So, we’re done with the regular 26 seasons (wow, really, still doesn’t seem like it, and I’m writing this post late on November 1st, so I stopped watching like two weeks ago?)

Two more posts coming up this week – the 1996 FOX TV movie, split into two posts.

Tue Nov 5th – Part One

Fri Nov 8th – Part Two

And… that’s it.  Fini.  Done.

Wow.

Recap: The Doctor, Ace and a bunch of her friends and fellow residents of Perivale are trapped on another planet that is dying. Ace is turning into something of the planet. The Master was there, but just escaped. Dum dum dum!!!!!

spoiler warning

Whoa. This is it. The last episode of the original run. Sure, I’m going to do the 1996 FOX TV movie, so you’ll get two more recap posts from me, and then next year, there’ll be some thoughts on the experience of my two year project, and probably the occasional audio drama review or other product. Someone once suggested that I tackle the new run of seasons…

If I do, it’s gonna be down the road.

But, I digress. Here we are. The last episode. Wow.

Episode 3:

The Cheetah person dismounts, calling to Ace, “Come hunting, sister!” The Doctor pleads with her, asking her to wait, but Ace just laughs and runs off. The Doctor tells the others to stay, saying he’ll follow.

Ace and Cheetah person go running. Yay, pointless running scene shoving down our throat that Ace is enjoying what she’s becoming.

The Master and Midge are in a living room. Midge is yowling, weakly. The Master looks around, seeing a mirror, seeing his altered appearance. “I will be free of it,” he says, desperately. He focuses and closes his eyes for a long moment and when he opens them again, they’re no longer yellow/glowy, and his teeth are normal again.

He regards Midge, saying the boy is all animal now, and weak willed. “A stronger mind will hold on to itself longer, a will as strong as mine.” Then he stares into the mirror, worrying how much longer. He promises his reflection that he will destroy The Doctor.

Ace and her friend, Karra, stop at the water. Ace asks why she keeps calling her sister. Karra says she will be like her soon. Ace says this is good, she likes feeling like this… but then says she has to get back to The Doctor.

Karra asks if Ace is hungry, telling her to feel the chase, listen to the wind in her blood, to run and hunt and eat. Karra mounts her horse and beckons Ace to come hunting with her.

The Doctor is on the trail, wondering how far gone Ace is, whether she can come back. Nearby, a male Cheetah growls, and The Doctor moves off quickly (but not running, as that elicits the chase response, remember.)

Karra dismounts, seeing a carcass, murmuring about good hunting. Ace, still mounted, accuses her of eating people, killing people. Karra’s response is perfect, “When I’m hungry, I hunt. When I hunt, I eat.”

Ace asks if Karra would eat her; Karra says there is meat there, but Ace asks if there wasn’t. Karra asks how fast Ace can run, and she replies, “Fast enough.”

That would be a good hunt,” Karra replies, then encourages Ace to come eat with her. Ace dismounts, and approaches, but then The Doctor calls out to her. She turns towards him, snarling.

Ace, come back, come home,” he pleads. Ace reverts to her normal self and runs to him, hugging him.

Good hunting, sister,” Karra calls out.

When Ace asks what’s happening to her, The Doctor tells her it’s all right and they’re going home. They walk off as Karra hisses.

The Master tells Midge to look at him; the boy is weak on the couch, growling softly, but obeys. The Master tells him that he has power, can do anything he wants. He tells Midge that he’s his “hunting dog” (think he’s mixing his metaphors or something here) and is the “teeth for my trap”.

The Doctor and Ace return to Sarge, Derek and Shreela. The Doctor tells her that the planet has changed her, that she can help them home, but if she does, she might not be able to change back.

She ask him to advise her on what to do, but he says the choice is hers. She takes his hand and he take the hand of the next; all five are holding hands in a chain and The Doctor says, “We’re going home!”

Ace takes off running, the others follow and all five disappear in a flash of light, appearing in Perivale, in the street, by the TARDIS. They look about, as Ace is surprised she did it, then turns to The Doctor to ask if she’s all right. He says that she is, and she seems to be.

So… that whole might transform her into one of them was just unnecessary drama/dialogue? I mean, it didn’t even really impact her decision. She didn’t think on it, there was no related angst. At least have a thirty second scene where she waffles, the others pleading with her to risk it, maybe Shreela, being her friend, asking her not to…

Wow. That was… maybe he’s wrong, maybe there is still a chance of her turning? (Or maybe he’s lying – remember rule #1 – The Doctor lies.)

The others are excited to be back. Shreela hugs Ace and runs off, saying she’s got to get home.

Sarge seems to be displacing everything, saying he had a blackout, was lying in the street and yells at The Doctor for not getting him to a doctor.

Ace looks at him and says, “Thanks, Ace, thanks, Doctor, thanks for saving my life, getting me back home.” He blows her off, saying he doesn’t know what she means.

Derek shakes The Doctor’s hand, repeating Ace word for word, genuine in his thanks, and runs off, laughing.

Sarge walks off, “I’m late for self-defense.”

Ace says everything’s back to normal, but The Doctor says there’s unfinished business – The Master. He asks where Midge lives. Ace points in the general direction and The Doctor uns off.

Midge moves about a motorbike store, sitting on one. The Master watches him from outside. Midge looks at him and says, “Just the start, Midge, just the start.” I’m guessing he’s repeating what he hears in his head.

The Doctor and Ace are in Midge’s flat, looking about. The Doctor sees a dead cat and investigates, but just then a little girl in another room starts crying. Ace goes to her and asks what happens and she talks about the bad cat that killed it. “The bad cat the man brought.”

The Doctor asks where they went and the girl runs off to show them.

At the youth club, a bunch of young men stand about, when Midge, dressed somewhat snazzily walks in. “Waiting on the Sarge,” he asks as they turn to regard him, not sure how to take him in.

He’s been held up,” he explains, saying Sarge asked him to have a chat with them. He talks about the secret of success and how he’d come to share it with them.

The little girl points in the direction they went, her brother (Midge) and “the bad cat man”. Ace asks her where her mum is, but Squeak (dunno if that’s her actual name/nickname or just Ace’s term of endearment for her) says “He made her go away.”

Ace asks why The Master is doing this, “He’s escaped, hasn’t he?”

Malice,” The Doctor explains. Ace says she’ll take the girl to her gran, who lives one floor up. Before she leaves, she remarks that it’s more than just malice, and The Doctor admits that The Master must be looking for a way to destroy him.

You’d wipe the floor with him,” Ace says, scoffing at the idea that The Master could get the better of him.

Yes, well, we are an explosive, combination,” The Doctor remarks. “One day, one of us might blot the other one out.”

The Doctor says he needs a way to track him down, take him by surprise.

Just then Ace falls to her knees. Her eyes change. “Bad cat man,” Squeak says, watching.

The Master is standing outside the youth club, holding one of the kitlings. He approaches it.

Ace can see this and relates it to The Doctor. She rises to her feet, her eyes normal again. She repeats where The Master is, and they run off.

Midge is addressing the troops, talking about it being common sense and it being the way of the world. The youths stand, staring, not overtly for nor against him/his words.

Survival of the fittest,” Midge says. There’s that phrase again. “Get rid of the dead wood, let the wasters go to the wall, and the strong will inherit the Earth.” Sounds like stuff Sarge would have said.

He asks, then yells, if they know what he’s talking about. When he removes his glasses, revealing his eyes, one of the youths starts to move, but Midge snaps at him not to move and he stops.

The Master enters and approaches the boys (men, really) from behind. He says they’ll do anything he says and at least one voices agreement – I’m sure he’s supposed to be entrancing them, through his power and amplified through Midge, but it’s not terribly obvious. (Part of the problem is poor acting on the extras’ behalf in this serial.)

Sarge, still wearing his torn up clothing, arrives, apologising for being late, but saying he had “a wee accident”, but all’s well. The youths part for him and Sarge says nothing when he sees The Master.

The Master tells Midge to take over and the boy approaches Sarge, menacingly.

The Doctor and Ace arrive at the youth club, to find Sarge laying prone – dead? Unconscious? Unsure. “So much for the SAS survival course,” The Doctor says. But Ace says nothing, only gasping and flinching as her eyes turn yellow again. The Doctor asks her, “Where?”

We see Ace and The Doctor walking in the field, approaching a motorbike. “He’s chosen the time, the place and the means.” Ace says the trail stops there. Her eyes are still yellow and The Doctor speaks her name.

When her eyes revert, he praises her. She asks if she’d changed again, then says she didn’t even feel it. She’s worried this will never stop, and asks him, but before he can answer, Midge comes riding over the crest of the hill on a motorbike.

The group of youths walk up behind him, accompanied by The Master. The Master addresses Midge, “You are my hunting dog, the teeth for my trap, the teeth to destroy.” He hands Midge the big tooth from the other world.

Ace, eyes yellow, hops on the motorbike, but The Doctor throws her off, saying if she fights, she’ll change and change forever.

He and Midge charge towards each other on the bikes. Ace screams, “No,” as the bikes collide and there’s an explosion.

Midge is thrown from the bike, burnt and struggling. The Master quotes the survival of the fittest bit, taking the boy’s sunglasses from him, saying, “You know what to do, Midge.”

In response, Midge turns his head and lays it down. Momentous music accompanies this, so I guess he’s dead. “Good boy,” The Master says as the other youths watch on.

Ace runs over and finds The Doctor’s hat and umbrella. She clutches them to her chest.

The youths walk past/over Midge, towards Ace. “I must not fight,” she murmurs over and again. She calls out for help. Suddenly, there’s a flash, and Karra appears on horseback.

The youths stop.

The chase. To hunt in the morning and live till evening,” Karra says. “Run out of the light and slip into the dark. Smell the blood in the wind. Hear your blood in your ears. Die at last, with your enemy’s blood in your mouth.”

Ace listens, smiling. Karra howls and charges forward. The youths dash away. The Master stands there, watching. Karra circles about and approaches him. He orders her off the horse and she dismounts.

He tells her she has no place there and he commands her. He says she is nothing to her.

Do you bleed,” Karra asks, “I can always do something to you if you bleed.” We see The Master is holding the tooth behind his back, the one Midge had.

She leaps on him but he stabs her with the tooth. Ace cries out Karra’s name and The Master just laughs and walks off. As he does, he passes a garbage heap with The Doctor head-down, ass-up in it. Laughing more, he walks away.

The Doctor comes to and extricates himself from his position, grumbling, “Oh, very good. Very amusing.”

Ace runs over to Karra’s body and turns her over, revealing a human girl. She says she can hunt and run in the dark forever. Ace begs her to wait, she’ll get her something, but Karra dies.

The Master tries to pick the lock to the TARDIS. The Doctor walks up, “Good hunting?”

They begin to banter, circling around each other. They talk about how they always must meet again. “But this is the end, Doctor,” The Master says. I wonder if that line… if they knew, or suspected that the show wouldn’t continue on? Or was it mere happenstance?

The Master turns to The Doctor, his eyes yellow, his teeth pronounced. “You see it. It’s a power. A power from that planet. It’s growing within me. Are you frightened yet?

The Doctor replies in the negative. The Master says he should be, as it nearly beat him. “Such a simple power, the power of tooth and claw. It nearly destroyed me, a Time Lord. But I won.” He goes on about controlling the force (though we know that’s not entirely true.)

And now, at last,” he says, “I have the power to destroy you.” He grabs The Doctor and they both disappear in a flash of light, appearing on the Cheetah people planet, which is burning all about.

The Master is atop The Doctor, and tries to beat him with a bone, but somehow The Doctor reverses it. He grabs a rock and is about to bash The Master, when he stops. His eyes are yellow.

He looks, seeing the Cheetah people about him – they’re in the center of the Cheetah camp. As he watches, the tribe fade from his sight.

I’ve gone… what am I doing? I’ve got to stop. We’ve got to go,” The Doctor gasps, almost weeps. He throws the rock down. The Master says they can’t go, he refuses to live as an animal.

The Doctor says if they fight, they destroy the planet, they’ll destroy themselves. As he talks, The Master gets up, throttles his enemy. “You should have killed me, Doctor,” he says.

All about them, there are more and more eruptions, burst of flames like mini volcanoes.

The Master raises up the leg bone to strike, and The Doctor, on his knees before him, yells (very melodramatically), “If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!” The Master strikes and there’s a flash of light.

The Doctor is on his knees on the street, in front of the TARDIS, crying out the entire line. He looks about, startled and gets to his feet. A woman walks up, complaining about the cat fights, but The Doctor says he thinks it’ll quiet down now.

She goes on about bad owners and storms off.

Ace is still by Karra, crying, mourning. She fingers (possibly taking, I’m not sure) a necklace with a tooth on it.

Behind her, there’s a crackle and another mounted Cheetah person arrives. Ace moves from Karra’s body, hurriedly, as it approaches. It rides by Karra’s body and there’s a flash of light. When it fades, the mounted Cheetah is gone, as is Karra’s body.

Ace drops to her knees, putting on The Doctor’s hat and holding his umbrella, watching where the horse was. The Doctor walks up behind her.

Mine, I believe,” he says, taking the hat off her head. She grins as he puts on the hat and takes the umbrella. She asks where they went and he says they went back to the wilderness, “The place is different, but the hunt goes on.”

She talks about the hunt, feeling like she could run forever. “The planet is gone, but it lives on inside you,” The Doctor tells her. “It always will.”

She smiles, “Good.” She asks about The Master, and The Doctor replies, “Who knows? Where to now, Ace?

Home,” she replies, and tells him she means the TARDIS. He says yes and they walk off, as he tells her, “There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream. People made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice. Somewhere else the tea’s getting cold. Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do.”

The camera pans up to the sky… and the FINAL credits roll.

Okay, from the monologue, I think it’s safe to say they knew this was possibly the end. (Ok, just looked it up on Wikipedia and according to that, the monologue was recorded after the original filming and production, as they expected there would at least be a hiatus.)

And that’s it. Done. I mean, sure, one more story, the 1996 TV movie… but still. I’m kinda numb.

This serial still doesn’t grab me all that well. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but still… I see it’s highly praised by others, but nah. Definitely not a good one for the end of the show.

Recap: The Doctor takes Ace to Perivale so she can check in on her mates, but something is going on. All her friends have disappeared, and recently, it seems. Stray cats seem to be a huge problem for the township. Oh, and The Master is involved.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

Ace stands, looking about, noticing several cats eating from a carcass. Shreela approaches from behind and Ace turns to see who it is Shreela tells her they only eat them when they’re dead.

The Master goads, “Run, Doctor, run.” Patterson moves to run, but The Doctor cautions him not to. The Master throws a ball between Sarge’s feet and he runs off, pursued by several of the felinoids. He is quickly surrounded.

The Doctor is surprised to see they’re just playing with Sarge. “Essentially, a fun-loving species,” The Master remarks. He tells The Doctor they must talk.

Ace and her friends confer. Midge suggests trying to catch one of the felinoids. Shreela says the one time they tried fighting, they lost Stevie. Midge mocks, saying “She threw sticks at it,” but Ace asks where he was. (So Stevie’s a girl, Midge is a guy. Okay. I guess that’s some pop-culture reference or in-joke I’m not getting.)

Derek says the felinoids are invincible, but Ace says nothing is invincible.

Midge mocks her, “That’s right, Ace, you tell us. You sort it out.” He’s a right jack-ass, innit he? Shreela says they need to get back to camp, but Ace says it’s not any safer there.

Ace learns that the felinoids always ride through the area they’re in, so she suggests setting a trap.

Patterson is still surrounded, being battered about, and trying his best to fight them off, as The Doctor and The Master talk. The Doctor snatches several of The Master’s little balls, and juggles, getting the attention of the group harassing Sarge, but when he tosses the balls away, hoping they’ll chase them, the felinoids go back to playing with Sarge.

The Doctor runs to a horse and mounts it; several of the felinoids give chase but The Master orders them to stay. The Doctor helps Sarge up onto the horse and they ride off as The Master yells that he controls the animals.

When they leave, the felinoids turn to the renegade Time Lord, and he hastily heads back to his tent, promising them more food – so he doesn’t control them after all…

Ace and Shreela are in trees; they have a thin line stretched across, a wire, but the first felinoid that comes along just snaps it with his claws and moves on, hissing at the girls.

Sarge tries to explain that it’s not like him to lose his head and run like that, on and on. The Doctor doesn’t seem to care. He tells Sarge they’re on “the planet of the Cheetah people. Intelligent carnivores.”

Sarge has trouble believing they’re on another planet, but The Doctor is more concerned about the Cheetah people hunting so far from their feeding grounds.

They see one of the black cats and The Doctor identifies it as a “kitling”, calling it a feline vulture with teleportation powers. Thunder rumbles and they look to the sky, seeing storm clouds rolling in. The Doctor says he thinks they’re going to be in trouble.

Back in Perivale, a milkman delivers milk. That’s what they do, after all, right? Right. He pets one of the kitlings as he returns to his truck.

Midge and Derek start fighting for some unknown reason. Ace breaks it up, but they stop as they hear a horse approaching. The horse’s hooves trigger a more elaborate trap and they charge out to find Sarge on the ground and The Doctor suspended by his ankles.

Ace is delighted to see her friend. “What kept you,” she says, a big grin on her face.

Still upside down, holding his hat onto his head, The Doctor replies, “How many times have I told you about playing with fire?”

The Master feeds one of the Cheetah people, scratching its head like a kitty. “Where are you, Doctor,” he wonders out loud. “What’s your plan?”

The Doctor leads his posse through the barren wasteland. They crawl forward, watching down at a group Cheetah people. Sarge goes on about how he’ll lead them through this, prattling on about being a hunting animal.

Oh, do shut up,” The Doctor tells him. He tells them the planet is disintegrating and the safest place is directly through the Cheetah people they’re watching. He says they’ll have to make their way through.

The Doctor mentions The Master by name and Ace asks who he is. “An evil genius, one of my oldest and deadliest of enemies,” is the Time Lord’s reply. He says he’s not sure what he’s up to this time, but doesn’t think it’s conquest of the galaxy.

The Master sends one of the kitlings to find The Doctor. After it leaves, he struggles to keep control, persumably of his own self?

The Doctor leads the group through the lounging Cheetah people, who hiss and swipe at them but seem disinterested in antagonising – the humans and Time Lord are moving slowly, trying not to rouse the chasing instincts of the Cheetah people. They make it through and The Doctor tells them it was all just a case of keeping a level head.

Suddenly, the milk man appears, and he screams and runs pas them, directly into the Cheetah people, who are now aroused.

Oh, no,” The Doctor laments. When Ace moves to throw a rock he yells at her saying the only thing more dangerous than being attacked by a Cheetah person is attacking on yourself.

Sarge and Midge start throwing rocks as The Doctor keeps yelling at everyone not to move. Nobody, not even Ace, seems to be listening.

The Milk man is attacked by several, as is Derek.

The Kitling and The Master watch from upper above.

The Doctor stands still, yelling for everyone to do the same.

Ace chases after a Cheetah person on a horse and throws a rock, unseating it. Shreela and others grapple with the Cheetah people. The humans start to lose the fight and run off in different directions.

The Doctor finally stops yelling at everyone to not move and starts looking for Ace.

Ace is hiding from a Cheetah person, but as she watches, it falls into some water, unconscious or dead. Ace rushes up, to pull it out and it opens its eyes.

The Doctor stops to catch his breath. The Master, again standing higher up, with the kitling at his feet, mocks him, “Good hunting, Doctor?” The Doctor just glares in response.

A Cheetah person on a horse knocks down Midge, then dismounts. Suddenly another Cheetah person arrives and attacks the other, while Midge looks on stupidly. There’s more rumbling, perhaps it’s not thunder…

As the thunder/world/whatever rumbles, The Master says, “They’re fighting again in the dead valley,” stepping closer to The Doctor.

One Cheetah person gets the best of the other, while Midge still hangs about watching.

It’s breaking up,” The Doctor says, watching about them. The Master replies that the planet itself is alive, that the animals are part of the planet. “When they fight each other, they trigger explosions, they hasten the planet’s destruction.”

He says there’s not long before the planet blows up. He tells The Doctor he needs his help.

The Cheetah person Ace rescued reaches out to touch her jacket. It rises up and they gaze into each other’s eyes.

Midge breaks off a big tooth from the carcass/bones of a sabre-toothed tiger looking thing. He approaches the fallen Cheetah person (the victor seems to have left by now) and stabs it with the tooth like a knive.

You’re trapped, you can’t escape,” The Doctor realises.

Just so,” his arch-nemesis admits. “It seems the creatures of this world can’t take us away, they can only bring us to this place.”

The Master says now The Doctor is trapped here, he’ll find a way out. When The Doctor asks why he should help him, The Master replies, “It’s not just death we’re all facing. This place… bewitches you. If we stay here, we’ll be like the people who built these,” he says indicating the ruins they’re standing in front of.

They thought they could control the planet, the wilderness.” He walks amongst them, and The Doctor follows, both regarding the architecture. The Master turns to The Doctor, “They were the ones who bred the kitlings. Creatures with minds they could talk to, eyes they could see through the way I do.” Boy, he does love the sound of his own voice, doesn’t he?

He turns away from The Doctor, talking, “It only led to their corruption. We shall become like them.” He turns to face his enemy again, his eyes glowing and when he smiles, pronounced canines jut forward, “We shall become animals.”

The Doctor recoils, looking up at a kitling who yowls. The Master howls (more like a hyaena or a wolf than a cat) in response. The Doctor walks away.

A pack of Cheetah people yowl in response. The planet rumbles.

Shreela, Derek and Sarge run. Derek collapses, exhausted. Midge walks up, still holding the knive.

The Cheetah growls/rasps to Ace, “I want water. It will make me well, very fast.” Ace fetches some water in his hands and brings it to the Cheetah person who laps it up. The creature lays its head down, resting.

The Doctor calls Ace over, telling her, “They’re extremely dangerous creatures, they could eat you… or worse.” The Doctor says they need an animal whose home is Earth, suggesting that might help them get home.

Better keep it alive, then,” Ace says and kneels by the Cheetah person again. Okay, I’m not sure of the significance of any of this.

The Doctor warns her it could be dangerous, but she says not to worry, “I’m no one’s bowl of cat food.”

The Master, listening in, repeats, “Whose home is Earth,” and grins.

Sarge starts giving his “just follow the Sarge” and how he knows all about survival and it’s kill or be killed spiel again. Midge says he’s with him, but Shreela and Derek don’t look too keen. Sarge says they can’t have any dead wood and Midge gets in Derek’s face, repeating that.

The Master cuts something away from a carcass.

Ace tosses pebbles into the water. The Cheetah person rouses and growls at The Doctor. Ace asks where the others are, but he says he doesn’t know. Ace says she feels she belongs here.

The Doctor looks from Ace to the Cheetah person, murmuring, “Connected.” Ace goes on saying she’s scared but also excited, that she can feel like she could run forever. “I can smell things as clear as pictures,” she says, standing up.

Anything else,” he asks her, urgently.

Well… I’m starving, Professor,” she says, turning to look at him.

Derek cries out help and they go running. They find Midge trying to kill Derek, as Sarge tries to stop him. The Doctor runs up and gets Midge to stop, who says that Derek’s gonna get them all killed unless someone sorts him out.

The Doctor spies a Cheetah person’s necklace around Midge’s neck, asking where he got it. “I killed it,” he replies, looking away.

Sarge asks Midge for his weapon, but Midge runs off. The Doctor calls out after him, saying it’s not too late to go home and Midge stops, turning to regard them.

Home,” Shreela asks, incredulous.

Midge looks down, as if struggling with himself, and when he looks up, he growls, his eyes glowing and his teeth animalistic. He runs off and The Doctor says they should follow him, so they do.

A kitling watches Midge and The Master, still at a carcass, grins and laughs, his teeth showing, as he sees what the kitling does.

This is the running scene. Because, you know, it is Doctor Who.

The Master sets a trap and catches Midge. The Doctor and others close in, but The Master tells Midge, “Go hunting, go home.” He has a leash around the boy.

Midge,” The Doctor calls out.

You see, Doctor, you did help me,” The Master says. “You kept these others alive just long enough to serve my purposes.”

The Doctor pleads with Midge to wait, but the boy just hisses. The Master tells him to go home and the boy leaps forward, The Master following, and both disappear in a flash of light.

So there is a way out,” Shreela asks, because, you know, it wasn’t fucking obvious enough what just happened.

The Doctor turns to her, somberly, “A way out? Yes. We wait for one of us to change and then we use them before they try to escape or kill us all.”

Sarge pipes up, “Well, there’s no telling who’ll be next, is there? Let’s get a grip and…” He stops to stare at Derek, who’s looking at him, demanding to know what the boy is looking at. Sarge starts blaming Derek, saying he’s the one.

Ace sees the previously wounded Cheetah person, watching them from horseback. “Look, Doctor, she’s better,” she says. The Doctor looks, worriedly, but not at the Cheetah person, but at Ace.

Ace turns to regard him, and her eyes are glowing yellow… and the credits roll.

Not a bad cliffhanger. This isn’t quite a horrible as I recall, likely because I have a much better understanding and appreciation for the Seventh Doctor and Ace. But I’m still not sold on it.

See you Friday for the last episode of Doctor Who’s classic run. Wow.

Ugh.

Episode 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spoiler warning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The black cat skulks off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes,” The Doctor says/asks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can’t,” Ange replies, “hay fever.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: At a secret British naval base during World War 2, there are plots upon plots. A squad of Russian soldiers are sneaking about, trying to steal a decryption machine, but apparently it’s what the British want them to do, as part of a long-range plot against the Russians. Also, there are Viking inscriptions in the crypts under a church, and a curse involving stolen treasure.

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

A captain comes in and Millington tells him that the Ultima Machine must not be touched by anyone, it must be allowed to complete its task. The Doctor points out that the base defenses are reduced, as part of Whitehall’s plan to let the Russians steal the machine.

Millington orders the captain to radio for reinforcements, but the captain reminds him that he’d recently given the order for all radio transmitters to be disabled and Perkins was just sent about that task not long ago.

Millington is outraged (okay…) and dashes off. The others follow and they find Perkins smashing the radio room transmitters. He reports to Millington that the transmitters are disabled as per orders and The Doctor congratulates him on a job well done, and then tells him to put them back together, while Millington looks on helplessly.

The Doctor, Ace and the Vicar leave, going outside, where The Doctor explains that the transformed girls are not vampires, as the Vicar feels (having pointed out that this location is where Dracula first sets foot on British soil, apparently) but ‘haemevores’, saying that is mankind’s evolutionary fate, turning into creatures that feed on blood.

The Doctor asks the Vicar about the parish records and learns they go back to the 18th century. “Good, now for a little local history,” the Time Lord says, hurrying off.

Ace stops them, worried about Kathleen and her baby, worried if the haemevores were to come to the base. The Doctor sends her off to check on them.

On the shore, the Russians find Prozorov’s corpse. The captain takes his papers, but orders his men to hurriedly grab the Sergeant’s body and carry him off, as they see the creatures from the lake approaching.

Ace finds Kathleen and checks on her and Audrey. When Ace questions where Kathleen is going (as she’s packing), she says she’ll manage, “Frank’s got shore leave in a few weeks.” Ace asks if Frank is her boyfriend, and Kathleen is shocked at the idea that Ace didn’t know she was married. After all, she has a baby! (Different times, what what?)

Frank is in the merchant navy, the Atlantic convoy.

I used to think I’ll never get married,” Ace says, “but now I’m not so sure.”

Judson is in Millington’s office, saying they’re “wasting our time on some superstition.” Millington argues the legends will come true, the treasure will be brought to them, “and all the dark powers of Fenric shall be ours.”

Judson complains about his chains, indicating the wheelchair. Millington retorts, “That was over twenty years ago, why must you remind me?” Oooooh, I didn’t expect that, though I suspect it’s obvious if you think about it.

The girls lead the creatures through the mist on the shore, pursuing the Russians, who watch from atop a hill. Sorin explains that six months ago, a Russian sabotage team was sent into Romania, only one survived. “He talked about dead men coming out of the black fog. The official report said he’d been listening to too much local gossip about vampires.”

Ace rejoins The Doctor and the Vicar in the church, as they go over the parish records. The Doctor seems particularly exasperated by her interruption, as she asks why the bell tower looks like a fortress, wondering if the builders were expecting trouble.

The Vicar replies that there’s no record of any battles having taken place there, but The Doctor replies, “Today’s events haven’t been written down yet.” He instructs the Vicar to find the “descendants of the early Viking settlers,” and then tells Ace to accompany him.

They head to the crypt’s secret rooms, looking for the Oriental treasures the inscription talked about. Ace finds the discard flask, as the Vicar calls out for The Doctor. She puts it in her bag as they head back up.

The Vicar shows records of the Viking descendants – Joseph Sundvik, and his wife, Florence. Daughters Sarah, Martha, Jane, Clara and Annie. The Doctor says the curse has been passed down through the generations. He tells the Vicar to find out which daughters married, what the new surnames are.

Ace notices some water on the floor, but the Vicar says it’s the roof, it always leaks when it’s raining.

Problem is,” The Doctor replies, “it’s not raining.”

The doors and windows are suddenly under attack from the creatures. Ace and the Vicar and The Doctor struggle to keep them out. Ace ends up running to the roof, where she sees many of the creatures. She pulls a rope ladder out of her backpack and drops it over the side and begins to climb down.

She makes it down, but is grabbed by the creatures.

The Russian soldiers skulk about the town, near the church.

Ace fights the two creatures. They overpower her and seem to be about to feed on her, but the soldiers come to her rescue, shooting them. The creatures get up and are shot again. Ace starts climbing back up the ladder.

Inside, The Doctor yells at the Vicar that he’s got to have faith. The creatures burst in, and are suddenly wailing in pain and there’s a musical tone, which I think is in-story. Ace arrives and looks about, suggesting this is the case.

Captain Sorin arrives with his men and The Doctor orders everyone into the crypt, instructing the Vicar to grab the record books. Once in, they secure the doors.

The Doctor explains that the noise he was making was “just something to frighten off the haemevores”. They discuss vampires and crucifixes, but The Doctor explains it’s the faith, not the cross itself. “It creates a psychic barrier, just like I do,” he adds.

When the Vicar worries that they’re trapped, Ace says they can take the mine shaft. Sorin says he must go back to his men, but the Vicar argues that the creatures will get him.

I must try. If I fail, I fail,” the captain replies. He leaves his two soldiers with them.

Ace asks The Doctor to teach Sorin how to do that singing trick, but The Doctor says it’s a matter of faith. Sorin says he believes in The Revolution and The Doctor asks if his faith is complete. “If we meet again, you will have your answer,” is Sorin’s reply – I like that. Again, the strength of this serial is the dialogue as well as the plot.

As the others head below, Ace stops Sorin; he takes off his scarf and gives it to her, telling her to be careful. That’s interesting.

Down below, Ace pulls out some Nitro-9 and blows a hole so they can get to the mine shaft tunnel.

Sorin opens the door, confronted by the girls and a creature. He pulls out his pin/badge/symbol of the Revolution and they scream, clutching their heads, allowing him to move past them.

In the tunnel Ace pulls out the flask, wanting to make more Nitro, but the Doctor says no. The soldiers stay behind to fight off any pursuit, The Doctor instructing them to wait two minutes before catching up.

When The Doctor finally notices the flask, he says that’s the oriental treasure they’ve been looking for. He takes it from Ace.

Sorin moves through a mob of the creatures outside, and they turn from him, walking away, heading into the crypt, drawn by the flask being handled, presumably.

The Doctor and Ace and the Vicar move through the tunnel, hurriedly.

Sorin returns to his men at the beach. They ask what is happening, commenting that the air is unnaturally still and warm.

There is a storm coming,” Sorin replies.

In the tunnel, as they near the end, Ace and company hear gunfire from the soldiers behind them. They exit, to find Millington and some men waiting there. The commander gives the order to seal the exit and as The Doctor struggles with the British soldiers, worried about the Russians, Millington takes the records from the Vicar and the flask from Ace.

Millington explains, “Many years ago when I was Chief Petty Officer on board a ship, we had an explosion in the engine room.” The Doctor interrupts to say the Russian were their allies. Millington ignores, continuing his tale, “I had to seal it off to save the ship. Keep the flame restricted to one section.”

The Vicar pleads, saying the soldiers won’t stand a chance against the haemevores.

Still, Millington goes on, “We could hear men screaming from behind the bulkheads for nearly an hour. Then, the screaming stopped,” he turns and walks away.

The Russians cut some barbed wire at the camp perimeter. Sorin goes through, instructing his men to abort the mission if he’s not back in ten minutes. They take cover, behind one small tree. You have to use your imagination that they’re hiding better than that, I suppose.

Sorin calls out for Millington, saying he wishes to speak to him, officer to officer.

In the decryption room, Millington shows Judson the flask, saying he told him it would be brought to them. “There is power,” he says. Judson takes the flask.

Millington’s captain reports that “The house guests have arrived.” Millington is confused and the captain says that one is outside, wanting to talk to him.

Outside, Sorin addresses the commander. Soldiers raise their weapons at Sorin as Millington instructs Sorin to have his men surrender. Sorin calls out for his men to do so, adding, “Like the wolves of winter.”

Apparently this is code for get thee gone, as the Russian soldiers in hiding take off. Millington has Sorin arrested.

The Doctor arrives, arguing with Millington that the Russians aren’t the problem, it’s the creatures. Millington seems to think the creatures aren’t that big a problem, despite The Doctor’s arguments to the contrary.

Ace checks on Kathleen, who seems upset. Kathleen hands her a letter, which Ace reads. Her husband’s ship was attacked and he is listed as missing, presumed dead.

The Ultima Machine prints out words, perhaps names.

Ace confronts The Doctor, mad at him, saying he always knows what’s going on, but can’t be bothered to tell anyone. “It’s like a game and only you know the rules,” she says. She says he knew that the inscription was a computer program and he knew about the flask.

When she asks if it’s because he thinks she’s stupid, he says it’s not that, it’s about “Evil, evil since the dawn of time.” When she questions more, he tells her to stop asking questions.

She yells at him to tell her, and he does, “The beginning of all beginnings. Two forces, only good and evil. Then chaos. Time is born, matter, space. The universe cries out like a newborn. The forces shatter as the universe explodes outwards. Only echoes remain and somehow, somehow the evil force survives. An intelligence. Pure evil!”

Ace asks if he’s talking of Fenric, but he says that’s just Millington’s name for it. “Evil has no name. Trapped inside a flask like a genie in a bottle.” He says they need to get the flask to stop it. Ace suggests releasing captain Sorin, saying she can distract the guards.

The Vicar watches as the door sealing the tunnel exit is slowly being weakened from within. Somehow the creatures are melting it.

Ace draws out the guard from where Sorin is being held, being mysterious and semi-seductive. The Doctor slips in, and frees Sorin.

The soldier asks Ace what she can see. As she answers, we see the head of the Viking ship under the water, a creature’s hand stroking it. “Undercurrents, bringing things to the surface.”

She tells him she can’t say, he argues she promised. She rushes off.

The Vicar watches at the door is broken down and the girls and creatures step out. He holds up his Bible, but one girl says it won’t do any good as he doesn’t believe.

We’ll see,” he replies, and the musical tone begins, causing the girls and creatures to scream.

The Doctor, Sorin and Ace hurry. The Doctor says Fenric doesn’t have a body yet, so they can still stop him.

The girls argue that the Vicar doesn’t believe, and their words cause doubt and they swarm him.

Millington returns to the decrypt room. He looks at the print out as Judson wonders what the machine is doing. A bolt of energy strikes him from the machine, shoving his wheelchair backwards and he cries out in pain, falling to the floor.

Lightning strikes near Maiden’s Point.

The creatures march past the fallen Vicar.

The Doctor, Sorin and Ace rush into the decryption room, telling Crane not to touch Judson or anything. She argues he’s an invalid and can’t stand without help.

The Doctor replies he’s dead. Millington says, “The time is now. The Chains of Fenric are shattered. The gods have lost the final battle.”

We’re too late,” Ace says, “it’s him!”

Millington continues, “The dead men’s ship has slipped its moorings and the Great Ash itself trembles to its roots!” He whispers, “Fenric,” as Judson stands up, on his own. Judson’s eyes are closed, but when he opens them, they’re definitely not human eyes.

Judson/Fenric says, “We play the contest again… Time Lord,”… and the credits roll.

Now that was a great cliffhanger, even though it was obvious something along those lines was going to happen.

Episode 4:

Kathleen sings to baby Audrey as the storm roars outside.

Fenric tells The Doctor that the Time Lord left him trapped in the shadow dimension for seventeen centuries, but now he has a body again, and the preparations are complete. He raises his hands and disappears in a flash and gust of wind.

Soldiers run in, Millington orders them to shoot The Doctor, but the soldiers ask why. When he says for treason, they take The Doctor prisoner. (Still not obeying him, interestingly enough.)

The haemovores walk down a tunnel as Fenric materialises in front of them, saying, “I was only expecting one.”

Outside, The Doctor, Ace and Sorin are lined up to be shot (ok, guess they were) and the Time Lord pleads for them not to kill Ace. Sorin argues that killing them doesn’t make a difference. Ace cries out, “Mum, I’m sorry!”

As the soldiers take aim, the Russian soldiers toss a few grenades, creating a diversion and our heroes escape. A firefight breaks out between the Russians and British soldiers.

Millington rants on about a battlefield stretching on one hundred leagues and in the end the ancient enemies will do battle one more time. He’s a bit bonkers, methinks.

The Doctor tells Ace he must play the game to the end this time. When she asks what game, he says “A very simple game, a game of chess.”

Fenric sends his haemovores to fetch “the Ancient One”.

The Doctor says he needs a chess set. Ace says Millington has one in his office and Sorin says getting in there’s not a problem. He orders his men to clear a path to the British position.

At Maiden’s Point, the two girls summon another haemovore from beneath the waves. It rises up, seemingly bulkier than the others.

Millington enters a bunker, three soldiers setting themselves as guards outside it.

Fenric stands, rejoicing in the “Sound of dying” as Millington enters. When Millington interrupts, Fenric chastises him for interrupting “while I’m eulogising” and then demands to know where the Time Lord is, but Millington doesn’t know who he means.

Fenric goes on about being trapped for seventeen centuries, saying the Time Lord pulled bones from the ancient sands and carved them into chess pieces and challenged Fenric to solve his puzzle, but Fenric failed. “Now I shall see him kneel before me, before I let him die,” he promises.

DAMN this serial is creepy fun.

Ace grabs at the chess set, but sets off a chemical grenade trap. The Doctor throws a trash can on top of it, though plenty of the green gas got out, so they should be dead.

Ace quips that he should have put some explosives under the table. They look, and sure enough, there are some. They both dash out, escaping just before the explosion, but the chess set is still in the room. Or, well, it was.

Fenric confronts the Ancient One, “At last, another of the Wolves of Fenric decides to show up and play his role.” The haemovore looks at him like he’s flat stupid. It replies, “My world is dead.” Fenric says this is no great loss. He’s a real charmer, that Fenric.

Fenric tells him that this is the 20th century, so it’s not his world “for a long time yet”. Oh, so they’re from the future. Huh. He tell him they must first kill at the humans first.

Ace and The Doctor clean each other up, celebrating that at least Ace was able to grab the parish record book on her way out. The Doctor tells her that it’s important because it has the name of the ancient families – Judson, Millington, Wainwright, Dudman…”

Hearing Kathleen’s last name, Ace tells The Doctor she saw a chess set in Kathleen’s suitcase as she was packing. They head off to find her.

In the room where the women work, they’re all cowering. The door opens and they scream.

The British soldiers toss the poison in grenades at the Russians, killing all but Sorin and one other, the latter saying, “This isn’t war, this is massacre!” They decide it’s all because of the Ultima Machine and they agree to destroy it.

Millington confronts Fenric, saying his creatures are killing his men, but is taken aback at the presence of the haemovore. “We call him the Great Serpent,” Fenric answers.

Millington quotes, “And the Great Serpent shall arise from the sea and spew venom over all the Earth.” Fenric looks about the bunker, at the stockpiled poison, saying there’s enough in there to contaminate the world forever.

A British soldier listens in and then slips away.

Millington is horrified.

The soldier (I think the one previous referred to as Captain) finds The Doctor and Ace, “They’re insane,” he tells them, “they’re trying to control the world with chemical weapons!”

All part of Fenric’s evil game, no doubt,” The Doctor replies, saying the weather is as well. Sorin arrives and he and the captain face off, but agree to join forces to “fight the real enemy”.

Ace is delighted to learn they’re all getting along. Sorin praises her courage and for wearing their emblem, but she says it’s not a real one, just something she bought cheap in a market. He gives her his emblem (oh, that’s not good… that saved his life, once.)

She’s totally in teen lust with him, so yeah, he’s gonna die, I bet. He even takes her hand and kisses it. Yep, dead man walking.

The Doctor urges them to hurry up, reminding Ace they need the chess set.

Soldiers enter the women’s work station, to find they’ve been turned into haemovores. One soldier doesn’t run and is swarmed by them and killed.

The Doctor and Ace find Kathleen and Audrey in the women’s barracks. The Doctor gets the chess set and dashes off, but Ace stays behind with her grandmother and mum. (Yep, you know it is. They haven’t admitted it yet, but you know it.) The Doctor insists they not leave the hut.

Crane puts on her coat and is about to leave when Fenric and several haemovores enter. He says she took care of him for years, treating him like a child, and feeds her to the haemovores.

Ace and Kathleen bar the door and windows with furniture.

The young Russian enters the decryption room to sabotage the Ultima Machine, but Millington shoots him, saying they were never allies, they will always be the enemy.

See you in hell,” the soldier tells Millington, who leaves him to die.

The Doctor sets up the chess board.

Ace and Kathleen sit, the latter holding Audrey. Ace goes on about not liking dark buildings, referring to the house from Ghost Light. Kathleen wonders what sort of world this is to bring up a child. Haemovores begin to break in, so the ladies slip out the window.

The Doctor struggles to remember how the chess board was set up. He finally gets it right.

Ace and Kathleen and Audrey rush to a jeep, pursued by haemovores. Ace tells Kathleen to take Audrey and go to London to find her (Ace’s) nan and gives her the address. Kathleen gives Ace a picture of Audrey and Ace kisses Audrey on the forehead, saying she’ll always love her. Kathleen drives off as the haemovore girls approach Ace.

Fenric orders the Great Serpent to take the poison and dump it into the ocean. The Great Serpent asks about the other haemovores, and Fenric replies, “You know how to kill them.”

The Serpent lifts his hands and concentrates.

The girls fall in front of Ace, crumbling to dust.

The Doctor regards the chess board. Fenric enters the room, demanding to know where the game is.

You couldn’t resist it, could you, the game of traps? The contest as before,” The Doctor says, indicating the chess board.

One move, find the winning move, spring the trap on me. If you can,” he taunts Fenric.

Millington confronts Captain Bates who is tending to the wounded Russian. The commander says the captain’s problem is that he doesn’t know who the enemy is. “A traitor is someone who doesn’t know who the enemy is,” and as Millington raises his gun to fire at Bates, the Russian shoots Millington, gasping out, “But I do.”

The Doctor confronts the Great Serpent, saying he’s been waiting for him. The Serpent asks if he knows him and the Time Lord answers, “Thousands of years in the future, the Earth lays dying, the surface just a chemical slime. Half a million years of industrial progress.”

Ace dashes in to where Fenric is studying the chess board. Fenric seems to be losing his body; he cannot see who it is, thinks it’s the Time Lord, asking him to show him the solution. “The con… the contest is too much for such a weak body,” he says.

Ace says she doesn’t know the solution. He begs her to tell him and she runs off.

The Doctor says that this is another of Fenric’s games, saying he was brought back in time to destroy his past, which would destroy his own future.

Bates helps the Russian to his feet. Ace comes in, wondering what’s happened. They say they’re all right now, just pawns in a game, but the pawns are fighting together.

Ace realises that’s the solution, the winning move and she runs off again. Um… why?

Sorin finds Fenric, even weaker. The Russian says it’s time to die. Fenric says he doesn’t know why he was selected for the mission, but Sorin says it’s because he speaks English, “My grandmother was English.”

Emily Wilson, granddaughter of Joseph Sundvik,” Fenric elucidates. “You are touched by the Curse of Fenric. I selected you. You are one of the Wolves of Fenric.”

Sorin levels his gun at him, but Fenric stares at him weakly.

Ace enters, finding Sorin bent over the chess board. She says Fenric would have never guessed the solution, saying the white and black pawns join forces. (Okay, that makes no sense, as it violates the rules of the game.)

Once she tells him, Sorin turns around and Ace sees his eyes are glowing – Fenric is inside him now. (Told ya. Dead Man Walking.) The Doctor runs in, screaming, “Ace,” like that’s going to do any good.

Black wins, Time Lord,” Sorin-Fenric says, laughing. Lightning strikes the chess board, which bursts into flames.

Ace demands to know what’s happening. Fenric replies, “The Wolves of Fenric, the descendants of the viking who first buried the flask, all pawns in my game.”

Doctor Judson, Commander Millington, the Ancient One, Captain Sorin,” Fenric rattles off the names of his wolves. The Ancient One (is that the same as the Great Serpent?), “…and now you.”

Ace asks what he means and he tells Ace that baby Audrey will grow up and in thirty years, have a baby of her own – Ace. “You just created your own future,” he tells her. “The baby is your mother. The mother you hate.”

Fenric gives the order to the Great Serpent/Ancient One, whichever he is, that has come up behind Ace, to kill them… slowly. Ace pleads to The Doctor to set Fenric straight, saying he’s got it wrong.

The Doctor says nothing, but looks serious. “The Wolves of Fenric have released me,” Fenric says. Ace says The Doctor never fails and she has faith in him – complete faith.

As she says this, the musical tones start. The Doctor continues to say nothing. Fenric again gives the order to kill them again, but the haemovore cannot penetrate Ace’s psychic force and clutches his head, crying out.

Time for one more game, then,” Fenric asks The Doctor. He picks up some of the poison, telling The Doctor if he kneels before him, he will spare Ace. She looks to him, “I believe in you, professor.”

Again, Fenric offers the choice, kneel before him and he will spare Ace. Either way, The Doctor will die.

Kill her,” The Doctor says.

Fenric giggles. “The Time Lord finally understands.”

You think I didn’t know? The chess set in Lady Peinforte’s study,” The Doctor asks, referring to SILVER NEMESIS from last season. “I knew.”

OH MY GOD. OH, NO, THEY DIDN’T.

Fenric shakes his head, “Earlier than that, Time Lord. Before Cybermen, ever since Iceworld, where you first met the girl.”

Ace looks confused. The Doctor asserts, “I knew.” He looks at Ace, “I knew she carried the evil inside her. You think I’d have chosen a social misfit if I hadn’t known? She couldn’t even pass her chemistry exams at school, and if she manages to create a time storm in her bedroom… I saw your hand in it from the very beginning.”

Fenric laughs. Ace pleads, “Doctor, no.”

He tells her, “You’re an emotional cripple.” Then back to Fenric, “I wouldn’t waste my time on her, unless I had to use her somehow.” Ace falls to her knees, crying out, “NO!” Fenric laughs some more.

He then tells the haemovore to kill them, but the Serpent forces Fenric back into the test chamber while he protests. The Great Serpent activates the poison gas within and the smoke fills the chamber.

The Doctor grabs Ace, saying it’s over, they’ve got to get out of there, but she tries to resist, telling him to leave her be. He gets her to her feet and drags her out, as she still yells.

The chessboard burns.

They escape the bunker a moment before there’s an explosion. The Doctor tries to explain to Ace that he had to make her lose her faith in him, as her belief was holding the haemovore back.

She cries, lamenting the mean things he said. He continues to try to explain.

Marks in teenage psychology,” Ace says.

It’s not true, believe me,” he argues. He taps her nose, but she doesn’t look too convinced.

Later, they’re at Maiden’s Point. She’s holding the picture of baby Audrey, but asks The Doctor why she can’t stop hating her mother.

You loved the baby,” he says. She argues that she didn’t know she was her mum. “Love and hate,” he replies, “frightening feelings, especially if trapped, struggling beneath the surface.”

He tells Ace not to be afraid of the water and she dives in. As she swims below the surface, we hear Kathleen’s voice, talking to baby Audrey (who is crying). “Audrey, it’s all right, darling.” Then Ace’s voice, “I’ll always love you.” The two snippets repeat, as does the baby’s cries, as Ace swims.

Ace comes out of the water, splashing and comes up to The Doctor. “I’m not scared now,” she says. The walk away arm in arm. Regarding the sign.

Dangerous undercurrents, Doctor,” she asks.

Not any more. Nyet,” he replies, and they both laugh… and the final credits roll.

Okay, a bit of a silly ending there, but other than that, this was easily one of the best serials of the entire series. WOW.

Too bad the next one is… sigh. Maybe it’s better than I remember.

I doubt it.

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

So weird.

Episode 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two girls smirk after Hardaker wanders off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The girls are chattering and head off in another direction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Doctor and Ace hurry off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prozorov floats in the water, beneath the surface.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The flash glows and pulses.

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

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

The creatures walk onto the shore.

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

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

The Doctor steps back… and the credits roll.

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

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

Recap: Investigating a mysterious house, The Doctor and Ace find some alien presence in a stone spaceship down below. The Doctor has arranged for the entity to be free, though it is unknown what the nature of it truly is…

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

A being steps out of the brilliant light, seemingly a robed male figure.

Josiah runs off, The Doctor calling after him to come back.

The Doctor tries to greet the being, who walks past him as he isn’t even there.

The Inspector descends the stairs, asking what it is. Ace tells him it’s an angel. The Doctor corrects her, saying that’s just its form here. It was sent to study life on Earth a long time ago, but while it slept, the survey went out of control.

Control is me,” Control hisses.

And the survey is Josiah,” The Doctor adds.

Light asks Control how long it/he has been asleep. Control pleads with The Doctor to remember their agreement, that he promised Control “freeness”.

Light also asks why it is in this form, but before anyone can answer, one of the maids tries to shoot him, so he kills it and warns everyone their weapons do not work. Josiah and his maids rush upstairs to get away.

The Doctor tries to assure Light he’s still on Earth, but Light replies as if he’s left there already. He complains that he catalogued every organism on Earth and when he was done, it all began to change.

That’s life,” The Doctor replies.

Light summons Control, his voice dark and growly instead of soft and almost musical as it has been thus far. Control and the Inspector are listening at the door, which opens on its own accord. The Inspector scampers off.

How many more millennia must I suffer your company,” Light asks Control.

He demands of her if this is Earth, but she says The Doctor was promised freeness. Light says it is not his to promise. Light and The Doctor join in some mental conflict, but The Doctor manages to resist and Light disappears.

Josiah addresses his cadre, “Nothing will delay my plans for the Empire. With Luck, Light and The Doctor will be at each others’ throats before they even notice.” He then tells Gwendolyn that it’s time for “Miss Ace” to “leave us”.

I’m sure she’ll enjoy Java, Uncle… once she gets there,” Gwendolyn replies.

Insects are everyone in the house. Control moves about, grabbing them and eating. Fenn-Cooper arrives, offering her some beads, which she snatches from his hand. “Now we trade words,” he says.

Light consults his computers, but the world he sees he says cannot be Earth. A maid walks by and he beckons to her. She approaches. He says he needs her assistance and she drops to her knees as he looms over her, gesturing. She looks as if she’s in pain.

The Doctor and Ace wander, stopping when they hear a clatter. The Doctor says it’s their imaginations. Ace says it seems as if the whole house is coming alive and The Doctor says it is and asks if she finds it invigorating. She says no and he tries to ask if it reminds her of her experience in 1983, but before she gets mad, he says it’s none of his business.

She gets a bit whiny and he offers her the TARDIS key, saying she can always wait for him there. She says that’s the easy way out, which is what he expected/wanted.

He walks off, but Ace finds she can’t move, and when she can, he’s nowhere to be found. All the stuffed animals start making noises, and she cries out it wasn’t her fault, they’re all dead, she couldn’t help it.

Briefly, there’s modern blue lights and the siren of a police cruiser flashing, then it fades as Gwendolyn arrives to says she wants her to come to Java.

Control is trying to dress up and be ladylike while Fenn-Cooper prattles on about attractive women. The Doctor arrives to see if she’s having fun and she accuses him of trying to take away her freeness.

He says he’s here to help and ask her to help. Control runs and leaps out the window.

The Doctor laments that even he cannot play this many games at once. Fenn-Cooper suggests he help him with his hunt, then, but The Doctor says he doesn’t have time. Fenn-Cooper tells him he’s hunting the rarest of creatures, the “Crowned Saxe-Coburg”.

The Doctor is suddenly intrigued, and Fenn-Cooper gives him a sheet of paper that seems to prove it. The Time Lord wonders who is sponsoring the expedition. The answer is, of course, Josiah.

Ace is chased by Gwendolyn and a maid. They enter a room, and struggle, while the maid stands guard. Outside, The Doctor and Fenn-Cooper walk and talk.

Inside, Control enters the room and helps Ace (maybe not really help, but ends up struggling with Gwendolyn, which helps Ace.) They escape and Ace shoves the maid inside with Gwendolyn.

Nimrod finds Light standing over the body of the serving maid; “I wanted to see how it works,” Light says, “so I dismantled it.” He says he needs another specimen.

Light recognises Nimrod; he was the last specimen taken, a representative of the neanderthal race. “At least they knew when to stop evolving,” Light remarks.

Then, his demeanor changes, as he demands to know who released him from his quarantine cubicle. Nimrod answers that Josiah did and he is in his service.

Light is distracted by some microbes, which he says are evolving as he speaks. This upsets him, and he says his catalogue of the planet is worthless, centuries of work wasted.

The Inspector enters, looking for The Doctor and Light renders him unconscious saying, “We don’t want things to change and we’ll ensure that they cannot.”

Ace dashes into a bedroom, where she finds Control hiding under a blanket. Control says she hates freeness, hates world, too big, too empty. Ace and Control talk and Ace tells her that she needs to beat Josiah at his own game.

Gwendolyn and her maid break down the door to the room they were locked in.

OH HOLY SHIT, NO THEY DIDN’T. Yup. Remember what I said in the first post about the rain in Spain? Yup, Ace is getting Control to say “the rain in Spain falls mainly down the drain.” Too funny!

Gwendolyn enters just then, and she and Ace begin struggling again. Control watches but doesn’t interfere. Fenn-Cooper and The Doctor enter, breaking up the fight. The Doctor picks up Gwendolyn’s locket which has fallen off in the fight and it shows her and her mother – Mrs Pritchard!

Showing the locket to Gwendolyn causes her to go into a fugue-like state. Fenn-Cooper tries to defend the girl, saying she was hypnotised, but The Doctor says she enjoyed sending people to Java too much for him to forgive her.

Ace says Control has something to show Josiah. Control says, “No longer hiding,” and The Doctor replies, “Good. Just in time for dinner.”

At the dinner table Josiah waits with his serving maids. The Doctor, Fenn-Cooper, Ace and Control arrive and Josiah is upset at the latter’s presence. Control, bolstered by Ace’s support, says in a refined voice, “Control has her freedom now, squire.”

Josiah is upset and demands to know where Gwendolyn is. Control replies, “Better orf wiv’out you, guv’nor.”

Josiah addresses the Time Lord, “You win this move, Doctor, but I will not suffer that creature at my table.” Fenn-Cooper speaks up for Control, “That’s no way to speak about a ladylike.”

Ace interrupts, “Oi, Jungle Jim, I’m here, too, ya know.”

The Doctor asks, “Who was it said that Earthmen never invite their ancestors around for dinner? Oh, that reminds me,” and he shows Lady Pritchard the locket. The spell seems to be broken on her and she rushes off.

The Doctor warns Ace not to eat the soup. He then tells Josiah this was a trap, but says the guest of honour has let him down. Josiah replies, “Light will come.”

Lady Pritchard goes to Gwendolyn’s room, saying they were so happy once. She brings up her father, who was sent to Java by Gwendolyn’s actions. Lady Pritchard says they both are lost.

When Gwendolyn asks, “What have I done,” Light appears and says she changed, “Like the rest of this verminous planet, you adapted to your situation to survive.” Nimrod enters the room and watches as Light turns the women into stone. “They never harmed you,” the butler protests.

I really like Nimrod. I wasn’t expecting to.

Light proclaims, “I’ve decided Earth’s future,” and disappears in a flash.

At dinner, The Doctor asks Josiah about his plan to kill Queen Victoria. Ace scoffs, thinking it’s a joke. Josiah asks whom he’s been talking to. “Myself, mostly,” is The Doctor’s serious reply.

Josiah says the Empire is “an anarchic mess”, but he can provide new order. The Doctor says that Josiah doesn’t have an invitation to the palace.

Fenn-Cooper stands up, “I am allowed to take a guest,” and he walks past Josiah to Control, who rises, asking him to take her now that she’s “proper ladylike now”.

Josiah walks over, saying they’ve agreed. Fenn-Cooper says, “I’ve given up on Redvers long ago. All he ever does is talk about himself,” and he gives the invite to Control.

Now that is funny, clever dialogue.

Josiah tries to snatch it from her, but Control says it’s hers or she burns it. He rants, saying he’s a man of property. Control says she’ll burn the whole house down and walks to the fireplace, threatening to put the invitation in it.

Ace suddenly cries out, “No, Control, don’t do it, that’s what I did!” The Doctor turns to her, saying she didn’t tell him that. She yells that he’s not her probation officer and says he doesn’t have to know anything. She burnt the house down because of the evil left behind by Josiah.

Control throws the invitation into the fire and Josiah cries.

Light appears, saying he’s going to reduce Earth into primordial soup, like he did with Inspector MacKenzie – who is apparently the soup at the table that The Doctor kept telling Ace not to touch.

Light says that wouldn’t stop the evolution, so he’s going to destroy all organic life in a firestorm. (There’s no such thing as non-organic life, at least not on Earth…)

He says once the world is destroyed there will be no more change, no more evolution, no more life, “No more amendments to my catalogue.”

The Doctor agues that Light evolves, too. He changes, he alters. The Doctor points out that his appearance now is new from his past. He also says Light’s catalogue is not complete, “What about the gryffons, the basilisks? You missed the dragons, the bandersnatches!” The Doctor leaves, walking into the main hall, talking all the while. “Then there are the slithy toves and the crowned Saxe-Coburg.”

He snaps his fingers and, right on time, Light appears, demanding to know where these items are. He scans through his catalogue, but cannot find them.

I can’t think how you missed them,” The Doctor says, “You have to complete the catalogue before you can destroy all life here.”

Light calls out for Control, but The Doctor says she’s no use to him as she’s evolved now, too.

No,” Light cries out, “All slipping away.”

All is change, all is movement,” The Doctor counters. “Tell me, Light, haven’t you just changed your location?”

Not yet,” Light protests.

What’s a matter, Light, changed your mind?” (This is excellent and fun dialogue.)

You are endlessly agitating, unceasingly mischievous. Will you never stop,” Light demands.

I suppose I could… it would make a change,” The Doctor retorts.

Nimrod arrives and Light asks for his help, but Nimrod says his allegiance is to his homeworld.

Light laments that everything is in flux, nothing remains the same. The Doctor says that even remains change. “It’s this planet, it can’t help itself.”

Light says he will never change, “No change… dead.” and seemingly does so?

Nimrod warns The Doctor that Light initiated the firestorm program before dinner. The Doctor rushes below to fix it, Ace and Control and Fenn-Cooper and Nimrod with him.

Josiah grabs Ace from behind, demanding they turn off the power, holding a gun to Ace’s head. Control gestures, saying go back to where you belong and the gun explodes in his hand. She chains him up and drags him off, saying she will take care of him.

The others prepare for launch, though Ace is confused about the explosion – she was expecting nukes. Nimrod says they will redistribute the energy for launch. Fenn-Cooper is anxious to explore the universe to catalogue it.

Control remarks, “Doctor, something tells me you are not in our catalogue. Nor will you ever be.” The Doctor and Ace take their leave.

The Doctor tells Ace, who is worried about the ship launching, that it’s already gone, “Like a passing thought… as long as their minds don’t wander.”

Light stands, still, energy crackling form him. As Ace and The Doctor exit the lift, he disappears in a flash. Ace asks if he’s gone forever, and The Doctor replies that the house will remember, “Just the ghost of an evil memory lingering. A dark secret after the candle is out.”

Ace realises that it was his presence she sensed in 1983 and that’s why she burned it down. The Doctor asks if she has any regrets, to which she replies, “Yes.”

Yes?”

I wish I’d blown it up, instead,” she says, exuberantly.

The Doctor pauses, then says, “Wicked”… and the final credits roll.

This was a rather fun serial, a lot of clever dialogue and some fun characters. There are clumsy bits here and there, like most of the original run of the show, but all in all, a fun serial and one of the better ones all around, I should think.