Oh, I’m excited. I don’t have much detailed recollections about this serial, but I do love the Rani. I still wish they had made River Song to be her…

 

Episode 1:

 

Several workers attend to a primitive mine elevator, taking the cart out and wheeling it and its load of coal to the proper place. By dress and technology, we seem to be in a mining camp/town in the 1800s, possibly very early 1900s.

 

People mill about the town, workers and others. There’s banter and greetings and children and dogs. Outside a bath house, an old woman hobbles in as three miners approach. They enter and pay the fee to use the bathing tubs and begin disrobing.

 

Suddenly, smoke begins pouring into the room and the three men, already exhausted from working, pass out.

 

In the TARDIS, The Doctor says they’re being maneuvered off course; Peri, dressed in a dress, asks if he’s sure that the TARDIS isn’t “malfunctioning again,” which upsets our Time Lord.

 

He confesses that he doesn’t know who or what is changing the location, but not the time. He determines that there’s a time machine nearby, and they speculate either a Time Lord or a Dalek. They land (much to Peri’s displeasure, not a Kew Gardens) and head out, tracker in hand.

 

The three men from the bath house are fully dressed and fighting amongst themselves. They rush out, attacking other people, obviously acting quite out of the norm.

 

The Doctor notices that there aren’t any birds around; Peri suggests that a nearby scarecrow could be the cause, but he says they’re usually not effective. As they walk on, the scarecrow lifts its head to watch.

 

A man on cart and horse are stopped by the three men from the bath house; he knows them by name and addresses them, but they attack him and smash his cargo, a machine of some sort, or part of machinery.

 

The Doctor and Peri come across the aftermath, helping the man. He suggests that they wanted to smash the machinery because they fear it might take their jobs away, but The Doctor isn’t so sure.

 

One of the hooligans, Jack, was left behind, stunned. The cart driver says that’s odd, being that the others are such good mates of Jack’s. The Doctor sees an unusual mark on Jack’s neck, but the miner shrugs him off and runs away.

 

The Doctor is delighted to learn that George Stephenson is expecting the machinery and asks for a ride to town.

 

A figure (the scarecrow?) in the woods move away, cackling.

 

The bath house woman grabs a young boy, paying him to run to the tavern to tell the patrons that if they want a warm bath, they’d best hurry.

 

As the cart comes into town, they pass the bath house and the tracker beeps significantly, but The Doctor thinks it might be a hiccup. The driver stops at the tavern for a drink and The Doctor and Peri rush to the pit, where they expect to find Stephenson.

 

Three more workers arrive at the bath house. The woman follows them in, after looking about, but somehow she misses spotting the scarecrow, who is seen shedding his costume, to reveal – THE MASTER!!!!

 

Oh, I forgot he was in this one!!! Eeeeeek!

spoiler warning

Armed men with a dog stand about on guard near the pit. Peri and The Doctor stand nearby, wondering how they can get close to the pit. When The Doctor tries to approach, they’re stopped by the man with the dog, who says they need a pass.

 

They play off that they’ve been traveling and not received the pass, but the guard says their name will be on the list. The Doctor grabs the list and starts reading off names from it, recognising them as geniuses.

 

They manage to talk their way in, regardless. The Master watches this from afar, apparently not too pleased.

 

The Doctor and Peri are brought inside a building and instructed to stay; the dog is left at the door to keep them from trying to leave.

 

The Doctor tells Peri he’s worried that something is up – in two days an assemblage of some of the greatest minds in the period will be happening, and if there’s some alien threat nearby, he wants to get out of the office and determine what is going on.

 

Suddenly the dog barks and dashes off outside; The Doctor (tracker in hand) and Peri exit.

 

The Master is at the gate to the guarded area, when the dog charges the gate. The Master uses his TCE on it and an armed guard who comes running! (Oh no, poor puppy…)

 

Peri notices that the dog stopped barking.

 

The Master approaches Jack and his two cohorts. They think he’s one of “the brainy ones”. They threaten and mock him. We see all three of them have red circles on their necks. The Master tells them that The Doctor is the one they should have attacked, and tells them he’s in the pit.

 

The Master uses a device to cut through the gate and the three men charge into the area, looking for The Doctor.

 

Jack and his friends attack The Doctor; Peri is sent off and The Doctor is pushed into the coal pit, but grabs the pulley chain. One of the attackers falls into the pit, but Jack and the other continue trying to knock him off the chain.

 

As The Master watches in glee, Peri runs up and tries to stop them from attacking. Lord Ravensworth, the owner of the premises, arrives and gets the men to stop by firing a shot in the air. The Doctor is rescued, but Ravensworth says he knows he’s not on the list and demands he come to his office to answer questions immediately.

 

Peri and The Doctor follow; The Master is displeased and storms off.

 

Lord Ravensworth demands to know if The Doctor is a Luddite, thinking he’s one of the “machine wreckers”. The Doctor and Peri explain that they came to see Stephenson and only briefly met one of the attackers, Jack.

 

Ravensworth says that Jack has worked for him for thirty years and he’d never seen him raise a fist to anyone before. He explains that the Luddites have been exceptionally active at this location, moreso than the rest of the country.

 

Ravensworth notes a gathering of women outside and orders for them to be brought in; meanwhile, he and The Doctor talk about the savage attacks only are acted out by men.

 

The bath house woman attends to several men on beds. Strange technology are attached to them.

 

The Master sneaks into the bath house, and observes as a secret panel slides open in one wall and several men carry another man into the secret room. He follows them in and confronts the bath house woman.

 

She takes off her hood and mask, revealing another face altogether – the Rani!

 

They banter and mock each other; he says they should work together, but she’s not interested – she says she saw The Doctor and knows why The Master is there and wants nothing to do with it.

 

I am not interested in your pathetic vendetta, one way or the other,” she tells him, ordering him to go away. When he threatens to interfere with her work, she instructs her two servitors to attack; The Master kills one (named Tom) with his TCE (I guess that’s what it is, though they don’t show us the miniaturised corpses.)

 

The Rani calls off the other, Josh, before The Master kills him.

 

Several women speak to Ravensworth; one tells him that her husband, Josh, has been missing for days, and another says her Tom is gone, too. The Doctor asks when they’ve been missing, and we learn they were last seen coming off shift.

 

Peri suggests that they joined the Luddites, but the women say that couldn’t be.

 

The Rani complains that since The Master killed Tom, she needs a new assistant. She approaches one of the unconscious men and places a grub of some sort in his mouth. He swallows it and his eyes glow briefly.

 

The Master is thrilled, seeing this, and starts quizzing her how it’s done. She offers him one, but he takes the whole canister from her. He tells her that when the Time Lords exiled her, they made a grave error. She agrees and rants that they’ll learn to regret it.

 

Peri petitions The Doctor to leave (this is a regular thing she does.) He reminds her that they were brought there and she realises that he doesn’t think the Luddites are behind the attacks.

 

The Master and the Rani banter; he tells her that The Doctor won’t allow her to tamper with his favourite planet, his pet population (for that’s how The Master imagines it must be.) She says she needs the chemical she’s extracting and it is only available in human brains – the violence and savagery is a side-effect, not the intent.

 

The Rani again asserts that her work is of no interest to The Master and his goal. The Master laughs, saying that he’s not yet apprised her of what his intentions are.

 

To destroy The Doctor – you’ve never had any other. It obsesses you to the exclusion of all else,” she replies.

 

He gives her a steely look, and says coldly, “You underestimate me. Certainly, I want to destroy him, see him suffer. But that is just an exquisite first step. I have a greater concept, one that will encompass the whole human race.” As he speaks, his expression becomes animated, less cold. His eyes glow with madness.

 

Anthony Ainley is an over-the-top Master, compared to Delgado’s. (And Simm’s is completely off his rocker, making Ainley look subtle and calm in comparison.) But when Ainley rides that line between cold and maniacal elation, his Master is so wonderful.

 

She tells him he’s unbalanced, “No wonder The Doctor always defeats you.”

 

He snatches the vial from her hands, noting the small amount that she gets from the brain. She pleads with him to be careful and he threatens to drop it unless she tells him why the humans become so violent without it.

 

When she tells him that without it, the human brain cannot rest, he deduces why she needs it – her domain, a planet called Miasimia Goria, where the populace has gone amok. (The Master says he dropped by there before following her to Earth.)

 

She tampered with the natives, trying to heighten their intellect, but as a side effect, their ability to sleep was tampered with and they became chaotic.

 

Seeing a scanner amongst her equipment, he demands she use it to show him The Doctor.

 

The Doctor is talking to Ravensworth, but stops to check some workers for red dots on their necks. They don’t have any and he returns to asking Ravensworth about the son of Jack, Luke Ward, who is Stephenson’s assistant.

 

The Master convinces the Rani to put an end to The Doctor, else he interfere with her operation. She reluctantly agrees.

 

The Doctor and Peri question Luke and discover that Jack was last seen going to the bath house. Peri remarks that the scanner reacted when they passed the bath house on the way in. The Doctor swaps coats and gets dirty, with intent to sneak into the bath house.

 

The Master trails Jack and his cohorts into an old mine passage. The Rani is watching on her scanner, telling them to jump him, and they do. When one of them wrestles with The Master, she fears the vial of fluid that he has on his person will be smashed, and uses a remote to kill the man before that happens.

 

The Master chuckles, seeing the red circle on the side of the man’s neck, remarking, “The mark of the Rani.”

 

Jack and the others approach The Master, who tells them that it was The Doctor who killed their friend. (Why the Rani doesn’t have them keep attacking him I don’t quite get…) He begins talking to them, jotting on some paper.

 

The Rani, watching on her scanner in the bath house, wonders what he’s up to. “It’ll be something devious and over-complicated. He’d get dizzy if he tried to walk in a straight line,” she remarks, donning her disguise as someone knocks on the door.

 

Three men enter, the third being The Doctor. They pay the fee and enter the bathing room. The gas pours out and the three of them collapse.

 

The Master has drawn a picture of the TARDIS, saying it is the machine that murdered their friend. He suggests that they bury it in the mine, and that it will take all his power away.

 

In the bath house, the Rani has The Doctor on the table; she doesn’t recognise him until she listens to his twin heartbeats. He wakes up and realises who she is. She asks if he was expecting to see The Master and when he says no, “He was burnt to a crisp the last time I saw him,” she informs him that he’s there as well.

 

They banter, insulting each other’s appearances.

 

It comes about that she’s been coming to Earth for centuries to do her work – the Trojan War, the Dark Ages, the Revolutionary War. Somehow, The Doctor manages to deduce what she’s been doing, based on little evidence whatsoever – Sherlock Holmes would be proud.

 

Using her scanner, she locates The Master. She leaves to go confront him, ordering Josh to kill one of the other bathers should he try to escape.

 

Peri watches the bath house woman leave. She slips in (because the Rani didn’t lock up, apparently, cuz that would have made too much sense) and looks about for The Doctor. She finds the other unconscious bather and then The Doctor, who tells her to push the bed with the other bather out of the room.

 

Afraid the servitors will stop her, she argues. She then questions what’s been going on, and in the process, allows the Rani and The Master time to return.

 

The Master is delighted to see Miss Brown. Peri is not so pleased.

 

A group of men rush a cart through the woods, the TARDIS lying upon it.

 

The Master gloats, saying he has a score to settle with Peri first, but the Rani says not to kill her – saying she wants to drain the fluid from her brain.

 

A hyperactive Peri,” The Doctor quips, “Too ghastly to contemplate.”

 

The Master reveals his plan to convert Earth into a power under his rule, using the Rani’s “bag of tricks” (The Doctor’s words, not The Master’s) to help him do so.

 

The scanner beeps, showing the men rushing the TARDIS towards their final fate. The Doctor places seeds of doubt in The Master’s mind about whether the scanner is showing the truth or not, and he orders Peri to push The Doctor’s bed outside.

 

At the pit, the men bring the TARDIS. The Master, Peri and The Doctor watch from afar (though The Doctor, laying on the bed still, can’t really see it.)

 

The TARDIS is tipped down and into the pit, top first.

 

The Doctor kicks the TCE out of The Master’s hand and yells for Peri to push, but she pushes it the wrong way, and his bed rolls down the road. She runs after it, but it goes faster than she, rounding a bend all to Jack and his fellows. They lift The Doctor off the bed and onto a mine cart, and push it towards the pit… and the credits roll.

 

A decent enough cliffhanger, one you almost had to expect!

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