Another seven part adventure awaits the Doctor (Pertwee) in this story written by David Whitaker that aired from 21 March to 2 May, 1970.
We get a look at the TARDIS control room as the Doctor and Liz (Caroline John) are working on it… He’s changed the desktop theme, and I don’t like it. Actually, he’s simply removed the console from the TARDIS to work on it.
He and Liz show up to help Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), who is working at space command. It seems a manned Mars probe is no longer transmitting back to Earth, or the Recovery module en route to it, despite the fact that it lifted off from the surface manually.
When contact is lost with the Recovery ship, and is discovered to be empty on its return, accusations about people inside the government, and even UNIT, are thrown about. There should have been three astronauts inside!!
There were in fact, three space suits within, but they were taken by interfering forces, who have plans of their own for the radiation and alien-infested suits. One that includes being able to make war on the aliens, a plan overseen by a rather xenophobic general, Carrington (John Abineri).
The Doctor is quite happy to throw his lot in with the Brigadier again, only making the briefest of snide remarks about the Silurians.
Liz is kidnapped by the group holding the space-suited aliens, and tries to work out a plan from within, while the aliens are trapped in a small observation room. Eventually, through a variety of circumstances, the Doctor ends up with her, after having returned from a sojourn in to space (his first in this new regeneration) that saw him encounter a spaceship filled with aliens similar to those in the space suits.
They demand the return of their ambassadors, sent in good faith, until then, they are going to keep the three recovered astronauts safe aboard their ship.
With the help of the Brigadier and Liz, the Doctor, of course, exposes Carrington, and sees the ambassadors safely returned to their people, which allows the astronauts to be returned to Earth. Things even up nicely, and our heroes have saved the Earth from entering an unnecessary and xenophobic war.
There is some fun in this episode, including a sequence, probably designed to show off the cool effects that the studio could do with their new video cameras, that has Liz being sent 15 seconds into the future, and has her and the Doctor trying to catch up with one another.
There’s also a weird thing with the Doctor making something disappear and reappear, we’re not talking about prestidigitization, he calls it a ‘transmigration of object.’ Kind of goofy, and hopefully we don’t see that return.
Next time around, we have the end of Pertwee’s first season with the parallel dimension story, Inferno!