This week’s story sees the TARDIS returning to Earth, and a departure of one of the most well-known companions. The Hand of Fear is a four-part story that was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin and ran from 2 October to 23 October, 1976.
The Doctor (Baker) and Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen) arrive in a quarry on Earth, and are just in time for an explosion to rock them both, and bury poor Sarah-Jane under a pile of rubble. As the Doctor and the work crew try to dig her out, she discovers a fossilized hand that she grabs hold of, which causes a huge problem for the companion.
When she’s finally clear of the rubble, Sarah is taken to hospital, but it’s too late, she’s already been possessed by something that resides within the hand, and with a ring claimed from the fossil, sets off in search of a radioactive source. All in service to something calling itself Eldrad
The Doctor has his suspicions about the hand fairly quickly. He discovers that it is silicon-based, and he believes, rightly, that it is currently inert, but should it be exposed to radiation, the creature should completely reanimate.
The Doctor races to a nearby nuclear power plant, where Sarah has already enclosed herself, pushing the reactor to overload, but the Doctor is able to stop Sarah, and the explosion in time, restoring his companion to her former self.
But no sooner is that disaster averted when another person is possessed by Eldrad, and pushes the nuclear plant to the exploding point. But instead of detonating, there is a non-explosion, the silicon form absorbed all of the energy and completely reanimated Eldrad into a female form(Judith Paris).
Eldrad recognizes that the Doctor is a Time Lord, and implores him to help her, even though she’s been inert for millions of years, to return to her home world. She claims that she was unjustly removed from rule, and that she would like to return to Kastria and restore her people’s legacy.
Sarah is dubious, but the Doctor believes in second chances, so he agrees, and off we go to the distant planet of Kastria. And what we find is a dead planet, with little sign of those who lived there so long ago, but Eldrad restores power to the systems, and after being injured, has the Doctor guide her to a regeneration room.
Here, she assumes her true form, a massive silicon biped (Stephen Thorne) and reveals that he was targeted for obliteration because of his actions, and his desire for conquest, a plan he intends to resume immediately, after destroying the Doctor and Sarah.
But our heroes soundly defeat the creature, and pile back into the TARDIS, and while Sarah threatens to go home, once and for all, the Doctor receives a message from Gallifrey. He too needs to go home, and he cannot bring Sarah-Jane Smith with him. He must come alone.
She’s surprised to learn she now has no choice in the matter, she’s leaving the TARDIS. They bid their farewells, and Sarah-Jane goes on to live her life, while the Doctor goes off to face The Deadly Assassin.