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In his time (& pace) machine the TARDIS, Doctor Who (Tom Baker)
takes his companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) back to present
day England ... right into the middle of a quarry that's about to be blown
Somehow, both of them survive the explosion unscathed, but Sarah Jane
is in shock afterwards - and she has found a stone hand, which is first
thought to be a fossile but later found out to be part of a crystalline
life form (!). And what's more, when the hand is x-rayed, the radiation
brings it back to life, and soon enough, it calls for Sarah (obviously the
hand is telepathic) to take it to the nearest nuclear power station for
The power station is soon on the verge of becoming a desaster area when
the hand has itself transported (though no longer by Sarah Jane) right
into the highly radioactive center of the reactor, and Professor Watson
(Glyn Houston), head of the power station, decides to have it A-bombed in
fear of a terrorist attack ... but somehow, the hand absorbs the nuclear
missiles as well as the power from the center of the reactor - and comes
out a full-grown crystalline being, Eldrad (Judith Paris), who has been
betrayed and condemned from her planet some 150 million years ago, and
now, out of fear and distrust, acts hostile towards everyone and
everything - but somehow the Doctor can convince her to come with him and
Sarah back to Eldrad's home planet - but not 150 million years ago but in
Eldrad's planet is booby-trapped to the hilt, as if someone would want
to keep her from coming, made all the worse by the fact that she is slowly
dying, but somehow the Doctor manages to carry her through all the death
traps on the way to the recreation chamber, where Eldrad is finally
restored to her (or rather his, she turns out to be male now) actual form,
that of a borderline mad galactic conquerer (played by Stephen Thorne).
And this was the fact why he was exiled from the planet in the first place
by its benevolent ruler King Rokon (Roy Skelton), why the whole planet was
boobytrapped and why the whole database Eldrad would need to recreate his
race was erased. Eldrad, by now the last of his race by a few million
years, is the new king of his planet, a king over nothing.
Enraged, Eldrad wants to force the Doctor to take him back to earth,
where he can turn humankind into his new army ... which is what the Doctor
cannot allow, and thus he has him trip into a bottomless abyss ...
In an unrelated story, the Doctor receives a call from his home planet
Gallifrey, and since he can't take Sarah Jane to his planet with him, he
takes her back to earth and bids her adieu - at which point Sarah Jane
leaves the series for good ... safe for a few guest appearances.
Somehow, this episode seriously lacks direction. In the course of
events it seems to want to tell four different stories: That of an energy
sucking being threatening the nuclear power stations of earth, that of a
frightened alien marooned on earth, that of a mad conquererhaving been
duped by all those who opposed him, and that of Sarah Jane leaving the
series ... and somehow, the four stories just don't work too well
together, since none of them is allowed to develop its full potential, and
with each new story, the previous just seems to be dying. A pity, could
have been better with a more stringent screenplay.