The last story of Season 8 is viewed this week. This one was decidedly fun, and though it starts off playing some of the spookier elements, those are quickly pushed to the side, which is too bad, as they were really entertaining and made for a rather unique Doctor Who story, a type that hadn’t been seen before.
The Daemons ran from 22 May to 19 June, 1971, and consisted of five episodes, written by Guy Leopold. The Doctor (Pertwee) is, of course, still stuck on Earth, and working with Jo (Katy Manning) and UNIT. The Doctor demonstrates Bessie via a remote control, discussing with Jo the belief of the supernatural versus science, and you know that it’s setting up for some fun, as we delve into an odd, omen-filled story.
There is a televised dig taking place at a barrow known as Devil’s Hump in the charmingly named, Devil’s End. A woman, who claims to be a white witch, Olive Hawthorne (Damaris Hayman), warns that they shouldn’t open the barrow, as it will release the horned one, the Beast! Jo is rather shocked when The Doctor agrees, and they race to the location to stop it from being opened, but arrive too late…
From there, we have witches, strange occurrences, living gargoyles, giant cloven hoof prints seen burned into the country side, and at the center of it all, the new local vicar for Devil’s End, The Master (Roger Delgado). As the vicar, he is leading Black Sabbaths under the church and holding occult rituals in an attempt to raise Azal (Stephen Thorne).
So it seems Olive is right about the horned beast, but wrong on the mythology. The Doctor explains that these aliens, arrived tens of thousands of years ago, and influenced countless religions as horned gods through the ages, and now, it has been released from the barrow.
Exercising his hypnotic ability, the Master holds sway over the entire town, and it is encased by an invisible barrier, that the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and other members of UNIT are trying to find a way through to stop the Master, and the alien threat of Azal.
The Master is hoping to craft a deal with Azal, hoping that the horned being will instill him as ruler of Earth in the name of the Daemons. Azal is almost persuaded and is about to kill the Doctor when Jo makes a self-sacrificing move (though it doesn’t cost her life) that complete disrupts Azal.
In the end UNIT arrives, destroying, eventually, a stone gargoyle that has come to life, and terrorizing the troops, the Master tries to escape, but the Doctor’s radio control of Bessie returns the devious Time Lord to UNIT’s hands, and the episode ends with the Brigadier going for a pint, while the Doctor, Jo, and the restored citizens of Devil’s End dance about the maypole (seriously).
Next time, it’s a whole new season of adventure starting with The Day of the Daleks!