|Main Setting:||Nark, circa 2254|
|Total Running Time:||148 minutes|
|Guest Player(s):||Dino Andrade|
|Previous Story:||The Russian Worm|
|Following Story:||Evolve or Die|
The Doctor reviews the diary pages given to her by Roman at the end of the last episode - they're from all different periods in the Doctor's life, and all seem to concern the Sisterhood of Karn. Roman says he kept the diary pages at the Doctor's request, and that the Sisterhood would be needed but that they would have to find the Doctor.
The TARDIS is pulled into a energy field and lands on the planet Nark, in the middle of a forest. The TARDIS is right in the middle of an electrical dome, which crackles and disappears, allowing rain to fall freely into the forest. They are approached by three diminutive humanoids armed with pitchforks - Whistler, Morris and Brains - who accuse the Doctor of taking down the dome. Not knowing what happened, they suggest taking the Doctor and Travis to their village to meet "the Big Guy'.
The village is made up of anachronistic huts made of simple materials wired up with electronics providing power to home appliances. They are led to a larger hut filled with computers, terminals and machinery. Sitting in the room is a man, whom the Doctor immediately recognizes as the Master, who asks the Doctor and Travis what they have to say for themselves. Morris describes the situation with the TARDIS having shut down the force field, and Travis attempts to explain what happened. The Master does not remember the TARDIS or the Doctor.
A teenaged woman, Susan, enters the room, calling the Master "Grandfather." The Doctor uses her psychic paper to try and see if the Master and Susan see anything, but they just see blank paper. She then uses the psychic paper to send a message to Roman that just says "Master". The Master asks Susan if he should know the Doctor and Travis, and Susan tells her he's never met them before. The Doctor feels as though something is up between their relationship.
Susan posits that the TARDIS landing on the field dome may have shorted the field out. Susan checks the instruments and determines that something is indeed interfering with the field. The Doctor asks what the dome is for - Susan reveals that there are mercenaries trying to track her and the Master. The dome going down has put them, and the village, at risk. Whistler reveals that the Master and Susan "fell out of the sky," and the villagers took them in and cared for them. When strangers began to attack the village looking for the pair, the Master began working to protect the village.
The Master is primarily concerned with protecting the villagers. Susan and the Master determine that the best course of action is to send teams to repair three of the node stations positioned at compass points at the edge of the dome.
Roman enters holding a weapon and the TARDIS in Siege Mode. He drops the cube, causing it to land heavily against the ground, aiming the gun at the Master, but the Doctor disarms and chastizes Roman just before the Master knocks Roman on the head with his staff, rendering him unconscious. The Doctor removes the fuel cell and Morris disposes of it.
The Doctor and Travis offer to assist in repairing the nodes, and the Master reluctantly accepts. The teams split up into three groups - the Master and the Doctor heading south, Travis and Susan heading north, and Morris and Whistler heading east - with Roman staying behind to monitor the equipment and an alert system. The Master initially insists that Susan remain at his side, but ultimately relents on the condition that three warriors join Susan.
Roman boosts the signal to the alert system and discovers indistinct movement in the outer forests. The Doctor sends another message to Roman surreptitiously that says "Chameleon Arch?"
En route to the southern node, Travis uses the sonic cartridge for the Game Boy Color to set up a motion detector to track movement, but spaces out and comes to as he's already finished setting it up with no memory of having done it or how.
Susan reveals to Travis that she and the Master were on a ship heading from Earth to Zeta IV, her home colony "far, far from here." Their ship crashed, and she can't recall what caused the crash. Travis asks if the mercenaries are from Nark, but Susan says they may be from another world. She describes their outfits as "strange crimson armor with strange symbols on the shoulders". Travis realizes he is unable to transmit a message to the Doctor while using the motion tracker he coded.
Once they arrive at their node, the Doctor takes advantage of the Master's focus on repairing the node and scans the Master - she finds that the Master still scans as human, eliminating the likelihood of a Chameleon Arch situation, but that his mind is "marinating" in Artron energy - something is manipulating his mind and blocking his ability to access his own memory. She begins to ask where he's from. The Master says he's from Zeta IV. When the Doctor presses for more questions about what Zeta IV is, the Master reveals he can't remember much from before the crash, only that Susan is his granddaughter. Furthermore, he isn't interested in learning anything from before the crash - he fears he may have lost more in the crash than he remembers, and he would rather not have that recall. After repairing the node, they discover that the node is getting power and that the dome should be functional, but the Doctor's TARDIS is siphoning power away from the dome.
They then become aware of movement in the trees, and Travis' motion tracker begins bleeping. A troupe of Time Lord soldiers begin moving in on their location. The Master instinctively retrieves a bladed weapon, and is uncomfortable doing so. The Doctor and the Master can feel the presence of the Time Lords as they move in; Travis and Susan see the Time Lords moving towards their position.
And then, there is staser fire.
Travis sees a group of Time Lords moving through the trees, and indicates to the rest of his group to hide behind a fallen tree. Travis trips and falls, drawing the attention of the approaching Time Lords. Susan extends her hand and says "No," and the Time Lords are vanished.
The Doctor and the Master hear staser fire, and a scream of pain - they discover a group of the villagers who have built a catapult that is slinging pitchforks at the approaching Time Lords. The Master sends the villagers north to protect Susan. The Doctor tries to send a message to Travis' Game Boy, but as his Game Boy is being used as a motion detector he is not able to receive the message.
Travis confronts Susan about vanishing the Time Lords. Susan responds that the Master is "a very dangerous man," and if they don't get back soon she may lose her control over him. She snaps her fingers and the northern node is instantly repaired.
The Master and the Doctor head northwest to head to the northern node, as the Master wants to protect Susan. The Doctor tells him that the Time Lords are after him, and reveals that the Master is a Time Lord. The Master refuses to accept this, and brandishes a weapon without realizing it. The Doctor points this out, and the Master is silent for a moment before reiterating his desire to protect his granddaughter. The Doctor states that they need to get off this planet - the Master recalls the crash, and holding on to Susan to keep her from being sucked out of a hull breach.
They meet up with Susan and Travis' group and return to the village. The Doctor scans Susan, and the Sonic Screwdriver returns a reading of person-shaped nothingness. She confronts Susan about why she's manipulating the Master - this causes the Master to lose his temper with the Doctor, but Susan calms him and tells him to drop his weapon.
Susan begins to explain as Roman approaches holding the TARDIS in its handheld cube-shaped cube-shaped Siege Mode. He reveals that the field surrounding the village is not a shield but a TARDIS catcher, a net surrounding the village designed to snare a TARDIS. This surprises Susan, who says the Master built the shield to protect her. The Master also insists it's a shield and does not know what a TARDIS is. Roman inserts his TARDIS key into the Siege Mode TARDIS cube, and the TARDIS springs into its full size, damaging the roof of the Master's hut.
As the Master sees the TARDIS, recognizing it - his memory comes flooding back. He starts laughing. He explains that these were his people and he wanted a way out. He insists "we were done!", that he had peace and silence. The Doctor angrily points out that the Master let people die outside of the shield, and asks if anyone would have died if the Master had not come to Nark. Roman says that the Doctor can't reason with the Master, calling him "the worst of us all." The Doctor says Roman knows that can't be true.
Susan reveals that the Master chose her name - it was the first name that came to his mind when she told him she was his granddaughter. The Doctor says that was her granddaughter's name, who which Susan replies, "Of course."
One of the villagers come in and calls them to the south gate. The group moves to find Whistler and Morris bloodied. Whistler says "They're coming." The Doctor tells the Master he has to take him off this planet, but the Master refuses to leave, insisting they are his people. The Master refuses the Doctor's help, but the Doctor insists the Master pulled him here for a reason. The Master struggles to resolve an internal conflict - he wants to burn this place to the ground, but also to protect it.
The Master remembers what happened aboard the ship - he was trying to kill Susan, not save her. The memories are warped in his mind, flitting between the two versions.
Travis spots a large wave of Time Lords in the trees - Chancellery Guards, soldiers, and commanding the forces - Coydan. Roman recognizes him and pulls out a staser.
The Master steps out to greet the Time Lords. He pulls out a small trigger and clicks it, revealing large horizontal circular blades cutting down the trees and everyone within range. The Time Lords are largely taken out. Some retreat, many fall and begin to regenerate. Coydan himself is hit, and regenerates into a new form.
The Doctor points out that Time Lords "come back meaner" after they regenerate, so they have to go. The Master threatens to kill Susan, but can't bring himself to. Susan reveals that the Master must still feel "that little bit of love I gave you." She then reveals herself to be the Reaper Cortex. Roman says that can't be possible as the Reaper Cortex isn't real. Susan responds, "Never give time a good idea."
Susan reveals that Rassilon sent the Master to try and kill her, but she was able to reverse it. The Master once again has an internal conflict, and begs the Doctor for help.
The newly-regenerated Coydan calls for a "full bombardment, kill them all!" and a fleet of Battle TARDISes emerges from the clouds. The Doctor tries to hold the Master back, but he struggles free. Susan tries to compel the Master to go back to the Protector's hut, but the Master is able to resist and that slither of love has gone. Travis attempts to steal the Master's cane, but fails - the Master swings at Travis with the cane, but the Doctor grabs his cane mid-swing and tries to encourage him to leave.
Susan agrees, and snaps her fingers. The Master is transported deep into the forest with the trunk from his hut, which pops open revealing the Master's TARDIS in Siege Mode.
The Doctor, Travis and Susan rush to the Protector's hut. The Doctor's goal: Launch the power cell she took from Roman's gun earlier and launch it into the dome to reverse its polarity and push the Battle TARDISes out. She gives the power cell to the Roman and the villagers to have them use the catapult to launch the node. Travis uses his Game Boy to transmit a signal to the fuel cell to detonate it. The Doctor asks Susan to help figure out the code to fully reverse the polarity.
As Roman is about to launch the fuel cell, Coydan shoots him in the back. Roman falls down, but uses the last of his strength to launch the fuel cell. Travis is shaken by this, and misses his opportunity to trigger the detonation. It arcs into the air, then falls down, bouncing off of the newly-formed dome, detonating too late. The explosion is enough to cause the dome to push away the Battle TARDISes, but the energy of the explosion causes the dome to crackle in shades of red and purple before it shatters and dies - the four nodes detonate, taking the huts they were contained within with them. The shield is down permanently.
Coydan is knocked to the ground. He sees Travis rushing towards him, but Susan says "No," and vanishes Coydan. Coydan appears in the orbit of a sun, falling into the star, regenerating over and over, becoming angrier and angrier, before burning into the star. She then does this to all of the other Time Lords.
The Master struggles to reconcile whether to stay and protect the village, or to get into the TARDIS and kill. He realizes he doesn't have a reason to stay anymore, and so he has to leave and go kill something else. His TARDIS restores to full size, taking the form of a redwood tree, blending in with the rest of the forest. The Master enters, and activates a viewscreen. He sees Whistler's body, and realizes that if he were still alive he would have stayed. The Master engages his TARDIS, and the tree disappears from the forest, leaving only a stump.
It begins to rain in the village. Roman lays on the ground uncomfortably as Travis approaches. The dying Roman hands Roman a lightly-scorched letter and instructs him not to show it to the Doctor. He says, "I know you're worried about yourself. You're doing just fine, Travis. You're better than you think."
He begins to shudder as the Doctor approaches. Roman reaches out to her, but she is just out of reach. He tells her not to worry - "It's all part of the plan." Roman's body vanishes, and unravels, as his mind and body become part of the Matrix.
The Doctor asks Susan if she can fix this. She says no. But "I'll see you at the end of the labyrinth." Then she vanishes.
The Doctor takes off her own coat, and takes Roman's pink jacket from where he died and puts it on. She heads to the TARDIS, lost. Travis stands outside of the TARDIS letting the rain fall before entering. He wants to approach the Doctor, but opts instead to head to his bedroom. Gunther is sitting in Roman's chair, able to tell that something is wrong.
In his room, Travis opens the envelope. There are two keys, one of which is Roman's TARDIS key. He reads the accompanying letter:
- Travis. If you're reading this, you didn't listen when I told you not to read this. Beautiful work, well done, I'm very proud of you. The next page isn't for you or the Doctor, but you'll know when to give it back to me. It's very important. Don't lose it. You're already magnificent, my boy. Keep it up.
The second page is a map of the Pacific Missile Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, dated 2018, the time-space coordinates for Earth, the base's logitude and latitude, and the temporal coordinates to rescue Amelia Earhart.
The second key is labeled "Amelia Earhart".
- The Doctor - Riley Silverman
- Travis - Dan Peck
- The Master - Dino Andrade
- Roman, Susan, Coydan III, Engineer - Michael Nixon
- Game Master, all other characters - Ben Paddon
- Editing and Sound Design - David King
- Theme music arrangement - Drew Krassowski
- Additional music - Luke Baldridge
- Story - Michael Nixon, Ben Paddon
- Nark Villagers
- Chancellery Guard
- Nark is an anagram of Karn, the home of the Sisterhood of Karn. The planet was named by Riley Silverman in a joke.
- Much like the Doctor at the beginning of the show, the Master experiences memory loss. His is much more severe - while the Doctor merely lacks recall of her regeneration, the Master has absolutely no memory of who he is.
- The Master goes by two alternative names here - the Big Guy, and the Protector.
- The Doctor recognizes this incarnation of the Master - they had previous worked together to stop a Slitheen takeover of a planet that happened to overlap and overshine the Master's own plans of conquest. They apparently left this adventure on positive terms.
- The Doctor asks the Master if he has a piece of glass or a fobwatch around. (Utopia, Prisoner of the Judoon)
- The Master's "Granddaughter" is named Susan, sharing her name with the Doctor's own granddaughter.
- The Doctor refers to the events of The Doctor's Wife.
- Roman dies at the end of this adventure, but leaves Travis with Millie's from the Pacific Missile Facility. He instructs Travis to give this to him some day.
- Roman's body evaporating references the Doctor's grave as seen in The Name of the Doctor. Michael also refers to the Matrix as part of the death process.
- The last serial of season 2 to be recorded at Geeky Teas & Games in Burbank, CA before the stay-at-home order issued due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Voice actor Dino Andrade appears as the Master, and also provides some helpful tips to Ben Paddon for voicing NPCs. He politely declines to be the show's regular vocal coach.
- Reference is made to Roman scatting.
- Subterfudge is referenced, having been a recurring bit in Valentine of the Daleks which was recorded before this serial.
- Coydan's regeneration was not planned. Because Michael and Ben had already established a precedent of changing the character between them as a result of the regeneration, they repeated this again when the Master killed Coydan.
- When Coydan regenerates, Dan jokingly references South Park by crying "Oh my God, they killed Coydan!"