Recap: As his evidence for his defense, The Doctor shows a story from his future. He and companion Mel are summoned by a mysterious mayday to a intergalactic liner, where there seems to be a murderer aboard. Something to do with plants and some shady scientific types, of course. We leave off with The Doctor and Mel sneaking into an ISOLATION ROOM and finding a man who seems in the process of mutation…

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

The pod-person begs them to “stop her, stop Lasky”, but then Lasky and her assistants come in and Doland takes them out as Lasky renders the pod person unsconscious.

Mel and The Doctor ask questions, and Doland answers, saying that “the monstrosity” (Mel’s word) is his assistant Ruth, and they’re transporting her back to Earth to try to treat her there.

As he explains what happened to Ruth, Rudge and the guard arrive to take him under arrest, and he is taken to the Commodore.

In the courtroom, the Valeyard stops the evidence, questioning why the evidence supposedly defending The Doctor is, in fact, of him flouting his disdain for authority. The Inquisitor agrees, saying much of the evidence does seem to go against his stated aim.

The Doctor denies that this is a case of more (supposed) tampering, suggesting that if the Valeyard exercised some restraint, all will be made clear.

On the bridge, The Doctor watches as the Commodore changes the route so it cuts even closer to the black hole. That being done, the Commodore asks about the falsifying a fire alarm.

Janet reports to Rudge that Kimber has not been seen. Rudge enters the passenger’s cabin and, not finding anything, issues a search order.

Mel slips in afterwards, finding a leaf in the bathroom.

Kimber is shown, being dragged by the plant-creatures. We get our first look at them as they lay his body with several others, including Edwards and the guard.

The Doctor calls out the Commodore on letting him run about unfettered. The Commodore admits that he’s given orders to let The Doctor have free reign in his investigations. When The Doctor advises contacting Earth to find out details about Hallet’s investigation, the Commodore reveals he already tried, but was refused as it is “Top Secret”.

When Rudge and Janet reconvene, they cannot find Kimber. The two Mogarians insist that they speak to Rudge, that he explain all that is going on. When he tries to leave, they get very insistent.

A guard is attacked by the Vervoids (the plant-creatures.) The creatures speak in English as they work to move the body.

Doland catches Bruchner destroying their notes in the hydroponics centre. Doland locks him in their shed.

Mel pesters Lasky in the gym, asking about the leaf she found. Doland arrives to tell her about Bruchner, pleading with her to calm down their compatriot. Mel grabs Doland after Lasky leaves, questioning him about the pods. He prevaricates, saying the pods were never anything but empty husks.

Mel hears breathing from the air ducts. She shoves a headset in the duct then darts in the control room. Using the controls, she hears them talking about killing all the animal life forms, but then someone grabs her from behind.

The Doctor finds the Lounge empty, and decides to go to the gym.

Mel is placed in a trash receptacle. A worker comes in and takes it out of the gym, as The Doctor is coming in. The Time Lord holds the door for the worker as he pushes Mel out.

In the control room in the gym, The Doctor plays back the recording of the Vervoids (not yet named as such in story, but I’m tired of using plant-creature.) He realises that Mel must have been in the waste bin (though that’s quite the leap of deduction.)

He rushes to the pulveriser, saving Mel moments before she’s thrust into it.

The Commodore reads Rudge the riot act about how bad a security officer he is.

The Vervoids add another body to the pile. They congratulate themselves.

The Doctor and Mel return to the gym, to find the tape gone. After The Doctor calls the murderer/Mel’s assailant a ‘he’, she posits that it could have been a woman, either Lasky or Janet.

They compare their bits of leaves and The Doctor heads off to the hydroponics, setting Mel to investigate Janet.

Janet offers the Mogarians coffee, but they decline, the second knocking the tray out of her hands. He then apologises.

The Doctor stands in the communication center, fire hatchet in his hand, the console a wreck. He looks almost maniacal and proud.

In the courtroom, The Doctor protests, saying he didn’t do that. He says that the communication equipment was smashed, but says it wasn’t him, but the murderer. Again, he claims that when he viewed it earlier, it did not show him there.

The Inquisitor asks if The Doctor is questioning the veracity of the Matrix, why keep using it? The Doctor asks what else does he have – without evidence, he is condemned.

The Valeyard prods him, saying that even with it, it seems he is condemned.

Mel is in Janet’s room, searching, when someone starts to open the door. She hides in the shower, just before a Vervoid enters.

The Commodore sees the damage in the communication center, saying there is no way to repair it.

Lasky scolds Bruchner. They debate and argue, Lasky comparing their achievements with the discovery of fire, and then later Gallileo. Bruchner attacks her and then dashes off, bumping into The Doctor who is approaching the hydroponics center.

He finds Lasky, unconscious or dead, and checks on her condition.

The Vervoids stand about. One of them gives a pep rally speech about being “unique, the only members of the Vervoid species” (and thus they’re named, yay.) He tells them they must destroy Bruchner is their greatest threat to them and their goal of reaching planet Earth.

Bruchner attacks a guard and takes his weapon.

The Doctor has Lasky back to consciousness, and they argue; she denies any existence of the Vervoids and The Doctor lectures her on joining an elite group – “misguided scientists who claim the pursuit of truth as an excuse for immoral experiments”.

She tells him that Bruchner is out to destroy the ship and they must stop him.

Bruchner has made it to the bridge and orders the Commodore and pilot out. He seals the door and then sits at the controls, directing the ship towards the black hole.

The Doctor and Lasky arrive to find the Commodore outside, and he learns from Lasky that Bruchner is a trained pilot. The ship begins shaking as the route is changed.

Still in Janet’s room, the Vervoid begins spewing gas. Mel is still hiding in the shower.

The ship heads towards the black hole.

But, in case that wasn’t obvious enough, we have an additional scene where Lasky has to ask what’s going on and The Doctor tells her, “Your man is aiming the Hyperion III directly into the eye of the black hole of Tartarus.” Lasky looks shocked… and the credits roll.

Sadly, that extra bit of “our audience is stupid” ruined any real effect the cliffhanger might have had. A much better one would have been with the ship going towards the black hole.

Episode 4:

The Vervoids head to the bridge, to stop Bruchner.

Mel escapes the cabin.

Everyone is shown holding on to things for their dear lives. The Doctor and others are trying to cut in the bridge door. As they pierce the lock, marsh gas starts pouring out. Lasky tells them that gas masks won’t be sufficient against it.

As The Doctor and the Commodore start arguing over who’s going to go in, both trying to take all the risk, Rudge tells them there’s no need for heroics and calls someone on his communicator.

The Hyperion III is shown getting closer and closer to the black hole, which looms ever larger…

The Mogarians enter the bridge and bring the ship to safety. After this, the Mogarians, working with Rudge, hijack the ship. Rudge rants about how he is tired of someone always patronising him, bossing him about.

En route to being taken to the Lounge, The Doctor sees Mel and holds up the procession so she can get away before being spotted by Rudge. She rushes back to the Lounge and warns Janet and Doland before the others arrive.

In the Lounge, The Doctor tries to scamper off, but Rudge warns him from trying to escape. Rudge demands the keys to the vault from the Commodore, who refuses. Rudge KO’s him and gets the keys. He reveals he’s being paid by the Mogarians to help them recover the minerals taken from their planet.

The Mogarians announce that everyone is to remain at their posts, and if anyone approaches the Lounge or the bridge, the hostages will be killed. Mel, Janet and Doland hear this. Mel goes to put out a call for help (why didn’t Janet do that?) but they find the communications room in shambles.

Doland asks Janet if she can get the guards together, but she argues about the safety of the hostages. Mel and Doland tell her the hostages will be killed regardless.

The Commodore and The Doctor confer in hushed tones, discussing whether Rudge is affiliated with the murders. They agree he has nothing to do with it, so even if the hijack gets solved, there’s still that.

On the bridge, someone throws liquid in the faces of the Mogarians. They cry out in pain. This is interesting as they’re wearing sealed helmets. They fall to the floor screaming in pain.

Mel, sneaking in the ventilation system, whispers to The Doctor in the Lounge. She warns him that they’re planning to attack the Lounge, but he tells her to have them attack the bridge instead.

The Vervoids stand around and pontificate on the animal-kind killing each other. For a bunch of plants, these guys sure talk a lot. They agree to resume the hunt and do some silly dance.

On the bridge, Mel, Doland and Janet find the dead Mogarians. Mel questions who did this and how, but Doland tells her to stop playing detective, they still need to figure out how to convince Rudge that the hijack is a lost cause.

Mel suggests that they take the Mogarian’s face plates.

A Vervoid finds Ruth in the ISOLATION ROOM. She screams and it attacks her.

In the Lounge, The Doctor paces. Mel and company enter, telling him his allies are dead, showing him the faceplates. He runs off and the Commodore sends a man to the bridge. The Doctor asks for a phaser and for permission to search all cabins for the tape.

The Commodore gives him a gun and the permission requested. Mel draws the Time Lord aside to ask why he announced so publicly about the tape, saying anyone (meaning Lasky and Doland in particular) could hear. The Doctor pretends he didn’t know that and she catches on.

When she asks what he’s up to, he replies, “Mel, I entered this affair as a Judas Goat, I intend to re-adopt the role.” They realise that either her cabin or the locker in the gym are where Lasky might’ve hidden the tape, if she were the one who took it.

Rudge, running through the halls, is surrounded and attacked by the Vervoids.

Doland confronts The Doctor in Doland’s cabin (guess the keys were just window-dressing as nobody has needed one in this entire serial) as the Time Lord searches for the tape. Doland suggests searching Lasky’s cabin, but The Doctor says he already has.

Doland says he’s innocent and he can’t believe the professor is guilty, but in an effort to end this nonsense, he says he knows of another place the professor might have secreted it and leaves to show The Doctor the way.

Lasky confronts Mel, who is going through her locker (guess they don’t have keys for that either.) Lasky says, “No tape, that’s what you were hoping to find, isn’t it?”

In the hydroponics lab, The Doctor uses a lockpick device to open the locked (oh, there are locks) drawer. Doland gets ahold of The Doctor’s gun and gives him the tape, but says he’s already wiped it.

When The Doctor admits he thought he might have, Doland is amazed that he still suspected him and let him bring him down there.

A reckless streak,” The Doctor offers. “I’m prone to them.” He lays out the reasons why Doland was the suspect – the prime clue indicating him instead of possibly Lasky was the slaughter of the Mogarians, who were killed while Lasky was imprisoned in the Lounge.

(Okay, fine, but howcome Mel/Janet never mentioned that he wasn’t with them the whole time – every time we saw the them, the three of them were together. That’s actually poor writing in a mystery.)

Doland says that the Vervoids represent vast economic power – they plan to use Vervoids as slave labour, a cheap replacement to robotic workers. A Vervoid listens to this from outside the shed and slips off.

When Doland is done explaining, he tries to shoot The Doctor with the gun, but our hero had already disarmed it. Doland slips out, only to find the Commodore and guards waiting to arrest him.

The Vervoids stand about (they do that a lot) and talk (already established, still doing that a lot) about killing Doland, when the one reports in.

In the hall, a Vervoid attacks the guard escorting Doland. Doland runs off, but is trapped by the others.

On the bridge, the Commodore demands of Lasky how to wipe out the Vervoids. The Doctor argues that the Vervoids are only on the defensive, as all animal-kind eat plant-life at one time or another.

The Commodore says that ultimately it’s either one side or the other. No matter what, the end of the Vervoids must be achieved if they are to survive. He turns to The Doctor, specifically saying, “We need your undivided commitment.”

In the courtroom, The Doctor stops the playback, “And there you have it, the direct request! I did not meddle, I was presented with an appeal. And not just from anybody, but from the man in whom authority was vested.”

The Inquisitor accepts the argument, pointing out that the Valeyard cannot refute it, either. The Valeyard does not dispute this, merely suggesting they await the outcome of the “adventure”.

In the hydroponics shed, Lasky says there isn’t enough of whatever she was looking for to make herbicide. It seems the Vervoids are (again) one step ahead of them.

As they talk, the Vervoids approach the shed en masse. Lasky tries to appeal to them, saying she was not trying to exploit them like Doland was. The Vervoids say they know her, but even she is their enemy, and they attack her and carry her off.

In the pulversing station, the worker fights off and pushes a Vervoid into it, but a second one kills him.

Running through the ventilation tunnels, Mel is horrified to see the pile of bodies, but The Doctor compares it to her garden in Pease Pottage, asking what she did with the plants and weeds she uprooted.

Put them in a compost heap,” she answers, the answer The Doctor was trying to get her to reach. He tells her it’s just their instinct. “A compulsive following of the life cycle.”

In the Lounge, the guards and Janet try to bar the doors, as the Vervoid attack.

The Doctor and Mel make it to the bridge; he suggests using Vionesium (a rare metal found on the planet Mogar, of course) that can be used to accelerate the life cycle of the Vervoids. The Doctor says it’s like having seasons pass in a matter of moments, extreme light and carbon dioxide released when the metal is exposed to air.

Lighting is shut down, heating turned off in areas, forcing the Vervoids into one area. The Vervoids gather and talk. Just outside where they are, Mel and The Doctor listen in.

One straggler of a Vervoid arrives in the tunnel and Mel screams (cuz that’s her job… sigh). The Doctor yells at her to use the vionesium and they do, causing the Vervoids to die.

As they die, their death-knells are heard throughout the ship. One of the guards put his arm around Janet and they share a look. Yeah, like that had any necessity.

Dead leaves are all that is left of the Vervoids. The Doctor has the Commodore restore power as haunting music plays.

Later, Janet and the Commodore say their goodbyes to Mel and The Doctor. There’s banter and whatnot and they enter the TARDIS and leave.

In the courtroom, Sagac… I mean, the Inquisitor asks, “Did none of the unfortunate creatures survive, Doctor?’

No, my lady, had even a leave survived and fallen on fertile soil, a Vervoid would have grown,” he replies somberly.

(This is a magical moment about to happen here, kids, pay attention. This part stands out in my memory. I have goosebumps.)

Every Vervoid was destroyed by your ingenious plan,” the Valeyard states.

Still unhappy about it (though he hasn’t done it yet), The Doctor nods, “Yes.”

Ominous music plays as the Valeyard stands up, saying, “Whether or not The Doctor has proved himself innocent of meddling is no longer the cardinal issue before this court. He has proved himself GUILTY of a far greater crime!” There’s a delighted grin as he says this last part.

You refer to Article Seven of Gallifreyan law,” the Inquisitor asks.

The Doctor, horrified, argues, “No, my lady, that cannot apply! Had a single Vervoid reached Earth, the human race would’ve been eliminated!”

Article Seven permits not exceptions,” the Valeyard reminds him. “The Doctor has destroyed a complete species,” he addresses the court, “The charge must now be genocide.”

Horrified, The Doctor gapes. The camera zooms in on his face… and the final credits roll.

AND THAT IS A CLIFFHANGER. Wow. WOW. WOW WOW WOW. I love that part. That is my second favourite bit of dialogue from this entire season. (What’s my fave, you ask? Oh, you’ll find out next week. Oh, yes, my pretties.)

Brilliant bit of writing that. Fucking awesome.

See you next week for the finale.