Oh! Oh! I’m excited for this one. I recall the general storyline and the fact that I loved this serial (and why not), but I haven’t seen it in so long!!!

Episode 1:

We open with The Second Doctor (Two from now on) and Jamie (in black and white) looking at a large space station on the scanner. The view becomes coloured, as Jamie says that isn’t “a wee laboratory” but more like “twenty castles in the sky”.

He razzes The Doctor for not always being able to go where he wants, and Two points out that he got Victoria where she wanted to go. (Now there was a useless companion. Pretty, but goodness, did I loathe her.)

They keep talking and it becomes apparent that this is during the time that Jamie and Victoria were Two’s companions; that’s a shame, I wish they could have gotten Wendy Padbury (Zoe) to reprise her role. I really enjoyed the original chemistry she, Jamie and Two had.

Two says they have other things to worry about, pointing a device on the TARDIS console that has never been there before, a “teleport control”. He yells at the ceiling, “You think I’d never flown a TARDIS solo?!?!?” Jamie looks about, properly confused.

Okay, I know a lot of people bitch about how this story breaks canon, by having Two working for the Time Lords, when it was his final story that revealed he was as much on the run from the Time Lords as anything else.

I suppose the writer(s) could have worked harder to come up with a better way of working him into the story. But this show has constantly evolved, often changing past things – after all, the First Doctor was a HUMAN, not an alien, albeit from the future and NOT from Earth. But he had one heart, did not regenerate.

Hell, when One regenerated into Two, first off, it wasn’t called regeneration (that didn’t come about until the FINAL serial of Pertwee’s run as The Doctor) and secondly, it was the TARDIS that did it, it wasn’t a biological/physical feature of The Doctor himself.

So, to everyone complaining about this, or about the John Hurt bit from the current run, shut the hell up.

Anyhow, rant over, back on to the show!

Two tells Jamie that the devices gives the Time Lords “dual control” over the TARDIS. He then sets the controls to quietly slip in to the laboratory complex they were viewing on the screen. When Jamie questions why he’s being sneaky, he says he doesn’t want to draw attention, saying he’ll be mobbed for autographs, and just wants to speak to “Dastari, Head of Projects.”

After a rocky landing, Two takes the recall disc (from the new addition to the console panel) and tells Jamie not to stray.

Do I ever,” Jamie asks, one brow quirked.

It has been known,” Two replies. “And let me do the talking. All you have to do is stand in the background and,” and Jamie says the rest of the sentence in perfect harmony with Two, “admire my/your diplomatic skills.”

A man in garish clothing, with a large scimitar and a bandolier, is offended as Two and Jamie exit, asking how dare they “transmat that object into my kitchens?!”

Two asks how dare he speak to him like that. The man grabs a kitchen knife (why, I wonder – he’s got a FUCKING SCIMITAR on him) and introduces himself as “Shockeye o’ the Quancing Grig,” whatever that means.

Two says he’s not interested in the pedigree of an Androgum and says he is a Time Lord. This puts Shockeye in his place, who apologises vehemently. Shockeye is delighted to learn that Jamie is a Tellurian (human from Earth) and wonders if he is a gift for Dastari.

Shockeye wants to buy Jamie, saying he would be a succulent meal. Two and Jamie do their best to get out of the kitchen ASAP.

Two explains that Androgums are the servitor class there. As they walk off, they hear the TARDIS dematerialising.

Back in the kitchen, a woman says that will not make their allies happy, as she promised the “Group Marshal” he could have the Time Lord’s vehicle. Shockeye asks if it will make any difference, and she says not to her, as she has the “Kartz-Reimer module”.

She says this proves the Gallifreyans are suspicious and supports her choice to lay the plans she did. They discuss the plans, and she says that Stike is already moving; Shockeye is upset, saying that “the calgesic won’t have affected the scientists yet.”

This is fascinating as I do recall Shockeye, and to a lesser extent the lady. I know who their allies are, but not what they’re up to.

She assures him it will have by the time Stike’s forces arrive. Shockeye then asks if the scientists enjoyed their meal and she confirms that Dastari praised the chef’s work, saying he had outdone himself. This brings great pleasure to Shockeye.

The Doctor and Jamie confer with Dastari. Two explains that he’s fallen from favour since the first time they met, when he was an emissary of Gallifrey. Two confirms that he does act on the Time Lords’ behalf, as price for the freedom he has. (Okay, so that does vehemently fly in the face of the story of the regeneration from Two to Three, so I can see some of the nerd rage over this being warranted.)

When Dastari complains that they have received no help from the Time Lords, Two argues that he cannot expect much help, due to their policy of “strict neutrality”. Dastari says there has been much displeasure amongst the Third Zone governments.

Two says not to chide him, he’s just the messenger. “Officially, I’m here quite unofficially,” he says.

Dastari, not missing a beat, replies, “You’ll explain that paradox, I know.”

Two reminds him that he’s a pariah, an exile, so the Time Lords can always deny having sent him. Dastari asks why has he been sent, and Two answers that the experiements in time travel by professors Kartz and Reimer need to be stopped.

Dastari questions how the Time Lords can equate their demand with their policy of strict neutrality, and again, Two brings up that he is persona non grata and can be denied.

(Okay, another tangent here. I know a lot of people like the new run because there aren’t a plethora of other Time Lords, that The Doctor isn’t bouncing about and “on call” for Gallifrey, but I miss that. I really do. I love Gallifrey and the Time Lords and all that associated.)

Chessene, the woman who had been talking to Shockeye, arrives to inquire if Dastari’s guests require refreshment. Two stops Jamie from answering in the positive, though it’s been a day since they ate. (“One meal a day is sufficient,” the Time Lord tells the highlander.)

It comes up that Chessene is an Androgum who has been augmented to genius-level intellect. The Doctor does not approve of such experiments and warns Dastari, “She’s still an Androgum, you can’t change nature.”

Dastari argues that he has in her case. They continue to argue, Two arguing against meddling with things like that, Dastari saying that their races have become weak and effete and if the Androgum could apply their “boiling energy” (apparently they are an energetic race?) to pursuits of sciences, there is no telling what might be achieved.

A man sits at a screen, almost bored, when suddenly three Sontaran battlecruisers show up on the screen. The computer identifies them and says they’re hostile (that’s kinda redundant), but before the man can initiate a red alert, Chessene zaps him with something (killing him or rendering unconscious, I’m not sure which) and tells the computer to maintain standard scanning procedures.

spoiler warning

We see The Sixth Doctor (whom I’ll refer to as Six frequently, especially when the two are together) fishing, while a bored Peri throws rocks into the water.

After some banter and misquotations, The Doctor gets a catch, struggling with it, talking about how it might be a record, but much to Peri’s delight, pulls out an ugly alien fish that barely fills The Doctor’s hand.

Dastari tells Two that he has no authority to make Kartz and Reimer abandon their work. Two argues that he does, that he sanctions every experiment done there. He tells Dastari that the Time Lords have monitored up to “point four on the Bocca scale… anything much higher would threaten the fabric of time!”

What about the web of time?

Dastari argues that the professors know what they are doing and are responsible scientists. Two says they’re “incompetent meddlers”. Dastari suggests that the Time Lords are only insisting this because they want to keep a monopoly on time travel.

When Two says he doesn’t think that’s the case, Dastari brings up that the TARDIS wasn’t allowed to remain on the station, suggesting that they feared Kartz and Reimer getting a look at it.

The Doctor tries asking nicely, saying the Time Lords just want a chance to study the experiments to make sure they’re safe and once they pass muster, they will allow the experiements to continue.

This is a poor choice of words that offend Dastari. The Doctor rephrases, saying “there would be no more objections.” Dastari says he doesn’t not have the authority to ask the scientists to submit their work for analysis. He continues, still angry, saying that the Time Lords have no right to make any such demands.

Two gets mad in turn, and they argue more.

Suddenly, Dastari seems ill, weakened. He sits down, visibly stricken, but Two continues to rant, saying how could anyone so intelligent could be so pig-headed?

Jamie is laughing at this point, and Two notices, “What are you smiling at, you hairy-legged highlander?”

Jamie gets in the best dig yet, “I’m just admiring your diplomatic skills.”

Dastari, meanwhile, has fallen unconscious at the desk. As they notice this, they hear the sound of blaster fire. A man runs in, calling out for Dastari, but is shot from behind. The Doctor orders Jamie to run and we see a Sontaran hand threatening Two with a blaster.

Six and Peri return to the TARDIS, The Doctor talking about finding other planets to fish. Peri is bored, bored, bored.

When Peri asks what’s the deal with fishing, he says he needs to relax, he hasn’t felt quite himself. He is about to go on about “This regeneration…” but suddenly has difficulty speaking, then collapses to the floor, writhing in agony.

Two is seen in a booth, writhing in agony. Jamie watches from outside, in a hallway, but Shockeye comes upon him. When the chef approaches, Jamie draws his blade, fending off the Androgum. Shockeye is called upon by Chessene, who demands to know if he’s stocked the ship.

While the chef explains he was bringing special rations (as the standard traveling fare is so beneath him), Jamie runs off. She says he is of no import, as Stike will kill everyone on board. Shockeye mourns the loss of a chance to cook him, but seems happy when he gets Chessene to agree to go to Earth, so that he might get to eat a human.

When she chastises him for thinking with his stomach, he quotes their law, “The gratification of pleasure is the sole motive of action.” She says she still accepts that law, but there are other pleasures than the purely sensual.

There’s a little tension here; he sees her as impure, untrue to their people. She sees him as a purist and beneath her. When he brings up her lack of using her proper Androgum name, she says she has not forgotten her lineage, but ahead of her are greater things.

Six recovers, Peri asking if he’s all right. “Of course I’m not all right! What happened,” he replies. When she says he fainted, he scoffs, saying he never faints. He says he felt a weakness, and then he was somewhere else.

She suggests some celery and he agrees, also suggesting jelly babies. Then he talks of having a clarinet or a flute… then recalls it was a recorder. He talks of being killed then but existed now and completely confuses her.

Circular logic will only get you dizzy,” she says.

Peri suggests that he should consult a doctor. He asks her if she’s trying to be funny, but then says that’s not a half bad idea. He pulls out a chain of cards, going through them (and name dropping like he always has done), before finding one for Dastari!

He sets course for Space Station Chimera, rambling about the various studies and experiments at the station.

Their TARDIS arrives in the kitchen, which is full of foul meat, left on the tables to rot. Peri complains about the smell, which Six says is “mainly decaying food… and corpses.” He goes on to wax poetic about the smell of death.

They exit, moving through darkened corridors. (So the Sontarans left the life support systems going? I wonder how long it’s been.) They find signs of laser bolts and The Doctor says it’s recently happened.

Peri suggests leaving (again, sigh, always with that) and The Doctor says he wants to find out what happened. He had originally thought it was a comet strike or some such accident, but now he’s seen someone deliberately attacked, he can’t believe it. “Who would want to stop the brilliant work that was being done here? Pure research, it threatened no one!”

The station computer replies, “It threatened the Time Lords.” The Doctor demands that it explain, but it orders him to leave. When he refuses, the computer threatens to activate “defense alert”.

The computer begins to depressurise that section. The Doctor scrambles, looking for a manual override on one of the doors. As he works it, Peri collapses, but the door shortly opens and they slip in.

On Earth, at what seems to be a Spanish estate, we see a Sontaran, Chessene and Shockeye arrive. She seems to detect a solitary female occupant. She tells Shockeye it is older and might not be edible.

Peri recovers, finding that she and Six are in Dastari’s office. Six talks about Dastari in the past tense, and when Peri questions, he tells her that forty of the greatest scientific minds were killed her.

She asks why the computer said that Time Lords were behind it, but he says he doesn’t know.

The lights come on, and he explains the computer has lost track of them. The Doctor points out the carpeted floor in Dastari’s office and explains that they were being tracked by the heat of their feet on the floors outside, but in here, it couldn’t detect them through the carpeting.

You mean it got worried and switched on the lights,” Peri asks, not quipping as one would expect.

Something like that,” Six replies, bringing out a smile from Peri.

The Doctor tells her to think of it as a game between them and the computer. She replies, “I love games, Doctor. Games where I’m not expected to end up dead.”

Six is distracted, going through Dastari’s… office book? Appointment calendar? Diary? Not sure what, but it seems to detail the experiements they were doing there, which Six finds fascinating.

(Ah, it’s his day journal.)

It details the “time control experiments”, which he explains is news that the Third Zone was so close to that technology. He stops, then reads from the journal, “The Time Lords are demanding that Kartz and Reimer suspend their work, alleging that their experiments are imperiling the continuum.”

(Ok, he didn’t have time to record that, so that’s either a slip up in writing/editing or someone else entered that.)

The entry goes on to say that Dastari refused their demands and that his colleagues feared forcible retaliation from the Time Lords. “All agree that we must stand firm and refuse to be intimidated.”

When she asks, The Doctor says it couldn’t be the Time Lords, they would not have stooped to massacre. He refuses to believe it, saying there must be another explanation.

Peri suggests that someone could be setting up the Time Lords; he initially disputes that, but then realises she could very well be right.

She complains (shocking) about it getting hot in there and he says that the computer is trying to bake them now. He says they have to find a way to the computer controls and turn it off.

He rummages through Dastari’s desk, complaining that he can’t even find a paper clip. Taking a piece of wire from a ornament, The Doctor trips the lock on the door, opening it.

Back on Earth, an aged woman prays at an personal altar, rising to her feet with the use of a cane. It seems she’s blind, as she uses it to make her way out, but runs into Shockeye. The woman asks who is there in Spanish, and when Shockeye says “it cannot see”, she switches to English, “You are English?”

Now, why would they be speaking English?

He knocks her out and then inspects her, saying the bones are dry and brittle. Chessene says her mind may still be of use and instructs him to bring her.

Shockeye turns to the Sontaran, “You carry it, Varl.” I’m shocked, I thought all Sontarans has S-names. (No, wait, the first one ever seen was called “Linx”. Never mind.)

Varl snaps at Shockeye, saying he does not take orders from civilians and leaves to follow Chessene. Shockeye is left to pick up the old woman himself.

Back on Chimera, Peri whines about wondering if they could just leave, but The Doctor says they have to stay and find out what happened. Peri sees a dead body of an Androgum, but The Doctor says not to worry about it.

They slide down a service tunnel and find themselves in the service ducts. After bragging about his unerring sense of direction, The Doctor gets turned about several times. As they make their way, something in the shadows watches them, growling.

At the estate, Shockeye tells Chessene that Varl is setting up a beacon for the Sontaran ship. She says that Stike must be discreet in landing, “This planet is greatly over-populated.”

Delighted at the prospect, Shockeye all but giggles when he says, “But the time I leave it, madam, that might not be a problem.” He’s so delightfully corny and over-the-top. I love it!

When he asks if she learned anything of import from the “dead mind”, she says they are in a region called Andalucia, four kilometres from Seville. Shockeye is disappointed to learn that the woman was not concerned with food, but religion.

They argue some more, the same argument before – she calling him a primitive, he saying she only says that because of “the alien filth” injected into her by Dastari, and reminds her that she is still an Androgum.

Six and Peri move through the service ducts, which are like a giant jungle gym of tubes. He explains they’re “Fluidic streams, interesting application of an old idea. I think I detect Dastari’s hand in the design.” He explains that the fluid carries signals, but Peri hears something growling.

They, too banter, some of the same of their old arguments. As they set off, she hears the snarling/growling again. The Doctor, who didn’t hear it, says it must be hydraulics, but then they both hear it and he agrees that there’s something in there with them.

The continue on to their destination, below the central control area. He starts tinkering with the lines, but has difficulty remembering all the color codes.

Varl watches as a Sontaran ship approaches.

An Englishman and a local women approach the estate; she tells him about the old woman, how her mother used to work for her. He has a net, so I’m guessing he’s a collector of butterflies or somesuch.

Varl approaches Shockeye, “Our leader is in descent orbit,” he tells him. Shockeye says that Chessene is their leader. Varl argues that “Marshal Stike commands the Ninth Sontaran Battle Group!” They argue who is responsible for planning and running their operation.

Anita, the local woman, leads Oscar, who is in fact hunting moths, to a spot she says they frequent. He agrees that it “looks like splendid moth country.” Saying they are ladies of the night, they are early, and he sets down his lantern and net and waxes poetic about moths.

As they talk about his passion for moths, the Sontaran ship is seen blazing overhead. She drags him to go investigate, as he whines about the sight of gory entrails, which he can’t stand the sight of, “except, of course, on stage”. So he’s an actor.

They observe the Second Doctor being carried into the hacienda. Oscar worries that there will be injuries, but she insists they go see if they can help.

Peri has crawled down the ladder and finds something, calling out to The Doctor, but he’s still tinkering with things. She is attacked by something or someone, and her scream distracts The Doctor, who ends up getting gassed by a booby trap. He passes out and falls, landing on some cables… and the credits roll.

Okay, so there are some silly bits and all… still, enjoyable. Looking forward to when the two Doctors meet!