Dr. Who: The Stones of Blood, Part 3

Vivian zaps with her wandAt the end of Part 2, Romana was zapped by Vivian Fay and beamed out into some other as-yet unspecified place.

Sadly, this story, which has started out so well, begins to go downhill from here. While there are still some good scenes in the next two story parts, there’s a distinct shift from the trappings of folk horror to some rather silly science fiction.

It’s Doctor Who, so you have to expect all things that might be otherwise taken for supernatural events to have a scientific explanation, even a wonky sci-fi one. But did it have to be so- 

Well, we’ll get to that when we come to it.

Over in the secret cellar at the Hall, formerly the home of Mr. DeVries before the stone-monsters got him, the Doctor and Professor Rumford are examining those paintings that were removed from the wall upstairs. All three ladies who used to own this house and the meadow where the stone circle sits look just like Vivian Fay.

Professor Rumford is surprised that Vivian never mentioned that she belonged to the Montcalm family.

She isn’t, the Doctor makes it clear. “She is the Montcalm family,” as well as the two other families that have owned the Hall since the Dissolution. Not to mention being the Mother Superior of the convent that was there before the house. And she probably manages the company that now owns the property that the stone circle is on.

Rumford, who’s still adjusting to these new kinds of ideas, objects. There’s a span of over a 150 years between the three women in the paintings.

The Doctor replies, “What’s 150 years when you’ve been around for 4000?”

For Vivian is the Cailleach, the Celtic goddess whom the Druids have been worshipping. (But that’s not who she really is either.)

Prof. Rumford and the Doctor look at portraits

Their conversation is interrupted and they have to flee when they hear one of the stone creatures coming back. Along with the other new information she’s had to assimilate this evening, the professor still has trouble with the idea of silicon-based lifeforms since she’s never watched Star Trek–the Horta and the giant, space-travelling,  planet-eating snowflake are unknown to her. But she shows both great intellectual curiosity and spirit when she declares that they ought to capture the creature for science and track it to its lair.

They do try, but unfortunately get trapped at the edge of the cliff in what looks like the same place where Romana was pushed over at the end of Part 1.

The Doctor takes off his coat and plays bullfighter to lure the stone creature over the cliff. (They are those who say they can see the feet of the stuntman as the stone falls over. But even as I pause the scene in multiple places to examine it, the shape is too blurry for me to be sure.)

The creature dispatched, they return to the stone circle to confront the woman responsible for it.  Vivian is still there, carrying on with some sort of ritual; she’s wearing her bird-mask and creating a ring-of-light forcefield with that same spear/wand that she zapped Romana with.

She tells the Doctor that Romana is “where you’ll never find her,” but will be safe there as long as the Doctor leaves her in peace.

Before she uses the wand to transport out herself just as Romana did, she tells him: “Count the Stones, Doctor. Beware the Augry.”

After Vivian goes, the Doctor connects these “Augrys” with an alien life form from the planet Ogros that needs the plasma from blood to survive as well as to the legendary Gog and Magog and to ogres–who, if you remember your Tolkein, turn to stone at daybreak.

He also observes that three of the large standing stones are missing. They sent that one over the cliff. Where are the other two?

He asks the professor if she has any tritium crystals. Professor Rumford is bewildered and worried about Romana, but they both go back to the cottage where she finds a small jar with some crystals in it.

The Doctor has meanwhile built some kind of projector; he uses some of the crystals to power it, adding  that Vivien must have been using them to power her wand.

The Doctor zapped

Where are Vivian and Romana? wonders the professor. Why, in hyperspace, of course.

What is hyperspace? the professor asks.

K9 is sufficiently recovered to chirp a definition:

“Hyperspace is an extension to the special theory of relativity propounded by Einstein.”

He would go on but, the Doctor stops him. Nobody really understands hyperspace.

K9: “I do.”

There follows a conversation about interspacial geometry, Einstein, and space warping. Vivian and Romana are still in the same place as the stone circle where they disappeared, but in other dimensions.

At this point, after all she’s seen and experienced, Professor Rumford is emboldened to ask the Doctor, “Are you from outer space?”

“More like inner time,” is his not terribly helpful reply.

K9 deems that the Doctor’s projector-thingy will work given certain specifications. They take it back to the stone circle, where the Doctor instructs Professor Rumford on how to operate it and how to retrieve him from hyperspace; she’s to try by turning the machine back on in this same spot every half hour.

Then she zaps him into hyperspace just as the two missing Augry stones/Ogri   silicon beings are heading back toward the circle.

K9 fires his nose-laser at the Ogris to hold them at bay.

Ship in hyperspace Computer graphic of the spaceship's location above the standing stones

The Doctor finds himself on a spaceship which is on pretty good condition, considering that it’s been sitting parked in hyperspace just above the circle for 4000 years.

A pity the people on board haven’t worn as well. There are a number of prisoner’s cells with long-dead bodies inside them. A skeleton in restraints sits next to Romana, who is also in cuffs. The Doctor releases her, and they have a look around the ship.

Romana calls hyperspace a theoretical absurdity–“everybody knows that”–but here they are. A computer graphic on the ship’s monitor (state of the art for the late ’70s but charmingly old-fashioned now) shows them exactly where they are.

Meanwhile, in the stone circle below, K9’s laser beam nose runs out of power while Professor Rumford tries to beam the Doctor back before they have to run away… but the Ogris suddenly retreat first.

K9 posits that they need to re-energize as well and have gone to get some hemoglobin.

The professor understands. That means more blood.

Hippy couple

This leads to the story’s last scene of horror. Two unwary hippy campers emerge from their tent in the woods and wonder where the two huge standing stones came from. It must be someone’s idea of a joke. The stones  must be fake. They’d weigh tons if they were real.

The woman puts a hand on the nearest stone. We don’t see clearly what happens at first, just a faint reddish glow at the edge of the screen. But it doesn’t end well for her, nor for her boyfriend when he tries to pull her away.

From this last scary scene, we go directly to the Doctor and Romana wandering the spaceship. The Doctor opens a specially marked door, with some sort of notice or warning that he can’t interpret, and releases the moment where the story goes off a cliff as surely as the Ogri.

He’s just freed two twinkly lights called the Magara. They are the robot officers in charge if this prison ship–Justice machines. Judge, jury, and executioner for any criminals that come their way. And the Doctor has just broken a seal he shouldn’t have.

Vivian, who has been sneaking around the spaceship and avoiding the Time Lords while keeping an eye on them, now returns to the stone circle in a new outfit and silver body paint. She stays there just long enough to destroy the Doctor’s projector machine and to bring her two Ogris back to the ship.

Vivian and the Stones. It looks like they're performing at an awards ceremony.

Then she returns to gloat, complete with evil laughter, and informs the Doctor that he’s trapped in hyperspace forever. Mwah hah hah!


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.