Sunday, March 11, 2007

(Sparacus - Absinthe) + YOA = Not So Crap

A montage of clips from series one show Rose’s journey with the Doctor. From the moment they met to the Doctor’s regeneration, it speeds faster and faster and slams into the title sequence. The music is a sleigh bells version of the theme tune, very sinister...

The Christmas Invasion

In a dark, shadowy chamber, hairy claws move over control panels. The signal has been sent and received, but not responded to. They will have to take desperate measures. Controls are adjusted...

Something awakes, roaring in darkness, punching its way out into sunshine. It is at the corner of a church in a quiet village. The creature stumbles into the bracken, moaning with pain.

Meanwhile, a middle-aged man called Reg Prentice is leaving his house. He says goodbye to his sister Beatrice who is heading off to run the shop. Reg cannot afford presents for his old friend the verger at the church, but has found a second-hand pitch fork in good condition and plans to give that to him for Christmas. Beatrice points out that if they don't get visitors to cover the Christmas period, they'll be backrupt. Reg grimly akcnowledges this, and heads off to the church to see the verger.

The thing lumbers out through the trees and comes across Reg, who screams and lunges at the creature with a pitchfork. The creature snatches it and chases Reg with it. It catches up with the poor man and skewers him...

Back in the TARDIS, the newly regenerated Doctor recovers his senses as Rose’s watches on

DOCTOR: Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated! I'm back with a whole new lease on life, because sometime, somewhere, a dog with no nose is waiting for me!
ROSE: Are you the Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes I am... and no, I’m not.
ROSE: What do you mean? Are you the Doctor or aren’t you?!
DOCTOR: (SMILES) I am still over 900 years old. I still have two hearts. I still travel around fighting injustice and tyranny in a police box. I’m still winningly handsome judging by your pupil dilation. But I don’t have big ears, short hair, a silly grin or a leather jacket.
ROSE: You're still wearing the jacket.

The Doctor takes off his jacket and gives it to Rose.

DOCTOR: You have it. Looks good on you. Now, Rose, are you OK?
ROSE: (ANXIOUS) Is he dead?
DOCTOR: Is who dead?
DOCTOR: In a way. In another way, he’s just... asleep. Another bit of my personality who had his chance to dance and now has to get off the dance floor and let me have a turn. See if the new kid’s still got the moves.
ROSE: You’re schizophrenic or something? There are people in your head taking turns whenever you... cheat death?
DOCTOR: You’re thinking of a multiple personality disorder, not schizophrenia. And they... we... I’m not a different person, per se, more a kind of reconfiguration. It seemed so easy in personal development classes. But it’s rather an embarrassing topic, especially what the women do.
ROSE: (LOST) Women?
DOCTOR: Yes, they get to choose what they look like when they change. But this by the by. Ready for that trip to Barcelona home of the nasally-challenged canine?

He pulls a lever and the TARDIS shakes violently and is still.

DOCTOR: (UNCONVINCING) I meant to do that.

The TARDIS has materialized on a snow-covered hillside overlooking the church and the village. The Doctor emerges, pulling on a long brown coat while Rose cautiously follows, donning the leather jacket. The Time Lord is delighted at the picture postcard like sight. Rose suggests it might be Christmas and the Doctor opines that anything is possible – an intense psionic field disrupted the TARDIS, forcing it to land.

As the duo move away from the police box they are unaware of the creature hiding in the foliage, watching them.

Rose decides to head for the village and discover where and when they are. She has no real desire to stay longer than she has to – she wants to go home. She is annoyed when the Doctor doesn’t react to her complaint, but he instead is interested in hoof prints in the snow ahead of them. They are the wrong shape for a horse, and spaced together like a biped. Rose sarcastically suggests the Devil’s doing some Christmas shopping. The Doctor nods, taking the suggestion perfectly seriously, and says they should head for the shops before it catches them. Rose is forced to run after him, only now realizing that he is serious and believes they are in danger.

The creature watches them go and tries to break into the TARDIS. It fails.

Meanwhile at the manor house over the hill, a young blonde man called Benjamin Chatham is playing cards with Deborah Acresby, the daughter of Lord Acresby, who bemoans the fact she is not allowed to play cards in a proper casino any more. Benjamin does not answer, apparently in a trance. He quickly snaps out of it and says he should leave and head for the church to see the vicar, Nathaniel York, to borrow his parish records as Benjamin’s photocopies have mysteriously disappeared. Deborah mocks him for seeing a conspiracy where she sees bad luck – and as terrible and compulsive a gambler as Deborah is, she’d know if anyone would. Benjamin thanks her for the information she gave him, and promised not to reveal his source. Things are difficult enough at the moment...

The Doctor and Rose are on the outskirts of the village when they freeze. A figure is stumbling through the snow towards them. Rose relaxes as they see it is a portly, friendly man in an anorak who quickly explains his presence – he is following the footprints. One of his reindeer has gotten loose and he brought it for the midnight mass service. Rose, learning it’s Christmas Eve, thanks him. The Doctor just stares at the figure and asks Rose if she thought that there was anything strange about it. She considers that a bit rich from a time-travelling human chameleon.

Benjamin is leaving the manor house as Lord Acresbry, a large, port-swilling aristocrat, arrives in his car. He had to lose chauffeur because money’s tight, but an annoying middle-aged woman called Geraldine Hattersby insists that the chauffeur quit because of the murders and the supernatural incidents. Angrilly, Acresby insists that not only did the chauffer not quit, there has been only one death and no supernatural incidents. She’s just a sad old ghost hunter unable to accept that things in life have a rational explanation.

He storms into the house, ignoring Benjamin who agrees with Hattersby. He’s too much of a skeptic to believe in the supernatural, but something strange is definitely happening in Little Balcome. Hattersby agrees and suggest they both get indoors before nightfall. It’s a wonder the midnight mass hasn’t been cancelled...

The Doctor and Rose reach the village and head for the local shop where Beatrice works. Rose’s irritation with the Doctor diminishes when he registers how upset Beatrice is despite how well she’s hiding it. She explains her brother was killed a week ago, his body found outside the church, stabbed to death with a pitch fork. Because of the cabalistic drawings in blood on the church door, the police have kept the body, preventing her from organizing a funeral. Luckily Nathaniel York was out of town during the death or he’d be a suspect. But there is no motive and no deaths since... though the villagers are tending to stay indoors as much as possible, even though its Christmas.

The Doctor decides to investigate, promising Beatrice he’ll find out what really happened, and then buying some jelly babies. He doesn’t know if he likes them yet, so this will allow him to try. Rose remarks upon the portly man looking for his reindeer but Beatrice doesn’t recognize the description. Another customer, Mrs. Smythesby-Jones, notes she’s seen other fihure tramping through the snow, looking for something. But after what happened to Reg Prentice, she’s in no hurry to investigate herself. ‘That is where you and I differ,’ the Doctor comments and leaves for the church to speak with the vicar.

Jones agrees to show them the way, and the Doctor casually remarks he was hoping for a bit of peace and quiet to let him acclimatize to his new body, when Rose tries to change the subject. Jones explains that despite the murder, most of the village will be at the midnight mass because this time next year they probably won’t have the chance. Most of the land in the village is owned by Lord Acresby who is rumored to be on the brink of selling it off. And with half the village gone, all the other landowners will be forced to sell up or go under as well.

Rose asks why the land would be bought up, and Jones shrugs. No one’s really sure but they assume its being bought by the government for housing development. And Reg Prentice, the murder victim, was the leader of the village’s protest group. If it weren’t for the Satanic manner of his death, she’d assume he was assassinated by Acresby’s buyers, the Radon Development Cartel.

In the church, York is lighting candles and tells Benjamin politely to rack off – it’s Christmas Eve and he is not in the mood to find his parish records after last time. He’s also depressed at how poor the village is that he is stuck with candles and some carol singers. Benjamin leaves, warning York that if his theory is right, then he can’t be held responsible for the consequences.

The Doctor is distracted by the carol singers and wonders if he is still good at singing. Back in the church, York feels a draft as something messes around in the back room. As York investigates, he sees something that terrifies him – and then attacks him... His screams attack Benjamin and the Doctor, who runs off. Rose, Jones and the carol singers follow and they arrive at the church to see the mutilated corpse of York, and a half-naked Benjamin standing over them. Jones leads out the distraught carolers and goes to call the police. The Doctor confronts Benjamin...

BENJAMIN: Look, this isn’t what it looks like and I know everyone who has ever been caught doing something says that, but I swear it’s true.
DOCTOR: No doubt. You just happened to stumble in here seconds after the vicar is brutally murdered?
BENJAMIN: (SWALLOWS) I know it sounds unlikely...
DOCTOR: (GRINS) It always does. I know from experience. Who are you, anyway? The verger?
DOCTOR: Who then?
BENJAMIN: Uh, just a passer-by. Name’s Benjamin. Benjamin Chatham.
DOCTOR: Why were you ripping up your shirt?
BENJAMIN: I... I thought I could stop the bleeding... A torniquet...
DOCTOR: Bit late for that.
BENJAMIN: I had to try!
DOCTOR: And why are you here at the church tonight?
BENJAMIN: (DEFENSIVE) I was here to ask for the parish records.
BENJAMIN: I need it for my research!
DOCTOR: Into what?
BENJAMIN: The churchyard. I’m an archaeologist.
DOCTOR: (STEPS CLOSER) An amateur one?
BENJAMIN: Yes! And who are you?
DOCTOR: Me? I’m the Doctor. That, (INDICATES) is Rose Tyler. And you are the first on the scene at the latest murder in this village?
BENJAMIN: Look, I took photocopies of the parish records but someone’s stolen them – and I have a good idea who – so I came here to borrow the genuine ones from the vicar.
DOCTOR: And what’s his name?
BENJAMIN: Nathan York!
DOCTOR: And you’re an archaeologist?
DOCTOR: Why are you researching this village?
BENJAMIN: (STEPS CLOSER) For possible pre-Christian remnants and associations!
DOCTOR: (SMILES CALMLY) Fine. I wish you joy of it. Don’t run off or the police who are undoubtedly on their way here might jump to conclusions. I’ll just be through there.
BENJAMIN: A man’s lying dead at your feet! Don’t you care? You said you were a doctor!
DOCTOR: (ICILY) Yes. I concern myself with the living.

The Doctor turns and moves out of the hall.

ROSE: (TO BENJAMIN) Stay calm. Sit down or something. We won’t go far.
BENJAMIN: Whatever did... that... It could still be out there.
ROSE: I know.

The Doctor investigates the area and finds the side entrance to the church open and hoofprints. Rose storms in.

DOCTOR: It’s gone.
ROSE: The murderer?
ROSE: What a surprise! I’ve been around a bit, Doctor – I know enough. That vicar was killed by something with claws and not a human being!
DOCTOR: (PEERS OUT WINDOW) Yes, I thought that too.
ROSE: So why give that boy the third degree – you knew he was innocent!
DOCTOR: I knew no such thing. Oh, I admit he is. And he’s been distracted from the murder. Probably help him cope with it. Rather neat I thought.
ROSE: Oh, you were just being kind?
DOCTOR: (GLARES AT HER) And establishing his identity.
ROSE: Why would he lie about who he was? You think in a village this size he could get away with telling you a pack of lies at a murder scene.
DOCTOR: “A village this size”...
ROSE: Look, mate...
DOCTOR: (IRRITATED) Doctor. I am the Doctor. I thought he established that before we met.
ROSE: There you go again! One minute you say you’re the same person, then you act like we never met.
DOCTOR: Do you know why the TARDIS brought us here, Rose? This village is under a blanket energy field. Psi-frequencies off the scale.
ROSE: And there you go again – how can I trust you?
DOCTOR: (SHOCKED) You don’t trust me?
DOCTOR: Fine. Stay here. Calm down. I’ll be back in a minute.

He steps out through the door and closes it. A beat. He opens it and sticks his head in.

DOCTOR: And I mean stay HERE, Rose Tyler!

He leaves again. Rose sighs. A moment passes.

9TH DOCTOR: Hello, Rose.

Rose turns to see the Ninth Doctor leaning in the doorway behind her, arms folded, wearing a leather jacket.

9TH DOCTOR: (GRINS) I hear you’re giving me quite a bit of trouble.
ROSE: Doctor?

Sobbing, she embraces him tightly.

9TH DOCTOR: (GENTLY) Hey, hey. It’s still me. If I get concussed after a bit of plastic surgery it’s still me and if I regenerate, it’s still me. And I know you, Rose Tyler. Let’s be friends.
ROSE: Please, don’t go!
9TH DOCTOR: (AWKWARD) Yeah, sorry about this. I’m only really here to prove a point.
ROSE: Look, the other one’s all right... I suppose... but I didn’t sign up with him. I didn’t leave Earth for him.
9TH DOCTOR: You think he doesn’t know that? You think I don’t. Trust him.
ROSE: What? And you vanish off back into history? You’ve popped ahead to prove you’re still you?
9TH DOCTOR: No. I’m just here to prove that there is an intense telepathic field over the whole area. Can mess with your perceptions.
ROSE: (CONFUSED) How? How can you prove it?
9TH DOCTOR: Like this.

He snaps his fingers. Immediately, he fades away to be replaced by the Tenth Doctor. Rose boggles.

DOCTOR: See. You were thinking so much about the old me you couldn’t see the truth through the psi-field. How’s that for proof?
Rose slaps him. Hard.

Outside, the police arrive lead by Inspector Gerard Miles. Meanwhile, the portly man from before meets up with a large man called Digsby. There’s no sign of their prey and this is the second murder in a week. They decide they will have to get Connor to step up the pressure. They need Little Balcome as soon as possible. Before there’s another death...

At the station, the Doctor, Rose and Benjamin are let off due to insufficient evidence and because Beatrice arrives to vouch for the former. Miles refuses to accept the obvious explanation that the Devil is carrying out these murders and the Doctor warns him narrow minded could cost them their lives. As they leave the station, Miles complains he did not want to spend his Christmas trying to convince the Boroughs Commander there is a serial killer on the loose.

The Doctor, curious, asks Beatrice about why noone is surprised at the idea of the Devil committing murder and Beatrice simply shrugs – folklore says that Little Balcome was once where the Devil tried to bring about the apocalypse early and was fought off by the villagers, but that was a thousand years ago. Benjamin reveals he came to Little Balcome fresh from university to do a paper on the visitation. He hands over his notes to the Doctor, who speed reads them in moments and compliments Benjamin on his work.

The Doctor decides to visit Lord Acresby at his home, where Connor has convinced him to sell. While the Doctor barges in, Benjamin grabs Rose roughly by the wrist. His eyes flash purple....


DOCTOR: Merry Christmas, gentlemen. I *do* hope I’m interrupting something!
CONNOR: What the hell? What is this?
DOCTOR: An unexpected development. I’m here to see Lord Acresby about the sale of his estates. I think he’s not getting a fair price for it.
ACRESBY: Go on, young man.
DOCTOR: (STARES AT CONNOR) Just how much are you being offered for your lands, my Lord?
CONNOR: 2 million pounds.
DOCTOR: Peanuts. What lies under the estate is worth thirty times that much – just to look at for a few minutes.
ACRESBY: And just what is beneath it, sir?
DOCTOR: Something very old. Something very valuable. Something very important – so important that the Radon Development Cartel has set up a development plan for the whole of Little Balcombe. Just so that buying your lands wouldn’t raise any attention whatsoever.
CONNOR: And what is beneath the estate?
DOCTOR: You tell me.
CONNOR: (CALMER) I thought that on Christmas bloody Eve I could have been spared another bleedin new age nutter... No matter where we go to develop, we get this. We can’t move a blade of grass without being warned we’re disturbing the earth spirits or cosmic ley-lines and mumbo jumbo! This is 2007! Not the Dark Ages!
DOCTOR: (CONFUSED) It isn’t? (CHECKS HIS WRIST WATCH) Oh, so it isn’t. Then you explain the ritualistic murders occurring around Little Balcombe for the last week that resemble practices last seen in the eighth century? This situation is dire. People – innocent people – are in danger because of the Radon Development Cartel. And unless YOU do something about it, my lord, more are going to die.

Rose and Benjamin enter, as normal.

ROSE: Look, Doctor! Wait up!
DOCTOR: (TO HIMSELF) Trust a stupid ape to have bad timing...
CONNOR: So, we have more of you tree-hugging fanatics. Oh, it’s new, I grant you. We get countless death threats from occultist freaks like you, but they’re normally all talk. Let me guess, if the Radon Development Cartel leave the murders will stop? Sounds very incriminating to me.
ACRESBY: Is this some kind of prank?
CONNOR: Course it is. And, as it is Christmas, I’ll let the three of you off private property WITHOUT calling the police. Can’t say fairer than that, can I?
ACRESBY: He said my property was worth well over two million.
CONNOR: Perhaps. But two million is all we are prepared to pay. And I doubt anyone else will pay even that.
ACRESBY: (SIGHS) What I do with my money is my business.
DOCTOR: (LAUGHS) And all the devil needed to get into the house was a well-cut suit and the seduction of language. (SMILE FADES) Come on, Rose. It’s no use. I’ve got better things to do than waste time bandying words with a pompous inbred alcoholic!

He leaves. Rose gives an embarrassed smile and runs after him.

BENJAMIN: You full well know what’s underneath the church! Your daughter told me over poker.
ACRESBY: She what?!
BENJAMIN: Oh, don’t worry – I only took information. I know you don’t have much cash to lose... any more. Over a thousand years ago a shooting star crashed in Little Balcome. That’s what Radon want!
CONNOR: And why is that?
BENJAMIN: Because it wasn’t the only thing that fell from the sky. And that thing killed Reg Prentice, Reverend York... Who’s to say where it will strike next? Your daughter? Or will he challenge it to a quick round of three-handed crib?
ACRESBY: (JUMPS TO HIS FEET) Get out! How dare you, you whiskerless scum! Get out of here! And if you so much as are seen on my property again, I’ll bally-well shoot you myself!

The Doctor reenters.

DOCTOR: Like I said, pompous.

He snatches Benjamin and they leave.

Returning to the church, Benjamin shares the information with the Doctor and Rose, explaining that many people claimed that the fallen star buried itself in the ground and the Devil attempted to steal it. When it was driven off, the church was built over it and has been ever since. Rose notes that the Devil seemed to be trying to break into the church, perhaps to get to the star? And it killed both people that seemed able to stop it. The Doctor notes a fresh set of pictograms, scrawled in the blood of Nathanial York.

ROSE: Do you know what they mean?
DOCTOR: I know what they represent.
BENJAMIN: He knows the language?
DOCTOR: I know why it was written and roughly what it says but no, I've never seen the language before. It's a tag.
ROSE: A tag? Graffiti?!
DOCTOR: Yes. 'I was here and I did this' written in the blood of the victim. This creature wants us to know what it is capable of. It's showing off, proving a point. It comes here, attacks, kills, leaves the message because... because it wants us to know. Because it needs us to be afraid. Or respectful. It thinks we can harm it and its dissuading us by being as gruesome as possible...
BENJAMIN: So... This thing is scared?
DOCTOR: Yes. Terrified. It's deep in enemy territory and thinks it's alone.
ROSE: It THINKS it's alone. You mean, it isn't?
DOCTOR: (GRINS) Why don't you pay a visit to the Radon Development Cartel?

Rose is delighted at the idea and immediately teams up with Benjamin. The Doctor, slightly put out, heads for the TARDIS while Rose and Benjamin aim for the offices the RDC have set up on the outskirts of town. Rose thinks this is either optimistic or else the company know they will succeed. The Doctor enters the TARDIS and sets up the scanner, not realizing the creature is watching him from the trees outside.

Benjamin and Rose, flirting madly, wander into the unlocked offices. Rose thinks that the company is behind the murders, but Benjamin points out that shows they are intelligent and patient enough to set up the company – why break down and go on a murder spree? As they look around, Rose finds a pre-prepared report claiming the church is riddled with woodworm and must be knocked down immediately. Yet there are no other reports: the company is only interested in the church and its contents and are prepared to pay obscene amounts of money to clear out Little Balcome while they excavate this fallen star. Rose guesses it is a spaceship, which baffles Benjamin. They hide as footsteps are heard from the corridor outside.

The Doctor leaves the TARDIS troubled, and heads back to the village to speak with Beatrice. The creature follows him at a distance.

Back at the office, the duo from the church meet Connor. The portly figure, Sexton, is in fact the group’s leader and is delighted that Acresby has signed over his land. Unfortunately they will have to wait weeks before they can start excavation – humans are on holiday during this part of the year and will be even more resistant to the idea of moving. Sexton is appalled; there will be more deaths. They were unable to prevent York’s murder and were unable to save him. Connor mentions that Benjamin is clearly on the verge of the truth and suggests they come clean. Sexton refuses; if the humans go against them the whole operation will be ruined.

Digsby notices the shuffled documents and they discover Benjamin and Rose in the cupboard. Rose attacks Sexton when he wields an alien weapon, and together she and Benjamin flee out into the night. Sexton tells the others to let them go. With luck they’ll run into the murderer. Digsby and Connor are horrified at this, but concede that it would make things easier. But Sexton is more worried about the mysterious stranger Connor described, the one who seems to understand the situation far more than their two intruders.

Benjamin is shocked at how protective Rose is of him considering they’ve only known each other a few hours. Rose shrugs and suggests it could be love at first sight. Benjamin admits he thought she and the Doctor were an item, but Rose admits the Doctor is in no way like the man she might once have fallen in love with – not realizing the Doctor is nearby, listening. He emerges from the shadows and herds them into the pub. Staying out on the streets is dangerous now night is falling.

In the pub, Beatrice and Geraldine buy the Doctor and friends a round as the Doctor explains there is a cloaked alien spaceship in the empty countryside a few miles away. The TARDIS also detected a small fleet of ships directly overhead. Beatrice wonders if this could be an invasion, and Benjamin points out invading on Christmas Day would be the best bet to take Western Civilization by surprise. The Doctor finds the whole situation puzzling – the slow, insidious work by the Radon Development Cartel is not the sort of thing to allow ruthless, random murders. And the aliens can’t be that worried about being detected, as they use their star in their corporate name.

As the night draws on, Rose begins to deliberately ignore the Doctor and focus on Benjamin. Beatrice decides to head home and Geraldine agrees to walk her. The Doctor finishes his drink and walks outside when a creature resembling the medieval image of the Devil creeps out of the shadows after him...

DOCTOR: I was trying to concentrate. Would have been too much trouble to delay the murder attempt until I’d got my thoughts in order? Hmm? Was it?

The Doctor turns to face the demon.

DOCTOR: (GRINS) Good evening, Mr. Connor. Sorry, Merry Christmas.

The creature pauses in its advance.

DOCTOR: You sure you’re not cold in this weather?
DEMON: (PUZZLED) Shouldn’t you be running for cover, screaming insensibly? That’s what humans do, isn’t it?
DOCTOR: I’m not human.
DEMON: Oh. That makes sense. Wait a span! How can you tell that I am Sexton. Er, I mean, er... (WAVES CLAWS MEEKLY) Talk to me.
DOCTOR: (FOLDS ARMS) All right. Your native appearance is, how shall we say, unpleasing to humanity in general. So you create a telepathic blanketing field so any human sees just another human. You might has well have made a suit from psychic paper.
DEMON: Like you could do better!” ‘Sexton’ replied.

The Doctor snaps his fingers. The demon leaps back in fright, falls over into the snow. The Doctor snaps his fingers again and the demon visibly relaxes.

DEMON: Point taken. You know of the Sigman Confederacy then?
DOCTOR: I know of them. They used to control this entire galactic neighborhood once – now they barely get mentioned in deeds of transfer.
DEMON: Look, Doctor, I’m sorry about this but you have to die.

He rises and advances on the Doctor.

DEMON: Well, you’re a danger to our mission. We can’t let you go around...
DEMON: Um, uh, the Chieftan wasn’t too clear on that point.
DOCTOR: Then we better talk to him. I’m sure I can make him see reason.
DEMON: He wants you dead.
DOCTOR: That was when he thought I was a human. Let’s discuss this.
DEMON: What if he wants to kill you even when he learns you’re not a human?
DOCTOR: Of course he won’t – he’s a civilized character just like you are! (PUTS ARM AROUND DEMON) And I’m sure that together we can work out which member of your race is going around slaughtering humans.
DEMON: You’re a bit clever.
DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor. Let’s see your leader then. See if we can stop another murder before Christmas. If that doesn’t earn us a present from Santa, well, what will?
DEMON: Santa?
DOCTOR: I’ll explain later. Show us the way, will you?
DEMON: (LOOKS AT THE PUB) Er, what about your friends? They’re human, are they coming?
DOCTOR: No! They’re not my friends. Just... people I know. Now, which way is your secret base? You know, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of encountering your species before. There are plenty of faces that look quite like Earthman’s Devil, of course. The Dæmons of Dæmos, the Molaggs, and then there was a strange character in Norway, I never did catch his name...

As the Doctor and Connor wander off, another demonic creature emerges from the shadows and follows them.

Meanwhile, Benjamin and Rose decide to retire for the night and return to Acresby manor. Rose speculates that Deborah may not be so eager to have them if she finds out Benjamin has a girlfriend. Benjamin explains Deborah is a gambling addict and that’s why most of Acresby’s cash is gone on her debts. Despite his gruff exterior, Acresby still loves his daughter and wants her safe. And though it looks like he’s sold out the village, he’s been left no other choice and in recent weeks he’s been hitting the liquor harder and harder. They enter the manor.

Connor leads the Doctor to Sexton and Digsby, all in their native forms. The Doctor introduces himself and learns the truth. This is no invasion, but a rather complicated archaeological dig. The Lucifarians as they are known, had a huge war with a clone race from Hyperian Sigma over a thousand years ago. A great general Helzebuh was shot down over Earth and his second in command perished after arrival, as Helzebah was stuck in the ship in a stasis capsule. The Lucifarians arrived on Earth to dig up the ship, but when it became clear how difficult and tedious it would be they sent out signals to the ship in the hope it would reactivate Helzebah and they can communicate. However, Helzebah awoke half mad and believes the war is still on and in enemy territory.

He attacked and nearly killed Reg Prentice, who the Lucifarians narrowly managed to save with their medicines. He is in a stasis pod in their ship and they were planning to free him after they left. The Doctor offers to help them track down Helzebah when he smashes his way into the office. Despite all their protests, Helzebuh is certain that the war is still on and the other Lucifarians are traitors. The Doctor uses the psionic field to assume his Ninth form, which confuses Helzebah long enough to escape. Helzebah runs after them and soon finds himself near the manor.

Helzebuh smashes into the manor and kidnaps Rose. Benjamin offers himself instead and is brutally slashed down by the Lucifarian, who flees back to the church, attacking Smythesby-Jones on the way. Lord Acresby contacts Miles and they race after ‘the Devil’ as Deborah is attacked as well. They are all taken to hospital, and Digsby in his human guise hurries to intercept them. He promises to take them back to his ship where they can be treated properly.

The Doctor heads for the church where Helzebuh has smashed open the floor to reveal the entry hatch to his ship. Helzebuh throws Rose in the stasis cubicle and begins to activate a fresh set of controls. The Doctor enters and Helzebuh attacks him, demanding to learn the truth. The Doctor confirms that Helzebuh is a thousand years in his future and offers to return him. But Helzebuh knows he will not be able to change history and orders the Doctor to leave. Once Helzebuh has given his word that Rose will be released unharmed, the Doctor leaves.

Digsby returns with a healed Benjamin, who has remembered some of the stories of the Devil and the Fallen Star say the Devil planned to split the world in two. Connor realizes that Helzebuh’s ship contained a fragmentation bomb which was to be used on the Sigman homeworld. If Halzebuh activates it, it will easily destroy Earth. The Doctor rushes to the TARDIS, telling Benjamin he’ll need his help. As they enter the time machine, the Doctor is surprised at Benjamin’s lack of reaction to its interior dimensions. The amateur archaeologist explains he’s seen too much to be surprised. The Lucifarians, meanwhile are stunned.

The TARDIS rematerializes inside Helzebuh’s ship. The Doctor, Benjamin and the Lucifarians emerge. Benjamin frees Rose and takes her to safety as Sexton tries to convince Helzebuh to abandon this course of action. He would be welcomed as a hero on Lucifaria, and the war has ended – the Lucifarians and the Sigmans are allies.

This is the wrong thing to say.

Sickened that his people have grown so weak they no longer relish war and conflict, Helzebuh attacks Sexton but spares his life in return for the coordinates for the Sigman homeworld. As the war is over, they will not suspect a Lucifarian craft until it is too late. The Doctor warns that Helzebuh is on a suicide mission, but he doesn’t care – he will either wipe out his ancient enemies or trigger a war to make his people strong again!

The Lucifarians flee and the Doctor stays behind to try and talk some sense into the leader. Helzebuh closes the hatch and powers up the engines, refusing to listen. “Don’t say I didn’t try to help,” the Doctor says, fleeing into the TARDIS. Helzebuh laughs at the coward as the engines power up, not realizing a vital chunk of circuitry has been removed by a certain Time Lord.

Outside, Rose, Benjamin and the others watch on as the church explodes spectacularly and a fireball hurtles up into the sky. The ship moves into hyperspace... whereupon it suddenly starts to come apart at the seams. Wings, hull plates, bulkhead are coming loose and tumbling away into the void. Helzebuh frantically hits the destruct button but the flight deck flies apart around him and he tumbles, screaming into hyperspace....

Back on Earth, the TARDIS materializes – much to Rose’s relief. The Doctor’s irritation at her lack of faith in him fades as he realizes she still genuinely cares for him, and now really believes that he is the Doctor. To test her, he shifts himself to his old self one last time but Rose can live without. Meanwhile, Benjamin ducks inside the TARDIS and begins operating controls like he knows exactly what he’s doing. Suddenly, the Doctor snaps back to his true form – as do the Lucifarians. The psionic field has broken down.

Acresby and Miles are held back by Beatrice, who realizes that although the creatures look like the Devil they aren’t evil. And she is rewarded for her faith when Digsby returns with Deborah, Smythesby-Jones and Reg Prentis – alive, well, but with a very sore back. As Geraldine takes this moment to get an interview with Sexton, the Doctor and Rose decide it’s time to leave. Connor promises they will finish their work and leave, taking the hauling fleet in orbit away as well.

The Doctor and Rose enter the TARDIS and take off. Rose admits she isn’t sure why she fancied Benjamin – it must have been on the rebound. Why would she fall for someone so pompous and banging on about how cultured and educated they are? She doesn’t need someone who thinks they’re so much better than her. It is then they find Benjamin emerging sheepishly from under the console. No sooner does the Doctor joke that they’ve found a stowaway, Benjamin snaps down on a lever. There is a purple flash.

Back at Little Balcome, Reg and Beatrice watches the TARDIS slowly fade away. ‘Merry Christmas Doctor,’ she calls, wiping away a tear. Meanwhile, Connor explains he has a perfect excuse for the missing church and more than enough money to keep Little Balcome going for the next year. Geraldine realizes it’s Christmas Day.

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor cheerfully welcomes Benjamin aboard and Rose snuggles up to him, utterly devoted and adoring. As the Doctor sets in a new course, Benjamin smiles slightly to himself...

Rose Tyler.... BILLIE PIPER
Benjamin Chatham.... ADAM RICKITT
Reg Prentice....ALAN RUSCOE
Lord Acresby.... ROBBIE COLTRANE
Deborah Acresby....ANNA MAXWELL-MARTIN
Reverend Nathaniel York.... ANGUS DEYTON
Mrs. Smythesby-Jones.... PATRICIA ROUTLEDGE
Inspector Miles.... MARTIN FREEMAN
Geraldine Hattersby.... LESLIE ASH

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