Have never seen this one. OMG. This is the penultimate serial of the original run. Wow. This is… we’re almost done. This serial, one more, and then the 1996 movie and we’re DONE.

So weird.

Episode 1:

Soldiers in two rafts paddle in the water. Something watches them from beneath. There’s a cloudy mist. The soldiers speak in Russian and approach the shore through a cove.

The TARDIS appears and Ace steps out, dressed all retro. In the distance, they see soldiers in WW2 uniforms, so The Doctor says she’ll fit in. She complains that it doesn’t look like a “top secret naval camp”, because of the lack of “men with guns all over the place”.

The Russian soldiers pull one of the rafts onto shore. One of the soldiers asks what happened to their comrades, but is told “Nothing.”

Ace says she’s had a harder time sneaking into a disco than they are getting about here.

The Doctor and Ace are surrounded by soldiers, but he pretty much bluffs their way past them, looking for Dr. Judson’s office.

On the beach, the Russians talk, their head telling them to speak in English from now on. They are told to come quickly to the beach, where one soldier, Gayvev, seems to be hurt/in shock, and the others ask him where the sealed orders are. He’s unresponsive.

The Doctor enters and introduces himself to Dr. Judson, who is most startled at the interruption. They discuss the Prisoner’s Dilemma which is laid out on the chalkboard.

The Doctor asks to use a typewriter, while Ace amazes Judson with her understanding of logic solving/problems – apparently, that wasn’t taught in schools back then.

A soldier enters to tell Judson The Doctor is unathorised, but he hands over the letter he just typed up, saying it’s authorisation from the War Office, signed by the Prime Minister. The Captain seems to find it in order and apologises for not knowing about his arrival.

Need to know, Captain, need to know,” The Doctor replies, totally amused with himself. Now why doesn’t Miss Crane, Judson’s assistant, say anything? She just watched him sign it.

The Captain mentions to Ace about thinking she was “one of those East End kids, the evacuees,” and while she tries to say where she’s from, Judson interrupts, asking if they’d like to see “the Ultima Machine”, which The Doctor agrees to readily.

However, moments later, The Doctor asks Captain Bates to show him and Ace to their quarters.

On the shore, the Russians discuss waiting til night and then checking out the base. The head tells one of them to wait and keep an eye on the beach, in case anything washes up. The soldiers suggests there’s something evil there, and he’s worried about being alone.

The commander gets in his face, saying not to be stupid and superstitious and to follow orders and the soldier acquiesces.

We keep seeing flashes of what appears to be the front of a sunken ship – it has a dragon/monster head, like the Viking’s used to do.

The soldier searches the shoreline, finding a packet with Russian writing – the sealed orders, presumably. He opens them and reads them. There’s a photo of Judson.

The Doctor and Ace are led to their room; it has a bunk bed and Ace calls “bags” on the top one. She’s excited and exuberant and The Doctor is annoyed with her.

The soldier on the shoreline is chased by something – we’re watching through the eyes of his pursuer, so we don’t know who or what it is, but he’s terrified and flees without trying to talk/fight/shoot, so it’s obviously not human.

The Doctor approaches a perimeter guard, telling him that eyes are watching. In the brush a Russian is hiding.

On the beach, the soldier is caught by his pursuer. The soldier screams.

The next morning, outside church an old lady chastises the Vicar about his sermon. The Doctor arrives, interrupting to ask where he can find Judson, and the Vicar is all too eager to show him personally, as it gets him away from the annoying lady.

Ace asks a couple young women who “the old gargoyle” is. The girls are evacuees from London and they say they’ve been billeted with Miss Hardaker (the lady who’d been terrorising the Vicar.)

Ace tells them she’s from London, too. Hardaker calls to the girls to hurry along and they make plans to meet Ace at “Maiden’s Point” (seen on a directional sign.)

Commander Millington sits at his desk, reviewing papers. There are Nazi flags and a portrait of Hitler in his office. He gets up and walks to a table where there’s his cap and a chess board. He picks up the cap and regards the chess board.

Ace sees all sorts of silver laying about inside the church and asks about it, saying anyone could just walk in and take it, but the Vicar says the old curse keeps them from doing so – the church is built on an old Viking grave area and supposedly something evil was once buried there.

A Russian soldier is seen laying on the rocky beach. I believe it was the one who was attacked on the shoreline. We only see him for a moment.

In the crypts beneath the church, Judson is looking at some runes, scribbling and muttering to himself. The Doctor arrives and he and Ace regard them. The Doctor guesses them to be 9th century, based on the number of characters. Judson tells him he wants to use the Ultima Machine to decode them.

Ace calls The Doctor over, asking what that noise is, saying it’s like a machine. The Doctor dismisses it as “organ bellows”. They leave Judson to his transcribing.

Back outside, she insists it was a machine, then grumbling about him not paying attention. The Doctor points out a grave where the ground about it has sunk. The names on the tombstone are many, it’s a family grave. One only lived thirteen days and Ace wonders about the “Viking curse”.

Miss Hardaker gives her two charges hell for wanting to go to Maiden’s Point, but they protest, saying they only want to go for a walk or a swim. Hardaker says she knows what girls do at Maiden’s Point. She tells them when you stand on the cliffs there, you can hear the screams of the girls who “went there with evil in their hearts. Girls who are damned forever.”

The two girls smirk after Hardaker wanders off.

The Doctor and Ace arrive at the point. She says she likes watching the sea, “It makes me feel so small.” She complains about the litter, seeing the secret orders packet. They inspect it and wonder why Russians are there.

The Doctor heads back to the church, warning Ace not to go into the water.

Judson works with his machine as Commander Millington enters the room. Judson says the North Atlantic U-boats have changed cyphers again. He says it will take a few days to adjust. Judson boasts to Millington that this is the first, but in the future, “…there will be many more. Computing machines, thinking machines.”

Millington replies, “Yes, but whose thoughts will they think?”

The Doctor returns to the church, startling the Vicar. He says he’d like to know the answer, wondering what the Vicar is afraid of – the curse, the inscriptions. The Vicar shows him records his grandfather, who was Vicar, too, made. Translations of the Viking transcriptions.

At Maiden’s Point, the two girls tease Ace for not going for a swim. She’s all sour grapes, saying it is stupid, and says there’s a sign warning about the currents. The girls go in anyway, calling her a “baby doll”. Something below seems to be watching the girls as they swim.

The Doctor reads the translation, “We hope to return to the North Way, carrying home the oriental treasures from the silk lands in the east. But the dark curse follows our dragon ship.”

We see the ship under the water, and hear The Doctor continue to read, “Black fog turned day into night, and the fingers of death reached out from the waters to reclaim the treasures we have stolen.” The scene shifts to the crypt and the runes there, as he continues to read out loud, “I carve these stones in memory of Asmund, Grimvald, Torkal, Halfdan, brave Viking warriors slain by the curse. We sought haven in Northumbria and took refuge at a place called Maiden’s Bay, but the curse of the treasure has followed us to this place.”

The Doctor asks about Maiden’s Bay, which the Vicar says is called Maiden’s Point now. The Doctor frets about leaving Ace there, but she walks in, saying, “But I’m here now, aren’t I?” He’s relieved and she asks what he has.

He tells her it’s the translation. He says he just noticed something and pulls out the Russian order packet, reading out loud in Russian. He then says it says “We return from Norway,” which he then refers to as ‘the North Way’.

Now,” he says smugly, “let’s see how Dr. Judson is getting along, shall we?” He heads out the door, Ace and the Vicar following.

At Maiden’s Point, the girls are dressed. One is drawing a line down the back of the other’s stocking and they talk about Lana Turner and Betty Grable and Jane Russell. The one girl sees something metal and picks it up, but it feels all tingly and she throws it down. The other girl tries too and drops it, saying it’s like there’s an electricity running through it. They decide they don’t want it and walk off.

A Russian soldier lies above the crest, sighting with his gun, muttering in Russian, then in English, “No closer, please.”

And my Roku suddenly freezes up and resets itself. Sigh. Ok. It’s done. Oh, good, I can resume without searching. Ok.

The girls are chattering and head off in another direction.

The Doctor and Ace barge into Judson’s office, showing him the translation. He opens it and begins reading, “Night is the time of the evil curse and no man is safe alone.” He looks up, proclaiming that it is invaluable. He continues reading, “The waters are most dangerous. The dark evil lies waiting in the sea. It has followed the treasure we stole.”

The scene changes, but we get the voice-over as Judson reads. The Russian soldier finds the metal object the girls discarded and picks it up. Judson’s voice continues, “We cannot see it, but we know that it is there.” The soldier stands up, regarding the object, apparently not finding it tingly/electric like the girls did. Judson’s voice goes on, “Beneath the surface, beyond seeing. But it is there, and one by one our crew is being killed.”

The soldier throws the object into the water. Beneath the surface of the water, a clawed hand catches the object. We see the dead body of the soldier from the night before on the beach, floating near the boat.

Obviously later, The Doctor and Ace peek in on a room full of women listening to coded German radio messages. Ace mistakenly thinks they’re listening to music and is surprised that they had personal stereos in the 1940s.

The girls inside invite The Doctor and Ace in and introductions are made. One of them, Kathleen, has a baby girl in a basket-crib under the table where she’s working and Ace asks if she can pick hold her.

Ace is all impressed and amazed and asks the baby’s name; when Kathleen says it’s Audrey, Ace is upset, saying she hates that name as it’s her mum’s name, and hands Audrey to Kathleen. (Oh, of course they’re gonna do that, arent’ they?)

Millington enters the room, chastising Kathleen for bringing the baby, as he’d given her instructions that the baby was not to remain on camp. Kathleen tries to explain that her cousin’s cottage is too small for the baby to stay, but the commander doesn’t seem impressed.

He walks around (not noticing The Doctor or Ace, apparently) and gives Kathleen twenty-four hours to find a place for the baby, “Or I shall have you dismissed from service.”

Before Ace can start ranting at Millington, The Doctor drags her out of the room. They keep poking about, entering a room that The Doctor proclaims to be extraordinary. He tells Ace it’s “a perfect replica of the German naval cypher room in Berlin.” It’s the room we saw Millington in before. He explains to Ace that Millington isn’t a spy, that he’s done this to try to “think the way the Germans think”.

They poke around, but The Doctor sees something out of place. A picture on the wall, an old school pic that has Millington and Judson both in it – apparently they were school chums. From the pic, it was before Judson’s accident (the doctor is in a wheelchair presently.)

Ace asks why everyone is so interested in Vikings, as she regards the chess board, which has Viking pieces. “Yes, why,” The Doctor wonders.

Millington learns of Ace, who Judson describes as “a mathematical specialist” who understands logic diagrams. He shows the translation to Millington, who takes the book and starts reading out loud, “I warn of the day when the earth shall fall asunder, and all of heaven, too. The wolves of Fenric shall return for their treasure and then shall the dark evil rule eternally.”

Millington says to Judson, “This is it. The final battle between the gods and the beasts. It’s now, Judson.” Judson rolls his eyes, not impressed. Millington continues thinking out loud, “The Curse of Fenric.”

Ace and The Doctor are climbing around Maiden’s Point again. The Doctor says he’s not sure what they’ll find, but they’ll know it when they see it. They find a dead Russian, holding a metal piece (I thought he threw it… maybe he found another.)

As The Doctor takes the piece from the body’s hand, the Russian soldiers surround he and Ace, pointing their guns at them… an the credits roll.

Decent cliffhanger, but I’m really enjoying this serial thus far.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

The soldiers surround The Doctor and Ace, but one of them stops another from firing, saying they don’t want to attract attention. The Doctor asks if they know what’s going on, asking if they think they killed their comrade, but they respond, “It doesn’t matter, you know too much. You die.”

The Doctor speaks some Russian, surprising the soldiers. Ace quotes, “Return to Norway with the treasure,” and Prozorov, who seems to be in charge, says they’ll take them back to Captain Sorin.

Judson is reading out loud from the translation, “I am the only one left alive. I raise these stones to my wife, Astrid. May she forgive my sins. The day grows dark and I sense the evil curse… rising, from the sea.”

He continues, but we see below the water, the clawed hand of some monster, caressing the head of the Viking ship, as we hear Judson’s voice, “I know what what the Curse of Fenric seeks – the treasures from the silk lands in the east.” The camera pans down and we see the dead Russian soldier’s body.

The scene shifts to the crypts below the church. The runes in the wall begin to glow as Judson’s voice continues, “I’ve heard the treasures whisper in my dreams. I’ve heard the magic words that will release great powers. I shall bury the treasures forever. Tonight I shall die and the words die with me.”

The Russian soldier’s corpse below the water opens his eyes.

The Doctor tells the Russian soldiers, “If you attack the campnow, you walk into a trap. If you stay here, you’ll die just like your comrades.” Captain Sorin says if he lets them go, he’ll betray them to the British.

The Doctor argues that letting him go is the only way to stop the evil that’s been killing his men. The soldier whose mind was affected by seeing the monster cries out and The Doctor tends to him, saying he saw whatever killed his comrade and could not handle it.

He asks the soldier what he saw, asking him to tell him. He probes him, urging him to talk. The Doctor speaks Russian and the man hands him one of the metal objects. The Doctor takes it and compares it to one he has in his coat pocket.

Captain Sorin seems to be swayed, saying he’ll delay the attack until they return.

The Doctor and Ace hurry off.

In the crypt, Judson wonders why the final transcription wasn’t translated. Miss Crane complains that it’s cold and unsuited for an invalid, which gets Judson irritated and he tells her to shut up. She doesn’t mind, saying he needs to get back “in the warm”.

On the beach, the two girls pass a patrol of British soldiers, saying they love men in uniforms, much to the delight of the men.

Ace and The Doctor return to the church, The Doctor saying there’s something different about this place. Ace says it doesn’t even look like a church, but, from outside, more like a fortress.

The Doctor says he means something different from when they were last there, and storms off, disgusted at her misunderstanding him. He says it’s time to have a proper look at the inscriptions.

Millington insists that Judson use the Ultima Machine to translate the final inscriptions, even though Judson asks about the German cyphers.

In the crypt, Ace swears she hears voices from behind the walls, though The Doctor doesn’t hear anything. Looking at the inscriptions, The Doctor asks Ace what she notices about one part.

She points out that it’s a slightly different alphabet than the rest, using fewer characters, which means it’s older. The Doctor prompts her for more, but she’s not sure.

He tells her it wasn’t there that morning. She asks how that’s possible, if they’re about 1000 years old.

They hear footsteps and hide. Someone enters and leaves, but they don’t see them. They come out of their hiding place and The Doctor begins looking for a secret door. As they search, Millington comes out of a secret door, gun in hand.

The Vicar practices his sermon, the “When I was a child” bit.

The Russian soldiers see the British patrol, who apparently spot them as well. But the Russians ambush the British.

Millington takes The Doctor and Ace into the secret chambers, where men are taking stuff out – Millington directs the men to take the valuable equipment only. Ace exclaims, quietly, “A laboratory!”

He takes them in to another room, and Millington says, “The end of the war!”

The Doctor looks around and replies, “So this is what brought you here, a natural source of lethal poisons.”

Ace puts two and two together, “the Curse of Fenric!”

Once the Nazis see what our planes are dropping, it’ll mean the end of the war,” Millington says, even though Ace protests. He tells her it will save hundreds of thousands of lives.

More horrible than the Well of Hvergelmir,” The Doctor says. Millington asks what he said, and he expounds, “the Well of Hvergelmir, deep beneath the ground, where broods of serpents spew their venom over the Great Ash Tree.”

The Great Ash Tree,” Millington echoes, “the soul of all the Earth.” While they talk, Ace is poking around. She calls out to The Doctor (calling him Professor, of course) but he shushes her.

We have seen it, Doctor,” Millington says, “You and I, we have seen hell.” He is looking at the green glowing… whatever it is (fungus? Liquid? I’m not sure) when he says that.

Come, I’ll show you it all,” Millington says, walking off.

Ace asks, “What’s he on about,” but the Doctor replies only, “Norse Mythology.”

The Doctor beckons her to follow, saying apparently Millington thinks The Doctor is on his side.

As Ace follows, she looks about, and we see a better view of the green ichor-like fluid; it is dripping out of the wall into a container.

The Russian soldiers stand about, laughing and talking about the fight. The talk breaks up and Captain Sorin approaches Sgt Prozorov, telling him, “These things have to be done.” Prozorov doesn’t seem convinced or happy and walks off.

Millington leads The Doctor and Ace out of the crypts, through the church, where Ace sees the Vicar sitting in a pew, seemingly in deep thought or out of it. She asks The Doctor what’s wrong with the Vicar.

Millington stops and turns around, saying, “No girls, leave her here.” Ace gets upset but The Doctor tells her it’s for the best, only for a short time. He tells her to talk to the Vicar and then hurries after Millington.

Ace sits down next to the Vicar, “Funny church, this, isn’t it?”

I was just remembering when I was a child,” he replies, “My father was the Vicar here, then. It seemed such a warm, friendly place in those days.”

Thing always look different when you’re a child,” Ace replies.

The Vicar goes on, talking about how he stands before everyone on Sundays, faces looking up at him, waiting for him to give them something to believe in. When Ace questions what he believes in, he says he used to believe in good in the world, hope for the future.

The future’s not so bad,” Ace replies, “have faith in me.” The Vicar seems uncertain, but not just with her/her words.

Millington leads The Doctor to the Ultima Machine room, where Judson is. Judson says he needs the second rotor unlocked. Judson realises The Doctor hasn’t seen it yet and begins praising the machine.

Millington says that this is the bait for the Russians, for after the war is over, when they’re no longer allies. He says they want “the mind of the Ultima Machine”.

Judson says the Ultima Machine can do more than one thousand combinations in an hour, with automatic error checking.

And we are going to let the Russians steal it,” Millington adds, “Orders from Whitehall.”

Millington directs The Doctor to look deep inside, and there’s a greenish glow…

Miss Hardaker chastises the girls, having found their bathing suits, saying they will burn in Hell for being such naughty girls. She goes on and on with her tirade.

The Doctor enters a room filled with thousands of jars of the poison, presumably. Millington has a demonstration where some carrier pigeons are subjected the poison. Smoke fills the chamber the pigeons are in while Millington goes on about what “a bombful could do against a city like Dresden or Moscow.”

The Doctor questions that Moscow’s going to let them detonate one of their bombs in the Kremlin, but Millington retorts, “That’s the beauty of it, Doctor. We won’t detonate it. They’ll do it themselves. They’ll use the machine decrypt our cyphers, but Dr. Judson has programmed it to self-destruct when it tries to decrypt a particular word.”

Okay, that’s pretty clever, I gotta admit.

When The Doctor asks what that word it, Millington replies, “What else could it be, Doctor? Love.”

In the secret chamber, several men are removing more equipment, when something in one of the walls seems to come to life, causing several bricks to fall loose. The men investigate, finding a bottle. They wonder if it’s one of theirs.

They decide to leave it, casting it aside, saying they need to seal the room.

Prozorov is at the water line, when the two girls from Hardaker’s go rushing into the water, fully dressed. He runs off, before they notice him. A mist rolls in and they get separated. When the mist clears, they’re both gone.

A soldier reports to Millington that operations at the church were closed down. He asks if anything unusual was found, and the soldier says not to his knowledge. Millington gives the order to disable all outside telephone lines, radio communication. Then he gives the order to burn all chess sets in the camp.

Millington seems to be sketching some jars as he gives out these orders.

The Doctor watches as a soldier takes the chess set from two of the women working there. He asks the soldier if the orders are peculiar, but the soldiers says orders are orders.

The Doctor asks Kathleen what she’s going to do – she says one of the girls is going to see about taking her home for a few days until something better can be arranged.

Kathleen asks if he has any family. “I don’t know,” is his reply.

Oh, I’m sorry. It’s the war, isn’t it? Must be terrible not knowing.”

Yes,” is his reply, though to which part… but he walks off before the conversation continues.

The Doctor goes to the Ultima Machine room, where Judson is about to translate the runes. The machine starts clicking and printing. Judson reads from the print out, “Let the Chains of Fenric shatter.”

He turns to The Doctor, “Even with an alphabet more than 1000 years old, the Ultima Machine can reveal its meaning.”

The Doctor replies, “It can translate it, but who knows what it might mean?”

On the beach/shore, Prozorov stands at the water, looking at the lake. The two girls stand there, their skin paler than before, their hair down. They have clawed, webbed hands now.

One of them says, “Look,” and the other replies, “Yes, a man.”

He walks closer to the water. They beckon to him. He takes off his helmet, stepping into the water, seemingly under a spell. They coax him, saying nobody’s forcing him. “Nobody ever forces them to come into the water, but everyone wants to,” one of them says as he continues towards them.

Deep down, everybody wants to come into the water.”

They beckon him to come and play with them. Suddenly, other creatures rise up and grab Prozorov, dragging him below the surface as he screams.

The Doctor sits with Judson and Crane, the former talking about knowing Millington for a while, since before his accident. Ace enters and The Doctor says he needs a word with her two young friends.

Ace tells him they should be at the old dragon’s, meaning Miss Hardaker’s. The Doctor leaves to arrange some transport there, while Ace plays with the logic puzzle again. Judson tells her to shut up, though she hasn’t said anything yet.

She tells him, after the second time he tells her to shut up, that she knows what the inscription, “The Chains of Fenric shatter” means. She tells him it’s a logic diagram. He says it’s so complex, but she says it’s for a computer.

Suddenly excited, Judson barks at Crane to take him to the decrypt room.

Proud of herself, Ace says out loud, “And the half time score, Perivale, 600 million, the rest of the universe, nil.”

Hardaker puts on some somber music, but when she turns around, the two transformed girls approach her and she backs away, screaming.

Prozorov floats in the water, beneath the surface.

The Doctor and Ace skulk about Hardaker’s outside, then opening the door and calling soflty, “Hello, anybody home?” Inside, they hear the phonograph spinning and The Doctor lifts the needle.

They find Hardaker, looking frightened out of her life, scratches on her face. The Doctor says it’s just like the soldier they found at Maiden’s Point, “completely drained of blood”.

The Vicar stands in the graveyard, as the two girls approach him from behind. “I know who you are,” he says out loud.

You’ve always known us,” one says, and he turns around.

But vampires are just superstition,” he says, adding, “Why?”

We have black hearts,” one girl says, repeating what Hardaker had told them, “we were lost on the day we were born.” They move ever closer.

He says no one is lost, they say everyone is lost. He tries to hold them back with the power of his Bible, but they say objects can’t harm them, but the belief behind them, “And you stopped believing when the bombs started falling.”

I’m not afraid of German bombs,” he asserts.

Not German, British,” they reply. “On German cities. British bombs killing German children.”

The dialogue of this serial is really good, which is why you’re getting so many transcriptions of it.

The Vicar is obviously haunted, horrified, crying out. However, just then, Ace and The Doctor arrive to interject themselves between the girls and the Vicar. Ace asks what happened to them.

You should have come into the water with us,” they tell her, “then we’d have been together.”

The Doctor orders the girls away. They say they’ll go, but promise they’ll be back for the Vicar.

In the decrypt room, Millington excitedly pushes Judson up to the Ultima Machine. Crane demands “A little respect for the wheelchair, please, Commander, he’s an invalid.”

I’m not an invalid, I’m a cripple,” Judson corrects her. “I’m also a genius, so shut up!”

All that remains is the flask, the machine can unlock its secrets,” Millington says, ignoring both of them.

In the crypt, the flask (tossed aside earlier by the workers) glows.

In the decrypt room, Judson locks away the Ultima Machine, saying, “Now then, Millington, let’s see, shall we?” Millington agrees, urging him to be quick.

The Vicar walks through the woods with Ace and The Doctor, saying they should tell Millington, but The Doctor says, “He’ll just go around shooting everything. As long as Dr. Judson doesn’t work out what the inscription is, he’s safe from harm.”

Hearing this, Ace exclaims, “Oh, no! You should have told me!” The Doctor and the Vicar look at each other, worriedly, then rush off, Ace following.

The flash glows and pulses.

At the lake, a horde of creatures rise up out of the water and walk to the shore.

The Ultima Machine is printing out quickly. Millington asks what it means, Judson says he’s doesn’t know, saying it’s “running at four times maximum speed!” He says it’s impossible.

The creatures walk onto the shore.

The Doctor and crew run into the decrypt room, demanding they stop the machine. Millington demands they get out, Judson says he can’t stop it.

Ace tries to kill the power, the Vicar and The Doctor joining her, but they can’t seem to get it shut off. Millington says they’re too late.

The Doctor steps back… and the credits roll.

Huh. That fell flat for me, what say you?

Anyhow, still a LOT of fun. See you Friday!!