Two cave explorers are attacked by some savage creature, killing one of them. The Doctor and Liz are asked to go to an atomic research centre, which is experiencing trouble and is under UNIT investigation. At a meeting, the Doctor is introduced to centre director Professor Lawrence (played by another Who regular Peter Miles), Dr. Quinn (Fulton MacKay, the svrew in Porridge) and Major Baker. There are personnel problems and energy drains going on. Liz suddenly feels a bit unwell during Quinn's guided tour of the station. The Doctor notices a log-book has had its pages ripped out. The Doctor, Liz and Dr.Meredith go to look at one of the men who was attacked; the man is terrified and drawing cave pictures on a wall. Quinn and Miss Dawson discuss their secret ally; Quinn will continue with a plan, despite the risk posed by the UNIT investigation, because of knowledge he will gain. Liz discovers the mental problems have a pattern; the effected men are in the cyclotron room, the room closest to the caves. He goes into the caves himself and sees a dinosaur.
The dinosaur moves off at the sound of a control signal. The Doctor reports this and he, UNIT and Baker go back into the caves. Baker sees a reptilian figure and shoots; he is knocked down by the dinosaur. Capt. Hawkins (Paul Darrow, Avon in Blakes 7) investigates and finds blood from the injured creature. The Brig and co. lose the creature. The Doctor speculates that the smaller reptile is intelligent and not hostile. The injured creature finds refuge in a barn; Quinn has left the station and gone to the caves, where he meets the reptlian creatures. He is taken into their base. There he warns the creatures about the soldiers and is ordered to use a summoning device to recover the injured creature. The farmer discovers the creature in his barn; he is struck down. The Doctor discovers the cyclotron is operating perfectly, so power drains are from an outside influence. The farmer died of fear. Liz is left to do forensic tests in the barn; the Doctor and the Brig. learn from the farmer's wife that the creature is still there.
Dawson informs Quinn that the soldiers are looking for the creature; he heads off for the farm. The Doctor and UNIT find an unconscious Liz. When she comes to she tells the Doctor that the creature is reptilian and walks like a man. UNIT continue searching. Quinn stops at the barn and the Doctor become suspicious when he sees that Quinn's Cottage is placed such that the barn is miles out of his way. Quinn operates the signal device on the moorland and recovers the creature. The Doctor follows up his suspicions and visits Quinn; he tells Quinn that he can help. At the station, Dawson nearly explains everything to the Doctor. She goes to Quinn but he refuses to help the Doctor and says he will keep the injured creature, forcing it to give him the promised knowledge. Baker is convinced that there are saboteurs in the caves. Lawrence has requested the minister Masters to oversee matters and perhaps relieve UNIT. The Brig is planning to launch a full military move in the caves. The Doctor goes off to see Quinn as he feels matters are getting out of hand. At the cottage, the Doctor finds Quinn dead, activates the signal device and comes face to face with the creature.
The Doctor communicates with the Silurian and tries to offer help. It runs away when it hears a car. Baker knocks out a UNIT soldier and leaves the hospital, making straight for the caves where the Silurians capture him. The Doctor wants the station shut down and a peaceful scientific study conducted. The Brig. is still going to go into the caves with soldiers. The Doctor explains what he has seen to Liz and they head off for the caves, following a path marked on Quinn's map. They enter the Silurian base and find Baker in a cage. He tells them that the Silurians want to know everything about humans; they also discover Silurians are being revived from hibernation, which causes power drains from the station. Lawrence meets Masters (Geoffrey Palmer) and discusses matters; Masters will not release more soldiers, whilst the Doctor returns and talks of what he has seen. The Silurians discuss the humans - an elder wants to study humans whilst a youth thinks they are dangerous and must be destroyed. Dawson reports Quinn's death; everyone but the Doctor is talking of using force against the Silurians. The Doctor goes to the Silurians to warn them; he is placed in a cage next to Baker. He wants to create peace between the Silurians and humans, but the Silurians insist Earth is their planet. The young Silurian, alone, starts to use its sonic weapon on the Doctor.
The elder Silurian stops the youth. The Brig and his men are trapped by the Silurians and begin to run out of air. The youth and a scientist Silurian discuss the humans and begin to plot, whilst the Doctor talks with the leader (elder) Silurian. Liz tells Masters that the Doctor is down with them. The leader explains that the Silurians were on Earth before men and went into hibernation when they saw the Moon arriving at Earth; they feared a deadly catastrophe. The hibernation mechanism was faiulty and only started working when the station was built. The Silurians want to retake the Earth. The Doctor wants to find a peaceful solution - the Silurians could live in the desert regions. The leader agrees and releases the UNIT men. The youth plots with the scientist; the latter has a deadly bacteria which the Silurians used as a pest control on the apes when they raided the Silurian crops. They infect Baker with the virus and set him free. The leader learns of the bacteria, gives the Doctor a sample to find a cure and then releases him. The Doctor returns and wants to quarantine Baker, who is already showing symptoms. The youth kills the leader and takes power. Baker is taken to the hospital. Masters orders the station shut and plans to return to London with his report; he is feeling ill though. The Doctor rushes to the hospital and discovers Baker is the first victim of the bacteria.
The Doctor starts work on finding a cure. More and more begin to fall ill. Masters has arrived, by train, in London where he rapidly shows signs of the bacterial infection. The ticket inspector and train passengers start to collapse and Masters falls dead. The Doctor thinks he has found a cure. Capt. However, The Silurians make a tunnel to the research station and start to shoot him with their sonic weapons.
He is unconscious and carried back to the Silurian base. The new leader, realising the plague has not worked, will make the planet uninhabitable for humans; they plan to take over the research station. The Silurians cut their way back into the station, with the Doctor. He is forced to take them to the nuclear reactor. The Silurians plan to destroy the van Allen belt. The Doctor overloads the reactor and says the area will become radioactive. The Silurians return to their hibernation chambers. The Doctor prevents a core meltdown. The Doctor returns to the caves, is saved from being killed by the leader when the Brig shoots him. The Doctor is intent on reviving the Silurians and talking with them, but as Liz and the Doctor drive away in Bessie, they see UNIT blow up the caves. The Doctor is appalled at the murder of an intelligent race.
The Silurians is another excellent story. They look impressive and have a great voice. Their use of a "third eye" to open doors, melt rock and as a weapon was inventive; so is the idea that they are an intelligent species that developed in the distant past (during the age of the dinosaurs?) while humans hadn't yet evolved. The storyline of the Doctor trying to make a peace, but ultimately failing, is an engaging one. I wonder why the Brig and Doctor were such friends though; it is as strange a friendship as that between Kirk and Spock in Star Trek - the one military minded, the other intelligent, scientific and inclined towards peace. There is a good supporting cast. One particularly memorable part of the Silurians is the incidental music; I really liked it, especially the use of a kazoo for the Silurians. The sound effects are also memorable - the signal device, the melting rock, the third eye.
Classic Liz Shaw
More mini-skirts, one a "criminally" short red one, with go-go boots and another wig.
"Have you never heard of female emancipation?" (to the Brigadier).
Her scientific explanations.
The Silurians marks an important change in the show as it started the Barry Letts (producer) / Terrance Dicks (script editor) combo that lasted throughout the Pertwee era.
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