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In his time & space travelling machine the TARDIS (which oddly
enough looks like a police phonebox), Doctor Who (William Harntell) takes
his friends Ian (William Russell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) & Vicki
(Maureen O'Brien), to the planet Vortis, that on the outside looks barren,
just like the earth's moon ... but soon the little group is somehow
fallihng apart, & they meet the different species of the planet: The
Doctor & Vicki become captives of the antlike Zarbi, which seem to
have no mind of their own but are telepathically controlled by the
Animus - a spider-like alien bent on conquest that sits safely hidden away
under the surface of the planet & waits for its prey. Barbara meets up
with the Menoptra, butterfly-like beings who, before the Animus came, had
a paradise-like life on the surface of Vortis, but now they want to atack
teh Zarbi, but since they are such a peaceloving people, they have no clue
how. & Ian is taken captive by the Optera, distant descendants of the
Menoptra who have retreated to underground, & have in the course of
events, come to fear the light as such ...
Eventually, the Doctor & Vicki manage to overcome a Zarbi & put
it under the Doctor's spell, then tehy meet up with Barbara & her
Menoptra. Soon they come to the conclusion they have to find out &
detroy the Animus, while elsewhere on the planet, Ian has convinced the
Optera that he is not their enemy, & plans to attack the Animus too.
The Animus though proves to be a tough cookie, & almost defeats all
of its enemies, & in the end, only Barbara, whom the Animus has
underated, manages to destroy the Animus ...
& the Optera, the Menoptra & the Zari can henceforth live in
It's hard to really pass judgement on this episode, everything ranges
from the fascinating to the ridiculous, be it the insect costumes, the
sets, the acting or the story as such. Perhaps, if more effort would have
been put into the ridiculous aspects of the episode (the Optera &
Menoptra-costumes are especially bad, as is the cheesy ending), this one
could have been a great episode, but as it is, many good moments are
destroyed by utter hilarity.