Dr. Who: Shada, Part 2

At the end of Part 1, the Doctor was attempting to crawl under a chain-link fence to try to escape a floating silver sphere intent on sucking all the information out of his brain.

Doctor rescuedFortunately, he’s rescued by Romana, who shows up in the Tardis just in time. The Doctor scrambles up off the ground and into the Tardis (catching the end of his scarf in the door) before the sphere reaches him.

This was the other scene reused in The Five Doctors, with the floating sphere effect taken out. I always wondered why the Doctor was lying down in an alleyway.

Cambridge physics student Chris Parsons has undergone some experiences in the last few hours that have totally changed his understanding of the universe. First, that strange book he borrowed from Professor Chronotis  appeared be of extraterrestrial origin. Then, he had a look around inside the Tardis, met K9, and has learned that the now-dead professor was alien and isn’t the only person from another planet hanging around Earth. He’s in for a few more surprises before the day is out.

While Romana pops out to get the Doctor, Chris remains sitting with the dead professor, who vanishes before his eyes. When the Tardis comes back, he explains what happened; the Doctor says that Chronotis must have been on his last regeneration.

Chris and Romana tell the Doctor about Chronotis’s last words: Beware the sphere. Beware Skagra. Beware Shada. The secret is in the …

The Doctor knows what Shada means and vows to get Skagra, who has just killed a very old and dear friend. Tom Baker’s Doctor tends to be flippant about whatever happens to him, especially during the latter years of his run, but for once he seems actually angry and bent on vengeance.

They all get into the Tardis to find Skagra.

Chris’s friend Claire, now seen for the first time in live-action form instead of animated, comes to the professor’s empty room just after they’ve gone.

Invisible spaceship

The Tardis reappears in that field near Grantchester and everyone gets out in time to see the sphere vanish as in such a way that it looks like it’s passing behind or into something they can’t see. They soon run into the invisible spaceship (literally). The Doctor and Chris play mime with it, but K9 can see it.

Inside the ship, Toon Skagra is looking at the book, which the Doctor dropped, when he’s warned of intruders approaching. He has to ask the computer what the Tardis is, which seems odd to me; I would have thought he’d know all about it after the clips he’s watched about the Doctor and from the memories he’s drained from Chronotis’s brain. He orders the computer to let the intruders in.

Toon RomanaChris, Romana, the Doctor, and K9 turn into cartoons too once they get inside.

This is the first we see of Toon Romana, and it’s probably the worst representation of any of the characters. I wouldn’t have recognized her if it weren’t for her distinctive outfit.

While the others are almost immediately whisked away by a large floating cube, the Doctor is left to face Skagra alone.

The bookSkagra takes the Doctor to his ship’s control room and gets the Doctor to read aloud from the book. It’s gibberish, written in code. Skagra is certain that the Doctor, as a Gallifreyan, must know the code and he wants it.

The Doctor plays stupid, but that doesn’t stop Skagra from siccing the sphere on him. This time, there’s no bike and no place to run. We don’t see it, but it sounds like the Doctor is getting the information sucked out of his brain the same way Chronotis did.

Romana, Chris, and K9 are transported into a little cell with no door or windows, and of course try to figure out how they can escape.

Warning: Do not say “Blast it!” in disappointment when you’re talking to a mechanical dog with a laser on its nose.

Blast it!

The walls are blastproof, so that doesn’t work.

It’s when Romana says, “I wish we could get out of here!” that the transport cube reappears and takes her.

Chris thinks this means that he has to say those words to transport out as well, but it was Skagra’s doing; he wanted her to come with him to the Tardis. He has the Doctor’s key and they’re going to take a little trip.

The Doctor is lying on the control room floor after that brain sucking… but unlike Chronotis, he wakes up. He’s a bit dazed, but fine. Well, it is his show. The trick, he explains to the ship’s computer, is not to resist and to keep the thought of how stupid you are in your head. The sphere only made a copy of his mind, but left the original intact.

He chats with the computer and uses that same type of spurious logic Captain Kirk used to make so many of the poor things explode. He  convinces it that he is dead and not a threat, and orders the release of his friends–which the computer does, but it also shuts down the oxygen supply. Why waste good oxygen on a dead man?

Toon Doctor

Meanwhile back at St. Cedd’s College, Claire is still in the professor’s room. She gets to poking around, opening books, unlocking cabinets, and discovering hidden control panels behind the wall paneling. As you do when visiting other people’s homes.

She fiddles with the controls and causes some kind of explosive shorting out that throws her back from the panel. The room goes all wobbly.

The college porter chooses this moment to come along and see if Claire is still in there waiting for the professor. When he opens the door, the professor’s room is gone. Instead, there’s some kind of transdimensional void that looks like a shimmery purple curtain.

This looks suspiciously to me like some form of Tardis. Chronotis said he didn’t have one, but he’s already been seen to lie or least bend the truth about a few things.

Claire finds the control panel Shimmery purple curtain

K9 and Chris are now free, and they reach the control room before the Doctor’s oxygen supply runs completely out. Since Chris is alive, the computer turns the oxygen back on. K9 informs the Doctor that the Tardis is no longer parked outside. They also figure out that Romana is no longer on the ship.

Skagra has copy of the Doctor’s brain and therefore knows how to fly the Tardis, so why did he take Romana? He wanted “someone to show off to,” is the Doctor’s answer to that question.

The Doctor asks the computer where Skagra has gone, but it doesn’t have that information.

The Tardis lands up in space on another spiffy-looking cartoon ship, not the same one we saw back at the beginning.

“The command ship,” Skagra informs us and Romana once they step out of the Tardis.

“What do you wish to command?” Romana asks.

“More than you can imagine,” he replies.

It’s not so much showing off that he needs her for, but someone to exposit to.

Toon Tardis & Monster

Skagra finally explains his fiendish plan to Romana. He means to bring Order to the universe. Right now, it’s made up of billions and billions of atoms spinning at random, expending energy and leading to entropy. What stands against random decay? Life. He intends to create a “New Generation.” Not new people–one new person who is everybody.

He’s also created some huge, shaggy monster creatures to do his bidding. They calls Skagra “My Lord” or “Master.”

Back in the Grantchester field, the Doctor gets the computer to take the  invisible little ship to the last place Skagra was. It decloaks as it takes off, and he gives it new instructions to hype up its engines so it doesn’t take them months of spaceflight to get there. Only a couple of minutes.

Claire is out cold on the floor of Professor Chronotis’s room. As she comes to and gets up, Chronotis is sitting there in his armchair in an old-fashioned nightshirt and cap.

Chronotis alive again“What have you done to my machine?” he asks her, before he checks the controls on that panel and offers her some tea.

Yep, the room is a very old Tardis. They are now in a state of timelessness, and Claire s button-pushing and switch-flipping managed to occur at just the right moment to make Chronotis not-quite dead.


Author: Kathryn L Ramage

Kathryn L. Ramage has a B.A. and M.A. in English lit and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She lives in Maryland with three calico cats named after the Brontë sisters. In addition to being the author of numerous short stories, reviews, essays, and period mystery novellas, she is also the author of a series of fantasy novels set in a dukedom called the Northlands on an alternate Earth whose history has diverged from ours somewhere during the medieval period.