S2-01 The Failure of Reason
I: Out On The Edge
The Doctor sets the TARDIS controls to send the time machine as far into the future and as far out of the universe as it can go in order to test the repairs he has been conducting. Rose and Benjamin think this isn't the smartest move, but the Doctor outvotes them as he is technically ten people and they are only two.
The TARDIS materializes on a planet. The Doctor checks the scanners and is surprised to the see the screen blocked by icicles, even though the temperature isn't that cold. The Doctor opens the TARDIS doors and storms out, determined to get a break from the two hormonal teenagers.
The Doctor finds himself tripped and caught in a thick mesh of icicles that rise up from the ground to trap him. His companions run out and are soon caught as well. Benjamin (who is stupidly not wearing a shirt) begins to pass out, apparently from the cold... Except it's not that cold.
The Doctor and Rose manage to get to their feet and stumble back to the TARDIS, taking Benjamin with them. But they are in for a shock - the icicles are growing inside the police box, getting thicker and larger. The Doctor concludes that this isn't ice, but a crystalline life form that grows like fungus.
Rose's loud attempts to wake up Benjamin seem to cause the crystals to back off. The Doctor realizes that noise resonates the crystals and effectively melts them, which is why they are sending out a sleep signal. Using a harmonica and Rose's singing skills (or lack thereof), they are able to fend off the crystals and clear the TARDIS enough to close the doors.Benjamin refuses point blank the idea that the crystals are 'alive', and can't believe they are intelligent. The Doctor waspishly tells his companion to open his eyes: the crystals are behaving too carefully to be uncontrolled, random growth.
Rose snaps and tells both of them to stop arguing, but this causes the puddles on the floor to reform back into crystals and they attack her, dragging her out the doors (a pesky stalagmite flips the door control). The Doctor decides to go and rescue Rose with his sonic screwdriver and his knowledge of Strangler songs.
Benjamin can't wrap his head around the concept of living crystals. The Doctor at first suspects Benjamin's just not cut out for TARDIS travel, but considers the possibility that - as Benjamin was the only one to fall under the influence of the crystals - might be under their mental control to some extent. Not trusting him outside, he orders Benjamin to stay inside and not to touch the controls.
Meanwhile, Rose is dragged through what seems to be a tunnel of ice and finally abandoned next to a shimmering red force field. Even as she gets to her feet, the field behind Rose parts and something emerges and grabs her...
The Doctor leaves the TARDIS and, using his screwdriver and the lyrics to Golden Brown, carves a path through the crystal fields. Unfortunately, he can only clear the space immediately around him and so is not leaving a path back to the TARDIS. Praying his infallible sense of direction doesn't fail him now, the Doctor continues through the crystals, calling out for Rose between songs.
Inside the TARDIS, Benjamin is struck by a sudden headache. He can hear a strange humming, singing noise, but the TARDIS is empty and silent. Benjamin begins to freak out as it strikes him he is alone, trapped in a time machine on a nameless planet and no idea where or when that planet is.
The Doctor decides that he's getting nowhere and decides to stop singing and fighting. The crystals' strength returns and they kidnap him, dragging him to the red force field. It parts and two strange figures emerge - kind of blobby, Axon-type things - which grab him and drag him inside. The force field returns as the shapes drag the Doctor to a large, crystal-rimmed cavern where Rose stands amidst other blobby shapes. Rose is certain that these creatures control the crystals, but the Doctor points out that logic may not be there ally here.
Inside the TARDIS, the singing is driving Benjamin bonkers. Finally, he tries to keep sane by reciting various archaeological trivia over and over. Slowly, but surely, the singing blots it out. In a trance, Benjamin crosses to the console and flips some controls. The singing ends and the confused Benjamin is suddenly thrown to the floor as the time machine shakes violently around him.
The blobby shapes are shuffling the Doctor and Rose through some crystal tunnels. The Doctor explains that they are so used to having the TARDIS' presence in their minds that they've developed an immunity to the energies of the crystals, and besides which their captors aren't trying to hypnotize them any more as they believe they have the upper hand.
They are finally brought before a small mountain of crystal humming loudly. Rose is surprised - the crystals are the rulers, not the blobby shapes. The Doctor admits he'd suspected as much. The blob creatures are not naturally that way, but have had various nutrients and chemicals leached out of them by the crystals to the point where the blobs are mindless slaves and unrecognizable for what they were.
The crystal's hums begin to take on a soft, soothing voice that speaks mathematical formula. The Doctor dryly points out that if Benjamin wanted proof the crystals are alive, he's got it. It is then that he sees the TARDIS sitting in a next of icicles and Benjamin dragged forward.
The humming grows louder and Benjamin begins to talk for the crystal. The crystals rule this planet and have consumed every natural resource and several unfortunate space travelers. But they crudely understand what the TARDIS is and realize that this is their opportunity to escape the planet and move onto another.
The Doctor says no.
The humming grows louder and Rose begins to react with pain. The possessed Benjamin announces that if the Doctor doesn't submit, they will consume him and hopefully gain his knowledge as well. Alive, he has potential, but the crystal won't mind if he dies.
Rose suddenly agrees with Benjamin. Her mind is in the crystal too. She explains that the crystal knows that Rose and Benjamin are not necessary to pilot the TARDIS, but the Doctor cares for them. Unless he submits they will be reduced to the blobs. And so will he.
The Doctor makes his decision.
To be continued...
II: Failure Of Reason
The Doctor agrees to transport the crystals off-world in return for the lives of himself, Benjamin and Rose. The crystals agree and let the Doctor enter the TARDIS. The crystals outside melt down into a thick puddle of quicksilver which shuffles inside the police box, leaving a barren, desert world.
The Doctor asks where the blob shapes are and is told the crystals finally consumed them so they wouldn't get hungry on the trip. The Doctor is furious but it is too late to save them.
He sets the controls to take them for a convenient Earth-like planet devoid of people. The universe is littered with them for some reason and as the Doctor expounds the various possible reasons, (war, fashion, the Moxx of Baloon going on a machine gun rampage...) he starts adjusting the controls of the TARDIS.
The crystals notice and Benjamin breaks the Doctor's arm to show him that, while they may not be geniuses, the crystals are not stupid. They demand he materialize the TARDIS on the nearest suitable planet, whether it is inhabited or not.
The Doctor does so. Painfully.
The TARDIS materializes in a verdant bush land, like the Australian outback. The quicksilver blob shuffles outside hurriedly while Benjamin and Rose keep him guarded. When this planet is infested with crystals, the main blob will return to the TARDIS and move onto another planet and so on.
The Doctor idly begins humming to himself the 'la-da-de-da' bit from Wild Thing, getting louder and louder before screaming the lyrics. The crystals, taken aback, revert to liquid and in the confusion, the Doctor programs the TARDIS to flush the material outside.
Meanwhile, crystals are growing out of the grass and on trees. Birds drop from the sky and are lost in the spreading crystal frost. The crystals continue to spread... until we see a space-suited figure watching this development, face unseen under a globular helmet.
Benjamin and Rose are trying to hold the Doctor back, and he takes this opportunity to hurl abuse at the sex-crazed inconsistant apes and their feelings for each other. This affects Benjamin and Rose enough that they are able to fight against the crystal influence - the crystals, not avid viewers of Jerry Springer, weren't prepared for this line of attack.
The Doctor delightfully re-programs the telepathic circuits to free the minds of Benjamin and Rose, pointing out that despite their counter-intuitive presence, the crystals are slaves to logic. The Doctor is able to defeat them by ignoring logic all together. Reason be damned.
Rose and Benjamin quickly change the topic away from their flirting and point out that the Doctor has sort of unleashed pure evil on an innocent planet. The Doctor agrees this has to be stopped, but they are so far out in both time and space they have no idea just what might be on this planet. There is no reason to assume the inhabitants will be visible, macroscopic or even mortal.
"I really must come out here more often," the Doctor says happily.
They cross the hill and find large, Tripod-style machines stalking the countryside. The Doctor and co are saved from the writhing crystals and scooped up inside the machines. There they meet the space suited figures, Belunda and Garvane along with several fellow beings. They are space suited with four arms and surprisingly thin bodies.
The Doctor's winning personality intrigues Belunda and they reveal they are Stargate-style explorers who have penetrated this plane of existence by alignment of constellations. Rose realizes that they are not from this universe but another realm entirely. The Tripod machines they use have been found on the surface, but there is no trace of the people who once built them.
Garvane explains that this universe is the most strange and alien that they have encountered and from the hostile action of the crystal plague, they have been given orders to destroy this universe. Belunda believes that the TARDIS Crew prove that inhabitants of this universe are sentient and should be respected, but the crystals are already absorbing the energy of the Tripod travel machines.
Garvane insists they must flee the planet and seal up this universe, suggesting they kill the TARDIS Crew to spare them from the pain of destroying the cosmos. Benjamin takes the advantage and smashes the helmet of an explorer that attacks them. The creature inside evaporates - it is only the space suits that keep the aliens from dissolving in this different universe.
The Doctor deduces that the bomb the explorers are carrying works on this principal by converting the universe to another molecular state, where it will then cancel itself out. He convinces Belunda that if they can use this on the crystal plague, it will too evaporate and so justice will be satisfied.
The crystals, however, are now so powerful that Benjamin and Rose are now totally under their power. Two of the explorers die, the crystal's telepathic influence killing their different brains. The crystals realize that they not only have the chance to conquer this universe but another one entirely.
Belunda agrees to transport it into their dimension on the condition all the crystal comes with them. The Doctor screams at Belunda this is suicide - the different molecular plane means that the crystal will change into a completely different form and could be unstoppable.
Belunda gravely takes Garvane and the explorers and crystals disperse into a puff of light.
The Doctor claps his hands, delighted. Back in their own universe, the crystal was an incredibly voracious intelligent killer, but in the next it will be rendered impotent. Certainly it won't be able to absorb everything it can. Garvane might even get it house-trained. The Doctor considers the possibility that the crystals escaped into this universe from the other in the first place (which is why it knew it survive in a different plane) and the trio begin to head back to the TARDIS over bald patches.
Benjamin and Rose think over events as the Doctor boasts that although they came across something completely unreasonable as living crystals and extra-dimensional explorers, the only reasonable thing to do was also act unreasonable.
Following this line of logic, Rose points out that they should stay on this planet rather than reasonably leave in the TARDIS. Benjamin laughs that the Doctor has been caught out, but the Time Lord quickly cheers up and agrees. To the increasing apprehension of his companions, the Doctor decides to explore this planet entirely and maybe find out what happened to the people that built the tripods.
As the Time Lord rushes over the hill, Rose and Benjamin flip a coin over who gets to try and dissuade him. However, the peaceful rural landscape makes them reconsider. It'll be ages before the Doctor gets back. Grinning, the duo hold hands and find a very satisfying way to pass the time...