Archives for posts with tag: 20th century

Recap: Transporting the remains of the executed Master, The Seventh Doctor is forced to land on Earth, where he is shot. In the hospital, he’s killed when a Doctor gets lost using a probe in his hearts, and he regenerates but is suffering amnesia.

The Master has tricked a kid who helped get The Doctor to the hospital into opening the Eye of Harmony, which is inside the TARDIS, for some reason.

spoiler warning

Part Two:

The TARDIS rumbles as the eye opens. Smoke/mist wisps about.

In the park, The Doctor staggers, feeling it. Grace asks what’s wrong and he gasps that something is happening. Then, a moment later, he shouts, “I know who I am,” and kisses Grace.

Breaking the kiss, he tells her, “I! Am! The Doctor!”

Good,” she says, “now do that again!” She means the kiss and he obliges.

Yeah. That’s just crappy dialogue and there’s no fucking chemistry whatsoever between McGann and the actress, much less the characters. I don’t mind The Doctor kissing, or the feelings of the companions for him and stuff (after all, though it was never really shown, it’s often been implied off and on over the years that certain companions had romantic feels for him, and/or vice versa.) But this? It’s flat.

The eye is open. Light pours out of it. Good thing Bruce (I refuse to call him The Master. He is anything BUT The Master.) has sunglasses on, what what?

Suddenly, a holographic image of the Seventh Doctor appears above the Eye. Lee recognises him as “the guy I took to the hospital.” Bruce tells him it’s “The Doctor’s past life.”

Then, as they watch, he becomes the Eighth Doctor. Suddenly the hologram zooms in on The Doctor’s eye and we learn… okay, here’s the other part most Whovians have a big issue with… that it’s the retinal structure of a human eye.

Bruce proclaims that “The Doctor is half-human! No wonder…” and his voice trails off while I interrupt the narrative.

Now, I’m not really butt-hurt over this idea. I mean, if they came up with a better way to introduce it and had a good story reason, I could go with it. After all, it might even explain his affinity and devotion to the human race.

Of course, let us remember that, in the beginning, The Doctor was a human. He and Susan were not from Earth, but were humans from another planet in our future – when humanity had spread across the stars. It wasn’t until the last Patrick Troughton serial, THE WAR GAMES, that we learned he was a Time Lord – though, to be honest, he still could have been human and been something called a Time Lord.

I also seem to recall that there was a long-standing theory on The Doctor being half-human, something I first heard about back in the 1980s, long before this movie.

But, anyhow… back to the (horrible) tv movie.

The Doctor stops kissing Grace, much to her dismay, as he understands that The Master is there and after his body and has opened the Eye of Harmony.

In the TARDIS, they see what The Doctor sees. Lee recognises Grace.

The Doctor, realising they can see what he can see, closes his eyes. Grace keeps asking what the Eye of Harmony is. He says it’s the power source to his ship, which he names and then explains what TARDIS stands for. Yay, exposition.

He says The Master is a rival Time Lord who wants his body – if The Doctor looks into the Eye, his soul will be destroyed and The Master can take over his body.

Listening in from the Eye, Bruce scoffs, “Listen to all those lies.” Lee remarks that Grace believes him.

In the park, Grace apparently does NOT believe him, and tries to get away, thinking him mad. The Doctor says that if the Eye isn’t closed it will suck Earth into it. He tells her he needs an atomic clock to fix the timing mechanism of the TARDIS, in order to close the eye.

See, all of this could have been avoided if she had listened to him on the operating table. But, no. Instead, she kills him, forces him to regenerate and now all this is going down.

(Has a companion ever been DIRECTLY responsible for a regeneration? The closest I can think of are Nine to Ten, when he absorbed the power of the TARDIS from Rose, and again from Ten to Eleven, when he entered the booth to free Donna’s grandfather. And both of those were indirect.)

Grace runs off, leaving The Doctor holding her jacket. He opens his eyes and gives chase.

Bruce laughs. He tells Lee they need to get to The Doctor before he can find a clock. Lee says the woman is the surgeon who operated on him. Bruce says if they can find her, they’ll find him.

The Doctor and Grace have a conversation through the mail slot, while he pleads with her, repeating everything she’s already said, while she says he’s nuts and she’s going to call someone to take him back to the psychiatric ward, from which he’s obviously escaped.

She goes and makes the call. He moves to the window and gets her attention, saying he can prove the Eye has been opened. He pushes on the window, the glass warping and bending with his hand. He says there are subtle molecular changes, but soon they will be catastrophic.

The Doctor walks through the glass, and still Grace stays on the phone asking for a bed in psychiatric. The Doctor talks, “By midnight tonight, this planet will be pulled inside out.

She looks at the clock, it’s 9pm. She tells the person on the phone to make it two beds.

Bruce and Lee head off, Bruce saying, “Come on, she needs an ambulance.”

The Doctor tells Grace he’s lost twenty pounds in the last twenty minutes. She cracks a silly joke about weight loss. On the tv, they report all sorts of strange events, snow in Hawai’i, etc. Scientists are attributing it all to “minute changes in Earth’s gravitational pull. Fluctuations that happen once every thousand years.” Right.

Ah, the 1990s.

The Doctor laughs, “I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren’t there.” Okay, that line is pretty cool, cuz truth.

As the news continues, they talk about a new clock being started, “the most accurate atomic clock in the world”. The Doctor is excited.

The doorbell rings. Grace answers it and it’s Bruce. The Doctor sees him, and they exchange looks, but he doesn’t seem to recognise his enemy. He asks if he knows where the ITAR, the Institute for Technological Advancement and Research, where the clock is.

After looking at Grace for a moment, Bruce replies, “Of course I do.”

The ambulance rushes through the streets. Lee is driving. Bruce sits in the back with Grace and The Doctor. It’s 10:30pm and he’s panicking. Grace tells him she’s on the board of the Institute and she’ll get them in with no problem.

He asks why she didn’t mention this before, but she says she was more concerned with the “Eye of Destruction”. She’s obviously still thinking he’s mad (she even whispers to Bruce, asking about giving The Doctor a sedative.)

SHE WATCHED HIM WALK THROUGH A GLASS DOOR, WHAT THE FUCK IS HER PROBLEM?

There’s banter that I won’t even bother to repeat. See, I care about you guys, I’m sparing you from this shit.

Lee slams on the brakes, presumably for traffic, and Bruce’s shades fall off, revealing his green glowing eyes. The Doctor sees this but doesn’t react.

The planet’s about to be destroyed and I’m stuck in a traffic jam,” The Doctor complains, taking Bruce’s sunglasses off his face. Bruce vomits some fluid on Grace, burning her arm. The Doctor grabs a fire extinguisher and blasts Bruce with it. This seems to cause him pain.

The Doctor and Grace run until a cop stops them. The Doctor offers him a jelly baby. As the cop eats it, The Doctor grabs the cops gun and threatens to shoot himself if the cop doesn’t stop them. Grace argues and they step aside. Grace is swayed by a horrible argument and she takes the gun and fires it at the cop’s feet or bike or something and demands he turn over the keys.

Right, cuz there’s no other cops there to come help? Anyhow, they hop on the cop’s motorcycle and zoom off. The ambulance gives chase.

Wow, this is so stupid and bad and painful.

Lee prattles on about him and Bruce being a team. There’s more really bad dialogue.

The chase scene goes on and on…

AUGH this is bad.

FINALLY, they arrive at ITAR. They see an ambulance already there, doors open. They’re upset that it’s there, assuming it’s the one with Bruce and Lee. (And I’m sure they’re right, but that’s one hell of an assumption.)

Grace is on the board and gets them into the soiree. She tries to get in ahead of everyone else, being on the Board of Trustees, but the security won’t let them in, saying they’ll have to wait with everyone else.

Grace introduces The Doctor as “Doctor Bowman” to everyone. They meet Professor Wagg, the scientist behind the clock, just as The Doctor is about to tell Grace a secret.

The Doctor asks for a closer look but Wagg says no and he wants to hear Bowman’s secret. The Doctor confides, “I’m half-human, on my mother’s side.” The Doctor picks Wagg’s keycard and they gain access.

The Doctor laments not having his sonic screwdriver as he opens up a panel on the clock. He’s already told Grace they just need a small component and they steal it, only to be confronted by a very young security man.

The Doctor says he knows him, identifies him as Gareth, and advises him to answer the second question on his mid-term, not the third, as he’ll mess that one up.

He gives Gareth a jelly baby and wanders off. Grace asks what that was about, and he says Gareth will be on a seismology task force in ten years, where he will design a device to accurate predict earthquakes, saving many over the years, but has to pass Poetry first, thus the advice.

Grace sees Lee, pointing him out to The Doctor. They see Lee and Bruce together and try to dash off, but are seen by Bruce.

They come across four security men covered in the goo that Bruce spat at Grace. The men are paralyzed. The Doctor sets off the fire alarm, trying to distract everyone. They head to the roof and then use the fire hose to lower to the ground outside.

Bruce and Lee smash down a barricaded door as they reach the ground and hop on the motorcycle to escape.

Grace asks about her future but he says he can’t tell her.

They arrive at the TARDIS, but The Doctor realises he doesn’t have a key. Grace says she always leaves a spare in a cubbyhole above the door – apparently The Doctor does, too, as he says the last half of the sentence in sync with her and then boosts her up, where she finds it above the P in POLICE BOX.

She asks why a police box and he says the cloaking device got stuck. He opens the door as a motorcycle cop comes barreling down the alley. The cop drives right into the TARDIS and Grace stares into it. We hear the siren get faint then louder as the cop drives out and heads off.

That was kinda cute.

Inside, the Cloister Bell rings. The Doctor says the TARDIS is dying. They go to the console to put in the chip he took from the atomic clock. She complains that it looks low tech, and he says the TARDIS can take her to any planet at any time anywhere.

She rattles off some big scientific words, suddenly developing a brain, it seems. He doesn’t seem to blink an eye at this.

The chip is plugged in. The Eye of Harmony closes. He fiddles with the console, but there is little response. He says they may be too late, but she says there’s still twelve minutes before midnight.

He sets the coordinates for one minute past midnight. The ceiling above becomes a giant 3D viewscreen of sorts, showing planets exploding. He says the only way is to go back to before they got there to close it. But the problem is the TARDIS is out of power from the Eye being open too long.

She pleads with him to think and he asks her if she’s good at setting alarm clocks. She says no, but he explains they’re going to jumpstart the TARDIS with the Eye of Harmony.

As they work, she becomes possessed and attacks The Doctor, hitting him with one of the tools. Her eyes turn solid black and she looks up as Bruce and Lee walk in.

Grace and Lee rush The Doctor’s body on a gurney to the Eye of Harmony. He recovers, “Oh, no, not you, Grace.” Lee says she’s possessed, there’s no point talking to her. Lee says that soon everything “is going to belong to The Master, again.”

Again? What’s he been telling you,” The Doctor asks.

When he gets his body back from you, I’m going to be rich,” Lee boasts. I don’t like this stupid kid. I don’t like any of this stupid movie. Can we be done yet?

The Doctor asks if he believes him and Lee questions why he shouldn’t. The Doctor points out there won’t be anywhere to spend the money.

Which is why we have no time to waste,” Bruce says, entering the room, dressed in Time Lord robes.

But time to change,” The Doctor points out.

I always… dress for the occasion.”

Bruce says Lee is the son he’s always yearned for. The Doctor scoffs. Bruce tells Grace to put something on him, that looks like a crown of nails. Jesus reference much? The Doctor pleads with Lee to believe him, pointing out that Grace is possessed by evil, not good. The boy starts to look like maybe it’s sinking in.

We see a bunch of hospital people partying, including Pete, wearing the Richard Nixon mask. The clocks say 11:55pm.

Wagg stands in the ITAR, meditating, anxious about his life’s work.

Bruce has Lee open the eye again.

Wagg calls the guests (who were let back in, obviously) making big proclamations about the new clock. Gareth comes and whispers in his ear. “What do you mean it won’t start,” he asks the boy.

The Doctor pleads with Lee, The Brucester says this is Lee’s chance to see the universe. The Brucester lets slip about how he wasted his lives, and The Doctor gets Lee to understand that Brucester has been lying.

Lee refuses to open the Eye. Brucester breaks Lee’s neck.

The Doctor asks how he’ll open the Eye. The Brucester calls Grace over and kisses her, sucking out his possession from within. He forces her eye to the beam of light and the Eye begins to open.

Grace cries out that she’s blind. The Doctor tells her that her sight will return. Sure, the world is going to end and all you care about is your eyesight. Within moments it starts to clear up.

The Brucester assumes a position so that the Eye of Harmony links he and The Doctor. The Doctor says he cannot move as long as the Eye links them and yells at her to go the console room to reroute the power as they’d planned before.

She runs off.

Outside, the alley is filled with lightning.

We get flashes of Brucester writhing, as he says he can feel The Doctor’s thoughts and memories. We see flashes of scenes from earlier (would have been nice to see ones from the first seven Doctors) and The Doctor begins to plead that it cannot end this way.

Grace fiddles with wires under the console.

Both the party goers and the people at ITAR count down the last thirty seconds.

The Brucester’s head does all sorts of stupid warping effects. Yay 1990s.

Grace fiddles with wires, complaining that she should surgery was different.

The Brucester proclaims that he is alive.

Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One…

It’s midnight.

The TARDIS console column comes to life. Grace pulls levers and such, talking about alarm clocks. She sees the screen say ENTERING TEMPORAL ORBIT and she runs off wondering what that means.

The Doctor says, “She did it. Your life force is dying, Master.” Things look bad for the Brucester.

Grace runs into the Eye room and steps in front of the light beaming into The Doctor’s eyes. This frees Brucester who rushes over as Grace struggles to free The Doctor.

Brucester throws Grace off the balcony and she falls hard. She looks dead. The Doctor rushes down to check on her, but Brucester attacks him. The struggle over to the Eye. There’s bad dialgoue. There’s even stupider fight choreography.

In the end, Brucester is sucked into the Eye of Harmony.

The Doctor picks up Grace and carries her off.

We see a clock roll backwards. The date on the TARDIS console rolls backwards, going to December 30th.

The Doctor places Grace and Lee next to each other in the room with the Eye and energy leaves it and envelops both of them, bringing them back to life. Oh, yay, this makes me happy.

Not.

Doctor, I have your things,” Lee says.

The Doctor asks Grace how it feels to hold back death and she hugs him.

The Eye closes and The Doctor says “Incredible, what a sentimental creature this old TARDIS is.”

Apparently, just by going back in time they were able to be brought back to life.

Lee asks where The Master is. The TARDIS rumbles and The Doctor says, “Indigestion.”

He shows them Gallifrey on the roof-display. He sets the date for December 31st and takes them back to Earth.

We again see the countdown at the parties. Oh, yay, because that was so worth seeing again.

The clocks strike midnight and all around the world, everyone celebrates the year 2000. Meh.

The TARDIS materialises and The Doctor steps out. Fireworks and horns and people celebrating can be heard all over. Lee gives The Doctor his bag. The Doctor tells Lee to keep the bag of gold dust and the boy heads off, but The Doctor tells him to take a vacation next Christmas, to get out of town.

The Doctor tries to tell Grace something, but she says she doesn’t want to know. He asks her to come with him, she asks him to come with her. He says it’s tempting… but obviously he won’t.

They kiss again. Aw. Still no chemistry. They part ways, thanking each other. She watches as he enters the TARDIS. She waves, he doesn’t. The TARDIS disappears.

She stands there, amazed. Really? After coming back from the dead, a disappearing police box is amazing.

Inside the TARDIS, The Doctor listens to jazz, tinkers with the TARDIS and then sits down, picking up his book, “Now where was I?”

The record gets stuck on “time” again. “Oh, no, not again,” he says… and the final credits roll.

GOD I’M DONE. THAT WAS HORRIBLE.

Sigh. So, my buddy Glenn Walker suggested that I do this as part of the “classic” run of Doctor Who. I suppose it has merit, including it, so here we are. I’m not a fan. I’m not expecting that will change with this rewatch – I just watched it about three years ago, to see how bad it was, and it was still bad.

But, anyhow, here we are. Gonna do two posts, try to find a halfway point that makes a good cliffhanger-ish ending and cut it there. Might be before or after the halfway point of the movie, but hey.

Still seems unreal that I’m done. But, anyhow, let’s do this…

Part one:

We open with some scenes of planets as The Doctor does a voice-over, talking about the trial of The Master (which took place on Skaro, which doesn’t really make any sense to me) and his last request – “He demanded that I, The Doctor, a rival Time Lord, should take his remains back to our home planet – Gallifrey.”

We see The Master being killed, Dalek voices saying “Exterminate” as he stands in an energy cage of sorts and then explodes. The Doctor’s voice-over continues, “It was a request they should never have granted.”

The opening sequence begins, the sparks from the exploding Master turning into a field of stars and music plays. The Doctor Who logo comes up (and I have to admit, I really liked this one) then zooms into space. We get a bit of the time tunnel effect as the main cast names come up.

The theme is pretty unrecogniseable as anything to do with Doctor Who, I have to say. It’s horrible.

We see The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) placing The Master’s remains in a box for the trip back to Gallifrey, as the Eighth Doctor continues the narration voice-over, talking about how, though The Master had used up all his thirteen lives, rules didn’t matter to him and so The Doctor was taking precautions with his remains, “Because, even in death, I didn’t trust him.”

The Doctor sits down with some tea, listening to some soft jazz-type music. I like the sitting room and library of books with the TARDIS console amidst it all.

The console column is two moving parts, one moving down from the top, one rising up from the center of the console, another neat design. (I’ll give them props – some of the set designs for the TARDIS in this movie are most excellent.)

We see The Doctor’s 900 Year Diary (a tribute to The Second Doctor’s 500 Year Diary) laying on a table.

The box holding The Master’s remains shakes and we hear some grunting.

The Doctor eats fruit and reads The Time Machine.

The lock on the box breaks and opens. The record playing gets stuck on the word ‘time’ and keeps repeating until The Doctor gets out of his chair to reset the needle, returning to his book.

He glances at the tea, seeing it swirling in the cup. Suddenly, the cup launches into the air and lands on the ground, breaking.

The box with the remains breaks in half. Something silvery slithers under the TARDIS console, which begins sparking all about. The Doctor rushes to it, fiddling and pulling levers, pressing buttons and the like. He pulls at a viewscreen (which they do in the new series, at least in one of the Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS versions that I can think of off the top of my head.)

Oh no,” The Doctor exclaims, reading the screen, which flashes INSTIGAGTE AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY LANDING and CRITICAL TIMING MALFUNCTION. (Huh, guess a timing belt is more essential on the TARDIS than in a car…)

The Doctor hustles to the box, discovering what he already fears – The Master has escaped.

The TARDIS exits the vortex, appearing in space near Earth.

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, three oriental youths run through the streets, pursued by someone in a car. They climb a fence and then pull their guns out to shoot at the car, which backs out of the alley as the youths shout at it.

As they walk off, four men with automatic weapons step out of hiding (they were just hanging out there in case they came down that alley?) and open fire, killing two of them. As they take aim at the last one, who they address as Lee, the TARDIS appears in front of them.

Their bullets bounce off the TARDIS. The Doctor open the door and exits and gets gunned down. The black car pulls up and the men jump in, one of them yelling, “What was that thing?”

Lee comes out from behind the TARDIS, after the car zooms off. He checks on The Doctor, who gasps, “Timing… malfunction…” (you’re not kidding, Doc.) Lee says he’ get him an ambulance.

The Doctor looks over at the TARDIS, seeing the silvery goo of The Master’s form oozing out of the keyhole. “Stop it,” he begs Lee, who looks over at the TARDIS, having no idea what The Doctor is referencing. “Hang in there, old guy,” Lee tells him, “Chang Lee will help you.”

Does anyone talk like that? Really? Granted, it’s 1999 (in story, as identified by the caption that let us know we were in 1999 San Francisco), so The Rock would talk like that. Maybe Chang Lee is a fan of The Rock?

Chang Lee goes off to flag down an ambulance, stepping in a puddle that moves along afterwards – it’s The Master!

An ambulance races down the road, sirens and lights going. Inside, the EMT asks Chang Lee if The Doctor is rich, saying he’d better be, based on where they’re going. (The EMT is played by Eric Roberts and we’ve already seen the opening credits which list Eric Roberts as The Master, so surely you can see what’s going to happen here.)

EMT Eric hands him something to sign, but Chang Lee says he’s not signing anything. EMT Eric says if he don’t sign, they can’t do anything (that’s bullshit, he’s dying.) Reluctantly, Chang Lee takes the clipboard to sign it and asks what the date is.

December 30th,” EMT Eric replies.

Nine…teen…ninety-nine,” Chang Lee says as he dates the form. Filling out the form, he lists the name of the patient as “Smith, John”. Now that’s funny.

The ambulance arrives as the hospital and The Doctor is rushed in. In the ambulance, we see a silvery snake move under the driver seat.

The Doctor is taken to an OR.

The silvery-almost transparent snake moves into the back of the ambulance.

A nurse puts up the X-ray, bewildered by the two hearts. The doctor tending to him says it’s a double exposure. The Doctor was shot three times, once in shoulder (went straight through) and two bullets in the leg. (So why is he dying – I mean, sure, with no medical attention, he might die from those wounds… but he’s unconscious and seemingly in bad shape.)

The ‘snake’ goes into the sleeve of a jacket in the ambulance.

One of the nurses says the patient’s heart “is still going like crazy”, but she doesn’t say which one. Even if they thought it was a double exposure on the x-ray, the monitors would pick up the extra heartbeat. The doctor says they’ll have to alert cardiology and when they ask him who’s on duty, he says, smirking, “Amazing Grace.”

We cut to the opera, where the camera zooms in on one woman watching in the crowd. Obviously this is “Amazing Grace”. Her beeper (oh, yeah, it’s 1999) goes off and she has to leave, much to the resigned disappointment of her date.

We see Grace rush through the hospital in her gown and then in the pre-op scrub room, barking orders. They tell her the X-rays are double exposed every time, so she tells them to try again. They say they’re getting another machine.

A nurse brings a phone to Doctor (Grace) Holloway, saying it’s “Brian”. The nurse holds the phone as Grace talks into it (as she just prepped her hands for surgery), apologising to Brian (her date, we presume). She argues, but he hangs up.

The Doctor lays on the table and Grace prepares to operate. The song from the opera is put on the stereo and as Grace gets ready to cut, The Doctor murmurs, “Puccini… Madame Butterfly,” and opens his eyes, grabbing Grace’s wrist (which is over him, holding a scalpel.)

He tells her not to do it, she tells him he’s going to be all right. He says he is not human, he is not like her (to which she replies that nobody is) and he continues, saying he needs a beryllium atomic clock, still struggling with her.

They gas him, and he struggles, as she says they’re going to cut him open to see why his heart is behaving so erratically. He is gassed and just as she declares that “he’s under”, The Doctor sits upright, exclaiming, “Timing malfunction! The Master! He’s out there!”

They force him back down and hit him with some more gas and Grace starts to cut, but again he protests. He finally goes black.

 spoiler warning

Overhead, a hospital director takes some people on a tour, as they watch down into the OR and observe the operation. Grace seems to be lost with the probe, but somehow causes a seizure. The probe snaps inside The Doctor and they’re forced to use defibrillators… but to no avail.

The Doctor is pronounced dead at 10:03pm and Grace demands to see his X-rays, stat. When she reviews them, she declares, “This is no double exposure.”

Chang Lee is woken in the waiting room by a nurse, who brings him to meet Grace. She tells him that “Mister Smith” died. He offers to take Smith’s possessions to the family and Grace confronts him, not believing him.

Chang Lee dashes off and Grace gives chase, still wearing her gown. Lee gets away.

We get a series of pretty skyline shots.

EMT Eric is snoring in bed as his wife complains. We see his jacket on a chair and ominous music plays as we zoom in. The ‘snake’ oozes out of the sleeve to the floor, and rises up, demonstrating a cobra-like head/hood effect.

Two guys in the morgue talk about going to a costume party. One of them is played by Will Sasso (ah, the 1990s…) They check The Doctor’s tag, which reads ‘John Doe’. They slip him in a cooler, to wait for autospy the next morning.

EMT Eric still snores. His mouth open, he rolls onto his back and, as his wife lay awake, her back to him, the ‘snake’ dives into EMT Eric’s open mouth and sliding down his throat, ending the snoring, much to the wife’s delight.

Will Sasso watches Frankenstein on tv at the morgue.

In the cooler, lightning flashes about The Doctor’s body and the sheet covering him flies off. Electricity crackles all about.

This is mirrored in the movie Sasso is watching.

The regeneration is more subtle than the ones we’ve seen of late; The Doctor’s face stretches and goes from McCoy to McGann pretty quickly.

More parallels – in Frankenstein, the monster’s hand falls into sight from beneath the sheet as Victor hustles about. In the cooler, The Doctor’s hand drops into sight, twitching and flexing.

The Doctor’s eyes open and he sits up as Victor Frankenstein gives the “it’s alive” monologue.

Hearing a thump, Sasso calls out wondering if that’s Ted. He gets no reply. The thumping continues and he goes to investigate. He watches in shock as The Eighth Doctor kicks down the door to the cooler he was in and staggers out.

Sasso faints. (Wow, this is just compelling telly.)

The Doctor staggers out, sees Frankenstein on the telly and then wanders into the hallway, humming the Puccini aria. Lightning flashes outside and there’s thunder. He’s still walking about, wrapped in a sheet. He enters a room filled with trashed gurneys and the like. Water is all over the floor and there’s a get well soon card on the floor.l

Seeing his reflection is dozens of surfaces, he wonders who he is. He falls to his knees, crying out, “WHO! AM! I?” (Get it? Who? Hahahaha, so clever.)

EMT Eric is awake in his bed, sitting up. The storm rages outside, but his wife is sound asleep.

Grace is sleeping on a couch in a lounge in the hospital the next morning.

The Doctor is still wandering about in his sheet. He starts going through lockers looking for clothes. He sees a long scarf.

In the streets, Lee opens the bag, examining a sonic screwdriver, a yoyo and other objects.

The Doctor examines a Richard Nixon mask, but tosses it aside. He takes a jacket and searches for more clothing.

Lee holds up an item that I’m guessing is the TARDIS key, though it doesn’t really resemble a key that much. It has strange carvings on it, and Lee mutters, “Weird.”

EMT Eric’s wife wakes up as the alarm goes off. Her husband stands at the window, shirtless, holding up his hands, muttering in a dark voice, “I must find The Doctor. This body won’t last long. I need The Doctor’s body.”

She cracks, “Sense of humour, no more snoring, you don’t need a doctor, come back to bed, honey.” She’s feeling frisky. He tells her his name isn’t honey but she can call him Master. “Well, come back to bed, master,” she replies.

Ah, the 1990s.

She screams when she sees his eyes, which are glowing green. He grabs her by the throat and kills her.

In the morgue, Sasso tries to explain while Grace gives him a hard time. We learn his name is Pete. We later see Grace walking down the hall, passing the newly regenerated Doctor.

He recognises her and follows her. He hears someone say the word time and this resonates with him.

The hospital supervisor suggests it was a double exposure and burns the x-rays, saying they can’t afford to advertise their mistake – suggesting it was HER mistake and they need not let anyone find out, saying he’ll take care of it.

She argues. He says he knows what is best. She says they need to find his body and learn from him. She threatens to quit if he covers it up, but he says she doesn’t mean that and walks off.

We next see Grace carrying her possession into an elevator. Just before the door closes, The Doctor walks in. He says, “Puccini. We’ve met before.” She says they haven’t.

He follows her, prattling on about Madame Butterfly, saying he doesn’t know who he is, but thinks she does. She yells at him to leave her alone. He follows her into the car, pulling out the probe and she realises that it must be him, especially as he rants about having two hearts.

He yells at her to drive, to get away, “Before they kill me again!”

Bruce (EMT Eric/The Master) shows up at the hospital, wearing shades. A nurse asks him why and he stiffly replies, “I had a bad night.” She laughs. He asks about the gunshot wound victim, saying he has orders to move the body.

She tells him the body is gone, stolen. He asks about the things, but learns that Lee ran off with them. His body is starting to fall apart already, evidenced by a fingernail falling off as they talk.

Grace takes The Doctor to her home, where she learns that Brian took all his stuff and left during the night.

She tells The Doctor to take off his shirt so she can listen to his heart. He corrects her, “Hearts, plural.”

She suggests he has selecdtive amnesia brought on by shock, but he says, “Maybe, I can’t remember.”

Listening to his hearts, Grace is amazed that he actually does have two hearts. She asks who he is.

I was dead too long this time,” he replies. “The anaesthetic almost destroyed the regenerative process.”

Oh, yeah, right,” she says. She gets up, wanting to do a blood draw. He tells her he has thirteen lives. She argues the dead don’t come back and that you can’t turn back time. He says he can. She gets mad, saying she’s not a child, and not to talk to her that way.

He says it was a child’s dream that led to her becoming a doctor. As she leaves the room, he says, “Don’t be sad, Grace, you’ll do great things.”

Lee is down where the TARDIS is. He uses the key (which is a key) and enters. He steps out and walks around it, after seeing how massive it is inside. He goes back in, calling out to see if anyone is in there.

I really like this TARDIS console room. It’s massive and filled with a library and the console and… Bruce. The Master.

When Lee touches one of the pillars, the console comes to life. The Master is amazed that the TARDIS likes him. Lee replies, “What are you talking about, Bruce?”

I am not Bruce,” he says. “It took me a while with the talking and the walking, but I am not Bruce.” Okay, why did it take so long – The Master has possessed bodies before when he was out of regenerations – took over Nyssa’s father’s body, starting the Anthony Ainley Master era.

I am merely inside his body,” he explains. Lee isn’t impressed until he takes off his sunglasses and reveals his green eyes. He seems to control the boy and orders him to give him the bag. When he takes it, and his eyes leave Lee’s, the boy seems to regain himself.

The Master demands Lee tell him where the person he got the items from is, saying he has his body and if they don’t bring him back there, he will die. When Lee asks what’s in it for him, The Master tells him he gets to live.

At her house, Grace examines blood through her microscope as The Doctor puts on a pair of Brian’s shoes, which she tells him to keep. She says his blood isn’t blood. She suggests going for a walk.

As they walk, she posits that he’s a result of some genetic experiment, but he says he doesn’t think so. She asks if he remembers his family, and he says no, but then has a recollection of laying in the grass with his father, “It’s a warm Gallifreyan night.”

She repeats the name and he gets excited, saying that’s where he must be from and asks her where that is. She doesn’t know. She asks what he remembers. He goes on about a meteor storm and then gets excited about the shoes he’s wearing. I think it’s supposed to be cute, but it’s dumb.

Bruce” tells Lee that the TARDIS belongs to him, not to the man he found. Lee says that he was told that guy died, and Bruce explains that that body regenerated. “My body can do this twelve times, but he’s taken most of my regenerations.”

What’d he do with them,” Lee asks.

Unspeakable crimes,” Bruce replies.

Like what?”

Genghis Khan.”

What about him?”

That was him.”

No way!”

Way!”

WOW. That’s just horrid dialogue. The Master just said “Way!”

He asks Lee what he wants. Lee says a million, no two million, no a billion bucks. He offers Lee a bag of gold dust, saying he gets the rest when he gets his body back. They have a deal and ‘Bruce’ shows Lee around.

They end up at the Cloister Room, which Lee opens the door to, again, because “the TARDIS likes you.” They ascend a central structure in the room. “Here is the Eye of Harmony, the heart of this structure,” ‘Bruce’ tells Lee. It powers everything. He says if they can open the Eye they can find ‘him’.

He tells Lee to pull the “reflector staff” from its mooring, which Lee does. It reveals a hole from which a beam of light emanates. Bruce tells Lee to look into the light, “If the TARDIS really likes you, the Eye will open.”

When Lee argues, he grabs Lee’s head, shoving his face into the light. As the boy cries out, the Eye begins to open…

And that’s as good a cliffhanger as we’re going to get, I think, so we’ll stop here, pretty much the halfway point.

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.

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

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

spoiler warning

Episode 3:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Brig and Shou arrive in her car.

Ancelyn fondles Excalibur, ignoring everyone else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morgaine’s knights lay an ambush on the road.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good idea,” The Doctor replies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I dunno, that just lacked punch to me.

Episode 4:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NuBrig picks up a sword and starts kicking ass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I thought she was bluffing,” he protests.

The Brig comes to, slowly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get off my world,” he replies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who signed it,” The Doctor asks.

The Doctor,” Ace replies.

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

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

Explosives, Doctor,” the Brig asks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peaceful, isn’t it,” The Doctor asks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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