Archives for category: UNIT

This won’t be a comprehensive recap (though that’s a thought for another time)… it’s too powerful for me.  Too emotional.  Too much.  For now, at least.

But first – let’s get this out of the way.

If you haven’t watched it yet and plan to, please STOP READING NOW.

spoiler warning

spoiler warning

Okay, that’s out of the way.  (Seriously, go away if you don’t want spoilers.)

Okay, now…

MY DOCTOR!!!! MY DOCTOR!!! AFTER THIRTY YEARS, I GOT MY DOCTOR AGAIN.  Oh, god.  Oh, god.

Watching this in a theatre, filled of fans was amazing.  And they were young and old, new and long-time fans alike.  And it’s wonderful, seeing the youthful crowd, the new fans, listening to them talk with wonder about the history of the show… I know many olde sk00l Whovians like to scoff and snort and roll their eyes and complain about the new fans.  Oh, that breaks my heart.  We were all new fans once, we didn’t know the history of the Doctors before we watched.  Time for everyone to drink a big glass of Get Over Yourself juice.

But, seriously, sharing it with a group of a couple hundred people, all emotionally invested.  The collective laughs, sighs, gasps, cheering, applause.  I couldn’t have imagined a better way to see this.  And, though it was hard, I managed to see it without any more spoilers.

I see people talking about “mixed feelings” about the episode.  Not me.  It was wonderful, it was amazing, and it gave me what I’ve been yearning for for the past eight years.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand why they wrote Gallifrey out of the show for the relaunch in 2005.  There would be too much backstory, too much baggage, it would weigh down too much and the new fans would be confused, or felt excluded, and they would not have flocked to it the way they did and the show probably would not have had a 50th anniversary special.

It was brilliant, what they did.  They wrote Gallifrey out, made The Doctor the “last” of the Time Lords, and Eccleston got to mope and be full of anger and angst – and it was delightful.  He was the Wounded Doctor.  Rose helped him heal, and then it was time to regenerate.

But, despite knowing all that, I have yearned for the return of Gallifrey.  I love the Time Lords (though I do consider them the greatest of all the monsters that The Doctor has ever had to fight off – and I’m not even talking about The Master, my favourite Time Lord of all.)  I love the mythos of Gallifrey and the Time Lords and how so many alien races knew of them and they were not hardly ever favorable towards The Doctor’s people.

So, I have been waiting.  When we were teased with the return of Gallifrey in The End of Time, oh… my hunger was enflamed.  I needed Gallifrey back.

This blog, revisiting (and visiting for the first time, as the case may be) so many stories involving the Time Lords, involving Gallifrey, or involving knowledge OF the Time Lords/Gallifrey… that exacerbated things.

So, walking into this, knowing it was about the War Doctor, knowing that he was responsible, somehow, for the fall of Gallifrey, the end of the Time War… I wasn’t sure what we were going to get, but there was NO WAY IN HELL I remotely thought that we’d get a whisper of a chance of getting Gallifrey back.

I just watched it again, before writing this blog post (Sunday night, about 10:30pm, December 1st.)  I cried, several times.  I even rewound and watched several scenes more than once… and cried each time.

Tears of joy.  Tears of enthrallment, enrapture, amazement.

Tears of hurt, for The Doctors, as Ten and Eleven (hey, that whole numbering thing… I guess we’re just going to have to stick with what we have been doing and have the “War Doctor” sitting between Eight and Nine, unnumbered) join the War Doctor, saying he won’t have to do it on his own.

Tears as I begged them not to do it.

Tears as they didn’t.

And, then, the undreamt.  All THIRTEEN Doctors showing up to save the day.  Of course it would take all thirteen.  How could it not?  It had to.  Something like this couldn’t be done by one Doctor, not even three.

Gallifrey Falls No More.  Oh.  Oh, yes.  Damn skippy.

And my Doctor.  Approximately thirty years ago, I watched Logopolis for the first time ever.  And saw my Doctor fall to his death.  And regenerate into a mamby-pamby blonde twit.  (Ok, I’m being a bit harsh, but I was a teenaged boy who had just lost his Doctor.  And Four wasn’t my first Doctor, Three was, actually… but Four is, and always will be MY Doctor.)  I lost him and… he never returned.  (Not to video, at least – I do understand there are some delightful Big Finish original audios with Tom Baker, so I will have to pursue those.)

I had no idea Tom was in this.  I had no clue to expect him.

You should have heard the theatre when he spoke, when he addressed Eleven for the first time.  The collective intake of breath… the choked emotions… everyone was stunned (and I’m sure some knew or guessed or something – but I bet you they were caught in the spell, too.)

Oh, this wasn’t going to be a long post, but here we are.  I’ve been crying for half of it, too.

I am so excited to see the Christmas special, to see Peter Capaldi step into those shoes.  But, for now, I am so, so, so happy and touched and overwhelmed by the 50th anniversary special.

As always, there are still so many questions.  Will they go to Trenzalore?  Will they find Gallifrey?  What IS The Doctor’s name and will we ever learn it?  (And my question, will The Doctor ever go visit Susan as he promised?)

Who knows, indeed?

Advertisements

Recap: This is the Doctor Who spin on Arthurian legend. In a nutshell, Mordred and Morgaine have come over from an alternate world. They think The Doctor is Merlin (and he may well be). UNIT is present and a new Brigadier is causing problems with our Time Lord.

Oh, and retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is here, too. And Ace is stuck in a booth about to drown.

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

The Doctor recovers. Ace has inches left before the water engulfs her completely. The Doctor grabs a piece of machinery, pulling it out of a console and this reverses the water, which we see ejected into the body of water (the lake, obviously), along with Ace.

Again, The Doctor is knocked down by one of the energy-eels.

Peter, the Site Supervisor explains to Ancelyn that the lake is where Excalibur was tossed into, according to legend. Ancelyn asks what he knows of Excalibur, and Peter quotes the legend of how Arthur gained the sword from the Lady of the Lake.

As he says it’s just a myth, NuBrig sees a sword break the water, and rising out of the water is Ace (though she’s swimming and then stumbling out of the water), bearing the sword.

She gives the sword to Ancelyn, saying now he can be King of England. “It is Excalibur,” he proclaims.

That’s what I said, Shakespeare,” Ace retorts and tells NuBrig that The Doctor is in a spaceship at the bottom of the lake.

The Brig and Shou arrive in her car.

Ancelyn fondles Excalibur, ignoring everyone else.

The Doctor is still being attacked by the energy-eel(s). He looks around for the piece of machinery he dropped, the eels keeping him away from it. Suddenly, a booted foot steps on the piece, crushing it, and the energy-eel disappears.

The Brig kneels by The Doctor. When The Doctor looks up, and smiles, the Brig says, “I just can’t let you out of my sight, can I, Doctor?” Oh. Oh. I have goosebumps. I’m gonna cry. This is their last meeting. Oh.

The Doctor is surprised that he recognises him, but the Brig replies, “Who else would it be?” Oh. Yeah, I’m crying.

Mordred arrives at the hotel and encounters the blind woman. She calls for Patrick, frightened because he’s wearing armour.

The NuBrig chastises Peter for letting The Doctor and Ace go down and not letting her know about it. Shou is there and says the Brig is down there, but NuBrig retorts, “I am the Brigadier.”

Just then, the Brig comes out of the tunnel, “So am I!” The Doctor follows just behind him.

NuBrig is surprised to see the Brig, saying she thought he retired. “So did I, Brigadier,” he replied. The Brig starts barking orders, saying the area is “crawling with armed extra-terrestrials and they’re hostile!”

The Doctor turns to him, “Same as ever, eh, Brigadier,” and grins.

Morgaine addresses her troops’ Knight Commander, sending him to find Excalibur and kill them if they resist.

Ace and the Brig don’t hit it off. As she storms off, he laments to The Doctor, “Women. Not really my field.”

Don’t worry, Brigadier, people’ll be shooting at you soon,” The Doctor consoles him.

Mordred drinks a beer at the bar in the hotel. Patrick comes up and sees the newcomer. Elizabeth is frightened, but she assures Patrick that she’s well. Mordred tells him that it’s just as well that she’s blind, as ugly as Patrick is. (He’s a real winner, that Mordred.)

A woman soldier enters, asking for a phone. Seeing Mordred, she draws a gun on him, but he is trying to get her to drink with him. Morgaine arrives, demanding to know who she is. The soldier shoots and Morgaine catches the bullet, crushing it into dust.

She ensorcels the soldier, telling her to kneel before her and tell her of their military strength. Morgaine places her hands on the girl’s head, probing her mind. The woman collapses, after screaming out, and when Patrick complains about leaving the body, Morgaine blasts it and disintegrates it.

Seeing that Mordred “drank well” while he was there, Morgaine says she must “get the tab” and in payment, cures Elizabeth’s blindness.

The Brig barks orders at NuBrig, who doesn’t argue, but Ancelyn sees that she is upset by the change in hierarchy.

Morgaine’s knights lay an ambush on the road.

The Doctor says that something is wrong, as they haven’t been attacked yet.

Moments later, the vehicles are attacked by the knights. The Brig manages to drive through the assault.

Morgaine tells Mordred she will deal with Merlin in her own manner, she doesn’t expect the Knight Commander to do so.

NuBrig, having been informed by the Brig about the ambush by radio, has Ancelyn hold the wheel of the car, while she pulls back the canopy top and fires on the knights with a machinegun.

She radios ahead to the Brig, letting him know they’ve made it through. However, looking at the road with binocs, they see an ambush laid out for NuBrig and Ancelyn. The Doctor tells the Brig to warn her.

NuBrig is feeling all proud and asks if Ancelyn is married. Before he can answer, she sees the knights lined up in the road and swerves off the road as they’re fired upon.

Ace begs the Brig and The Doctor to help them, but they both agree that there are too many of Morgaine’s troops. Reluctantly, she gets in the truck and they head to the hotel.

UNIT troops set up base at the hotel. Elizabeth and Patrick are being evacuated, as The Brigadier and crew arrive. Peter refuses to be evacuated, and Patrick agrees. But The Doctor uses his mental powers to get them to insist on being evacuated.

The Doctor complains about all the weapons. The Brig explains that UNIT has been working on weapons to deal with Daleks, Yeti, even gold-tipped bullets for “you know who” (Cybermen, natch). The Doctor quips, “What, no silver,” leaving the Brig to inquire if they have silver bullets.

Ace and Shou are hiding, as Shou was on the evacuation list. They sneak off together.

The major driving the evacuees stops and finds NuBrig’s hat. He radios in that “the seabirds” (‘seabird’ being NuBrig’s radio callsign) “are still operational.” How he divined that from her cap laying in the grass, I dunno.

The Brig reports that NuBrig and Ancelyn are alive and seem to be heading to her convoy at the lake. The Doctor is afraid that if Morgaine follows them, she’ll get a hold of the nuclear missile. When he asks the Brig if they have a helicopter, the Brig says they have something better.

He leads The Doctor outside, where the UNIT boys uncover… Bessie!! Ace gives him a hard time, asking if it runs on petrol or steam.

Ancelyn fights one of Morgaine’s knights, but NuBrig stops him from killing him. They argue; Ancelyn wants to fight them all, saying “there can be but thirty” and telling her he’s the greatest knight in the world. She says if he doesn’t start running, she’ll kill him herself.

He asks if she’s betrothed, but she says, “Not now,” and runs off as a group of knights approach. Ancelyn runs with her.

The Doctor gives Ace a piece of chalk, telling her it will protect her from Morgaine’s magic, saying to draw a chalk circle “at the first sign of anything strange”, telling her to keep Shou and Excalibur inside the circle, not to leave it until he returns.

Shou and Ace continue to make fun of the old car, but are amazed as Bessie takes off, leaving flaming tracks in the ground.

Morgaine watches Bessie in her crystal ball, calling Merlin a fool for placing such trust in children, changing the view to Ace and Shou.

Ace and Shou find some silver bullets. Suddenly, it thunders outside. Ace complains about how the Brig treated her, calling her “the latest one”. The thunder and lightning continues and the girls, realising there’s no storm outside, wonder where the chalk is.

Morgaine summons a creature, “in fire I shall summon you, in silver, I shall bind you.” In the crystal ball, we see a silhouette of a horned bipedal creature. She gestures and the silhouette is seen on her wall and she smiles in delight.

The girls draw a circle and stand in it, wondering what’s happening.

Bessie arrives at the overlook, and The Doctor gets out, seeing the convoy under attack from Morgaine’s knights. The Brig relays a message he got from the hotel, “Night has fallen here,” but The Doctor says he’ll deal with that later.

There’s explosions and gunfire all about down below. The Brig asks how he’s going to stop it, “Stand in the middle and yell ‘stop’?”

Good idea,” The Doctor replies.

Ace says “This is stupid,” but Shou hears that she called her stupid. Ace keeps hearing insults and they get mad at each other, calling names. Shou brings up that nobody likes Ace, probably not even her parents. Ace almost steps out of the chalk circle and suddenly the girls realise they’re being manipulated.

Morgaine is impressed, watching this and admirning the girls for their strength.

The knights and soldiers fight. Lots of boom boom and badly timed stunts. No, really. Three soldiers are behind some sandbags, a grenade goes off behind them, one goes over first, then almost a second later the other two actors/stunt men jump.

Ancelyn and NuBrig arrive, Ancelyn calling out for Mordred to face him. Mordred mocks him, calling him Mordred the Craven. Ancelyn mocks him for hiding behind his mommy. They both charge, swords held high to strike, but The Doctor runs between them, yelling there will be no battle here.

This is no battle,” Mordred tells him, “this is but a ruse, a diversion. My mother hath summoned The Destroyer! The Lord of Duckness (no, really, the way he pronounces darkness, it sounds like duckness), the Eater of Worlds!” (Bray Wyatt? Wow!)

He tells ‘Merlin’ to look to his children, “for soon they will be no more!”

The Doctor is horrified, “Ace, what have I done?”

Morgaine appears in the room with the girls, demanding they surrender Excalibur to her. Ace refuses. Morgaine says they shall be given over to The Destroyer, who appears, a grotesque with blue-grey scaly skin and horns.

She promises the girls they will become his handmaidens in hell, and laughs… and the girls look afraid… and the credits roll.

I dunno, that just lacked punch to me.

Episode 4:

The Doctor demands that Mordred tell his mother to call off the Destroyer. He insists that Merlin surrender to their “justice” and the children will live.

The Doctor scoffs at Mordred’s justice and uses his umbrella to hook Mordred’s sword, pulling it against his neck. He tells Mordred to tell his mother to call it off or, “I. Will. Decapitate. You.” I like this side of The Doctor.

Morgaine uses her crystal ball to scry, seeing The Doctor and Mordred struggling. She uses her power to tell her son mentally that it is a bluff. Mordred calls the bluff and The Doctor is unable to carry through.

Mordred, free of The Doctor, laughs, saying, “It is a weakness, this lack of spirit.” Just then, the Brig walks up, puts a gun to Mordred’s head, and says, simply, “Try me.”

BOOYAH!!!! Yes, I’m cabbage-patching in my chair and acting like a fool, because the Brig, he don’t play around.

Morgaine tells Mordred, “Ware this man, he is steeped in blood.” YOU DAMN RIGHT HE IS.

The Brig demands that Morgaine leave this world or her son dies. Mordred pleads with his mother to save him, but she replies, “Die well, my son.” Damn, she’s cold.

Morgaine contacts her Knight-Commander, ordering him to recommence the attack and to take no prisoners. The knights charge. The soldiers retaliate. Battle is joined once more.

NuBrig picks up a sword and starts kicking ass.

Mordred promises the Brig his mother will destroy him. The Brig says he’s tired of hearing about his mother and pushes him into the back of Bessie. The Doctor takes off with them.

Morgaine tells the girls that their friends will soon be dead and demands they hand over Excalibur. Ace suggests she come and get it, but she is unable to break the enchantment of the chalk, empowered by Excalibur.

The Destroyer says he can. Ace asks if he is so bad, why hasn’t he done anything yet, but he says that he is chained in silver and cannot do anything. He says that Morgaine fears him, but she says she fears nothing. He demands that she free him if that is the case.

Ace asks what he wants the world for, and he says to devour it. Either he begins to break his chains or Morgaine is using her power to release him, I’m not sure. The chains glow and the Destroyer begins making all sorts of noises.

Bessie arrives at the hotel and The Doctor gets out, but there is a great explosion. Mordred and the Brig are thrown from the car and Morgaine’s son escapes.

The Doctor and Brig enter the lobby, finding the girls buried under some rubble. He asks the girls where Excalibur is and they said they gave it to Morgaine, to which The Doctor replies, “Good.”

Ace begins to justify, but realises he’s not upset. She asks what he means, and he replies, “Exotic alien swords are hard to come by, but Aces are rare.”

The Brig calls The Doctor’s attention over to some shimmering light, but The Doctor isn’t sure what to make of it. He asks where Morgaine went, and Ace says, “A flash of light and she was gone.”

Morgaine asks the Destroyer where her army is. He says they are gone, “the way of all flesh.”

We see the battlefield, strewn with corpses, knight and soldier alike. NuBrig and Ancelyn are alive and seemingly well, the latter saying it was “a good fight,” though this seems troubling to NuBrig.

The Doctor says Morgaine is at the other end of the vortex (the shimmering light) and says they must go through it. He tells the girls to stay there, and he and the Brig enter, The Doctor saying, “High drama is very similar to comedy. It’s all a matter of timing.”

Mordred hides from soldiers and skulks about like the skulker he is.

Ace finds the silver bullets and charges into the vortex before it fades away. She yells, “Geronimo!!!” as she goes in, which of course makes you wonder if that’s why they chose it for Matt Smith’s Doctor.

Morgaine paces about her crystal balls as the Destroyer says she would do well to release him, as he cannot destroy Merlin while he is chained. She says she has Excalibur and without it, Arthur sleeps forever. Merlin will not find her before she leaves, saying the gateway home is almost complete.

The Destroyer laughs, saying Merlin comes. She says he cannot come through, but she realises that the Destroyer has allowed Merlin access, and he agrees, saying that she is now forced to release him.

The Doctor and the Brig arrive, the former greeting Morgaine, the latter shooting at the Destroyer. The bullets have no effect and The Doctor regards him sternly, “Brigadier…”

Nothing ventured, Doctor,” the Brig replies, putting away his gun.

Nothing gained,” the Destroyer replies, gesturing. Green arcane fire grabs the Brig and tosses him through the wall.

Your move, Merlin,” Morgaine tells The Doctor. They face off, she with Excalibur, he holding his umbrella like a sword. She says she could always beat him at chess, he replies, “Who said anything about playing chess?”

He adds, “I’ve been playing poker,” as Ace comes through the vortex. Ace knocks Excalibur from Morgaine’s grasp and tosses it to The Doctor. The Doctor adds, “And I’ve an Ace up my sleeve.” I have a feeling they’ve been wanting to use that line from the moment they named Sophie Aldred’s character.

Morgaine tells the Destroyer to destroy Merlin, but he insists she release him. The Doctor asks whom she fears more. She promises this is no idle threat, if he doesn’t give her Excalibur back, she’ll set the Destroyer upon the world.

He tells her not to be a fool and this angers her enough to do just that.

Nice work, Doctor,” Ace says. Not professor, mind.

But I thought she was bluffing,” he protests.

The Brig comes to, slowly.

The Destroyer removes his armour and flexes and roars, “Free!” Morgaine snatches Excalibur from The Doctor’s grasps, saying she has won and he has lost. She readies to go through the gateway, but just then Mordred shows up, mad that she was ready to let him die.

Morgaine is shocked that he’s still alive and The Doctor snatches Excalibur from her hand while she is distracted. (Seriously? If I had Excalibur in my hand, I’d be holding on to that pig-poker, not playing hot potato with it.)

As Mordred and Morgaine stand, the former accusing the latter that she wished him dead, she protesting that it was not so, they both disappear.

The Destroyer growls and snarls and writhes. Ace asks for a work, but the Brig shows up and calls to The Doctor to follow. Ace grabs the silver bullets and follows them.

Outside, the Brig asks what that was, and The Doctor says it was the beginning of the end of the world. “Grim as ever, eh, Doctor,” the Brig replies.

Inside, the Destroyer says, “I hunger,” and stands there looking stupid. No, really.

The Doctor says it’s no good running. The Brig says he could have an airstrike in minutes, but the Time Lord says conventional weapons won’t do any good. He turns to Ace, asking for the silver bullets. She’s surprised he knew, and he says “It’s all a matter of timing, Ace,” in response to her question how he knew.

The Brig, finding out that the silver bullets can kill the Destroyer, knocks out The Doctor and takes them. Ace yells at him, calling him a scumbag. The Brig says he’s more expendable, apologising to The Doctor, and heads back as Ace checks on our Time Lord.

The Destroyer prances about, saying this world shall be his, then another and another…

Green fire erupts from the castle as Ace worries over The Doctor.

The Brig enters, confronting the Destroyer. “Ah, little man, what do you want of me,” the Destroyer asks him.

Get off my world,” he replies.

Ace helps The Doctor up. The Doctor says they have to stop him and rushes to the castle, Ace following.

Pitiful, can this world do no better than you as its champion,” the Destroyer asks.

Probably,” the Brig replies, “I just do the best I can.” He fires thrice, hitting the Destroyer in the chest. The Destroyer clutches his throat and explodes in green fire.

A torrent of green fire erupts above the castle. The Doctor and Ace stop in their tracks and then The Doctor rushes forward. “No chance,” Ace calls out to him, “he’s had it!”

NuBrig moves about her convoy, demanding where her coffee is. Mordred steps out of nowhere, placing a sword to her neck, saying, “The battle’s not over yet.”

The Doctor finds the Brig in the rubble of the castle, calling him a “stupid, stubborn, pig-headed numbskull. You were supposed to die in bed!” The Brigadier recovers and chastises The Doctor for having so little faith in him. This is so classic.

Ace,” the Brig says, “I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. He’s all yours from now on. I’m going home to Doris.”

The Doctor is delighted to learn that Doris is the Brig’s wife.

The Brig says there’s some cleaning up to do, The Doctor agreeing there’s the small matter of a nuclear missile. They head off.

Morgaine and Mordred demand that NuBrig to give over the pass code for the missile. She says she has no idea. “Oh, I doubt that,” Morgaine says, demanding the code, as she closes in menacingly towards NuBrig.

In the spaceship under the lake, The Doctor, the Brig, Ace and Ancelyn step up to the altar Arthur’s body is slumped against. The Doctor takes off his hat and instructs Ancelyn to replace Excalibur to where it once was, saying Arthur will arise.

Ancelyn offers the sword to the Brig, saying the honour belongs to him. The Brig says The Doctor should do it. Ancelyn argues, and finally Ace takes it from him.

Ace, have you no sense of occasion,” The Doctor asks.

No,” she replies, placing the sword back where she pulled it from.

The ship comes to life about them. The Doctor says this is very odd, and takes Arthur’s helmet. There is no body inside the armour, but sand/dust/powder comes out of the helmet, and they find a scroll.

Ancelyn asks where the king is, while Ace reads the paper. She says it’s for The Doctor. He asks her what it says.

Ace reads it, “Dear Doctor, King died in final battle. Everything else propaganda.”

Who signed it,” The Doctor asks.

The Doctor,” Ace replies.

PS,” Ace adds, “Morgaine has just seized control of a nuclear missile.”

The Doctor complains he should have given himself better warning and tells Ace and the Brig to “see to the ship”.

Explosives, Doctor,” the Brig asks.

Now you’re talking,” Ace chimes in, COMPLETELY out of character. (Snort.)

Yes, we’ll give Arthur a warrior’s burial,” The Doctor answers.

Mordred dumps NuBrig on the ground outside the missile carrier. Ancelyn sees this and attacks. They fight, clashing swords. There’s a cute moment where The Doctor walks between the two, taking his hat off it greeting. They both stop and stare and gape at each other in shock, then resuming fighting.

Inside, the timer counts down. It’s at sixty. Morgaine says it’s too late, but The Doctor tries for the abort button. She stops him. They struggle.

He tells her, “If this missile explodes, millions will die. YOU will die.”

I shall die with honour,” she retorts. The counter is at forty-five.

He argues that this will set off a world-wide chain of attacks, no honourable war, just death. He demands of her if this is the sort of war she wants, the sort of weapons she would use, ones that would turn a child into ashes.

Finally, his words reach her and she hits the abort with only one second left.

Yanno, I’m really over that trope. That cliché. At least give me four seconds. Hell, twenty seconds to the end of the world is good enough, right?

She demands that Arthur face her, with honour, in single combat.

We see the ship explode. Ace and the Brig are standing in the water at the edge of the lake. She begins jumping and cheering when they see the water spout up from the blast.

The Doctor tells Morgaine that Arthur is dead. She refuses to believe him, calling him, “Merlin, Prince of Deceit.” She insists he’s lying. He argues that he tells the truth.

She mourns his loss, remembering how beautiful and bright he was. She asks if she could look upon him one last time, but he tells her he is dust now. She reminisces about being with him, how the air was like honey.

I’m sorry, Morgaine,” The Doctor says, taking the key from the missile launch console, “It’s over.” He walks out as she stands there, grieving.

Ancelyn and Mordred continue to fight. Mordred gets the best of Ancelyn, who falls. Mordred places his sword to Ancelyn’s throat.

I do not fear death, Mordred. You have slain my beloved, there is no life without her,” Ancelyn says.

So be it,” Mordred replies, lifting his sword to strike the death blow. “Tis time,” he says, just before The Doctor grabs him from behind, pulling the sword out of his hand and forcing Mordred down to his knees.

Time and Time Lords wait for no man,” he says, placing his hand on Mordred’s head, doing something to cause Mordred great pain. He screams, then collapses.

NuBrig gets to her feet and The Doctor greets her, telling her to lock up Mordred and Morgaine, and then walks off. NuBrig and Ancelyn regard each other.

The Doctor sits on a bench outside the Brig’s house. Ancelyn paces walks up.

Peaceful, isn’t it,” The Doctor asks.

The silence after a battle, Doctor” Ancelyn replies. Not Merlin, but Doctor?

The Brig walks from the house, apologising for not being a good host. He asks if they are well and then asks if they’ve seen Doris.

Doris steps out of the house and sees them, calling out, “Bye!” The Brig heads over to her.

The Doctor rises, and steps over to Ancelyn, “I think the battle may be about to begin.”

The Brig asks if she’s going somewhere and she says she’s going out with the girls.

Ace is polishing Bessie. The Doctor walks over, “I thought you said this was a piece of antiquated junk.” She plays like she did no such thing. NuBrig and Shou are seated in the back seat, promising not to break too many speed records or laws.

Doris arrives. Ace asks if she wants to drive, she’ll say she’ll drive on the way back. Doris tells the Brig to work in the garden and have something ready for supper for when they return.

As they drive off, the men watch. Ancelyn puts his hand on the Brig’s shoulder, “Ah, are they not magnificent?”

The Brig nods, “Yeah. You any good with a lawn mower, Ancelyn?”

The Doctor laughs, “I’ll cook supper,” and walks off… and the credits roll.

That was a fun, if bittersweet, serial. A farewell to the Brig. I’m gonna get choked up now. Think I’ll watch the Matt Smith clip where he learns of the Brigadier’s passing.

This recap dedicated to Nicholas Courtney, a fun actor, and to Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, the best non-companion The Doctor ever had.

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!

Recap: Four of the Five Doctors, plus the Brigadier, Sarah Jane, The Master, a Dalek, some Cybermen, Tegan and Turlough find themselves in “the death zone” on Gallifrey, seemingly playing some “Game”. Five has transmatted back to the citadel and is meeting with the High Council, comprised of President Borusa, Chancellor Flavia and the Castellan.

spoiler warning

Borusa demands what The Doctor is basing his accusations on. Five replies that the Cybermen were brought along, and even in their “darkest times”, the Gallifreyans never allowed the Cybermen to play the game.

Like the Daleks, they play too well.”

Five opens the recall device to reveal a homing beacon. Borusa says that the Castellan gave it to The Master, but the Castellan says The Doctor is seeking revenge. Borusa orders his security to search the Castellan’s living quarters and office.

Back in the death zone, The Master struggles to convince the Cyberleader that he can help. He tells them the tower is the stronghold of the Time Lords, but he can help them. The Cyberleader agrees, promising to spare him in exchange (but not planning to keep his promise.)

Turlough and Susan watch One and Tegan’s progress. Suddenly, they realise there are Cybermen outside the TARDIS.

The Brig and Two continue through the tunnel; the Brig complains all the while. They hear the grumbling roar of some creature and hurry along.

Three and Sarah Jane make their way through the mountains towards the tower. Suddenly, a warrior robot appears. It shoots a spear at her from its arm. It seems to disappear from sight, appearing nearby, then jumping about, disappearing again.

The Doctor leads Sarah to the entrance. The robot appears near them, with its back to them.

Turlough asks if Susan can operate the TARDIS, but she says even though she can it will do no good – the forcefield from the tower still keeps them there.

Tegan and “Doc” (Her name for One, much to his displeasure) make their way.

The search of the Castellan’s quarters turns up a box with the seal of Rassilon on it. Within are the Black Scrolls of Rassilon. Borusa says it is forbidden knowledge. The scrolls burst into flame and Borusa closes the box.

The Castellan denies having seen the box or the scrolls before. Borusa orders him to be interrogated, authorising the use of the “mind probe”. As they take him off, there is a shot and a scream. The Doctor exits, to see that the Castellan has been shot down in an attempt to escape.

Borusa says The Doctor has found his traitor and hopes this will allow his other selves to complete their quests. He says Five cannot go back to the death zone, as the President needs him there to advise. Flavia takes The Doctor off to quarters to rest. Borusa is very pensive.

The Brig and Two flee through the caverns, pursued by the creature. They squeeze through a small hole in the wall and find safety there. A large paw tries to reach them, but Two fends it off with the torch.

Handing the torch over, Two searches his pockets for something, finding a firework to spook the creature. In the light, they identify it as a Yeti. The creature, enraged, attacks the opening, causing the rocks to slide down and block the hole they slipped through. Searching their area, they find it leads to a door. The door is unlocked and Two says that “someone…or something wants us to go inside.”

Despite this, they do enter.

The Cybermen are setting up something outside the TARDIS.

A Cyberman trailing Three and Sarah arrives. The robot attacks it, killing it. More Cybermen arrive, quickly dispatched by the robot. EVEN MORE Cybermen arrive (jeebus, how many are there?) Yet again, the Cybermen are killed with ease.

While the robot is distracted with them, Three and Sarah grab the robot’s spare… well, Three calls them “arrows” but they’re more like javelins. Three also grabs some bundles of cable. They move on and find themselves on the mountain facing the top of the tower.

Flavia assures The Doctor that his friends and other selves are safe. He tells her he’s more worried about the High Council, saying that the Castellan was limited and narrow minded, but always loyal to Gallifrey.

Five says the traitor is still at large. Flavia says she will speak to the commander. Five goes off to speak to Borusa.

Three lassos the tower and he and Sarah Jane slide across to the tower, while The Master and Cybermen watch from lower down on the mountain. They, too, find an unlocked door waiting for them, and enter.

Tegan and One stand at the main entrance. The Doctor finds an “entry coder” and opens to the door.

Susan says the Cybermen are setting up a bomb outside the TARDIS.

One tells Tegan to be careful as she approaches a checkerboard floor. He starts tossing coins onto the squares. The death trap doesn’t activate until you reach the fifth row of squares, then electricity arcs all about.

The Master comes up behind them, saying their ancestors were devious. When The Doctor questions who he is, he says they knew each other at the academy. He tells them they need to hide, just before the Cybermen arrive. They do so, just in time.

The Cyberleader questions why the main entrance was unguarded, but The Master says the Time Lords are overconfident. When instructed, The Master strolls across the board, with no repercussions, then skips back. But when the Cyberpatrol crosses, they are all blasted down.

The Cyberleader accuses him of betraying him, and tells him to show him the safe route, or he will destroy him. Despite the route changing each time, The Master seems to know it and leads the Cyberleader.

However, mid-route, the renegade Time Lord turns and shoots the Cyberleader with a Cybergun.

Tegan and One come out and she chastises The Master for his ruthlessness (showing mercy for Cybermen, when they were responsible for Adric’s death? Out of character for Tegan.) He skips across again and says it’s “easy as pie”.

The Doctor remarks, “What an extraordinary fellow. As easy as pie?” Suddenly, The Doctor realises he meant Pi. The Doctor says that the formula for Pi is the key. He walks across and then directs her across.

Five arrives at the Council room, but the President is not there, much to the guards posted outside surprise. Five tells the guard to inform Flavia, and then begins poking about.

Three and Sarah Jane make their way through the dark tower. Sarah Jane stops, saying something is stopping her, some force. Three says it is the mind of Rassilon, keeping her at bay. She sits down while Three goes on a bit.

While he’s separated, Mike Yates shows up, as is Liz Shaw – they say someone else he should know well is waiting – implying the Second Doctor. When Three goes back to get Sarah, they try to stop him.

Three realises they’re phantoms, “illusions of the mind,” and runs back to Sarah Jane. The phantoms call out to him to stop. Three reunites with Sarah Jane and they head onward.

Tegan feels the same as Sarah Jane; One says it’s all mental illusion and to just ignore it. The Master skulks behind them, following.

The Brigadier also feels it. Two explains it much like the first two. They hear a scream and investigate, though The Doctor says it could be a trap. Over and again, the scream continues.

Rounding the corner, they find Jamie and Zoe in the hall, warning them off. They claim there is a forcefield, and if he goes on or tries to free them, it will kill them.

Two realises that when they were returned to their own times, the Time Lords erased their memories. They, too, are phantoms. They move on, engaging in some wonderful banter:

Trust me, Brigadier, have I ever led you astray?”

Yes, on many occasions.”

This will be the exception!”

In the council chamber, Five sees a painting of a harp player. There is also an actual harp. Playing with it, The Doctor realises it is a key to a secret door.

One and Tegan reach the actual tomb chamber. There is an obelisk that One examines while Tegan looks around. Three and Sarah Jane arrive shortly thereafter, and yes, there’s more Doctor on Doctor banter. Fun stuff.

The two Doctors examine the obelisk while Sarah Jane and Tegan introduce themselves and chat. One asks “What happened to the little fellow,” but before Three can answer, Two and the Brig arrive. The three Doctors (aw, yay!) banter and inspect, while the ladies greet the Brig.

Three is delighted to see the Brig and they shake hands. Before the Brig can complain too much, Three dismisses him and heads back to the obelisk. The companions exchange notes.

The three Doctors divine what it is all about, but One says it’s nothing to do with them. They simply need to leave. When the companions demand an explanation, One directs Two to fill them in.

It turns out that whomever takes the ring from Rassilon’s hand will get “the reward he seeks.” However, there is a warning of “to lose is to win and to win is to lose.”

At hearing how to gain the immortality, The Master steps out of the shadows. He rants at them, saying he came to help them, but he was scorned. Now he will help himself to immortality. The three Doctors protest, but he holds them off with his TCE.

The Brig sneaks up behind him and knocks out The Master with a right cross. Yay, Brig!!

(Yes, I know, The Master is my favourite Time Lord. But it’s the Brig, yo.)

Back at the TARDIS, the Cybermen (how many are there?) have set up multiple bombs. Apparently, the Cyberleader is with this crew, not one who went into the tower.

Turlough and Susan fret within, watching as the Cybermen withdraw from the perimeter of the TARDIS.

Five finally sees that the painting of the person playing the harp has a tune in the painting. He plays it, and reveals the gameboard and pieces and controls in a secret room!

Borusa, dressed in black robes, is there. He offers The Doctor his hand. The Doctor confesses he did suspect him, though not at first. The Doctor asks what has happened to Borusa. The President says he will not retire, his work half done. He wants to be President Eternal, to rule forever.

Tegan and Sarah Jane truss up The Master.

Three reverses the polarity of the neutron flow (take a drink everyone!) so the TARDIS will be free of the forcefield. Two attempts to contact the capital.

The TARDIS activates as the Cybermen detonate the bombs.

Borusa goes on, quite madman-like ranty, about following Rassilon’s clues. He says that the secret lies in the tomb. He sent the Doctors to get past all the traps. Borusa says that The Doctor will serve him; Five says he never will.

But Borusa is wearing the Coronet of Rassilon and that amplifies his mind to control others. He demonstrates by making Five bow before him, and then rise and accompany him as he departs the secret room.

The TARDIS arrives in the tower. Turlough and Susan join the others.

Two appears on the videoscreen of the transmat device. Five, under Borusa’s control, tells them not to meddle with anything until Borusa arrives to take charge.

After the conversation is over, Three says that something is wrong. Two mocks him for finding menace in his own shadow, but One agrees with Three.

Borusa and Five appear in the transmat booth in the tomb room. When the companions approach, Borusa compels them to be silent and not move.

One, Two and Three say they will not allow Borusa to win. They join their minds and ask Five to join them. They free him from Borusa’s control and he joins them; the four wills combined are more than the President, even with the Coronet, can handle.

Borusa says they cannot overcome him; Five says that Flavia and her guards will soon arrive. Borusa says that since he is the Lord President and they are an infamous renegade, Flavia will believe him, not they.

Suddenly, a booming voice announces, “This is the Game of Rassilon!”

Borusa moves to the voice, over by the tomb proper. One stops Five from following.

Rassilon (whose face appears in the air above his body) asks who disturbs him, what they seek. Borusa identifies himself, saying he seeks immortality. Rassilon asks who the Doctors are, and Borusa says they are his servants.

Three, Five and Two deny this, but One assures him the President speaks true. He asserts that Borusa deserves “the immortality he seeks”.

Rassilon instructs Borusa to take the ring; the President does so. Rassilon asks Borusa if he is sure, once more, asking if he will turn back. Borusa says “Never!” When instructed, Borusa puts on the ring.

Rassilon says, “Others have come to claim immortality through the ages. It was given to them, as it shall be given to you.” When he says this, stone faces on the side of the tomb become animated, their eyes glancing about helplessly.

There is a blank space. “Your place is prepared, Lord President Borusa,” and Borusa becomes a face in the blank spot. The ring returns to Rassilon’s finger.

The companions recover.

Rassilon asks if the Doctors claim immortality. They quickly deny this, saying they only wish to be returned to their proper place and times. Rassilon agrees to this, as well as to freeing the Fourth Doctor and Romana from the vortex. And The Master, whom Rassilon says “his sins will find their punishment in due time” disappears as well.

Rassilon says it is time for them to say their farewells and depart. He commends them on choosing well, and then he fades from sight. (Well, his floating face does; his body remains there all the while, laying atop the stone.)

Five asks One if he knew all along what would happen, but he says he suddenly realised what the warning meant, the one about winning and losing. He says it was a trap to remove those who sought immortality.

Farewells are said. One and Susan go into the TARDIS, followed by Two (who has to exchange name-calling with Three first) and the Brig, then Three and Sarah Jane go in.

After the others go in the TARDIS, Five says, “I’m definitely not the man I was… thank goodness.”

Tegan ask how they’re all going to travel together, but then each of the Doctors goes off in a triangle from the time scoop.

(That’s funny, I remembered it being separate TARDISes that branched off from Five’s.)

Flavia and several guards arrive by transmat. Five greets her, telling her that the legend of Rassilon is true. She says he has evaded his responsibilities far too long and he must replace Borusa, as the Council has appointed him the replacement.

She says that to refuse this would incur the wrath of the council. He deputises her until his return and (after instructing the companions back into the TARDIS under his breath), orders the guards to escort her back to the citadel.

In the TARDIS, The Doctor explains to his companions that he’s not going back to rule Gallifrey.

Tegan questions this, “You mean you’re deliberately choosing to go on the run from your own people, in a rackety old TARDIS?”

Why not,” The Doctor replies as the camera zooms in on him, “after all, that’s how it all started,”… and the credits roll.

A fun story. Makes me excited to see the 50th anniversary special later this year.

The 20th anniversary special, this is not technically part of the 20th season, but stands alone. I remember this one well and it’s pretty darn good.

We open with a snippet of The Doctor’s heartfelt speech to his granddaughter, Susan, upon leaving her on Earth. Then the opening credits roll!

An alien landscape. The insides of a fortress seen amongst the mountains.

Then, switching to Turlough walking amongst some ruins. He sits down with a sketchpad and sketches the landscape.

In the TARDIS (looking spiffy, I’m guessing a new set), The Doctor polishes the console. Tegan enters, wearing a different outfit. She asks if he repaired everything, but he argues the TARDIS is more than a machine. However, to her point, he has difficulty opening the door.

He exits, and strolls along the ruins, finding Turlough. He admires Turlough’s sketch. Tegan joins the boys. Apparently, this is the Eye of Orion they spoke of at the end of The King’s Demons. Tegan asks if they can stay and The Doctor agrees they can, for a while, as they’re “due for a rest”.

Elsewhere, a mysterious gloved hand works some controls. We see, on the screen, the edifice from the opening.

The First Doctor is seen strolling along a garden. (Obviously, as William Hartnell had already passed away, the First Doctor is played by Richard Hurndall.) A mysterious twirling triangle of energy zooms down, and though he attempts to run away, he is snatched up.

The gloved hand takes a figure of the First Doctor that has appeared in a lightbox in the wall out and sets it on what appears to be a gameboard of some sort.

The Fifth Doctor clutches his chest, gasping in pain. He explains he felt “a twinge of cosmic angst,” “…as if I’d lost something.”

Inside the UNIT HQ, the Brig is visiting, apparently some form of reunion. He talks to his replacement, Colonel Crichton, and they talk of The Doctor. Just then, the Second Doctor bursts in, greeting the Brig. The Doctor says he read the article on the Brig’s speech in tomorrow’s newspaper and hopes he’s not too late for it.

The Brig and The Doctor go for a walk (the former hoping to get the latter away from his replacement, hoping not to cause any offense.) They reminisce about Yeti, Cybermen, Omega and others.

However, The Doctor says he has to go – he’s not really supposed to be there. However, before farewells can be said, the same force that kidnapped the First Doctor grabs the two of them.

Figurines of the two of them appear and are placed in the board.

The Doctor says, “It’s fading, it’s all fading. Great chunks of my past, detatching themselves like melting icebergs.” He tells his companions that all is well, but then collapses.

The Third Doctor is driving Bessie, when he sees the energy triangle. He tries to avoid it, but he and the car are snatched up by it.

He, too, is added to the field of play. (No figurine for Bessie, though.)

Turlough posits that The Doctor is under some psychic attack. The Doctor says he needs to get back to the TARDIS and the companions assist him. En route, he gasps again. He says he has to find his other selves.

Sarah Jane is leaving her flat, but K-9 tells her there is danger and she should not go out. He cannot identify the cause of danger, only that it is extreme and getting worse. When he tells her that The Doctor is involved, she says he’s imagining things and leaves.

The Fourth Doctor and Romana II are shown in footage from the (then unaired) Shada. The Doctor is piloting their punt, when the force abducts them. (Tom Baker had declined to appear, so the footage from the incomplete serial was used.)

The gloved hands work the controls, frustrated at the inability to manifest figurines of Four and Romana Two.

In the TARDIS, The Fifth Doctor collapses.

At the bus stop, Sarah Jane is abducted. She is added to the game board next to Three.

The TARDIS column rises and falls rhythmically. Turlough is surprised to discover that The Doctor has two hearts. As they watch, The Doctor seems to fade off and on, as the TARDIS materialises.

The gloved hands add three more figurines to the game board.

Turlough says the instruments say they’re no where and no time. When Tegan asks what they do, he says they wait.

Time Lords mill about hallways in the grand city. The Lord President Borusa attends a meeting of the Inner Council and protests involving someone who is awaiting them. They remind him that the Council has over-ruled him and they bring in The Master.

Borusa offers him a complete pardon, including a complete cycle of regenerations – to earn this, he must “rescue The Doctor.”

The First Doctor wanders some halls with crystalline walls. Lightning and thunder crash all about. Suddenly, he sees a shadow of a woman – it’s Susan!!! They embrace, happy to have found each other. She asks him what’s happening, but he’s clueless.

As they question their situation, a Dalek rounds the corner and they rush off. The Dalek pursues, shooting wildly, shouting for The Doctor’s death.

The Inner Council shows The Master the “death zone”, which has recently become active. It is draining energy from the Eye of Harmony, enough so to endanger all of Gallifrey.

When The Master asks if they bothered investigating on their own, Borusa says that two of the High Council went and did not return. They explain that The Doctor has been lifted out of time – only the Fourth can be found, trapped in some limbo.

A cosmos without The Doctor scarcely bears thinking about,” The Master muses. When he asks why they want him, he’s told that they need someone ruthless and cunning. Again, they ask if he will go.

Five continues to fade in and out, but he becomes mostly rooted. He tells them he’s being drawn into a time vortex, but must find his other selves and be whole.

Susan and her grandfather flee the Dalek. It chases them into a dead end. They hide and when the Dalek approaches, they push it into the cul-de-sac and it fires. It’s beams bounce off the reflective walls and it ends up killing itself.

Part of the wall is blasted open and they recognise the Dark Tower – they both know it and where on Gallifrey they are – the “death zone”. The Doctor says they will find their answers in the tower.

The Brig complains about the wintry rocky terrain they find themselves in, while Two says it’s not his fault.

You attract trouble, Doctor, you always did,” the Brigadier sums up his complaints.

They seem something moving, at a distance, in the mist, and crouch behind a partial wall. A metallic hand reaches out and grabs the Brig’s wrist, but Two beats at the hand until it lets go and he and the Brig dash off.

The movement in the mist is Three in Bessie. He stops to take in the area, and sees someone moving.

Sarah Jane, wandering in the mist, falls down a slope, crying out. Three, hearing her, calls out to wait and lowers a rope down, tied to Bessie, and drags her out. Sarah Jane is amazed to see that he’s still Three and not Four, and confused when he explains that hasn’t happened yet.

They get into Bessie, so he can explain while they travel.

Five cannot recall what he’s supposed to do; Tegan and Turlough remind him he wants to send a signal to become whole, but before he can do anything, he collapses again.

The First Doctor takes a break, but Susan sees the TARDIS and they go to it. They enter, finding the Fifth Doctor and companions. One demands to know what they’re doing in his TARDIS.

The companions explain that it’s “his TARDIS,” indicating the fallen Five. One asks who he is, and Turlough answers, “The Doctor,” and One seems to ‘recognise’ himself once this is pointed out.

Seemingly revived by his other self’s presence, Five awakens and tries to explain how he got there, but he doesn’t know. One says it doesn’t matter, and is delighted to find out there are “five of me running around.”

Introductions are made; Tegan (having known the Fourth Doctor) understands the two Doctors should not be together. They agree, saying it only happens in the gravest emergencies.

One starts barking orders, saying Tegan needs to fetch some beverages. Before she can go ballistic, Five begs her to play along.

The council gives The Master the Seal of the High Council (to prove his working for them) and a recall for the transmat so they can bring him back when he needs to speak to them.

The Master asks if anyone is going to wish him luck, but Borusa says he will wish him success, “…for all our sakes.” Personal note: when people say “wish me luck,” I always wish them success and I believe this is where I first picked that up.

The Castellan activates the transmat, sending The Master into the death zone. Borusa dismisses Flavia and the Castellan, saying he would prefer to wait alone.

The Master comes across a dessicated Time Lord, musing, “One of my predecessors.” A blast of energy comes near him and he calmly remarks about the inhospitable environment.

Two confirms his suspicions – they are in the death zone on Gallifrey – and explains to the Brig about the history of said place. In the days before Rassilon, his people abused their powers and would kidnap beings from other worlds and times and put them in the death zone. They set off to the Dark Tower, which Two says is Rassilon’s tomb.

One and Five argue whether to send the signal and wait (One’s preferred plan) or to go out (Five’s side.) It’s a classic example of the difference between the Doctors.

They set about setting up the “computer scanner” to see what’s out there.

Bessie moves down a road through a gnarled forest. Three explains that the zone was a setting of “the games”, until Rassilon put an end to it. He stops to get his bearings and indicates the Tomb of Rassilon to Sarah Jane.

The Master steps out and calls out to them. Three stops the car and isn’t sure he recognises him. They drive back and banter, The Doctor presuming The Master is behind it all. His enemy says he’s working for the High Council, presenting the seal as proof.

The Doctor says it’s probably stolen and doesn’t believe The Master is there to help. There’s more banter, but a thunderbolt strikes the ground near The Master. He dashes off, and Three drives off in Bessie, thinking it’s a trap.

One and Five have pulled up a schematic of the Dark Tower (the Stephen King fan in me is loving that name), identifying three entrances – the main, one above and one below.

One argues against Five’s plan to go in via the main door.

Bessie has been disabled by the thunderbolts. Three claims this proves it was a trap.

Borusa orders a technician to stabilise Four in the part of the vortex he is trapped. The Castellan arrives to inquire if there’s any news from The Master.

Two wonders if Rassilon brought them there. The Brig wonders about that if Rassilon was dead. They discuss the legends of Rassilon – The Doctor says that some speak of Rassilon not being a good guy, despite the official history.

Two posits that they could be playing the “Game of Rassilon”. The Brig says he guesses they’re not expected to win. Two frowns and they set off towards the tower again.

Five heads off with Susan and Tegan in tow; Turlough remains in the TARDIS with One.

Three and Sarah see a Cyberpatrol of Cybermen Cybermarching through forest.

In the TARDIS, One identifies the presence of two more Doctors… and wonders what happened to the final one.

Two and the Brig approach the tower, the Time Lord singing a nursery rhyme about the tower, trying to recall how to enter. They find some torches and a brazier and after he lights one, Two leads the Brig into a cave.

Five, Tegan and Susan encounter The Master. When the renegade Time Lord says he knows it will be hard to believe, but he means them no harm, Five replies with, “Like Alice, I try to believe three impossible things before breakfast.”

As the two Time Lords confer, and the companions worry from afar, a Cyberman Cyberspots them and Cyberreports to the Cyberleader. (Ok, ok, I’ll stop.) The Cyberleader orders that they be kept alive and interrogated.

The Master and The Doctor banter and threaten each other. The Master tries to convince him he’s legit, and even says his credentials were taken by another self.

The Cyberpatrol approaches the Time Lords; the companions dash off, and the Time Lords are attacked. The Master is knocked out. The Doctor takes the transmat recall device, and beams away as the Cyberpatrol arrives to take him prisoner.

Susan and Tegan rush off, Susan limping after hurting her leg (which I seem to recall happened frequently during her time with the TARDIS.)

Five arrives where Borusa, Flavia and the Castellan await.

The Master is taken prisoner by the Cybermen, but offers his services to them.

Back in the TARDIS, Tegan inspects Susan’s leg. One suspects that Five escaped via a transmat, but says with “our young friend” gone, he will have to go to the Dark Tower himself. Tegan says she will go with him, though the Time Lord is less than delighted.

Five discovers that he was wrong about The Master; Borusa says if he survived, “I’m sure he will learn to live with the misjudgment.”

When Five wonders who is using the death zone and the time scoop, the Council tells him they were hoping he could tell them. They say if he suspects the time scoop was used, it would be a Time Lord.

Five says he suspects it would be a rather important one, at that, eyeing the three of them. When Borusa asks if he has evidence, he says he doesn’t yet.

And that’s where we’ll leave off until Friday my friends, as this is the halfway point of the story…


We’re halfway in, that means… STOP! SPOILER TIME!


Episode 4:

The Doctor leaps down and engages in a brouhaha with Scorby and Keeler, taking Scorby’s gun and escaping with Sarah Jane. While Chase bangs on the door, calling for his guards, the pod opens and grabs Keeler.

The Doctor hides Sarah Jane somewhere on the compound and then heads back.

Keeler is changing already, his skin turning green and leaf-like already. He begs Chase to help him, to take him to the hospital but Chase refuses, saying they’ll look after him there.

The Doctor skulks about the house, tailed by Scorby.

Chase and Hargreaves move Keeler to the cottage to better keep an eye on him.

The Doctor returns to the room, seeing the opened pod. Scorby gets the drop on him and takes his prisoner. Like a good thug, Scorby isn’t bothered by the fact that he’s working for a madman. He takes him to a room and roughs him up a bit. He prepares to run The Doctor through a compost machine.

Suddenly, it’s dark outside (seriously, it was broad daylight when The Doctor left her there), and Sarah Jane leaves her hiding spot.

Keeler’s body is mostly covered in plant now. He begs Chase to take him to the hospital again, and again Chase refuses.

Sarah Jane sees Chase and Hargreaves leave the cottage. She hides from them as they pass by.

Scorby reports that The Doctor is in the compost room. Chase receives a phone call from the main gate, saying that Amelia Ducat is at the gate demanding money. He lets in and has her sent to the library.

Sarah Jane enters the cottage and, hearing Keeler’s moans, finds him. When she refuses to untie him, he becomes very distraught and agitated. She hides just before Hargreaves arrives with food for him.

Chase deals with Amelia Ducat, paying her 1000 pounds for the painting he never paid her. She overhears talk of “a recyclying project” but Chase tells her it is very hush hush (Scorby’s way of discussing feeding The Doctor to the compost machine.)

Sarah slips out of the closet and makes her way downstairs, trying to leave the cottage.

Chase visits The Doctor and they talk of the grinder. Unsubtle threats pretending to be subtle can be so much fun and so great for eeeeeeebil rich people. (Yes, he’s a bit of a farce, but he’s still a fun villain.)

Sarah has made it to the house and sees Miss Ducat being escorted by Scorby. When a guard shows up to discuss the search for Sarah, Scorby leaves Ducat behind to talk privately, allowing Sarah to tell her that she’s in danger and needs Amelia to get a message to Sir Colin.

Chase sets the grinder on automatic and leaves. Of course. When I become a megalomanical villain, I’m going to stay and watch as the heroes are fed into my death trap.

I mean, if. If I were to become one. Yeah. If.

Miss Ducat goes to her car, where Sir Colin and Dunbar are waiting; she reports what has transpired. Sir Colin says they need to alert UNIT. Dunbar says that he can go in and will go in and remedy the situation, asking for half an hour. He says if he’s not back by then, for Sir Colin to return to London and contact UNIT.

Hargreaves brings more nourishment to Keeler and is horrified as the changes are much more drastic, there are no features of Keeler left at all. The butler drops the tray and runs off and the Krynoid begins to break free of the bonds.

Sarah finds The Doctor and tries to free him.

Quick, Sarah, the button!”

She presses a button which speeds up the process.

NOT THAT BUTTON, THE OTHER ONE!”

Now, that’s funny.

She switches it off and frees The Doctor.

Dunbar confronts Chase, who refuses to stop things. Hargreaves bursts in, saying that the thing is a monster and is breaking free. Dunbar says enough is enough and heads off to the gate. Chase sends Scorby after him.

The Doctor and Sarah make it to the cottage, to find the Krynoid has gone.

Dunbar runs into the Krynoid, which doesn’t even have a vaguely humanoid form any more (it must be further evolved than the one in the Antarctic was.) He shoots at it, but it attacks him.

The Doctor and Sarah hear his scream and arrive, to be attacked by the Krynoid. As The Doctor brandishes a sword that he picked up in the cottage, Sarah Jane screams… and the credits roll.

Not a bad cliffy, what what?

Episode 5:

Scorby and two guards arrive and open fire. The Krynoid turns towards them and The Doctor and Sarah Jane run off, followed by Scorby and the guards. They hide in the cottage and bar the door.

Chase contacts Scorby by radio, giving orders not to injure the Krynoid. Scorby tries to argue with him, but it does no good. The Doctor gets on the radio to try to batter the point through, but Chase just ends communication.

The Doctor informs Scorby that it will keep growing until it is the size of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, at which point it will multiply itself 1000x and take over the planet.

A tentacle bursts through a window, but Sarah, The Doctor and Scorby beat it off. The Krynoid speaks to them, inviting The Doctor to join them. It tells the others that if they turn The Doctor over to it, it will spare them, and gives them until daybreak to decide whether to comply or not.

Scorby is keen on the idea, but The Doctor tries to get him to realise that the Krynoid still plans on killing them all. Scorby seems to realise this and when The Doctor asks him if he can make a bomb, he says that he can and will.

In London, Sir Colin and Amelia sit in his office. He’s on the phone, waiting for someone to get back to him and she’s smoking her long brown cigarettes/cigarellos/something, which she does in most of the scenes involving her.

At the sun rises, Chase plans to take some photographs of the Krynoid; when Hargreaves warns him to caution, Chase says he has nothing to fear from the Krynoid.

Scorby is working on his makeshift explosive, what appears to be a molotov cocktail. How fucking short is the night in England? (I went there for two weeks and don’t recall them going so quickly.) The Doctor discusses plans, he wants to contact Sir Colin and light a fire under his ass.

Scorby, can I rely upon you?”

For the moment, Doctor.”

I do like Scorby – yes, he’s a violent and brutal fellow, but I like him. Again, I’d have enjoyed seeing someone like him be a companion to The Doctor – not the sort of story they would have done, I understand, but working with someone so dark, trying to show him the way of good, etc… would have been interesting.

Chase is outside, camera in hand, and sees the molotov cocktail and The Doctor run out. The Krynoid gives chase while Chase curses at them. The Doctor gets to a car and drives off, the Krynoid in pursuit.

Scorby and Sarah Jane (and the two guards, I presume) make it back to the main house. Scorby tells Hargreaves to fetch wood to bar the windows. Sarah Jane stands up to Scorby, though in the mood he’s in, she’s lucky this is still considered a children’s tv show.

Chase finds the Krynoid (not that hard, it’s huge now – easily 30′ tall?) and starts taking photos. It approaches him and he says it wants to help.

The Doctor pulls up to his destination. Inside, Sir Colin is arguing with a UNIT Major Beresford, who is in charge in the Brig’s absence. Beresford says he cannot act without proper evidence or authority. The Doctor tells him that “revolution is going on down there,” saying that the Krynoid will be able to turn all local vegetation against them.

Sir Colin and Major Beresford are shown reports of people being strangled by vegetation, all within a mile of Chase’s estate.

The Doctor calls the mansion and speaks to Sarah Jane. As they talk, vines creep up the roof and tear the phone lines, ending the convo. The vines break the window.

The Krynoid leaves Chase laying on the ground, who murmurs, “Yes, yes, the plants must win. It will be a new world, silent but beautiful.”

Hargreaves reports that all the guards have left. He also says he heard a scream, and Sarah Jane bullies Scorby into going out with them to investigate. The two of them find a guard who has been strangled by vines. Chase shows up, saying he’s taking fantastic photos. When Scorby says the plants have turned against them, Chase says, “Why not? It’s their world. We’re only parasites,” before heading back to the house.

Scorby finally admits that Chase has lost it.

Chase sits amongst his plants indoors, talking to them, proclaiming the dawn of a new era, one of vegetable dominance. Scorby and Sarah Jane enter as Chase goes on about a green paradise. Scorby turns off the weird music and tries to reach him, but the millionaire’s mind seems to be in a trance.

Chase starts talking about it is “our time”, animals are the enemy and the like. All around them, the plants begin to move, creeping towards Sarah Jane, Scorby and Hargreaves, as Chase watches on.

The Doctor drives in, accompanied by a UNIT Sgt Henderson.

The plants attack Sarah Jane and the others, as Chase rants, “You must die, all plant eaters must die!”

The Doctor and Henderson rush in with some chemicals in spray pump cannisters (think Orkin man insecticide sprayers) and begins spraying the plants. Chase tries to stop them, but they push him away. He cries out, in over the top delicious style, “You’ll pay for this, animal fiends!!!”

Hargreaves is dead, but Sarah and Scorby are freed and they bar the doors to the arboreum. Henderson tells Scorby that they used a military grade defoliant, but used it all.

As they remove plants from the house (The Doctor says they’re the eyes and ears of the Krynoid), Chase locks them outside as the Krynoid, which now towers above, a good 50-100′ tall, approaches.

Inside, Chase looks all smug… and the credits roll.

Strange putting a close up of Chase up at the tail like that, but still a decent cliffhanger.

Episode 6:

UNIT soldiers led by Major Beresford show up with a laser gun, though it’s more like a flash cannon. They hit the Krynoid with it several times, and it wanders towards them, allowing The Doctor and others to make it to another door to gain entry.

The laser flash cannon gun is fired repeatedly, but doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of effect, at least nothing debilitating. The Krynoid chases the team of soldiers, who retreat.

Inside, The Doctor speculates that Chase might be infected or possessed, not just hoping to spare his life.

Outside, the UNIT men run from the Krynoid.

Chase evades Scorby and The Doctor and Sarah and Henderson as they search for him. He makes it back to his arboreum and smashes the radio.

Beresford falls back and meets with Sir Colin. Cuz, y’know, civil servants in ecology would be consulted on what to do next by military men. Uh huh.

The Krynoid begins bashing at the house with its tentacles, trying to get to The Doctor and company. Henderson hands The Doctor his rifle, while he goes to get more timber to board up windows. The Doctor hands it to Scorby who gives him a strange look.

Chase knocks out Henderson and drags him off.

Part of the roof is giving way to the Krynoid.

Scorby begins to panic. He says he’s always relied on himself, not used to relying on others.

Chase has Henderson in the grinder and turns it on. This time he stays to watch, good megalomaniacal millionaire dude!

The Doctor works on repairing the radio that Chase smashed. Scorby gets all whiny and maudlin, believing they’ve been abandoned by UNIT. He snaps and makes a dash for it out the door, trying to fight his way through the plants. He makes it into the woods and tumbles into the water, where the water plant life attacks him and drags him under.

The Krynoid is almost as big as the house now.

The Doctor calls out for Henderson, but Sarah Jane tells him he’s not back yet, so he sends her to get him.

REALLY? Wow, that’s just… they know (or at least believe) that Chase is still in the house. C’mon, I can’t swallow this for a moment.

Sarah Jane makes it to the grinder room, whispering for the sergeant; Chase says, “the sergeant is no longer with us, he’s with the garden… he’s PART of the garden now.” Chase goes on a rant about animal life, etc again. He attacks her, it seems, they cut it quickly.

Beresford and The Doctor talk on the radio. The Doctor tells him that they’ve got about fifteen minutes before they reach “primary germination”, when the Krynoid will release hundreds of pods. The Doctor, in a change from any other serial with UNIT, suggests a jet fighter strike with high explosives. When Sir Colin (who has gotten on the horn before this point) asks what about the house and those within, The Doctor says nevermind the house, it’s got to be done.

Chase has Sarah tied up and in the grinder feeder. He turns it on and she slowly is fed towards the grinder. She wakes up as she draws closer and closer. She doesn’t scream, amazingly.

The Doctor bursts in, shoves Chase aside and starts to untie her, but then stops and lifts her out. Chase turns the machine back on and jumps in the feeder barrel and struggles with the barrel. Sarah can’t turn it off, her wrists are still bound and Chase gets fed into the grinder instead.

Jets fly in on a sighting run. They report to Beresford that they’re coming around to attack now.

The Doctor takes a steam pipe and blasts the foliage outside the door he and Sarah are trying to escape through. This allows them to make it through the initial bank of vegetation just as the jets fires their missiles. The Krynoid and house are blown up in great model monster and mansion destruction.

Later, in Sir Colin’s office, everyone discusses the Krynoid situation. The Doctor invites Sir Colin to join he and Sarah to Cassieopia, but the civil servants turns down the offer, as his wife is expecting him for tea.

The TARDIS materialises in a snowy area. Sarah Jane and The Doctor come out; the former is in a swim suit and carries a beach ball. They’re back in Antarctica – he forgot to clear the coordinates (which makes no sense, as he never too the TARDIS there).

He then asks her, “Have we been here before,” and together they finish, “or are we yet to come?” They giggle and the final credits roll.

Wow, that last scene was completely stupid.

Other than that, a great serial, lots of fun. Some neat characters (yes, I really liked Scorby) and a great monster.  


I haven’t seen this serial in close to twenty years, but I recall enjoying it a lot and thinking it’s basically Doctor Who’s take on WHO GOES THERE?

Episode 1:

Icebergs crash about an icy sea. Snow blasts the land in a wintry blizzard. Several people in snow gear chip away at ice; one of them pulls some artifact out of the ice and they take it back to camp.

Camp is a compound of four or five buildings in the snow. Inside, a bearded man pokes at the artifact. The two men who found it enter the room, asking his conclusion – he says it’s vegetable matter, which confirms their suspicions.

From its location in the permafrost, they estimate it’s been there 20,000 years. One of the men postulates that it’s tropical, but the other argues the logic of that, saying it’s been millions of years since Antarctica was a rain forest.

John, the man they brought it to (and the resident botanist, it seems) ignores their good natured banter. When they ask him what’s troubling him, he asks if they can feel it. They can’t and he says it’s alive. They find this hard to believe.

John says he’ll transmit photos to London, but the two men drag him off for a game of cards and some coffee.

Later, presumably in London, a Mr. Dunbar shows The Doctor some photos from his expedition in Antarctica; he seems reluctant to do so, thinking that The Doctor won’t be able to help. The Doctor tells Dunbar that “it still might be ticking, a time bomb…” He instructs Dunbar to tell the men not to touch the pod but keep it under a watchful eye until he gets there.

John takes measurements of the pod and asks one of the others in. He tells Charles that it is growing, has grown 5mm since that morning. Charles argues it, but John says the evidence speaks for itself. When Charles reminds John that The Doctor is due in the following day, but John seems very possessive about the pod.

In a large manor/castle/estate, Mr Dunbar (of the World Ecology Bureau) is introduced to the master of the estate, Mr. Chase. Chase demands to know what the WEB is doing about bonsai, but Dunbar is caught off guard. Chase proclaims his mission is to protect plant life. Dunbar says he knows this and this is why he’s come to call upon him, to show him evidence of new plant life.

Dunbar shows him the photos from the expedition. Chase demands to know where it was found; Dunbar tells him and then suggests that anything could happen, the pod could disappear… for the right price. He hands Chase a piece of paper with the location of the find on it.

Forethought and initiative, Mr. Dunbar. Two excellent attributes. We shall meet again, very soon, to discuss your remuneration.” – Chase

Chase’s men, Hargreaves and Scorby arrive, the former to show out Dunbar, the latter to go on an errand.

At the base, Charles is watching the pod, but despite drinking coffee, he drifts off to sleep. The pod opens and tendrils extend from it, grabbing him. He cries out, falling to the ground.

John and the other man, in their bunk, hear the noise and come to check on him. They find him on the floor, his face turning green.

In London, Dunbar and another man discuss the telex from John – “Pod carries infection, Charles seriously ill, need medical aid”. A medical team has been sent, but with the bad weather, it will be at least a day. Dunbar remarks that the UNIT team should be getting there soon.

A helicopter approaches the camp. The Doctor and Sarah Jane are greeted by Derek, the third man. He explains that the camp houses up to a dozen but there are only three at the time. He brings them indoors. The Doctor asks to see the sick man right away, not wanting to make small talk.

Charles body is changing, his skin covered in plant growth. John tells The Doctor that the medical team is expected tomorrow, but he says that may not be soon enough. The growth is accelerating.

Derek helps Sarah warm up with some coffee, but has to leave when the signal for the radio starts beeping.

The Doctor asks to see the lab. John leads him there, where Derek tells them that the medical team has radioed in to report having to turn back. The Doctor says that Charles is changing and some tests will have to be run. Derek, being a zoologist, offers to prepare a slide.

John shows The Doctor the remnants of the pod. John explains that it might be his fault that the pod opened – he had placed it under a lamp to warm it up and it had begun to expand. The Doctor tells him his action might have resulted in the extinction of all life on the planet. (Wow, melodramatic, much? Even if true, damn.)

Derek takes a blood sample from Charles and talks to him, trying to reassure his friend that help is on the way.

Outside, in the snow, The Doctor (wearing not additional protection) chips away at the ice while John and Sarah (wearing protective gear) ask him what they’re doing there. The Doctor finds another pod. The Doctor says there will be no more pods – they travel in pairs. It is brought to the camp and placed in a freezer.

When they examine Charles’ blood sample, it’s not made of platelets but plant bacteria. They hear a plane outside and Derek and John go out to greet the arrivals, believing them to be the medical team.

The Doctor tells Sarah that Charles is halfway to becoming a “Krynoid”, which he likens to a “galactic weed”. He says that on planets where the Krynoid gets established, the plants eat the animals instead of the other way around.

The new arrivals are brought in. They’re not the medical team, but a private plane that got lost… supposedly. It turns out to be Scorby and another man named Keeler, Chase’s operatives.

Checking on Charles with everyone else (except for the new arrivals), The Doctor suggests the only chance they have is to amputate Charles’ arm. When they leave to prepare, Charles sits up and looks around. He leaves the sick bay and when Derek encounters him, Charles attacks him, strangling him… and the credits roll.

Oh, this is fun so far. Corrupt government types, a powerful private man with a fanatic calling, a man being change, a hostile environment. Oh, yes, I see why this has stuck with me through the years.


Episode 2:

Charles leaves Derek (dead? Unconscious?) and exits the camp into the blasting snow.

Scorby takes one of the camp’s rifles, telling Keeler to keep watch. He proceeds to take it apart, saying he doesn’t like guns… in the wrong hands. Keeler seems to think they’re just there to confirm the existence of the pod and is upset when Scorby makes it clear they’re going to be taking it with them. He explains they’re going to kill everyone. Keeler says Scorby is mad and he won’t have anything to do with it. Scorby threatens him saying he’ll do it.

Sarah sees Derek’s body. She rushes back to tell The Doctor and John, who investigate. They see that Charles is gone. The Doctor says that Charles is gone, now he is just the Krynoid.

John and Sarah return to the bunk room, fetching the rifle that Scorby was messing with and their outdoor gear. They depart with The Doctor, leaving Keeler and Scorby to speculate what is going on. Scorby says this is their chance to find the pod.

Dunbar reports to Chase about the infection. Chase informs Dunbar that he’s sent his “best man” to fetch the pod for him. Dunbar reveals his motivations for selling the information to Chase – he’s tired of being passed over and not getting his rightful due.

The Krynoid moves through the snow, more plant than human now. The Doctor, John and Sarah wander through the snow, looking for the creature.

Scorby and Keeler search the camp, making quite the mess. Keeler is a nervous wreck, while Scorby is a bull in a china shop. The radio comes to life as South Bend calls in to inform them the weather is clearing. Scorby tries to pass himself off as Derek and tells them not to bother, but the South Bend man seems a bit suspicious. Scorby pulls the plug on the radio.

The Doctor, John and Sarah investigate the generator building.

Keeler finds the pod, but says it has germinated. Scorby realises that it’s not any good to Chase without the plant inside and says they must find the plant.

The Doctor chastises John for continuing to refer to the creature as ‘Winlet’ (Charles’ last name), saying it is no longer human. The Doctor is getting very snippy – I guess he’s very worried. He snaps at Sarah and John both, repeatedly, before leaving.

Scorby and Keeler find Derek’s body in the lab, recognising him as one of the men who greeted them.

The Krynoid enters the generator building.

The Doctor and Sarah return to the main building, John saying he wanted to check on something first. Keeler and Scorby take them at gun point and demand to know what’s going on. After some shenanigans, The Doctor tells them, though leaving some details out.

Scorby and Keeler tie them up in the bunk room; Scorby demands to know where the plant from the pod is. The Doctor explains that the man “who went mad” (the earlier explanation) is now an alien creature. Scorby finds this hard to believe, but John returns just then and tries to use his rifle to make Scorby give up his pistol, quickly discovering that his rifle won’t fire.

John blabs, revealing there’s a second pod. Scorby puts his gun to Sarah Jane’s head, demanding to know where the pod is and The Doctor tells him. Scorby gives Keeler a gun to watch over The Doctor and Sarah, taking John to show him where the pod is. (Keeler is very, very reluctant to take the gun.)

Scorby makes John get a thermal container to transport the pod. They talk and Scorby posits that the Krynoid might be hiding there, but John says they already checked it.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane do their best to rattle Keeler, but Scorby returns with John before they can get in his head too much. John is tied up and Scorby seems about to shoot them, but then takes Sarah Jane, leaving The Doctor and John behind.

As they take her, The Doctor shouts, “Scorby!” several times. There’s a pitch to Baker’s voice that just really carries a lot of emotion in it. I have always liked that scene.

The Krynoid is seen wandering through the snow.

Scorby tells Sarah to take them to the generator building. There, he sets an explosive device. Keeler is obviously upset at the idea of blowing the entire facility. Scorby bullies him into doing as he instructs, but after the bomb has been set, he tries to fight Scorby, who subdues him and they leave Sarah tied up in the generator building.

The Doctor and John cut their bonds; The Doctor tells John to get on the radio, while he goes out looking for Sarah. In the radio room, the Krynoid has entered the compound and attacks John.

The Doctor watches the plane take off.

The timer on the bomb counts down; there’s less than a minute.

The Krynoid moves through the snow.

The Doctor frees Sarah, but with seconds left, the Krynoid enters. It chases them around the building but they slip back out the door and lock the creature inside.

They run for their lives, and when the timer reaches zero, the bomb goes off, taking the entire complex with it…. and the credits roll.

That’s an excellently done cliffhanger there. I’m surprised that the Antarctic base blew up so early – I thought about half the serial took place there.

Episode 3:

A vehicle on treads pulls up to the location, finding Sarah Jane in the snow. They tell her they’re from South Bend, but she’s worried about The Doctor. She finds him buried in the snow and they uncover him to discover he’s alive.

Scorby and Keeler return to Chase’s manse, to report their mission has been accomplished. Scorby opens the case but cautions Chase not to touch it, explaining what happened with the other pod. Hargreaves brings in Dunbar, who is upset at the destruction of the facility and the deaths.

Dunbar informs them that The Doctor and his assistant survived and are meeting with him and Sir Colin in several hours.

At the meeting, The Doctor says the uniqueness of the pod makes it something to covet. He and Sarah Jane say the theft was so well planned, and they must have been privy to inside information from the bureau. Dunbar plays it all off as preposterous.

The Doctor demands to be taken to the Botanical Institute and they are taken in a car. Dunbar calls in to Chase, assuring him that The Doctor has been taken care of, but insists that he is extremely cautious with the pod.

The driver of the car drives them out into the middle of nowhere and parks, turning a gun on his passengers. The Doctor overpowers the driver and they run off. He pursues and they draw him into a trap, defeating him. In the boot of the car (that’s trunk to my fellow Americans) they find a framed piece of artwork.

Going to the artist’s residence, they speak to her, Amelia Ducat, a little old lady. She confirms that she painted the piece, and then recalls that it was bought by “Harrison Chase, the millionaire… good lord, he never paid me!”

Keeler reports to Chase that there are no signs of activity; he pleads for any experiments with the pod be ceased. A call comes in and they learn that the car driver is in the hospital.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane pull up to a gate in the car. The Doctor dons the chauffeur’s cap and toots the hor and the guard at the gate lets them in without even checking to ensure who is in the car.

He and Sarah Jane slip the car and find the large manor. Two guards spot them and fire on them as they dash for the house. There’s a running scene (it is Doctor Who, after all) until they end up face to face with Scorby and his gun. The other guards arrive and help bring them inside to meet Chase.

Chase explains he has the greatest collection of rare plants in the world and the pod, once it flowers, with be the crown jewel. He informs them that they’re to be executed, but first they’ll get to see his plants and takes them on a tour of his manor.

Keeler informs Hargreaves that the pod is growing and instructs him to inform Chase.

Chase plays some electronic sounds (calling it “music”) for his plants. He talks all the while, as megalomaniacs are prone to do. Hargreaves arrives to inform him that he’s needed in the annex.

Upon examining the pod, Chase tells Keeler to inject more nitrogen into the pod. Keeler argues with him but Chase says he gives the orders.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane overpower Scorby and make a run for it. The Doctor tells Sarah she has to get out and make a call, but he plans to stay behind and examine the pod. Sarah makes it over the wall but is recaptured by the guards and brought before Scorby.

The Doctor skulks through the mansion, gaining rooftop access and looking down into the annex via a skylight. Sarah Jane is brought there and Chase questions her, demanding to know where The Doctor is. Chase says Sarah Jane can help with his experiment, saying he wants to know what will happen when the Krynoid touches human flesh.

They sit her down at the table and extend her arm. As The Doctor watches from above, the pod begins to open… and the credits roll.

Now THAT, my friends, is a cliffhanger. Wow, I love it. And one we’ll be leaving you on… see you Friday for the second half!