Archives for posts with tag: TARDIS trauma

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 and Peri find the TARDIS drawn to 19th century England, where two Time Lords, The Master and the Rani, are embroiled in some nefariousness. The Master has dreams of turning Earth into a force for galactic evil (with himself at the helm, of course) and the Rani is tampering with the brains of the locals.

 

We left off with The Doctor, strapped to a mining cart, about to tip over into the pit!!!

spoiler warning

 

Episode 2:

 

At the last minute, George Stephenson covers the pit, saving The Doctor! Whew, that was close.

 

Jack and his men run into the secure area, Peri ahead of them.

 

Stephenson is fascinated by the straps and takes his time freeing The Doctor; Peri, with the hooligans in close pursuit, calls out for The Doctor to run.

 

Stephenson and The Doctor and Peri dash into the woods.

 

Ravensworth organises a party to hunt down the scoundrels!

 

Safe in his workshop, Stephenson tells The Doctor he finds it hard to credit that the other guests will be in danger. The Doctor chastises him, and Luke and Peri tell Stephenson that this isn’t the first time The Doctor was attacked.

 

Peri confirms Luke’s concern that his father, Jack, was part of the men who attacked The Doctor again. He says his mother never saw the mark on Jack’s neck.

 

Luke is sent off with a message for Ravensworth, suggesting the meeting be called off; The Doctor, seeing that Luke intends to find his father, warns him to be careful, “Your father is not the man he was.”

 

Stephenson says that Luke, being well-taught by Ravensworth’s tutors, will outshine him.

 

The Master skulks about, listening in as Luke talks to Tim, a former friend, who treats Luke as a traitor. When Tim runs off, The Master approaches and hypnotises Luke.

 

The Rani watches this from her bath house on the scanner, getting upset as she sees The Master feed Luke one of the mind-control worms/grubs/whatevers.

 

The Master reads the list of names being summoned to the meeting. He gives Luke instructions to destroy anyone who tries to stop the meeting from happening.

 

Peri interrupts The Doctor and Stephenson’s going over designs for an engine, reminding him there are more pressing problems. They head out, but several of the hooligans spot them and follow. They make an attempt to attack The Doctor again, but our heroes narrowly avoid calamity once more.

 

The Master returns to the bath house, playing the “I have your brain fluid,” card again. He shows her the list of guests, once more going on his plan to use them to take over the planet. She reminds him that she has a planet of her own already.

 

He promises her that if she helps him, he will guarantee her free access to all the human brains she wants. She seems to agree, and when she says they must hurry, The Master says she cannot bring her two servitors with her – she acknowledges this and uses her device to… well, I guess kill them?

 

(I know they want to illustrate, even though she’s being coerced into The Master’s plan, she is definitively evil herself, that just seems nonsensical. Why not just leave them there, in case they could be useful?) The Master leans over one of the bodies, again spotting the red circle and again saying, “The mark of the Rani…” Okay, thanks for shoving that down our throat.

 

Jack and the other hooligan who tried to attack The Doctor most recently are brought before Ravensworth. He orders them tied up.

 

Luke returns to the workshop, telling Stephenson that Ravensworth had nothing to say about the letter (which was never delivered, of course.) Stephenson takes this to mean that the lord was upset and says he will go speak to him, but Luke says he will fetch Ravensworth for him, saying it’s safer that way.

 

Encountering Ravensworth, who is on the way to the workshop, Luke prevaricates, saying Stephenson is down in the pit, arranging a demonstration for the expected guests. Ravensworth says he feels the meeting should be called off.

 

Luke argues that Stephenson doesn’t feel there’s any need to call off the meeting. He subtly grabs a metal bar, obviously intending to use it if he cannot persuade his lordship otherwise. Ravensworth says that he’ll trust Stephenson’s judgment, but it’s on his head and tells Luke to make sure he tells him so.

 

The Doctor and Peri return to the bath house, the companion arguing all the while. What happened to the bold and brave Peri from PLANET OF FIRE? She argues for getting the TARDIS out of the pit (which isn’t a bad idea), but also cautions against the possibility of running into the Time Lords again.

 

They enter the secret room, finding the dead servitors. The Doctor says that she has not gone far, as he knows The Master has something she wants. He explains what the red mark is, what the Rani had intended for Peri.

 

The Master and The Rani are moving through a tunnel, The Master complaining all the while. We do learn that The Rani’s TARDIS is being used for some other purpose, though she refuses to divulge what that is to her partner.

 

Peri inquires how The Doctor knows The Rani. “Same way as I know The Master,” he replies.

But he’s an exiled Time Lord!”

Exactly, two of a kind.”

 

The Doctor examines a false wall and sets off a gas trap; mustard gas fills the room and Peri fetches gas masks from the dead servitors for her and The Doctor.

 

Once the gas clears, The Doctor moves the wall and finds The Rani’s TARDIS. Somehow his key opens it… this really doesn’t work for me, ya know?

 

They enter, finding a cool TARDIS console surrounded by pedestals with dinosaur embryos. Suddenly, the TARDIS console comes to life and The Doctor sends Peri out before it leaves, but he stays within. He’s impressed that she has her TARDIS linked to a remote control.

 

The Master is impressed by The Rani’s remote control of her TARDIS. They enter, The Doctor hiding as he hears the doors open. They squabble as they enter, The Rani saying his plans will mean nothing if they cannot take care of “that dilettante Doctor” first.

 

(The Doctor, still hiding, hears this and mouths “dilettante?”)

 

The Time Lords take some objects that vaguely look like land mines and exit the TARDIS, The Master suggesting that they kill Stephenson, too. The Rani questions how that will hurt The Doctor and The Master laughs as they depart.

 

How indeed,” The Doctor wonders. After they’re gone, he heads to the console and begins to tamper with it.

 

The Master confirms that Luke is well enough under his control.

 

Ravensworth sends for The Doctor, hoping he can shine some light on the Jack issue; Jack is tied to a chair and struggling violently.

 

The Doctor exits The Rani’s TARDIS (think we’ll go with R-TARDIS for hers, M-TARDIS if we see The Master’s) and exits the mine tunnel.

 

Peri is brought to Ravensworth, saying she, too, wants to know where The Doctor is. Ravensworth says she should have some idea, but she says he could be “anywhere in the universe!” Peri goes to the old pit, thinking The Doctor has to return there (as that is where the TARDIS was dumped.)

 

Ravensworth sends his man to find Luke.

 

Luke arrives at the workshop, telling Stephenson that Farrady (one of the expected guests) has not arrived, that his coach was overturned. He’s hiding out in Redfern Dell. Luke offers to go to him and Stephenson tells him to ready the gun.

 

The Doctor finds Peri at the old pit. Instead of being happy to see him, she grouses that she could’ve been “stuck in the 1800s forever,” but tells him that Ravensworth is looking to speak to him.

 

Stephenson tells Luke to go to Ravensworth, to request “as many men as he can spare,” to accompany him to Redfern Dell. When Luke doesn’t step to right away, Stephenson tells him that it is urgent, and Luke goes.

 

The Doctor tells Ravensworth that Jack and the other need rest, that there isn’t much to be done for them. Luke arrives and tells The Doctor and Ravensworth that he doesn’t know where Stephenson is, that he “never said nowt”. The Doctor dashes off.

 

The Rani and The Master plant the devices on the ground, covering them with leaves. They are some sort of landmine!

 

The Doctor finds Stephenson in the workshop, readying his gun. When he asks if he expects trouble, the scientist explains about the message from Farraday. Suddenly, The Doctor puts two and two together, deducing that Luke brought the message to him.

 

He cautions Stephenson to not go out, it’s too dangerous. The Doctor promises to find Farraday and bring him to him.

 

When Stephenson offers The Doctor the use of his gun, The Doctor waves him off, “No thanks, I’ve given them up. Guns can seriously damage your health, you know.” He tells Stephenson not to trust Luke, then departs.

 

Luke suggests a sleeping potion; Ravensworth and Peri start working on concocting one – it seems the lord is “a bit of an amateur botanist”.

 

The Rani cautions The Master to be careful, if he values his “miserable skin”. She presses some buttons on a keypad atop the next to last landmind and covers it, then does the same with the final one.

 

Luke offers to escort Peri in search of the herbs she needs, saying they should find them in Redfern Dell – the lord seems to think this a capital idea. As Peri leaves, she asks the lord to let The Doctor know where she’s gone.

 

The Doctor, en route, hears voices and hides.

 

In the R-TARDIS, The Rani tells The Master to be patient; he says he’s waited too long for this moment. It comes up that The Master was the one who rerouted The Doctor’s TARDIS there.

 

As they talk, The Rani pours some green fluid over one of the dinosaur embryos. They discuss how The Rani got exiled from Gallifrey – apparently one of her experiments turned “mice into monsters” which ate the cat of the Lord President of the High Council.

 

Took a chunk out of him, too, I remember,” The Master adds.

 

They depart the R-TARDIS.

 

The Doctor hesitates, realising he’s walking into a trap, and chooses a different path.

 

The evil Time Lords await The Doctor’s arrival into their trap.

 

Luke and Peri make their way; he assures her that the herb they’re looking for can be found in Redfern Dell.

 

As The Master aims his TCE at Luke (I think it’s Luke), likely believing the motion at a distance to be his arch-nemesis, The Doctor comes up from behind and disarms him, taking the weapon away, and telling the two Time Lords they share a trait of underestimating their enemies.

 

The Doctor asks them what trap The Rani devised, saying the TCE is too simple for her tastes. She plays coy, but The Doctor soon realises that the answer must be in the dell, where he was expected to go.

 

Suddenly, Luke steps on one of the landmines and is transformed into a tree!

 

The Doctor, enraged, threatens The Master with the TCE.

 

The Master pleads that it was an accident, that Luke was not the intended.

 

The Doctor retorts, “And you’re so warped, so callous, you think that justifies it? First, you turn an innocent young man into your acolyte, force him to betray his friends and then you,” he says to The Rani, “do this monstrous thing to him!”

 

The Rani says “so what?” She feels that he’s better off, “a tree has four times the life expectancy of a human being.”

 

The Doctor tells her, “They should have never exiled you, they should have locked you in a padded cell.” He orders them along.

 

Peri walks into the dell, narrowly avoiding stepping on several of the mines that she doesn’t even seen. As she passes the tree that was once Luke, it grabs her.

 

When she cries out, The Doctor calls to her to stay put, that the tree will not hurt her. He turns to The Rani, “Now, perhaps you’ll accept that there are more things in Heaven and earth than are ever dreamed of in your barren philosophy.”

 

The Time Lords suggest that The Doctor faces a dilemma, or at least an impasse. The Doctor says that’s not the case, and in fact, The Rani will be the one who solves it for him. He tells her she will lead Peri out, and if she refuses, he won’t hesitate to use the TCE.

 

As The Doctor and The Master watch, The Rani leads Peri out, chastising Peri all the while. Once out, Peri asks about Luke, but The Doctor says, “He just saved your life,” and says he’ll explain later.

 

The Doctor and Peri escort the Time Lords through the woods; a pack of the hooligans run towards them. When The Rani offers to dispose of them, The Doctor takes her control device.

 

Peri points out that they’re rushing towards the dell. The Master quips that the dell is about to get some new trees, and The Rani gloats that it’s another dilemma, one of morality.

 

Peri takes the TCE, telling The Doctor he has to stop the men. He tells Peri to take the Time Lords to the old mine tunnel and wait there, but then whispers something in her ear. As he moves off, he bumps into The Master… something tells me that’s significant.

 

The Doctor rushes forward, telling the men to stop. They surround him.

 

Peri follows the Time Lords through the tunnel, saying they’ll wait there.

 

The Doctor is carried through the woods, tied to a tree limb.

 

The Master offers his apology to Peri, saying his quarrel is with The Doctor, not her. When Peri brings up Luke, he blames The Rani and they start bickering. The Master tries to use the distraction to hypnotise Peri, but she orders him to put away his bauble, else she use the TCE. (Apparently that was what The Doctor whispered to her, to beware that.)

 

The Rani laughs, realising this, but this starts a coughing fit.

 

The men carrying The Doctor walk onto the landmines and are turned into trees. The others run off, leaving The Doctor suspended between two trees.

 

Peri tells The Rani to keep her hands to her side, but the Time Lady says she must have a tablet. The Master says she’s having a seizure, he’s seen it before. Peri gives in and The Rani breaks open a tablet, throwing the particles within at Peri, which seems to daze or immobilise her.

 

The Doctor escapes the trees, coming quite close to landing on another landmine. (Or perhaps the same that transformed those two.) He uses the limb that he was tied to to sweep the ground on his way out.

 

The Rani is planning to leave, but The Master says he won’t run and let The Doctor win. She says the odds are against him and he calls her an “intellectual microbe,” mocking her for being a “slave to a computer”.

 

She insists he hand over the brain fluid, that she’s leaving. He refuses, and they hear The Doctor calling out for Peri.

 

The Doctor finds Peri, who recovers, apologising. The Doctor hears a sound and realises it must be The Master. “Typical, he’s decided to stand and fight. Why couldn’t he just leave?” The Doctor says they need to get them into the R-TARDIS and puts off any explanation for Peri just yet.

 

As they approach the Time Lords, The Master fires upon The Doctor and Peri, taking out one of the braces and starting a cave in. The Time Lords rush into the R-TARDIS and The Doctor and Peri dash out the exit.

 

In the R-TARDIS, The Rani and The Master fight. She gets the best of him, long enough to activate the coordinates. However, once they depart, the TARDIS runs out of control. They start yelling at each other, shoving each other out of the way to frenetically struggle with the controls.

 

Escaping the cave in, The Doctor explains to Peri that he made “an adjustment or two” to the navigational system and expects they’ll be quite far away in primitive settings before long.

 

In the R-TARDIS, one of the dinosaur embryos falls out onto the floor and begins to grow – The Rani says the acceleration is causing “time spillage” and it’s causing the dinosaur to grow.

 

Back at town, The Doctor tells Peri he picked The Master’s pocket, showing her the vial of brain fluid. He instructs her to give it to Ravensworth (like they have any method of returning it to the proper people’s brains?)

 

As he’s rather pleased with himself, Peri reminds him, “Well, let me deflate your swollen ego and remind you of something we don’t have… the TARDIS.”

 

In the workshop, Stephenson and Ravensworth are admiring the TARDIS, wondering what it is. The Doctor and Peri arrive, the latter giving Ravensworth the vial, saying it’s the sedative he wanted.

 

The Doctor reluctantly turns down the chance to help Stephenson on working on his engine and as he and Peri enter the TARDIS, Ravensworth asks what they do in there.

 

The Doctor’s answer is priceless, “Argue, mainly.” They slip in and the two men are astounded to see the TARDIS disappear.

 

You know, I always said he was a strange sort of fellow,” Ravensworth tells Stephenson… and the final credits roll.

 

A pretty fun serial and I do love The Rani.  

Oh, I’m excited. I don’t have much detailed recollections about this serial, but I do love the Rani. I still wish they had made River Song to be her…

 

Episode 1:

 

Several workers attend to a primitive mine elevator, taking the cart out and wheeling it and its load of coal to the proper place. By dress and technology, we seem to be in a mining camp/town in the 1800s, possibly very early 1900s.

 

People mill about the town, workers and others. There’s banter and greetings and children and dogs. Outside a bath house, an old woman hobbles in as three miners approach. They enter and pay the fee to use the bathing tubs and begin disrobing.

 

Suddenly, smoke begins pouring into the room and the three men, already exhausted from working, pass out.

 

In the TARDIS, The Doctor says they’re being maneuvered off course; Peri, dressed in a dress, asks if he’s sure that the TARDIS isn’t “malfunctioning again,” which upsets our Time Lord.

 

He confesses that he doesn’t know who or what is changing the location, but not the time. He determines that there’s a time machine nearby, and they speculate either a Time Lord or a Dalek. They land (much to Peri’s displeasure, not a Kew Gardens) and head out, tracker in hand.

 

The three men from the bath house are fully dressed and fighting amongst themselves. They rush out, attacking other people, obviously acting quite out of the norm.

 

The Doctor notices that there aren’t any birds around; Peri suggests that a nearby scarecrow could be the cause, but he says they’re usually not effective. As they walk on, the scarecrow lifts its head to watch.

 

A man on cart and horse are stopped by the three men from the bath house; he knows them by name and addresses them, but they attack him and smash his cargo, a machine of some sort, or part of machinery.

 

The Doctor and Peri come across the aftermath, helping the man. He suggests that they wanted to smash the machinery because they fear it might take their jobs away, but The Doctor isn’t so sure.

 

One of the hooligans, Jack, was left behind, stunned. The cart driver says that’s odd, being that the others are such good mates of Jack’s. The Doctor sees an unusual mark on Jack’s neck, but the miner shrugs him off and runs away.

 

The Doctor is delighted to learn that George Stephenson is expecting the machinery and asks for a ride to town.

 

A figure (the scarecrow?) in the woods move away, cackling.

 

The bath house woman grabs a young boy, paying him to run to the tavern to tell the patrons that if they want a warm bath, they’d best hurry.

 

As the cart comes into town, they pass the bath house and the tracker beeps significantly, but The Doctor thinks it might be a hiccup. The driver stops at the tavern for a drink and The Doctor and Peri rush to the pit, where they expect to find Stephenson.

 

Three more workers arrive at the bath house. The woman follows them in, after looking about, but somehow she misses spotting the scarecrow, who is seen shedding his costume, to reveal – THE MASTER!!!!

 

Oh, I forgot he was in this one!!! Eeeeeek!

spoiler warning

Armed men with a dog stand about on guard near the pit. Peri and The Doctor stand nearby, wondering how they can get close to the pit. When The Doctor tries to approach, they’re stopped by the man with the dog, who says they need a pass.

 

They play off that they’ve been traveling and not received the pass, but the guard says their name will be on the list. The Doctor grabs the list and starts reading off names from it, recognising them as geniuses.

 

They manage to talk their way in, regardless. The Master watches this from afar, apparently not too pleased.

 

The Doctor and Peri are brought inside a building and instructed to stay; the dog is left at the door to keep them from trying to leave.

 

The Doctor tells Peri he’s worried that something is up – in two days an assemblage of some of the greatest minds in the period will be happening, and if there’s some alien threat nearby, he wants to get out of the office and determine what is going on.

 

Suddenly the dog barks and dashes off outside; The Doctor (tracker in hand) and Peri exit.

 

The Master is at the gate to the guarded area, when the dog charges the gate. The Master uses his TCE on it and an armed guard who comes running! (Oh no, poor puppy…)

 

Peri notices that the dog stopped barking.

 

The Master approaches Jack and his two cohorts. They think he’s one of “the brainy ones”. They threaten and mock him. We see all three of them have red circles on their necks. The Master tells them that The Doctor is the one they should have attacked, and tells them he’s in the pit.

 

The Master uses a device to cut through the gate and the three men charge into the area, looking for The Doctor.

 

Jack and his friends attack The Doctor; Peri is sent off and The Doctor is pushed into the coal pit, but grabs the pulley chain. One of the attackers falls into the pit, but Jack and the other continue trying to knock him off the chain.

 

As The Master watches in glee, Peri runs up and tries to stop them from attacking. Lord Ravensworth, the owner of the premises, arrives and gets the men to stop by firing a shot in the air. The Doctor is rescued, but Ravensworth says he knows he’s not on the list and demands he come to his office to answer questions immediately.

 

Peri and The Doctor follow; The Master is displeased and storms off.

 

Lord Ravensworth demands to know if The Doctor is a Luddite, thinking he’s one of the “machine wreckers”. The Doctor and Peri explain that they came to see Stephenson and only briefly met one of the attackers, Jack.

 

Ravensworth says that Jack has worked for him for thirty years and he’d never seen him raise a fist to anyone before. He explains that the Luddites have been exceptionally active at this location, moreso than the rest of the country.

 

Ravensworth notes a gathering of women outside and orders for them to be brought in; meanwhile, he and The Doctor talk about the savage attacks only are acted out by men.

 

The bath house woman attends to several men on beds. Strange technology are attached to them.

 

The Master sneaks into the bath house, and observes as a secret panel slides open in one wall and several men carry another man into the secret room. He follows them in and confronts the bath house woman.

 

She takes off her hood and mask, revealing another face altogether – the Rani!

 

They banter and mock each other; he says they should work together, but she’s not interested – she says she saw The Doctor and knows why The Master is there and wants nothing to do with it.

 

I am not interested in your pathetic vendetta, one way or the other,” she tells him, ordering him to go away. When he threatens to interfere with her work, she instructs her two servitors to attack; The Master kills one (named Tom) with his TCE (I guess that’s what it is, though they don’t show us the miniaturised corpses.)

 

The Rani calls off the other, Josh, before The Master kills him.

 

Several women speak to Ravensworth; one tells him that her husband, Josh, has been missing for days, and another says her Tom is gone, too. The Doctor asks when they’ve been missing, and we learn they were last seen coming off shift.

 

Peri suggests that they joined the Luddites, but the women say that couldn’t be.

 

The Rani complains that since The Master killed Tom, she needs a new assistant. She approaches one of the unconscious men and places a grub of some sort in his mouth. He swallows it and his eyes glow briefly.

 

The Master is thrilled, seeing this, and starts quizzing her how it’s done. She offers him one, but he takes the whole canister from her. He tells her that when the Time Lords exiled her, they made a grave error. She agrees and rants that they’ll learn to regret it.

 

Peri petitions The Doctor to leave (this is a regular thing she does.) He reminds her that they were brought there and she realises that he doesn’t think the Luddites are behind the attacks.

 

The Master and the Rani banter; he tells her that The Doctor won’t allow her to tamper with his favourite planet, his pet population (for that’s how The Master imagines it must be.) She says she needs the chemical she’s extracting and it is only available in human brains – the violence and savagery is a side-effect, not the intent.

 

The Rani again asserts that her work is of no interest to The Master and his goal. The Master laughs, saying that he’s not yet apprised her of what his intentions are.

 

To destroy The Doctor – you’ve never had any other. It obsesses you to the exclusion of all else,” she replies.

 

He gives her a steely look, and says coldly, “You underestimate me. Certainly, I want to destroy him, see him suffer. But that is just an exquisite first step. I have a greater concept, one that will encompass the whole human race.” As he speaks, his expression becomes animated, less cold. His eyes glow with madness.

 

Anthony Ainley is an over-the-top Master, compared to Delgado’s. (And Simm’s is completely off his rocker, making Ainley look subtle and calm in comparison.) But when Ainley rides that line between cold and maniacal elation, his Master is so wonderful.

 

She tells him he’s unbalanced, “No wonder The Doctor always defeats you.”

 

He snatches the vial from her hands, noting the small amount that she gets from the brain. She pleads with him to be careful and he threatens to drop it unless she tells him why the humans become so violent without it.

 

When she tells him that without it, the human brain cannot rest, he deduces why she needs it – her domain, a planet called Miasimia Goria, where the populace has gone amok. (The Master says he dropped by there before following her to Earth.)

 

She tampered with the natives, trying to heighten their intellect, but as a side effect, their ability to sleep was tampered with and they became chaotic.

 

Seeing a scanner amongst her equipment, he demands she use it to show him The Doctor.

 

The Doctor is talking to Ravensworth, but stops to check some workers for red dots on their necks. They don’t have any and he returns to asking Ravensworth about the son of Jack, Luke Ward, who is Stephenson’s assistant.

 

The Master convinces the Rani to put an end to The Doctor, else he interfere with her operation. She reluctantly agrees.

 

The Doctor and Peri question Luke and discover that Jack was last seen going to the bath house. Peri remarks that the scanner reacted when they passed the bath house on the way in. The Doctor swaps coats and gets dirty, with intent to sneak into the bath house.

 

The Master trails Jack and his cohorts into an old mine passage. The Rani is watching on her scanner, telling them to jump him, and they do. When one of them wrestles with The Master, she fears the vial of fluid that he has on his person will be smashed, and uses a remote to kill the man before that happens.

 

The Master chuckles, seeing the red circle on the side of the man’s neck, remarking, “The mark of the Rani.”

 

Jack and the others approach The Master, who tells them that it was The Doctor who killed their friend. (Why the Rani doesn’t have them keep attacking him I don’t quite get…) He begins talking to them, jotting on some paper.

 

The Rani, watching on her scanner in the bath house, wonders what he’s up to. “It’ll be something devious and over-complicated. He’d get dizzy if he tried to walk in a straight line,” she remarks, donning her disguise as someone knocks on the door.

 

Three men enter, the third being The Doctor. They pay the fee and enter the bathing room. The gas pours out and the three of them collapse.

 

The Master has drawn a picture of the TARDIS, saying it is the machine that murdered their friend. He suggests that they bury it in the mine, and that it will take all his power away.

 

In the bath house, the Rani has The Doctor on the table; she doesn’t recognise him until she listens to his twin heartbeats. He wakes up and realises who she is. She asks if he was expecting to see The Master and when he says no, “He was burnt to a crisp the last time I saw him,” she informs him that he’s there as well.

 

They banter, insulting each other’s appearances.

 

It comes about that she’s been coming to Earth for centuries to do her work – the Trojan War, the Dark Ages, the Revolutionary War. Somehow, The Doctor manages to deduce what she’s been doing, based on little evidence whatsoever – Sherlock Holmes would be proud.

 

Using her scanner, she locates The Master. She leaves to go confront him, ordering Josh to kill one of the other bathers should he try to escape.

 

Peri watches the bath house woman leave. She slips in (because the Rani didn’t lock up, apparently, cuz that would have made too much sense) and looks about for The Doctor. She finds the other unconscious bather and then The Doctor, who tells her to push the bed with the other bather out of the room.

 

Afraid the servitors will stop her, she argues. She then questions what’s been going on, and in the process, allows the Rani and The Master time to return.

 

The Master is delighted to see Miss Brown. Peri is not so pleased.

 

A group of men rush a cart through the woods, the TARDIS lying upon it.

 

The Master gloats, saying he has a score to settle with Peri first, but the Rani says not to kill her – saying she wants to drain the fluid from her brain.

 

A hyperactive Peri,” The Doctor quips, “Too ghastly to contemplate.”

 

The Master reveals his plan to convert Earth into a power under his rule, using the Rani’s “bag of tricks” (The Doctor’s words, not The Master’s) to help him do so.

 

The scanner beeps, showing the men rushing the TARDIS towards their final fate. The Doctor places seeds of doubt in The Master’s mind about whether the scanner is showing the truth or not, and he orders Peri to push The Doctor’s bed outside.

 

At the pit, the men bring the TARDIS. The Master, Peri and The Doctor watch from afar (though The Doctor, laying on the bed still, can’t really see it.)

 

The TARDIS is tipped down and into the pit, top first.

 

The Doctor kicks the TCE out of The Master’s hand and yells for Peri to push, but she pushes it the wrong way, and his bed rolls down the road. She runs after it, but it goes faster than she, rounding a bend all to Jack and his fellows. They lift The Doctor off the bed and onto a mine cart, and push it towards the pit… and the credits roll.

 

A decent enough cliffhanger, one you almost had to expect!

 

 

Recap: The Doctor and Peri, seeking the super rare mineral Zeiton-7 to repair the TARDIS, arrive on Varos, in the middle of a televised execution-as-entertainment. Helping the rebel sentenced to death, they end up being chased by guards and discover that things on Varos are very, very bad. The TARDIS and Peri have been captured by the guards, and The Doctor has seemingly just died in a hallucinatory desert!

 

Oh, and SIL!!!!! It has Sil!!! Yay!

 

spoiler warning

 

Episode 2:

 

Sil laughs, delighted. Peri chastises them, saying he can’t be dead. The Governor says that he is. They explain to her how he died in the hallucination.

 

They demand to know who she is.

 

The married couple are thirsty and guzzle down their drink. Etta (the wife) tells Arak that she saw The Doctor move on the screen. Arak says he will be dead, as they’re going to put him in the acid bath next.

 

Two guards place something wrapped in heavy plastic in the acid first. Arak says that’s to show that the acid is highly corrosive.

 

Sil accuses Peri of being an agent of Amorb (the rival company he’s convinced she works for.) Peri complains that she doesn’t understand what he’s saying (he’s talking like Yoda again, “You agents of Amorb are!!!”)

 

The Governor confides in Peri that Sil’s language translator has a quirk, but asks her not to tell him, “It’s my only amusement.”

 

Baldy asks the Governor not to upset the Galatron delegate (that would be Sil), but the Governor’s response is to say why not find someone else to buy it for the price they ask.

 

Baldy says that the people have voted to accept Sil’s offer, and if he doesn’t, he must die. The Governor puts his foot down (figuratively) saying that he will do so after he discovers the truth about this girl and her dead friend.

 

The Doctor lifts his head and looks around. The two guards are watching the package they put in dissolve, so he gets up and says he had the most peculiar dream. Startled, one guard knocks the other into the acid.

 

The other guard struggles with The Doctor, but the man in the acid ends up pulling him in. The Doctor watches and then takes his coat, “Don’t mind if I don’t join you,” he quips as he leaves.

 

Baldy comes in and tells the Governor that The Doctor has escaped, that he was pretending to be dead. Peri is delighted to hear this. The Governor tells Baldy to recapture The Doctor and they’ll use Peri as leverage to get information from him.

 

The Doctor wanders and finds some clothing and such hanging. He puts on a mask like Quillam was wearing, grabs a coat, but turns around to find the masked Quillam standing there, with a gun pointed at him.

 

Quillam asks who he is, and the Time Lord replies, “a student of science, much interested in primitive nuclear technology.” Quillam demands he remove the mask. He recognises The Doctor from the screens.

 

Quillam takes The Doctor prisoner, saying they should talk to the executioners.

 

Sil accuses Peri of belonging to Amorb and being a “lying liar”. She tells them she’s from another time, three centuries before. They don’t believe her.

 

Baldy suggests that they send her to the rehabilitators, saying “a disturbance of her molecular structure will bring about the truth.” Sil jumps on, saying they should put her in the “reshapement chamber”, to find out if she becomes a beast or bird.

 

The Governor asks her to tell them the truth, why is she there? She agrees, saying the TARDIS is a spacecraft that needs a special metal and that’s why they came.

 

The Governor says that The Doctor has been recaptured and it’s time for a “primitive execution”.

 

In their home, Arak wakes to find Etta filling out a “viewer’s report”. He gets worried, asking if he’s in it. He says he was tired, that reports are spying… but quickly realises that he shouldn’t rant on and tries to backpedal, covering the things he said earlier.

 

The Doctor is caged. A guard enters, telling him that his appeal has been denied. The Doctor says he’d be sorry, had he asked for one. He and Jondar and Areta (Jondar’s wife) are led out. A priest is reciting from a holy book and in a bit of metafiction/fourth wall, The Doctor asks him, “do you always get the priest parts?”

 

They are led to a stage where a hanging is about to happen. Peri is brought there with The Governor, Baldy, Sil and guards (Sil’s and Governor’s). Peri apologises, saying she’s tried to get them to understand the truth.

 

The Governor asks The Doctor what is the truth, and he says to help the people of Varos to realise their potential. Sil laughs, making a joke about eating rocks.

 

Baldy says the plan is to hang the men and to give the women over for “reshapement and cell mutation experiments,” to warn women against assisting their men in treason against Varos.

 

The Governor asks if The Doctor has anything to add, anything that might stay his hand. The Doctor has one last request, he wants to know who Sil is, why he is there.

 

Sil says his presence can be of no interest, but the Governor answers, saying that the delegate of the Galatron mining corporation is there for yearly renegotiations over the market price of their ore.

 

The Doctor confirms that they’re speaking of Zeiton-7, and says that’s all the questions he has for the moment.

 

Areta and Peri are taken away, struggling. The Doctor and Jondar are taken onto the stage, nooses placed around their necks. Again, the Governor asks if the Time Lord has anything to say that might save their lives.

 

The Doctor says that his death will prevent Varos from ever breaking free of extortion from those such as Galatron Mining Company. He gives a speech and Sil shrieks, demanding they pull the lever.

 

The Doctor continues, saying Zeiton-7 is a rich commodity and he can show the people of Varos new prosperity.

 

Sil screams for their death; the Governor snaps at him, “I will give the order for execution!” In response, Sil sends his men, shrieking, “Kill, kill, kill,” at them. Sil’s bodyguards struggle with the guards, as they try to reach the lever.

 

One of Sil’s men reaches it and gives it a pull. The floor beneath The Doctor and Jondar drops and they fall, but the ropes go with them. It turns out this is a staged trick to elicit the truth, a technique the Governor has found to be “often successful”.

 

The Doctor says that he noticed that the cameras weren’t broadcasting, and thus suspected something was up. The Governor says he must investigate the statements The Doctor made on the stage, under threat of noose, but the Time Lord says he will not say anything, discuss anything, until he has confirmation that Areta and Peri have been released from the cell mutation experiments.

 

Sil accuses The Doctor of having nothing to reveal, that he is just a liar, an Amorb agent sent to usurp Galatron’s contract.

 

The Governor says that if The Doctor is lying, the next noose won’t be rigged… but if The Doctor’s claims are true, he will want to know why Galatron has been ripping off Varos for so long.

 

Sil, enraged, says that he withdraws Galatron’s offers – the Governor seems to have planned this, intended this, as he states that this releases him from having to accept them as his people had voted, and thanks him for that.

 

Peri and Areta are strapped to tables, pulsing lights and sound about them. They talk, worried… suddenly Areta says something is happening to her arms, and Peri sees her hand sprouting quills!

 

Sil and Baldy argue, each accusing each other of screwing things up. Sil reveals that a Galatron Occupation Force is on its way and they just need to delay until they get there.

 

When Baldy says The Doctor will reveal the truth about Zeiton-7, Sil says that will only happen when the women are released from the cell mutation experiments, and since that has not yet happened, they have nothing to worry about.

 

Sil then says he wants to observe the proceedings, claiming he is interested in science (but we know he just wants to delight in the misfortune of the women.)

 

Peri’s body is covered with quill/feathers now. Areta’s skin seems leathery, with pronounced facial ridges. Sil, watching, says the latter is almost attractive now. Sil says he will keep them as pets.

 

The Doctor and Jondar demand to know where the ladies are; the Governor says he gave orders to stop the experiments, but Baldy says it was too late, the process had advanced too far.

 

They then talk to Quillam, who is the supervisor of the experiments as well as the dome of punishment. He shows them the two women on the screen, seeing it is an unstable process. Based on their transformation, he says that Areta’s mind finds herself unworthy, where Peri seeks to fly away.

 

The Governor requests that Quillam cancel the experiments, but Quillam says his is a permanent position and nobody may command him, “certainly not a transient Governor in the twilight of his reign.”

 

Quillam and the Governor argue, trading barbs. Suddenly, The Doctor asks him if he still experiments on himself. Quillam says, “Not any more, why?”

 

Quillam asks how he knows this and The Doctor plucks off Quillam’s mask, revealing a mutated face. Taking advantage of the distraction, Jondar takes the guard’s gun, The Doctor taking another’s. He points a gun at Quillam, who doesn’t give in, so The Doctor shoots the control machine.

 

Jondar and The Doctor free Peri and Areta, who have reverted back to normal. The Doctor tells Jondar they must find the exit. They get the ladies out of the tables, using their names to reassert their identities as they do so.

 

Baldy and Quillam discuss that The Doctor must be eliminated, but Quillam says the dome will take care of him.

 

Once more, The Doctor, Jondar and the ladies find themselves sneaking through the corridors of the dome. They see a patrol car unattended and leave the girls behind to try to steal it.

 

Peri wakes and wanders, calling out for The Doctor, alerting the guards. Jondar holds them off as The Doctor fetches Areta, but cannot find Peri.

 

Arak and Etta are watching again, the latter surprised to find that The Doctor is still alive.

 

Sil threatens that if the Governor does not sign, Galatron will abandon Varos, but the Governor says Sil is in no position threaten now.

 

Baldy arrives with Peri, saying he brought her there “to display as evidence before the people”. The Governor says he will decide when and if he will broadcast, but Baldy says he has the authority to insist on a final vote, since the Governor failed to quell the rebellion led by Peri and The Doctor.

 

The Doctor, Jondar and Areta ride in the patrol car, looking for Peri.

 

The Governor says that they will soon die, as so many Governors have before. He tells Peri that the next Governor will be selected by a random drawing. All the while, Maldek is holding his gun at them. The Governor appeals to him, asking him to let Peri go free.

 

Maldek refuses. The Governor appeals to him, suggesting that he might be the next chosen as Governor… and even if not, he might be blamed for not resisting Jondar and The Doctor when he led them to free Peri and Areta.

 

Still, Maldek says no. The Governor backs off, asking that he kill Peri to spare her from the rehabilitators. Maldek gestures with his gun, and the Governor returns to his chair, saying that he tried.

 

The Doctor, Jondar and Areta have reached the area called “endgame”; they speculate the exit must be there, but the dangers are more real than ever.

 

Baldy is seen finishing up his address to the people, summing his arguments. He says that the Governor will speak to them and they must vote.

 

The Doctor and the rebels walk down a hall, filled with hazy yellow light. They get silly smiles.

 

The Governor’s speech concludes, saying they must vote and he is not afraid to die. Arak steps forward and votes NO for himself and Etta both!

 

The Governor puts his arms in the manacles as Peri watches. She backs away as his body is bathed in green light and he begins to gasp and cry out. He speaks as this happen, telling his people that the system is wrong, that they sell themselves cheaply.

 

Peri cries, pleading if there is anything she can do. He says no, but suddenly Maldek shoots the cell disruptors, saving the Governor’s life.

 

Arak hits both NO buttons again, but Etta yells at him, blaming him for messing up the system, “they’ll be coming around for you – voting twice AND using someone else’s voting box?”

 

Maldek tells Peri and the Governor that The Doctor is in the end zone and says they can get there through the ventillation system.

 

The Doctor and rebels see their own selves beckoning to them, coaxing them onward, but The Doctor suddenly resists, saying they are only shadows.

 

The figures fade in response, and when they look down, The Doctor and rebels see they’re about to step into a pit that appears to be filled with lava or molten metal of some sort. They turn back, looking for another route.

 

Sil demands to know why the Governor is still alive, but Quillam and Baldy assert that they are still the power.

 

Crazed, shirtless, balding men in what amounts to diapers pursue The Doctor and rebels. Yes, it’s really as unimpressive and stupid as it sounds. The Doctor stops Areta before she runs into an area filled with plant life, saying the tendrils are poisonous.

 

They pass through, careful not to touch a tendril, just in time before the two diapered men come up growling behind them. One of them brushes against a tendril and dies on the spot.

 

Wow, that was really bad.

 

They make their way through, careful not to touch a tendril, except when The Doctor rummages through his coat looking for string, then a mass of vines is jostled by him with no effect.

 

This serial was pretty cool until this part happened.

 

A patrol car with Quillam, Baldy and two guards arrives. The Doctor and rebels stand amongst the vines. Baldy demands that they kill them on the spot, but Quillam wants to gloat, to make The Doctor suffer first.

 

Baldy argues that this is no time for vengeance, but Quillam won’t listen. All the while, Jondar is holding string that they’ve used to pull back some of the vines and at The Doctor’s command, he lets go.

 

The vines fall into Baldy and Quillam and guards, killing them all.

 

The Governor, Maldek and Peri arrive, but The Doctor shouts at them not to enter. He and the rebels exit, saying that the vines are poisonous. Once out, he and Peri hug.

 

Sil reports to his superiors, requesting an invasion force. The screen prints, “INVASION PROCEEDING AWAIT FURTHER REPORT”. He sighs, pleased, and orders his guards to water him. (So, he’s an amphibian then. This makes me think of Cassandra – “Moisturise me!”)

 

He says he must look his best if he’s going to be emperor of this planet. He preens, watching himself in the mirror as he is watered down.

 

Suddenly, the Governor, Doctor, Peri, Maldek enter. Sil says he called them there to inform them that an invasion force is coming from Thoros Beta, his homeworld. He rants how he will be running things from now on.

 

As he rants, a report comes in that traces of Zeiton-7 found on an asteroid, and as such, the invasion of Varos has been canceled. Additionally, they need more Zeiton posthaste and Sil is ordered to accept any asking price the Varosians have.

 

Sil is horribly upset by all of this.

 

The Governor suggests they recommence negotiations from a more reasonable base, say twenty credits per unit? Sil goes into a conniption fit at this.

 

When the Governor asks what they can do to repay The Doctor, he says some Zeiton-7 would be of great assistance. The Governor says he shall have all they want, and goodbyes are said.

 

Sil cries out to them, begging them not to leave him at the Varosians’ mercy.

 

The Governor is shown making a broadcast, talking of working for a better future. He ends the broadast, thanking them for allowing him into their homes.

 

Etta and Arak watch, stunned. “No executions, torture, nothing,” he says.

 

It’s all changed… we’re free.”

Are we?”

Yes.”

What should we do?”

Don’t know.”

 

The broadcast screen goes static-y… and the final credits roll.

 

Okay, the end more than made up for that stupid bit earlier. There was a LOT of social commentary in this serial, about television and entertainment and what people will put up with. Skimming online, I see there are a lot of essays/web pages/articles about that, so I will leave that for them and just say this was a highly entertaining serial, with a handful of silly bits – but again, that is really indicative of the show.  

 

 

Another one where I’m not remotely sure I recall what it is about. I kinda like that, it’s almost like watching it for the first time.

 

Episode 1:

 

An alien landscape, rocky terrain with domes fills the screen. Inside one of the domes, we see a man chained to the wall . Several robotic devices move to face him. One fires a beam; he dodges it once, but the second time it strikes him in the gut and he cries out.

 

Elsewhere, a couple is watching this on a CCTV. Apparently, it’s not the first time this guy has been “laserise”-d. The man complains about the lack of food that was delivered – apparently they’re on rationed food.

 

They begin discussing the Governor and an upcoming vote. It seems there’s a lot of unhappiness here. Arak (the man) wants to go to sleep, but his wife(?) says he can’t because of the vote – apparently voting is mandatory and when he says she can vote in his place, she says she’d report him to the police.

 

In the TARDIS, The Doctor is working on the console; he says he’s done it and Peri begins complaining, pointing out a variety of errors he’s made since they’ve left Telos. (Wow, she’s annoying, I don’t remember her being so annoying.)

 

Elsewhere we see, OH MY GOD IT’S SIL!! I LOVE SIL!!!! YAY, SIL!!!! (Sorry, but Sil is so delightfully smarmy and yucky and… oh, he’s just wonderful.)

 

Ahem. Anyhow. It’s a… I’m guessing this is the Governor’s office, but I’m not sure. A human stands behind a desk, as Sil, who is a… I think he’s a reptillian creature (or maybe an amphibian?), not very tall, so he spends most of his time seated atop a mobile pedestal of sorts.

 

Sil is demanding, politely in tone and words but that’s all, that the man lower the prices of the Zeiton-7 ore his people mine. Sil threatens to withdraw his corporation’s contract. The Governor resists, and says they could branch out into other sources of revenue, such as selling tapes (tapes? In the future? How quaint…) of the torture from the punishment dome.

 

Sil laughs (and I remember this one of the endearing things about him – when he laughs, his tongue trills), pleased at the Governor’s business sense. Sil is a bloodthirsty little bastard and demands to know if the tapes are full of “torture, blindness, executions?”

 

The Governor tells him he’d have to speak to his Chief Officer, who oversees COMTEC Division product. Sil says he would like to help organised the exporting of their tapes, but only if the Governor consents to lowering the asking price for the Zeiton-7.

 

Again, the Governor’s reply is no and Sil throws a hissy fit. A bald man comes in to inquire about the negotiations, saying the people await hearing something and the Governor is bound to give them some information.

 

Sil says it is a stalemate on everything and he has already going beyond his authority. The Governor appeals to Sil, saying they must have a raise in price.

 

Sil says he will wait until after that evening’s vote, to see if the Governor is still in favour with the people; if not, he will negotiate with the new Governor.

 

On the TARDIS, Peri is moping, when suddenly the TARDIS column stops moving, making an odd noise. The Doctor opens the scanner, saying they’re in the middle of nowhere in space in a void. He sits down in a chair, moping, saying they don’t have any power.

 

He tells Peri it’s okay for her, she’ll grow old and die in the TARDIS, but he’ll go on regenerating until all his lives are spent.

 

spoiler warning

 

(I know he’s still prone to melodramatic whimsy, but come on, we can’t contact anyone for help?)

 

Sil talks to the bald man, saying that they pay him in secret and he wants him to get a new Governor to deal with. (Sil kinda talks like Yoda a bit, “Like this Governor we do not.”)

 

Baldy asks for some patience and trust. Sil worries that the Governor is onto them, and whatever they secretly are after. The bald man says it’s no big deal, but Sil suggests that perhaps he should offer the Governor him and his payments instead.

 

Sil says there has been enough talk, he wants to watch the Governor’s broadcast and vote.

 

The address begins, the Governor speaking to his people, saying that he believes the people of Varos deserve more for their effort of mining.

 

The couple from earlier are seen; he’s complaining about it, saying “get to the point” and she’s telling him to shut up. He complains more and she threatens to report him as a “subvert”.

 

The Governor’s speech is done and he appeals to them to hold out for a fair price and vote Yes for a ten percent reduction in food rations. He says that voting No is for those “who wish for full bellies today and nothing to eat tomorrow”.

 

There are two sets of buttons on the wall, one on either side of the screen. The man steps forward, punching NO, on the right side. The woman punches YES on the left side. He rolls his eyes at her.

 

The Governor watches as the results come up on a screen:

YES: 633,156

NO: 987, 627

 

It’s a landslide against him. He places his arms in manacles in his chair which close on his wrists and watches as the screen displays:

 

GOVERNOR’S RECOMMENDATION

DEFEATED

 

A green pulsing glow above him starts. He begins writhing and gasping in pain. He struggles against the manacles, but he’s stuck there.

 

The man watches on the screen, cheering it on, hoping for death, while the woman covers her face. The Governor survives, however and she praises him for being strong, saying that’s three losing votes in a row.

 

Sil, anxiously asks if the Governor is dead, but learns that he survived. He demands of baldy that they get rid of him soon. Baldy says to negotiate now while the Governor is weak.

 

When the Governor exits, Sil presses for more negotiation. The Governor tries to delay it, but Sil says it’s now or never and he capitulates, asking for a few moments to rest.

 

Sil has his bodyguards wheel his pedestal into the Governor’s chamber to await him, while the Governor speaks to baldy.

 

Baldy says that he warned him that the people would not accept more rationing. When the Governor asks, he tells him he suspects he’d be lucky to survive one more losing vote.

 

A subordinate speaks up, suggesting that the Governor give the people something “to entertain, to please the people”. He suggests giving them the life of the rebel Jondar in a public execution. The subordinate and baldy begin debating how entertaining it would be, whether it would be too quick or too uncertain.

 

Reluctantly, the Governor gives Bax (the subordinate) the okay to authorise it and thanks him for the suggestion. Bax sits down at his station and begins giving the instructions to alert the people of an “imminent public execution”.

 

Peri walks in with a book, a TARDIS manual, but The Doctor throws it aside, saying he knows what has happened. She picks up the book and he agrees to peruse it, to “confirm my diagnosis”.

 

While he does so, the column moves and this gives him hope. Suddenly he jumps up, telling Peri not to give up, and tells her to hold the book while he fiddles with buttons and toggles.

 

The Governor makes another broadcast, telling the people about the upcoming death of Jondar.

 

In the cells, a guard tells a woman that her husband, Jondar, is scheduled for death. The guard, Rondel, was once Jondar’s friend, and she appeals on that, but he says that Jondar turned against the people of Varos.

 

She says that Jondar found out that the elite live so much better than everyone else, that is what Jondar is rebelling against. Rondel says it is all lies, but she says Varos is what it always was, a prison planet – “a colony for the criminally insane”.

 

It seems the ruling class are the descendants of the original prison guards. She appeals to him to save Jondar, but he says it is too late.

 

The Doctor works on the console, while Peri reads settings from the book. There’s a joke, comic bit or something (not very funny) over her use of “zee” versus “zed”. (Peri is an American, remember.)

 

Finally, The Doctor is able to get the TARDIS to use the emergency power to make a short flight, but he says they’ll need Zeiton-7 to realign the trans-power system.

 

Oh, sure, of course. Just so happens they need Zeiton-7… only available on Varos.

 

A masked guard named Quillam visits with Jondar’s wife. Quillam’s mask completely covers one side of his face and most of the other – there’s only one eyehole. He taunts her with talk of turning her into a reptile or simian. (He’s a scientist, I gather.)

 

He orders the guard with him, Rondel, to take her to the rehabilitation unit, and then departs.

 

The sentence is read by Baldy to Jondar – death by laser obliteration. Baldy says that, as Chief Officer, he confirms all procedures have been followed and the sentence is proper.

 

Speaking to the guard who will be watching, he makes sure he has his “anti-hallucination helmet”. Hmm, lasers cause hallucinations?

 

Good, we wouldn’t want one of my guards to succumb to the phantoms of the punishment dome… not with all of Varos watching,” Baldy tells him.

 

Baldy leaves and the guard puts on his helmet as the laser cannon begins warming up.

 

Suddenly, the TARDIS materialises on the far side of the chamber; the guard fiddles with the helmet, obviously feeling it might not be working. He fires on the TARDIS, much to the disapproval of The Doctor, who watches with Peri from within.

 

Maldak calls in a report of failure of his anti-hallucination helmet. He is ordered to stay until the execution is done. (So much for worrying about that.)

 

The TARDIS scanners determine that the atmosphere is breathable. Peri wonders why the man fired on the TARDIS then turned away as if it wasn’t even there. The Doctor says they should ask him, and he heads out.

 

Sil and Baldy watch the screen, waiting for Jondar’s death. It’s a random thing, so nobody knows when it will happen. Sil is all squirmy in anticipation.

 

The Governor, seated nearby is nowhere near as pleased. Bax enters to report something to Baldy, but he and Sil yell at him to leave.

 

The Doctor and Peri exit, and try to speak to Maldek. He says they’re hallucinations. When he calls in to control again, The Doctor says they’re there to repair it for him and demands he hand it over.

 

When he goes to take the helmet off, The Doctor grabs Maldek’s gun and they struggle. They near Jondar, who kicks at the guard, helping The Doctor wrestle away the gun. With the guard dispatched, The Doctor tries to shake Jondar’s hand, but he’s chained up.

 

Since this is on camera, Sil is freaking out, demanding to know if this is planned. The Governor says it’s not and demands to know if they are rebels. Sil says they all must be executed. Baldy and Bax head off to deal with the situation.

 

Sil threatens the Governor that he could give an unfavorable report to his corporation, and this would not turn out well for Varos’ selling of Zeiton-7.

 

The Governor seems very weak and all but collapses. Sil’s bodyguards help him into a chair and Sil begins trying negotiations again. The weakened Governor sticks to his seven credits per unit, which makes Sil laugh, as Zeiton-7 is in great demand by anyone who wants to use it for “their space-time craft”.

 

The Governor has passed out and doesn’t hear this, or hear when Sil sends one of his men back to their ship to report back and call for a “colonising force” to be sent. He says with Zeiton-7, he will rule this galaxy, and perhaps all others.

 

The Doctor uses the laser cannon to free Jondar. However, guards have arrived, keeping them from getting to the TARDIS. They point the laser at the approaching guards and one is taken out.

 

Three guards on a little buggy go in pursuit.

 

In their home, the couple is watching all of this; the man is cheering on Jondar and his new friends.

 

Jondar says he can’t go much further, he has to stop and rest. When they hear the patrol car approaching, The Doctor creates a short circuit in some machinery that takes out all the power, including the lighting and the power that runs the buggy.

 

A mysterious feminine hand beckons from a secret door and The Doctor and Peri and Jondar follow.

 

The patrol car arrives, but they’re nowhere in sight. Jondar’s wife and Rondel are the ones who rescued the pursued. Rondel says he can help them escape through the guards’ exit.

 

Jondar explains that this area is used to torture and entertain the populace. When they tell The Doctor that the people are starving, he scoffs, saying that Varos has Zeiton-7. Jondar scoffs, saying, “That stuff? Who wants it?”

 

They exit, but are fired upon by the guards. They run back, and all this is observed on the feed. The man is cheering them on still, but the wife says wait till they meet the guards at the end of the tunnel.

She says she likes the one in the funny clothes.

 

As they move through the area, Jondar and his wife tell The Doctor that the entire dome is wired for cameras, for the entertainment of the people. Supposedly, there’s a route to freedom, but nobody’s ever found it before being killed by the traps or hunted by the guards.

 

The Doctor says if they can get back to the TARDIS, it’ll be easy to escape. The four of them (I missed what happened to Rondel, maybe he separated from them.)

 

They enter an area called The Purple Zone; the couple watching laugh, saying they like this section.

 

The four enter the area, which is lit by purple/pinkish light. Turning a corner, they encounter a giant fly.

 

The Doctor tells them to close their eyes. They say they cannot, but when he yells for them to do so, they do. He tells them it’s just an illusion and guides them down the hall, linked by their hands.

 

Bax, Sil and Baldy watch, debating whether they’re lucky, clever or have inside information. The guard with them is mentioned (but not by name or fate). Sil says they don’t seem to be Varosians. He thinks they’re from a rival company and wants them in for questioning. He also demands that “that object” (the TARDIS) be brought to him at once.

 

Baldy stares at him, but doesn’t protest.

 

Past the purple light, The Doctor captures a fly, telling them that was what they saw, just magnified out of proprotion.

 

Jondar tells them that not all dangers are imaginary and goes on about how the populace loves to see a group of condemned face a threat they think is fake but is real. He says this is one of the ways the elite keep the people in line, it serves as entertainment and warning.

 

They move on, but suddenly react to a horrible stench. The Doctor wonders if it’s real or not. Suddenly, two green eyes rise up out of the darkness, but The Doctor determines they’re just lights.

 

At control, Bax reports to Baldy that the people are responding positively to what they’re watching (I was going to comment that I bet the Governor got his entertainment he was looking to give the people.)

 

Baldy says that will lead to a greater impact when they are captured, tried and executed. He predicts that “the recording of their final agonies will sell on every civilised world!”

 

Peri leads them back to where the TARDIS should be, but it’s gone! The Doctor says it can’t be far away and heads down a tunnel looking for it.

 

At control, Sil supervises their attempt to break into the TARDIS. When the Governor arrives to inspect the object, Sil threatens him that if the strangers are from another company, that will end all relations with Varos, but the Governor says he doesn’t know who they are. He gives orders to the Chief (Baldy) to use every guard to capture them and then leaves, telling them to keep trying to open the TARDIS as he departs.

 

Peri complains (shocker) that all the corridors look the same. The Doctor heads down one corridor, telling her to check out another, but a patrol car shows up and he is separated from the others.

 

Guards capture Peri, Jondar and his wife. One of the guards is Maldek, who slaps Peri with his glove for making a fool of him. She is taken to be interrogated, Jondar and his wife are taken for termination.

 

The Doctor finds his return blocked off by a swinging wall. He’s forced to go onward into a bright light.

 

The woman watching says, “Oh, dear… and I really liked him!” Suddenly the video is interrupted by the Governor making an address, saying that the rebel and his compatriots have been captured or killed. He tells them that help for the rebels from another world is suspected.

 

He says their vehicle has been apprehended and their leader is walking into a “no options kill centre”, and “he will suffer the fate of all who seek to overturn the law of Varos.”

 

The Doctor walks on down a smoky corridor, blinking as he sees shifting sands in the distance.

 

The Governor puts it to a vote, asking the people for their vote on his campaign to crush the rebellion. He places his arms in the manacles and is released moments later – the vote is in his favour! He thanks his people for their vote.

 

The Doctor takes off his jacket, sweating and gasping as if he were in a desert. He struggles forward, still seeing shifting sands, and collapses.

 

The husband and wife viewers watch, the man laughing, the woman upset.

 

The Doctor sees a hallucination of Peri, offering him a drink of water. He reaches out to her but she fades.

 

Sil and Baldy watch and gloat as the Governor approaches. They talk of how the hallucinatary inductor will make him believe he cannot survive, and therefore, he will die.

 

The Doctor is shown crawling down a corridor on the public viewscreen. The married couple both seem to be affected, the husband asking if they have anything to drink.

 

Peri is brought into control; seeing The Doctor on the screen, she calls out, but is told to keep quiet. As The Doctor collapses again, the Governor orders the camera to zoom in “for death throes”.

 

The Doctor lifts his head, looking about, seeing desert everywhere and then collapses once more.

 

Sil cheers, “Dead as death!” The Governor gives the order to hold the shot a few seconds longer and then orders them to cut it… and the credits roll.

 

I like that ending – it’s not a super gripping cliffhanger, but then you know he’s not dead, so doing it this way was a pleasant change from the “oh noes, he’s going to die” cliffhanger.

 

A fun serial so far. And, YAY, SIL!!!!!

 

See you Friday.

Recap: Our old friend, Lytton (from RESURRECTION OF THE DALEKS) is on Earth. He’s found some Cybermen and is trying to make nice with them. The Doctor detects an intergalactic distress signal and he and Peri arrive in London to investigate.

On Telos, Cybermen are using human slave force to do something.

The Cyberleader and his Cybermen ambush The Doctor in the TARDIS and Peri is about to be “destroy(ed) at once”.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

The Doctor demands that they discuss this, insisting that she must live if the Cyberleader wants his cooperation. The Cyberleader says that they don’t need The Doctor, they just want his TARDIS.

The Doctor leaps forward and presses some buttons on the console, saying that he’s started a twenty second self destruct sequence. The numbers count down on a screen.

The Cyberleader orders for Peri to be released, but when The Doctor asks how he knows he can trust him, the Cyberleader says he has his word, as well as that of the Cyber Controller. The Doctor is surprised to learn that CyCo (my new diminutive for him from now on) is still alive and on Telos.

Distracted by this, The Doctor neglects to shut off the self-destruct until Peri nags him about it. Of course, there’s only one second left when it is stopped.

(sigh)

The Cyberleader instructs The Doctor to take the TARDIS to Telos, and he obeys.

On Telos, Stratton reluctantly gets dressed as a Cyberman. He argues with Bates about it. Stratton looks like a sad sack Cyberman.

Back in the TARDIS, The Doctor, Peri, Griffiths and Lytton are placed in a room for holding. Lytton informs The Doctor that a time vessel landed on Telos and the Cybermen captured it.

So they only have one ship,” The Doctor asks.

They will have two with your TARDIS,” Lytton replies.

When The Doctor questions Lytton how he knows about the proceedings on Telos, Lytton plays it off. Peri remarks that it’s obvious they know each other and The Doctor brings up Lytton’s history with the Daleks.

Your regeneration has made you vindictive, Doctor.”

Not at all. I’ve never found it difficult to despise people like you.”

Lytton insists he’s a prisoner, not working with the Cybermen. Griffiths and Peri want to know where Telos is; the former says he’s having a great deal of trouble understanding all of the going ons, but the latter assures him he’ll get used to it.

The CyCo is informed about a transmission coming from the TARDIS; he says it must be an attempt by The Doctor to inform the Time Lords of what is going on, and gives orders to inform the Cyberleader on board the TARDIS. CyCo says that if the Time Lords try to get involved, it will be too late, “Telos will have been destroyed and we shall have The Doctor’s TARDIS.”

Um, how would TIME Lords be too LATE?

Anyone? Anyone?

Lytton returns The Doctor’s sonic lance to him. The Doctor uses it to try to tamper with the navigational control, hoping to take them elsewhere (or when?)

The Doctor and Lytton fill in Peri and Griffiths on Telos. The Doctor says that Peri would have liked Telos “in the old days, when the Cryons were in residence”. We learn that the Cybermen needed Telos for the sub-zero cities that the Cryons built for hibernation.

Peri asks why the Cybermen didn’t build hibernation units on their own planet, “…I assume they had one.” The Doctor gets very uncomfortable and Peri and Griffiths ask what’s wrong. Lytton gets a dig in, “Yes, Doctor, what is the matter?”

Heh heh heh, I do like Lytton.

The Cyberleader learns of the irregular signal and says to prepare for landing on Telos, and orders for The Doctor to be brought to him.

The Doctor, arm around Peri, tells her and Griffiths of the destruction of Mondas, the Cybermen’s homeworld.

Lytton interrupts, “Tell them how it was destroyed.”

The Doctor glares at him, “You’re enjoying this!”

It’s not often I have the opportunity to watch a Time Lord squirm.”

Yes, I do like Lytton a lot.

It comes up that the attack by Mondas on Earth takes/took place in 1986 – the following year for Peri and Griffiths. Peri insists that they do something about it, but The Doctor says that he cannot, it would violate the laws of time.

Before too much more can be said, a Cyberman comes to take Peri away. The Doctor is also ordered to go to the console room.

On Telos, a Cyberman wanders, half-frozen, and seemingly out of control. CyCo is informed of this and orders for resuscitation to cease and for the rogue Cyberman to be destroyed.

In the TARDIS, the Cyberleader assures that Peri is safe, they’re merely getting her warmer clothing. He accuses The Doctor of deceiving them, ordering him to disconnect the signal to the Time Lords. The Doctor is physically abused before and after he does so and is warned if he tries such again, they will kill him.

Stratton complains he cannot breathe in the helmet, then wants to rest. Bates yells at him, saying Cybermen don’t rest.

Peri arrives in the console room, wearing a red jumpsuit, alarmed at The Doctor’s weakened state.

The TARDIS materialises, as a door in a wall. The Cybermen and their prisoners exit. Peri complains that it’s cold, and The Doctor tells Lytton he forgot how big the cybertombs were.

Peri complains about the cold some more.

The Cyberleader says they have materialised in the wrong place; The Doctor feigns ignorance. Lytton remarks to the Time Lord that the Cyberleader almost seemed concerned and The Doctor agrees, wondering why.

CyCo gives orders to bring the TARDIS there.

Peri wonders what the rancid smell is. Lytton says it is death. Peri says they’re hibernating, but Lytton doesn’t respond. The Doctor accuses Lytton of knowing more than he’s letting on, but again, Lytton puts off answering it, saying The Doctor will know soon enough.

The Cyberleader says they must leave at once. When The Doctor asks why, he says “We have far to travel and the Controller awaits your arrival.”

Suddenly, a cyberman comes out of one of the tombs and attacks the Cyberman on guard. Peri, Lytton and Griffiths run off, as the rogue is killed. The Doctor is still prisoner.

Peri runs about, alone, peering into the tombs. Another rogue breaks free and attacks her and two other aliens attack the Cyberman and rescue her, though she resists, thinking they’re attacking her, too.

Griffiths follows Lytton, saying he wants to go home. Lytton says he’s working on it.

Oh, I see. You’ve got a taxi waiting,” the bald crook snarks.

Suddenly, a female voice says, “He speaks the truth.” From behind some rocks, another of the aliens that grabbed Peri appears. (Okay, I think we can safely assume these are Cryons, the original inhabitants of Telos.) The Cryon, named Threst, says that Lytton has come to help them.

Lytton explains that the Cryons picked up his distress signal when he was on Earth and told him of the Cybermen’s invading their world. He explains he tricked the Cybermen into bringing them there.

Threst agrees, saying they need his help, and they need Griffiths as well. (I note she doesn’t say they need his help, but him.) Threst even offers to pay Griffiths the equivalent of two million pounds in uncut diamonds. It seems diamons are uncommon on Telos.

When Griffiths asks what he’s supposed to do for the pay, Lytton answers, “Help me steal a time vessel.”

The Doctor is thrown in a storage room, where he meets a Cryon named Flast.

Griffiths learns that his job is to help keep Lytton alive. When he asks why a Cryon can’t do it, Threst explains she would boil if she went onto the surface.

Lytton tells Griffiths that if they succeed in stealing the time vessel, they’ll live to spend the money.

And if we don’t,” he asks.

Lytton walks up behind him, “Then we’ll be turned into emotionless Cybermen.”

Peri wakes, to find several Cryons there. They explain that they mean her no harm, they rescued her from the Cybermen, pointing out that it was at great risk to their own safety.

Peri apologises, saying she’s confused. The two Cryons introduce themselves as Rost and Varne. When she says she’s from the planet Earth, they say they know.

Bates and FauxCybermanStratton walk through the terrain, the latter complaining that they won’t get away with it, the former telling him to shut up. They see a hatch open and hide and watch as Lytton and Griffiths exit from beneath the surface.

The Doctor tells Flast that he thought the Cryons were destroyed; she says the Cybermen thought the same, “but as you see, some of us survived.”

The Doctor says it’s too cold for him in there, that he won’t last half an hour. Flast is more interested in the fact that she’s not had company in a long time. When he talks of escape, she says they all talk about that at first, but it’s the locked door and the armed guard that keeps it from being more than talk.

The Doctor retorts, quite wonderfully, “Really? Could also have something to do with the lack of support from their cellmate?” This infuriates Flast, as she says she hates the Cybermen more than he could know and would do anything to stop the Cybermen.

Flast and The Doctor talk about the Cybermen’s time vessel. She points out they have a ship but they do not quite understand time travel. When The Doctor says that’s reassuring, she says what they have in mind will undoubtedly distress him.

Well, tell me gently,” he responds.

They intend to change history,” she explains. When he protests they cannot do that, it’s against the laws of time, she says that he had better tell them that, “because if you don’t, they intend to prevent Mondas from being destroyed!”

CyCo learns that all charges on the planet are set and primed. He gives the order for the TARDIS to be brought to them.

Bates and Stratton get the drop on Lytton and Griffiths. Lytton says they can help each other. Bates is surprised to learn that the two men are flesh and blood and reveals that he has cybernetic arms and legs – it seems the cybernisation process doesn’t always work.

You’re sort of rejects,” Griffiths quips.

That’s one way of putting it,” Bates agrees.

Will they do that to us,” Griffiths asks Lytton.

Lytton answers, “If they find us… but we won’t be here.”

Lytton says to Bates that the time vessel needs a crew of three and if they work together, they have four. He shows Bates a map of a safe route and explains that the Cryons are helping him.

Peri asks if the Cryons can rescue her friend The Doctor, but they say the Cyber Control is too warm for them. On a screen, there is an image of The Doctor in the storeroom and Peri asks how they knew that one was The Doctor, when she arrived with three men.

The Cryons argue amongst themselves, one says the other wasn’t very bright, the other says they should have killed her. Peri realises they know Lytton, and they confirm that he is working for them. The Cryons tell her that Lytton is trying to keep the Cybermen from leaving, so they won’t destroy Telos.

Then they say the Cybermen want to study the effect of the explosion on the planet’s atmosphere. Um. Is it being destroyed or just explosions set off? The two are not really the same.

She learns that the Cybermen plan to destroy Earth, to save Mondas.

Lytton leads his new crew through the underground complex.

CyCo gives orders to destroy the SVPs (Stratton and Bates?)

Flast is also filling in The Doctor on the Cybermen’s plan. They’re going to use Halley’s Comet to hit Earth.

When The Doctor mentions that the Time Lords won’t allow history to be changed, Flast suggests perhaps their agents are already at work. The Doctor suddenly gets mad, realising that he’s been allowed to come here to do their work.

Flast shows The Doctor a mineral called vastial, a highly unstable element that will explode at ten degrees above zero and self-ignite at fiften.

Lytton takes Stratton’s gun as his three men climb up a ladder, saying he’ll keep them covered. Griffiths goes first, followed by Bates and Stratton, and then Lytton. However, at the last minute, he’s grabbed by Cybermen. The other three go on without him.

The Doctor opens the door with his sonic lance and slides out a small amount of vastial. The Cyberguard inspects it and it explodes, setting the Cyberman on fire. The Doctor says that the Cybermen will kill her when they learn of her part in this, but she asks for the sonic lance, saying she can use that to detonate the vastial to destroy the complex.

The Cryons are taking Peri to the TARDIS, but she’s trying to get them to realise she cannot pilot it. They say they will help her. She argues, saying it’s temperamental and not even The Doctor can always control it.

They learn that Lytton has been taken prisoner. They reassert that the TARDIS must be moved.

The Doctor dashes through the tombs.

CyCo confronts Lytton, saying he knows he’s after the time vessel and demands to know how he plans to do it. They begin torturing Lytton, squeezing his hands so that blood rush down it and he screams, collapsing.

Peri and the Cryons argue about who’s approaching the TARDIS and the Cyberman guarding it.

Lytton is taken away to be converted. CyCo learns that the time vessel is approaching and orders for The Doctor to be brought to him. The Cyberman guarding him does not respond to the summons. They realise The Doctor has escaped.

Flast tinkers with the sonic lance and places it in a chest of vastial. As the camera pulls back, we see the storeroom is filled with containers of it.

The time vessel lands on Telos.

The Doctor reunites with Peri, who says that the Cryons want to destroy the TARDIS, but they say they just do not want the Cybermen to have control of it. The Doctor says they need to find out how many Cybermen are inside the TARDIS.

They break into one of the tombs and on the corpse of the Cyberman within, The Doctor activates a built in distress signal, saying this will draw the Cybermen out. He tells the Cryons about Flast and the vastial.

In the vastial storeroom, Cybermen investigate to see if The Doctor tampered with the explosive mineral. They find Flast, who is melting from the open door. The Cyberleader demands to know how long The Doctor has been gone and when she refuses to answer, they throw her outside into the hall, where she dies.

GSB (Griffiths, Stratton, Bates) attempt to open the door to where the time vessel landed, but it’s a trap and Bates is electrified/shocked when he touches the door. The door opens and a Cyberman shoots Stratton and Griffiths.

CyCo, learning of the deaths of GSB, gives the orders to prepare to depart. We see Lytton in a booth, in the midst of conversion.

Two Cybermen exit the TARDIS in response to the distress. The Cryons ambush and destroy them, but not before losing one of their own. The Doctor offers Rost his sympathies, but she tells him, “Please remove your TARDIS from Telos before you have to be rescued again,” and assures him they will survive.

As they head to the TARDIS, Peri asks about Lytton, saying he’s been captured by the Cybermen and explains he was working for the Cryons. The Doctor confirms this with Rost and says he will see what he can do.

The Cyberleader orders his crew to hurry loading the vastial. He learns that the technicians on the TARDIS are not responding and the ship has been moved.

The TARDIS materialises in the laboratory and The Doctor exits. He finds Lytton and says “I’m just beginning to find out about you,” as he tries to figure out how to remove him from the booth.

Lytton asks if he put the sonic lance “to good use” and The Doctor says he did, then asks why Lytton didn’t explain things to him.

Lytton says he must kill him, but The Doctor says he can help him. Lytton begs The Doctor to kill him, but before anything else can happen, CyCo walks in. They lure him in and Lytton attacks CyCo with the tool the Time Lord was using to try to free Lytton.

Other Cybermen enter, but The Doctor gets a Cybergun and shoots them all, CyCo included.

Peri rushes out after all the death, as The Doctor returns to the fallen Lytton.

I must help him,” the Time Lord exclaims.

It’s too late, Doctor, he’s dead.”

I cant’ just leave him!”

You must, there’s nothing you can do.”

Reluctantly, The Doctor rises, moving towards the TARDIS, “Why didn’t he say something?”

Peri follows, saying, “You never gave him a chance!”

They enter the TARDIS, which is a police box again by the way, and it dematerialises.

In the storage room, the vastial begins to explode, destroying the entire complex, and presumably the time vessel.

In the TARDIS, Peri tries to reassure The Doctor when he says it didn’t go very well, reminding him that Earth is safe as is history and “the web of time”.

I meant on a personal level… I don’t think I’ve ever misjudged anybody quite as badly as I did Lytton.”

Peri tries to offer a reassuring smile… and the final credits roll.

What an ending. I am saddened at Lytton’s death (didn’t recall that until we were towards the end, I was really hoping he survived somehow.) I know a lot of people didn’t like the Colin Baker era for the darker edge to the stories, but there was a lot of that in the Davison era, too – look at the WARRIORS OF THE DEEP serial, that was a dark ending, just like this one.

Most awesome serial, though. One of my all time favourites here.