Ugh.

Episode 1:

A man (Dave) is washing his car on the street as a black cat sits on the wall, paying attention, and hissing. His mom calls out to let him know dinner is ready.

We see him through the cat’s eyes and it’s obvious we’re looking through something unusual – Doctor Who loves showing us through the monster’s eyes and this feels just like that.

(The cat is a puppet/animatronic and is REALLY not well done, btw.)

He keeps washing, but stops as wind picks up. He cries out, backing away from something (the cat? We’re getting the view from something, but it’s not the same, it’s not tinted orange as it was before.) He falls onto his back in the middle of the street… and there’s a flash of light and he’s gone.

The cat hops off a nearby car and scampers off. So, still no idea if the cat was what got him or something else. The TARDIS materialises in the driveway next to that other car.

Ace and The Doctor exit, the companion complaining about arriving on a Sunday, “You bring me back to the boredom capital of the universe and you pick the one day of the week you can’t even get a decent television programme.”

The Doctor says they came at her request, but she protests, saying she had just wondered “what the old gang was up to, that’s all.” She continues to explain this as they walk by Dave’s car, picking up the soapy water bucket that was spilled when he was backing away from whatever got him.

So, what’s so terrible about Perivale,” The Doctor asks, just in case the viewer wasn’t sure where they were.

Nothing ever happens here,” Ace laments. Well, we know that’s about to change, right?

Elsewhere, an old lady opens her window and yells at the cats in her garden. (The cat, a black cat, is in a bunch of weeds, not remotely garden-like. It runs off.)

The Doctor and Ace seem to have left the town proper and are wandering in a field. She says they came here to see if any of the gang were up there on the hill, but they don’t see anyone. “There’s nothing up here, nothing but tin cans and stray cats,” Ace says.

And horses,” The Doctor adds, indicating hoof prints. Ace scoffs at the idea of horses in Perivale.

Some kids are playing in a field while the black cat watches.

We see The Master, sitting in a dark area. His eyes are cat like. He says, “Show me,” and the cat turns its head to regard the children.

No, no sport for you here,” The Master says.

spoiler warning

The Doctor and Ace are at a phone booth. Ace hangs up, saying nobody’s home. She asks The Doctor if he’s fed up and he grunts noncommittally. She asks if he minds if she checks the youth club and he grunts in the same fashion again. They head to the club, but nobody is there, either.

She wonders where the coffee bar went to. The Doctor opens a door, beyond which a group of young men are standing about, watching two wrestle. One, the solitary adult coaxes the youth who has his opponent pinned to be more aggressive, “Is that what you’re gonna do to help some victim, some mugger? Help him up, dust him down, shake hands? GO ON!”

Reluctantly, the youth slams the loser’s head into the mat, and the other youths clap, while the adult, Sarge, says, “That’s better!”

The Doctor and Ace don’t seem comfortable at this display. Sarge sends the loser to get cleaned up and then calls an end to the training session, calling to The Doctor and Ace that he’ll be with them.

The winner of the bout is still there and Sarge asks him, “What?”

I’d already beaten him, Sarge,” the youth complains, storming by, but Sarge shoves him.

Oh, you think I’m too hard, do you? Pushing you too hard, am I?” He pokes the boy in the chest, getting up in his face. The boy backpedals as Sarge continues, “Have you ever heard of survival of the fittest, son? Eh?” He goes on to talk about the art of survival, constantly poking him, eventually getting the boy to take a swing.

Sarge catches the boy’s arm and praises him – that was what he wanted. He sends the boy off, all is well between them again.

The Doctor remarks that survival of the fittest is “Rather a glib generalisation, don’t you think?”

Sarge puts his button-up shirt on, and we learn he is Sergeant Patterson. He tells The Doctor, “You show me a better way of surviving and I’ll give it a go.” The Doctor walks off while Ace asks Sarge where everyone else is, saying she’s looking for “Everyone, everyone who used to hang around here on Sundays.”

The Doctor meanders back into the lobby, where this time he makes a point of noticing a poster for CATS, which the camera made a point of showing earlier.

Sarge tells Ace Sundays are for self-defense classes now. He says he doesn’t know what happened to the waste (obviously referencing her friends) and wonders where he knows her from. He does recall saying that the police let her off with a warning.

The Doctor sees the black cat sitting outside the front door. The cat hisses at him and The Master, wherever he is, says, “Ah.” (I think we’re not supposed to know it’s The Master, but they really need to make it darker if that was the intent, cuz Anthony Ainley is too recogniseable here.)

Sarge and Ace enter the lobby, the former saying her lot have “moved on” and when she asks where, he says he thought she’d have a better idea than he would. He then asks her where she’s been hiding, and she answers, “Around.”

He chastises her, saying her mother had her listed as a missing person, “You don’t give a toss, do you?” The Doctor listens to this conversation intently.

Sarge goes on about four kids gone missing just that month alone, “Vanished into thin air.” The Doctor is definitely interested now.

Ace storms out. Sarge grabs The Doctor’s shoulder asking if he wanted to be that age again. The Doctor replies that it’s been too long, he doesn’t recall.

The black cat skulks off.

As they exit the building, Sarge goes on about the youth and the world. The Doctor asks if they have a stray cat problem, but Sarge says he doesn’t pay it no mind. Ace calls for The Doctor to “come on,” actually calling him ‘Doctor’.

Doctor, eh,” Sarge says, “you’re not in the best shape yourself, though, are ya?”

He tells The Doctor that he has a class on Monday nights “for the older men”.

I’ve got to see a man about a cat,” The Doctor replies, hurrying to get away. He and Ace head off, as Sarge watches and the black cat hisses from the tall grass.

Ace and The Doctor go downtown, the latter going into a grocery store, while Ace checks another place, saying she should have gone there first. In the grocery store the clerks are complaining about working on a Sunday. As they talk about some nature program on the telly, “survival of the fittest” comes up again.

The Doctor wonders which of the cat food brands the cats prefer the most. The men load him up with a variety of cans, but one suggests cheese, and The Doctor goes to get some cheese.

One clerk tells the other the old joke about not having to outrun a lion, just the other person in the tent. They’re really shoving the survival of the fittest and cats thing down our throats.

The Doctor says it’s very clever, “If you don’t mind losing your friend.” He’s staring at the shelf where the canned cat food is, and asks, “But what happens when the next lion shows up?”

What next lion,” they ask and he indicates the shelf. A black cat yowls and leaps out from behind the cans, dashing out the door.

I think you’d better put on your running shoes, gentlemen,” he tells them.

Ace is sulking outside on a table. The Doctor comes out with the cat food. She says nobody remembers her friends. The Doctor says he’s forgotten something, and just then the clerk comes out, “Haven’t you forgotten something?”

Yes,” The Doctor says/asks.

Money,” the clerk says, holding out his hand.

No, it wasn’t that,” The Doctor replies.

Ace says she got lucky in the fruit machine, indicating some money on the table.

Back in the store, one of the clerks finds his cat, Tiger – looks like something ate it.

Outside another store, Ace sees Ange, someone she knows, and runs over. The girl says she thought Ace was dead, which surprises Ace. The girls says they were told she either went to Birmingham or she was dead.

Ange asks if Ace is back to see her family, but Ace says no. Ace says she wanted to see her friends and catch up a bit, and asks where the others are – Jay, Stevie, Flo, Shreela, Midge, but Ange says most of the are “gone, just vanished”.

But people don’t just vanish,” Ace argues.

You did,” Ange points out. Two points for Ange.

Ange relates that most of them have gone in the last month, Shreela just last week, and shares her theory that it’s UFOs whisking “them off and do experiments on them like we do on animals.”

Ange has a can (can’t see what’s on it) and she’s collecting donations. She shakes it at Ace, asking for ten pence, which Ace obliges. She shakes it at The Doctor, who has wandered back, and he takes it, regarding it, “Not a very efficient way to hunt, is it? All that noise and pantomime just to slaughter one little animal. No, if you’re going to hunt, you stalk your prey. You observe it so you can take it by surprise and then you don’t kill too many.” He hands the can back to Ange, adding, “Cover your tracks so you don’t leave a smell.”

He looks around, sniffing, “Can you smell that?”

Can’t,” Ange replies, “hay fever.”

What are you talking about, Professor? Is something going on here,” Ace inquires.

The Doctor says he’s not sure, wandering off. He asks himself, “When is a cat not a cat… when it builds its own cat flap.” He pulls out a can of cat food, kissing it, “Bait, Ace, bait,” and wanders further off.

Ace hurries to catch up, saying good bye to Ange.

The Master instructs (presumably his cat), “Show me. Show me.”

The youth who argued against being rough with his opponent is running/jogging down the street. Black cat watches from a wall, hissing.

Yes, he’ll do very well,” The Master says.

The youth stops in the street, as wind kicks up. Something rises above him, chasing him. He, too, falls in the center of the street and disappears. (So, if it’s the cat, then it transforms into something big or something that flies.)

Ace and The Doctor are in a neighborhood. She’s prattling on about Sarge and some of his comments and then about the crowd, missing her mates. The Doctor isn’t remotely paying her any attention. He stops and kneels and pulls out a can of cat food.

He asks her for a tin opener. She hands him one and asks if he’s listening, but he tells her to be quiet, he’s concentrating. Ace walks off, disgusted. The Doctor pours some cat food out and hides behind a fence.

A white cat comes up and eats from it, but he tries to shoo it off, saying he’s not the one. The woman in the house of which yard he’s hiding in raps on the window at him, but he waves her off like she’s the nuisance. Finally the white cat goes away and The Doctor looks about, disappointed.

Ace is in a playground, sitting on a merry go round. A black cat is in the playground, eating, and Ace goes over and picks it up. She carries it over to a swing, but it jumps out, after hissing. It’s the black cat.

Suddenly, Ace realises something is behind her. She turns around and looks up – there’s a felinoid (jaguar/cheetah patterned) sitting atop a black horse. The horses rises up on its back legs and prances about. The felinoid growls at her. She runs, hopping onto the merry-go-round, then scaling a slide, trying to avoid it.

She slips inside a jungle gym and the creature roars at her in frustration.

A dog comes up to the cat food, much to The Doctor’s frustration. He hears Ace call out for him and goes running.

Ace, for some stupid reason, leaves the jungle gym which was keeping her safe from the creature. As she runs, you know, from a horse (durrrrr) it catches up with her and she disappears in a flash of light, appearing in some gravel pit. (Oh, remember when every other serial was filmed at a quarry?)

The Doctor arrives at the playground, no Ace nor horse and rider in sight. “So, they’ve taken you away, taken you to their planet, but I’ll find you,” he promises.

In that other place, Ace falls and then rises, looking about. She sees several cats eating a body – it’s Dave, still clutching the sponge he was cleaning the car with.

The felinoid and horse appear up the slope and the rider roars. Ace dashes off.

The Doctor returns to the cat food and sees the black cat, eating. He sneaks up on it and is about to grab it when Sarge grabs him from behind, demanding to know what he’s up to. They struggle and the black cat takes off.

Sarge says he’s had complaints and as he’s Neighborhood Watch, he’s there to tell him to stop being a nuisance. The Doctor disables Sarge with one finger, quoting something Sarge said earlier, “One finger can be a deadly weapon.” (though The Doctor did some power/mental thing, not physical.)

Ace runs, you know, from a horse, you know, again. Cause, you know, it worked out so well for her last time. The rider dismounts as Ace falls and stalks her.

Someone calls out from the tree line, “Go away, get away from here,” and both Ace and the felinoid are distracted. It’s the youth from Sarge’s class. The creature growls and the boy runs. The creature chases and pounces and attacks him.

Suddenly, the creature charges back to the horse, knocking Ace down en route. It mounts, then picks up the boy and heads off.

Shreela comes out of the woods, calling out to Ace. The friends are reunited, and Shreela says the boy shouldn’t have run, “They always go after you if you run.” The two girls embrace then head back into the woods.

The Doctor is trying to catch the black cat still, chasing it through garbage and an alley. Sarge sees him and gives chase on his bike.

Shreela brings Ace to two other guys, one is Midge (thought Midge was a girl’s nickname/name, so colour me surprised) and Midge introduces the other one as Derek. He says Stevie was there, “but he’s cat food now.” Midge says Derek’s been there for three weeks and only has flesh wounds, thus he’s doing “very well”.

Shreela says they’ll have to move on soon. They tell Ace that the cats hunt in the dark, at night.

Ace says this is why she’s there, to sort them out.

The Doctor climbs atop a wall to try to catch the cat. Sarge grabs his ankle and the cat jumps down, disappearing in a flash of light. The light also catches Sarge and The Doctor, and they find themselves laying in the dirt, facing a felinoid. (Not black, though.)

Sarge asks where they are, but The Doctor tells him, “Shut up and we may survive.” They stand up, backing away from the prone felinoid, but find themselves in a camp full of them.

They are surrounded. The Doctor holds up a hand, placatingly, while Sarge tries to take a defensive stance. They are herded towards a tent. The Doctor pushes aside the flap to reveal The Master, who says, “Why, Doctor, what an unexpected pleasure,” as his eyes glow… and the credits roll.

If it wasn’t so obviously The Master from before, this would have been a great cliffhanger.

See you Wednesday. Hard to believe we’re almost done.

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