Monday, July 18, 2016

"The Deadly Assassin"

Aired Oct 30 - Nov 20, 1976

4 Episodes

Story 88

Written by Robert Holmes

Directed by David Maloney


As the Doctor, travelling alone following Sarah's departure, makes his way to Gallifrey, he is beset by a vision of the future. He sees himself assassinating the President of the Time Lords. 

Once he arrives, events soon spin out of control, as the Time Lord President is in fact killed, and the assassin appears to be the Doctor! Desperate to both prove his innocence and unravel the identity of the true culprit, the Doctor enlists to aid of Castellan Spandrell. They soon suspect that the conspiracy is being directed by the Doctor's adversary and fellow renegade, the Master.
In a risky gamble, the Doctor connects his living mind to the Amplified Panatropic Computer Net, a network that stores the accumulated knowledge of all Time Lords. His hope is that he can use the power of the APC Net, or Matrix, to track down the Master, who has been using it to amplify his knowledge. Inside the Matrix's reality, the Doctor is hunted by a mysterious opponent, eventually revealed to be Time Lord Chancellor Goth, in league with the Master. After a brutal cat and mouse struggle, the Doctor manages to emerge the victor, though Goth dies in the process.

The Doctor learns the Master has been reduced to an emaciated, disintegrating husk of a being, having used up all twelve of his regenerations. His plan is to seize control or the Presidency not just for power's sake, but because the official trappings of the office, the Sash and Rod of Rassilon, are actually advanced technology. The Sash and Rod can be used to access the Eye of Harmony, the technology that is the source of the power that defines Time Lord Society. In this way, the Master's physical form can be renewed, though Gallifrey would be destroyed in the process.

Now in possession of the items he needs, the Master reaches the Eye of Harmony in a chamber beneath the Panopticon. The Doctor races to confront his old enemy, and during their battle, the Master falls through a fissure created by the earthquakes generated by the eye.

Exonerated, the Doctor bids his farewells and heads back into the cosmos in his TARDIS. However, he is unaware that the Master survives, and he too heads back out into space, perhaps to battle the Doctor once more...

Monday, July 11, 2016

"The Hand of Fear"

Aired Oct 2 - 23, 1976

4 Episodes

Story 87

Written by Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Directed by Lennie Mayne


When the TARDIS arrives in a quarry in contemporary England, the Doctor and Sarah set out to explore. However, what they fail to realize is that the quarry is about to set off a scheduled demolition, and Sarah and the Doctor are caught in the blast. Though both survive, Sarah is found unconscious, clutching what looks like a fossilized human hand. 

While Sarah is taken to the hospital to recover, she is also possessed by a malevolent force. The hand is no fossil, nor is it inert. It is in fact a fragment of an extraterrestrial silicon-based life form called Eldrad. Eldrad was exiled from his home world of Kastria eons ago as punishment for his despotic and genocidal aims.

Now possessed by Eldred's will, Sarah takes the hand to a nearby nuclear research and power station, where it absorbs the radiation for the station and regenerates its body and lives again.

The Doctor manages to free Sarah from Eldrad's control, but he agrees to take the exiled and dangerous alien back to Kastria. Once there, however, Eldrad finds his home world a lifeless tomb, the Kastrians having embraced extinction rather than countenance the possibility of Eldred's return to power.

Eldrad attempts to force the Doctor and Sarah to take him back to Earth to rule that planet in Kastria's stead, but the Doctor and Sarah manage to trick Eldrad into falling into a nearly bottomless crevasse, ending the threat of leas for now.

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor receives an urgent summons to return to Gallifrey, but as he cannot take an Earthling with him, he is forced to return Sarah to Earth and head back into the stars without her...

Monday, July 4, 2016

"The Masque of Mandragora"

Aired Sept 4 - 25, 1976

4 Episodes

Story 86

Written by Louis Marks

Directed by Rodney Bennett


While travelling through the vortex, the TARDIS encounters the Mandragora Helix, a whirling spiral of energy that is believed to have a sentient intelligence at its core. While temporarily stuck inside the Helix, a ball of energy invades the TARDIS as the Doctor sets the ship in motion.

He and Sarah arrive in Renaissance Italy, in the Dukedom of San Martino, which is in the midst of a power struggle. The Duke has just died, and while his benevolent and rational son Giuliano is next in line, his ambitious and despotic uncle, Count Federico, has other plans. Federico, with the help of court astrologer Hieronymus, was behind the elder Duke's death, and has the same plans for the Prince. Though Federico and Hieronymus are allies, the Count does not subscribe to the superstitions of the astrologer, who is also secretly a member of the secret outlaw cult the Brotherhood of Demnos.

Into these machinations the Doctor and Sarah are thrust when the Mandragora energy leaves the TARDIS and becomes involved with the Brotherhood of Demnos, promising Hieronymous unlimited power in exchange for his service to the Helix.

While Giuliano's accession to the Dukedom is being celebrated by a masque, the Mandragora energy and the Brethren lay siege to the court. Federico meets his end at the hands of the energy, which has completely consumed Hieronymous, and the Doctor is forced to confront the Helix in an underground temple in  desperate attempt to prevent its ascendency on Earth.

The Doctor concocts a primitive method of draining the Helix energy out of the astrologer and dissipating it harmlessly, and he and Sarah leave Giuliano to usher in an age of reason for San Martino.