solve their problem of over-production and raise the price of copper.

The Doctor and Peri discuss that Jek is completely mad. While they talk, they see the real Salateen – apparently The Doctor has already determined that the one attending Chellak is an android. The Doctor complains of a cramp and Salateen determines they touched a spectrox nest – the sticky ball she stepped into and he helped her free of earlier.

Salateen laughs, saying they’re dying. “Jek thought he had companions for life and you’re dying!” (He was worried now they were there, Jek wouldn’t need him around any more.) He tells them that cramps are the second stage – a rash is the first, “then finally, slow paralysis of the thoracic spinal nerve, then TDP.” (Thermal death point.)

The raw spectrox is deadly to humans, which is why there are androids, they’re used to harvest it. Salateen says that there is a cure – you need the milk from a queen bat, but all of them have gone into the deeps to die.

He tells them of the creature that attacks the people (must be the one that we saw in the beginning) that lives down in the deeps; that, and the lack of oxygen are why Salateen says they’ll never get their cure.

Stotz contacts Jek, wanting payment. Jek says he doesn’t pay for undelivered goods, but Stotz threatens not to do any more work if they’re not paid for this one. Jek arranges to meet him in a mine shaft.

Salateen tells The Doctor they’ll be dead in less than two days. When the Time Lord heads towards the door to leave, Salateen tells them that without a belt plate, the android on duty will kill him on sight. Even Jek wears one. While The Doctor speculates on how it works, Jek enters, overhearing him. They begin bantering about the android Salateen’s perfection.

We see a scene of Chellak and Salateen talking; again, Salateen has anticipated Chellak’s orders, saying he’s already started the process of checking the mud barriers.

Peri wonders why Jek wears the hood. He freaks out, shouting at her, saying even he cannot bear to see himself. He begins ranting about once being comely and now living along androids. He blames it all on Morgus. Jek built the android workforce for Morgus, but says that Morgus planned his death – he was caught in a mud surge that scalded his body.

Now he lives to get revenge on Morgus. (Yep, he’s rather mad.)

After Jek leaves, Salateen says that Jek had been supplied by Morgus with faulty detection equipment so he was caught unawares by the mud burst.

The Doctor says it’s time to leave, but Peri argues about the android outside.

Stotz and his men arrive at the meet with Jek, who is accompanied by two androids. The two men argue – Jek doesn’t want to pay, Stotz says his men did all the work and took the risk and it’s not their fault that the supplies were grabbed.

The Doctor wonders if the android will know if he’s not human. He says he has no alternative but to try. He steps out, the android scans him and determines that he’s not human, so The Doctor is free to disable the android.

The Doctor finds a belt plate and gives it to Peri. Salateen says they can’t go down to find a queen bat, there’s no oxygen. The Doctor says they have oxygenators on the TARDIS.

Jek offers Stotz two kilos, but the gun-runner wants the agreed upon five kilos. The androids with Jek and the gun-runners have their guns pointed at each other. Stotz says the boss won’t like it. Jek leaves, saying he has to fetch the spectrox.

Stotz tells his men that the spectrox is nearby, just waiting for them to take and they have the belt buckles to protect them from the androids.

An android fires; Peri knocks The Doctor down, trying to save him, and he takes a blow on the head. Salateen hides behind Peri, using her as a shield so he can destroy the android. The major then drags Peri off.

The Doctor recovers, calling out for Peri, but Salateen is hiding, his gun pointed at Peri to keep her quiet.

Jek returns to find that “she has been taken from me” and throws a hissy fit, slamming his fists down on tables and the like.

The Doctor wanders the caves, looking for Peri. Hearing the gun-runners approaching, he hides from them. As they argue which way to go, the monster attacks. The men open fire.

The monster is a dragon/lizard-headed humanoid creature with a heavily armoured body. The gun-runners’ guns seem to have no effect.

The Doctor hides behind a rock next to where the creature stands, roaring, getting closer to him… and the credits roll.

This cliffhanger felt a little flat to me. But after that last one, it’s no wonder.

See you Friday!