I don’t believe I’ve seen this one; I do know who the guest star is and I’m very, very excited about it.

Episode 1:

We open with a scenic garden, several people milling about. We quickly see our special guest-star, as a woman asks “Alistair, Alistair, what about this one,” and her companion, none other than the awesome ALISTAIR GORDON LETHBRIDGE-STEWART, that’s right folks, the ever-loving Brigadier, turns to regard the tree.

Oh, fine, if you like it, Doris,” he replies. She tells him to show some enthusiam. He picks up the tree and grouses about the salesman being nowhere to be found. Doris (his wife, I’m guessing) remarks about how, in the day, he would have just snapped an order and stood back.

Sergeant Benton, tree planting party on the double,” he quips as they walk off together. She asks if he regrets leaving UNIT and he replies, “No, my blood and thunder days are long past.”

We cut to a different scene, zoomed in on the hilt of a sword. In the pommel a crystal or light glows red, pulsing. We zoom in closer, as if it weren’t obvious enough.

We then shift to an outside view of a UNIT truck, where a radio operator calls in to another team, “Salamander 6-0”. When he gets them, he calls over the Brigadier, a woman, who gets on the horn. She tells them to clarify their situation, but there’s great interference/static in the communication and they lose contact.

The Brigadier surmises that it’s the storm and her driver says he doesn’t like the weather as they head off.

Again, we zoom in on the pommel of the sword. Then we cut back and see it is in a large chamber. There’s a crystal ball and in it a woman, who turns to face us, saying, “At last, he is revealed to us.” We see lightning flash in the crystal ball.

In the TARDIS, all is dark. The Doctor works at the console, while Ace asks why it’s dark. She then asks what that noise is and he says it’s a cry for help coming from Earth, saying it’s from “sideways in time,” apparently an alternate reality?

She asks a bunch of Qs, much to The Doctor’s dismay. Ace says she doesn’t think they want to go where it’s coming from, but he says they’ve already arrived.

The lady Brigadier keeps trying to raise Salamander 6-0. They drive pass The Doctor and Ace who are hitchhiking. Another vehicle comes by and pick them up. The driver asks if they’re coming to see the archaeological dig, saying he’s the site supervisor and it’s a battlefield – and now we’ve introduced the title, let us move onward!

Something zooms through space towards Earth. A ship, presumably. It crashes into the land nearby. When Ace questions what the sound (from the impact) was, the site supervisor suggests it was the military doing shelling nearby, but she doesn’t think so.

An armoured figure rises from the ground.

The nuBrig gets out and views some soldiers scurrying about though her binocs, complaining about a missile in the lake. She hops back in and they drive off, The Doctor and Ace’s ride pulling in moments later. They disembark and the site supervisor drives off in a hurry, upset at seeing the soldiers.

The Doctor has a device and says the transmission is coming from the opposite direction, but Ace grabs him to direct his attention to the soldiers scurrying by the lake, saying it’s a missile convoy. The Doctor says it’s a nuclear missile convoy.

Another two somethings hurtle to the Earth.

The site supervisor confronts a soldier, demanding to speak to someone in charge.

The nuBrig hears the incoming other space-hurtling things and orders a soldier to find out what they are, but he says they can’t radio out for flight plan information. She tells him to figure a way, saying, “All this noise is making me nervous.”

The Doctor and Ace approach the missile convoy. They jump as there are two more impact collisions in the distance. The Doctor pulls out a couple ID packets, handing one for “Elizabeth Shaw” to Ace. She complains that she doesn’t even look like the picture in the ID.

The Doctor tells her to “think like a physicist.”

The armoured figure (or perhaps one of them) is on the move.

The Doctor and Ace are brought before the nuBrig. They begin questioning her about what happened – seems there was an energy pulse that has shorted out the vehicle/mobile missile station. The nuBrig reviews their ID packets, saying she intends to find out where they got them from, and has them escorted out.

As he leaves, The Doctor says he’d like to say a few things and rambles a list, “Yeti, Autons, Daleks, Cybermen and Silurians!” She’s not impressed.

NuBrig asks her second, Sgt Zbrigniev, why he let two civilians with antiquated documentation in, and he seems uncomfortable. She realises he knows something and he asks to speak off the record. He tells her during his time under Lethbridge-Stewart, he knew a scientific advisor called “The Doctor”, and though he didn’t look like the man outside, he had changed his appearance on several occasions.

NuBrig wonders how “…could he be the same man if his appearance and personality change,” but Zbrigniev doesn’t know. All he does know is that when The Doctor shows up, “…all hell breaks loose.”

The Brig is working in the garden, but Doris says he has a phone call from Geneva. He says he’s retired and not interested. However, when she tells him that the Secretary-General said that The Doctor is back, the Brig seems very interested.

The armoured figure stands outside the TARDIS. His armour is much like a knight of the days of old. (There’s a road sign near the TARDIS that identifies the lake as LAKE VORTIGERN.)

The NuBrig gives The Doctor and Ace a ride, saying she thought they’d like to see Vortigern’s Lake. The Doctor muses on the name, Vortigern, but Ace isn’t impressed.

The Doctor asks NuBrig her name, and she replies, “Brigaider Willifred Bambera.” Ace is pleased/interested in NuBrig’s first name, for some reason, but The Doctor cuts her off, talking about Vortigern meaning “High King”.

Another armoured figure is seen examining a sign.

NuBrig drops her passengers off at the Gore Crow Hotel. The Doctor and Ace ask to book a room and get a couple drinks (water for The Doctor, lemonade for Ace) and, to Ace’s dismay, are charged five pounds for the drinks. “Remember, we are in the future,” The Doctor reminds her (he’d originally said the signal was coming from “several years” in her future.)

Three armoured men walk through the woods, carrying blaster pistols.

NuBrig finds The Doctor’s police box. She stops and gets out, drawing her gun. She finds herself surrounded, the three with blaster pistols on one side, the original solitary ‘knight’, who is armed with a blaster rifle on the other.

The knights fire at each other, with NuBrig in the middle. She fires at both parties.

The solitary knight engages two of the other party in a sword fight, getting the best of them and then grabbing his blaster rifle, he heads off.

In the hotel, Ace and The Doctor chat with an oriental woman, who knows Peter (the site supervisor). The girl seems to have the same affinity for explosives that Ace does, so they bond quickly.

The girl says that the only “half decent thing Peter’s found is that scabbard,” indicating one on the wall of the hotel lobby. The Doctor goes to investigate while the girls go outside to talk about explosives.

A blind woman sitting in the lobby (who looked familiar so I looked her up – she’s played by June Bland, who was in the Peter Davison serial EARTHSHOCK as Berger) asks The Doctor, “Interesting, isn’t it?” She says she wishes she could see it, but she can feel its presence at times. She encourages him to touch it and he does so.

The moment he touches it, he pulls his hand back, saying it’s hot to the touch. He touches it again, and this time it is cold. The woman says sometimes she gets the strangest feelings from it.

When he asks what she means, she says it’s like it’s waiting for something. He muses on this, “Waiting for something? Or someone?”

By the TARDIS, the knights get up and back away. NuBrig checks out her car, but it’s been damaged in the fracas.

The Brig, dressed in his old uniform, gets ready to depart. Doris says that he could have said no, but he says he has his duty. She complains that “all this means so little to you.” When he says he’ll be back, she insists that he need not go, that he doesn’t have to “play soldier any more”.

I’m not playing,” he says, simply.

The three knights hunt the solitary knight. It seems the three are agents of the woman we saw in the crystal ball, as she watches and instructs them to kill him. Another firefight begins.

NuBrig walks to the hotel, the site supervisor pulling in as she makes the parking lot. He rushes in to ask Elizabeth, the blind woman (guess she works there) if he can use their telephone as his car phone isn’t working.

The Doctor tries to ask him about the scabbard, but he’s busy complaining to Elizabeth, first about the convoy, then the phone line being dead. He finally answers that it was found at the dig by the lake. When The Doctor asks what period he answers (but not initially, first he snaps, “What does it matter,” snatching the scabbard from The Doctor’s hands), saying Eighth Century.

The Doctor says it’s been waiting much longer than that. “Waiting for what,” Peter asks.

In the crystal ball, the woman replies, “Waiting… for me.”

A helicopter arrives to pick up the Brig. Doris brings out his stick/rod, the one he always carried. He assures her that he’ll be careful.

Ace and the oriental girl (Shou Ying, though they have not named her in story yet) exchange stories about explosives.

The knights’ firefight continues.

Ace regales Shou with a story of blowing up the art room. This coincides with one of the knights throwing a grenade at their enemy, knocking him into the brewery behind the hotel – not far from where the girls are.

Ace says they need to get The Doctor, who walks out just then. The girls tell him they saw a “bloke” flying through the air into the brewery roof. They slip inside, The Doctor cautioning them to be quiet.

Inside, it’s dark, but when they turn the light on, they find the armoured man. Ace says it’s an android, but The Doctor says it’s a human and takes off his helmet, revealing a young man with golden blonde hair.

The man wakes and, seeing The Doctor, says, “Merlin! Against all hope.” The Doctor is confused.

The Brig boards the helicopter and it takes off as Doris watches.

When Ace says the man is wrong, “…he’s called The Doctor,” the man replies, “Oh, he has many names, but in my reckoning, he is called Merlin.”

The Doctor asks if he recognises his face, but the man says it is his “aspect that betrays you. Do you not ride the ship of time, does it not deceive the senses, being larger within than without? Merlin, cease these games and tell me truly, is this the time?”

Looking worried, The Doctor asks, “Time for what?”

Thou does not know? Truly,” the man asks. Ace retorts that he wouldn’t be asking if he did know.

Why, the answer to Excalibur’s call, the time of restitution, the time when Arthur rises to lead the Britons to war,” the young man answers.

Vortigen’s lake, of course,” The Doctor says, excitedly. He helps the man to his feet, as Shou asks what’s going on and Ace asks what’s got him going on so.

Well, if my hunch is right, the Earth could be the center of a war that doesn’t even belong to this dimension,” he replies. He turns to lead them out, but NuBrig rushes in, demanding they freeze, pointing a rifle at them.

She puts them under arrest, but as The Doctor tries to explain, the three knights arrive, one of them barking orders, “Kill them! Kill them now!” As The Doctor looks at them… the credits roll.

Suppose it’s a decent enough cliffhanger.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

NuBrig tells the new arrivals that she’s an armed military officer and they’re under arrest. (She likes stating the obvious, huh? Yes, I know, it’s proper procedure to identify yourself as an authority figure before putting someone under arrest.) She demands they surrender, but they don’t seem to be inclined to listen.

The Doctor smacks down her gun with his umbrella and places himself in between her and them. He introduces himself, and when he turns to introduce the others, NuBrig fires a shot, hitting the one giving the orders.

He laughs and lifts his visor and the young man they were chasing identifies him as “Mordred”. Mordred addresses the young knight as Ancelyn, and says it’s fitting he should die amongst peasants.

Ancelyn suggests that Mordred “look again,” indicating The Doctor. Mordred, too, seems to think he is Merlin, but he claims that his mother sealed Merlin in “the ice caves for all eternity.”

The Doctor retorts that he is a master of time and “cannot be sealed so easily.” Mordred calls him a “Master of Lies”. The Doctor plays the role, threatening that if Mordred doesn’t leave, he will unleash “a terrible something” on them. Mordred leaves, but not before promising Ancelyn a reckoning and letting “Merlin” know that his mother has waited twelve centuries and she will make him bow down before her this time.

The Brig is flown in by helicopter, giving orders for an exclusion zone around the location. He asks the pilot if Brigadier Bamberra is a “good man”. Oh, the LOLs.

The Doctor confronts NuBrig, saying if they’re going to work together, she has to stop shooting at everything that moves. As they pass her, Bambera grabs Ancelyn, saying she wants to talk to him. He snarks at her, saying he doesn’t talk to peasants, and the two of them begin fighting/wrestling.

When Ace and Shou (still unnamed that I’m aware of) bring his attention to it, he basically says it’s their way of establishing the pecking order and walks off, saying they have more important things to worry about, such as “sorcery”.

We see excalibur again, briefly.

Mordred performs a ritual bridging “two worlds, two universes, two realities”.

The scabbard in the hotel lobby shakes on the wall, seemingly in response to Mordred’s ritual. The Doctor tells Elizabeth and the guy who works there that nobody is to go outside. He explains, “There are things out there in the dark that you wouldn’t want to meet.”

NuBrig and Ancelyn come in, the latter in handcuffs. Bambera asserts that she’s in charge, flashing her UNIT ID, telling them everything is under control.

The Doctor, seeing the scabbard finally, remarks, “I doubt that,” as he goes over to investigate.

Mordred raises his sword, which he says is “brother to Excalibur”, parting the curtain of night (the veil between the worlds, I would guess.)

In the lobby, the scabbard flies through the air, imbedding in the north wall of the lobby, towards the lake.

In the helicopter, the Brig has fallen asleep. Oh, this is riveting storytelling here, lemme tell ya.

There’s a castle, lightning flashes about. Inside, Mordred continues his ritual. He plunges his sword down and some funky music and lighting happens.

Suddenly, in the helicopter, the Brig wakens, startled.

Mordred laughs like a maniac. All maniacally, you see.

The storm worsens outside, shaking the hotel. Things fall off the walls and shelves. Ace and Shou rush in, screaming for The Doctor, who says he doesn’t know what’s going on, “But I’ve got some nasty suspicions.” He snatches the scabbard.

Mordred continues to laugh and laugh.

The Doctor says someone is creating a rift in time and space. Ancelyn stands up, “She is coming.” NuBrig demands to know whom he speaks of, but everyone is watching The Doctor make stupid faces (reminds me of Pertwee’s Doctor and his faces, ugh), while clutching the scabbard. His body jerks and writhes and he screams, collapsing.

Ace asks him, “What is it?”

In the castle, Morgaine appears (played by the most excellent Jean Marsh, who appeared in several William Hartnell serials, THE CRUSADE and THE DALEKS’ MASTERPLAN, plus she’s been in many movies and tv shows over the years) and Mordred greets her. He kneels before her, telling her that Merlin is there.

They discuss his new face, she saying that he has worn many faces. She speaks to The Doctor, who can hear her, apparently through the scabbard. She warns him not to stand against her this time, but he says he cannot allow her interference. She says this shall be their last battlefield.

The lights go out in the hotel and the girls scream.

The sun rises and we see The Doctor moving about the yard of the hotel, collecting debris.

In the lobby, Ancelyn and NuBrig are asleep, heads resting against each other. The Doctor fills a bag with air and pops it to wake them up. Again, stunning storytelling here. (Let me guess, they’re going to hook up before this story is over.)

In the helicopter, the Brig complains about the “usual bureaucracy” in London. They head to Carbury, “where the action is”, and we get a horrible soundtrack score as the helicopter takes off.

At the dig, Peter leads The Doctor and Ace to where he found the scabbard. Ace complains that she thinks the ten years it’s taken him is too long a time. Ace finds a marker and she asks what it says, but Peter says nobody’s been able to translate it.

The Doctor says it says, “Dig a hole here,” and that it’s in his handwriting. I thought he was being a smart aleck, but apparently not. He tells Ace to blow a hole and she pulls out some Nitro-9.

The Doctor hurries away with Peter, and the explosion knocks them and Ace to the ground. More comedic masterpiece work here.

In the helicopter, the Brig and his pilot discuss the expanding zone of radio interference. He tells her to try to raise them from where they are. He asks if she can speak Czech, and she replies, “Only when I am drunk, sir.” Okay, that was kinda funny, though I’m not sure of the context of that bit. Ah, well, too lazy to rewind.

NuBrig and Ancelyn (now un-handcuffed) run through the woods, seemingly looking for The Doctor. He calls her “my lady” and she threatens to break his nose if he calls her that again. Yep, they’re gonna hook up.

The helicopter circles the hotel. They notice the damage to the barn (brewery).

Morgaine is outside and hears the helicopter. She approaches Mordred, asking what he sees, and he describes it, likening it to an “ornithopter, but with whirling blades for wings”. I love ornithopters. Such a great reference.

She says the inhabitants of this world are obsessed with machinery and decides to teach them the limitations of their tech. She gestures and beams emit from her fingers.

Suddenly, the helicopter starts smoking and the pilot struggles to land it, warning the Brig, “This could be rough.”

The Doctor and Ace go down and find a tunnel which The Doctor was expecting to be there. They go inside, leaving Peter to keep anyone else from going it.

The tunnel is made of concrete, but it seems to be getting soft with age. Ace remarks that they didn’t have concrete in the Eighth Century. The tunnel collapses behind them, but The Doctor tells Ace, “Don’t worry, it’s only a trap.”

The helicopter lands and the pilot and Brig rush from it, escaping before it explodes. He complains about the cost of the helicopter. The pilot has injured her leg so he heads to the village to get help, saying he’s rather enjoying himself.

Mordred and Morgaine find a church with tombstones for the fallen in battle. She gets mad at him, saying he led her to believe they were savages here. She says he dishonoured her, “What is victory without honour,” she asks and then orders him away.

He leaves, all puppy-dog eyes, passing by a couple dozen knights in armour. The Brig walks by, Morgaine calling out to him. He levels his pistol at her and she remarks he’s a warrior. She asks how his day is going and he says he’s had better.

She introduces herself as “Morgaine, the sun killer. Domiator of the thirteen worlds and Queen of the (unintelligible). What say you?”

I am Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, surrender now and we can avoid bloodshed.” The Brig is so cool.

NuBrig and Ancelyn arrive at the dig, asking Peter where The Doctor is. He begins spouting poetry or something.

Excalibur glows some more.

Ace and The Doctor have found themselves in some underground building. Ace asks where Ancelyn is from and he says another dimension, sidewards in time.

Morgaine and the Brig come to terms – she wants to perform a ceremony of respect for the fallen (making up for Mordred’s errors) and they agree to a cease fire until that is done. He asks how he can help.

This is kinda cool.

The Doctor and Ace try to figure out how to open a door in the shape of a fish’s mouth. The Doctor calls out to it and it opens.

Morgaine tells the Brig that she bears him no malice, but when next they meet, she will kill him. She gestures and her knights follow her away as he watches.

The Doctor tells Ace he’s not Merlin, but perhaps in his future, he is. Or then, it could be the past.

Excalibur glows.

The Brig arrives at the hotel and commandeers Shou’s car.

The Doctor and Ace realise they’re in a spacecraft designed for traveling between universes. He says it’s an organic ship that is grown, that operates on magic. When she scoffs, he brings up Clarke’s Law, which she quotes.

He tells her the reverse is true. She thinks about it and then asks, “Any advanced form of magic is indistinguishable from technology?” They ascend a staircase and come to where Excalibur awaits.

They see a body and The Doctor says it’s Arthur. Ace mocks it with the whole in eternal sleep until Britain needs him bit. She puts her hand on Excalibur and he warns her not to touch it.

Oh, it’s all right, it’s not like I’m the King of the Britons,” she quips, pulling Excalibur out of the altar it is stuck in. She falls over and The Doctor rushes to her, frantic.

They yell at each other, but then they see ghostly energy-eels chasing them. They run and scream and yell at lot. Ace enters a booth which closes her in. It begins filling with water as she screams for help. The Doctor rushes over to help her, but the water is almost over her head.

One of the energy-eels knocks The Doctor out and Ace bangs on the booth door, about to drown… and the credits roll.

THAT is a good cliffhanger.

See you Friday!