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Doctor Who (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) are somehow
drawn to the planet KArn by the Doctor's people the Timelords ... and on
the planet they are warmly welcomed by scientist Solon (Philip Madoc). But
Solon does indeed have another plan but to play perfect host: He wants the
Doctor's head, so he can finish a new body for Morbius, an once
all-powerful Timelord-villain, who has since been executed and whose brain
Solon keeps in a jar.
Before Solon can get hold of the Doctor's head
though, the Doctor is teleported away to the Sisterhood of Karn,
whose leader Maren (Cynthia Grenville) thinks the Doctor has come to steal
there elexir of eternal life, and now he is to be sacrificed - but Sarah
Jane saves him the very last minute, even if she loses eyesight by doing
Not knowing where to go - especially since the Sisterhood has gotten
hold of the Doctor's time machine -, the Doctor and Sarah Jane return to
Solon ... who tricks the Doctor into returning to the Sisterhood while he
ties up Sarah Jane. He wants to kill her, but ultimately, his dim-witted
assistant Condo (Colin Fay) falls in love with her - and ultimately, Solon
has to kill Condo, which means he now needs blind Sarah Jane as an
assistant to revive Morbius, putting the brain in the body of a monster
with a human hand and a claw and a glass globe in place of a head ... and
Morbius almost immediately goes berserk.
The Doctor meanwhile has formed
an alliance with the Sisterhood after he reignited their dwindling Eternal
Flame, and now he helps Solon to capture Morbius, and forces him to
destroy the monster ... but Solon tricks the Doctor and repairs
Morbius so he is no longer a hulking brute but a thinking man in a
monster's body - and he's all the more dangerous for that.
challanges Morbius to a form of mind-wrestling - and is actually defeated
and left dying ... but the women of the Sisterhood arrive with torches
just in time to drive the Morbius-monster, still weakened from the
mind-wrestling, down a cliff to its death.
And in the end, Sisterhood
leader Maren gives up her share of the elixir of eternal life to revive
the Doctor, even if it means her certain death.
A funny little
episode from Doctor Who's gothic era: While deeply
rooted in science fiction, this episode also owes much to the Universal
Horror classics, Hammer's
gothics and especially the Frankenstein
myth. And while its story is basically silly and does feature quite a few
plotholes, it also has a few very interesting aspects to it. Add to that a
monster that looks hilariously bad (though it must have looked gret in
design), an atmospheric directorial effort, and a bunch of great actors
... and you are left with a piece of enjoyable trash that you don't even
have to feel too guilty about liking.
The only real downturn is
actually the makeup of Condo, the dim-witted assistant, whose hairdo looks
way too much like Sarah Jane's.