This six parter only exists in b/w.
The Doctor and Jo are called in to observe a new machine at Stangmoor Prison. The Keller machine removes negative impulses from criminals, leaving them balanced and social people once more. Something goes wrong though during Professor Kettering's demonstration on one of the prisoners. The Doctor regards the machine as a menace to mankind. Dr. Summers (Michael Sheard, Star Wars) is called because a man is dead; his face shows terror and there are bites and scratche marks too. The Doctor suggests an immediate postmortem. The Brigadier is busy because there is a peace conference and also because UNIT is given the task of guarding a missile. Chin-Lee, a Chinese delegate, complains to the Brig about missing documents and that if there is any lapse in security, the Chinese will withdraw from the conference. Outside, she burns the documents and returns to her car awaits; she has a metal disc behind her ear. The man who died died of heart failure from fright. He was scared of rats and the marks are consistent with rats. The Doctor regards the Keller machine as the cause and a danger. Chin-Lee phones the Brig - the Chinese delegate is dead. There is a riot at the prison, the Keller machine starts operating and Kettering dies from drowning. The Brig and UNIT investigate the crime scene and he interviews Chin-Lee. The Doctor only manages the prison Governor to suspend use of the Keller machine; he learns that the machine was installed a year ago by a Professor Keller and his chinese, girl assistant. The Brig has discovered that Chin-Lee has lied about the time she called and reported the time of death. Jo visits the prisoner who was tested; he is in sick bay. There is another riot whilst the Doctor is examining the control circuits of the Keller machine; it pulsates and he begins to see fire.
Jo enters the room, distracts the machine and the Doctor recovers. The Doctor is scared of fire because he saw a world destroyed in a terrible catastrophe. Yates has come to the prison because the Brig wants the Doctor's help; Jo remains at the prison to keep an eye on affairs. Benton is tailing Chin-Lee but is suddenly attacked by the machine (from a distabce) and collapses. Outside the UNIT HQ, a man is working on a telephone cable; he places a bug - it is the Master. He listens in on Yates discussing plans for the missile transport. The Doctor and Brig. go to see the new Chinese delegate Fu Peng. (Doctor: He must be Hokkien; Brig: No Doctor, he's Chinese.) The prisoner Barnham (Neil MaCarthy, "Zulu") is completely drained of evil impulses; meanwhile another prisoner escapes and helps the others take over. The Doctor is convinced the Chinese delegate was killed by the Keller machine; and he is convinced Chin-Lee was the chinese assistant. She is meeting the Master, who orders her to murder the American delegate. She phones the delegate to come to the Chinese hotel suite; there, the pulsating sound of the Keller machine can be heard and the American sees a Chinese Dragon.
The Doctor, the Brig and Fu Peng enter the room and disturb her. All three see the Dragon for a short while. The American is in shock, whilst Chin-Lee collapses. They discover a mental amplifier, which the Doctor is connected to the Keller machine. When she comes to the Doctor starts to question her about Keller and Stangmoor prison.Jo is locked in a cell as Mailer tries to broker a deal with the Governor. The Doctor and Chin-Lee go to see the Brig; he receives a call from Yates, which the Master listens to. Upon hearing the Doctor's explanation, he orders his driver to take him to Stangmoor. When Chin-Lee is questioned she cannot remember Keller; the Doctor realises that Keller and the Master are the same man. The prisoners are rushed by the guards. Keller sees the Governor and learns that the Doctor is on his way. The Master sees Mailer and gives him weapons, as he wants his help; they use gas to overwhelm the guards, Mailer shooting some in the escape. The Doctor is captured and taken to the Master. The Master wants to steal the missile UNIT are transporting, use it on the peace conference and plunge the world into war; furthermore, he wants the Doctor's help with the Keller machine. The Doctor tries unsuccesfully to escape. He is strapped next to the machine and the mental amplifier placed behind his ear. The machine starts pulsating and the Doctor sees fire and hears a Dalek saying exterminate.
The Doctor passes out and the prisoners, and Master, are affected by the machine. The Master manages to turn it off and examines the Doctor. He comes to and warns the Master that the machine cannot be controlled and that the parasitical creature living in it feeds on evil and will soon feed on the mind of the Master. The Doctor is thrown into the cell with Jo. The Master goes to the machine and tells the creature it is his servant; the machine starts up and he sees the Doctor laughing hysterically. The Master struggles out of the room and locks it. The Doctor is slowly recovering but needs rest; he is tended to by a worried Jo. The Master explains his plan to Mailer: the convicts are to hijack the missile, which is being carried in a lightly guarded convoy near Stangmoor. Jo and the Doctor overwhelm their guards and escape from their cell. The convoy is attacked; Yates is shot before he raise the alarm with the Brig. However, he struggles onto a motorbike and follows the hijacked missile. The Brig and UNIT move in. Yates is captured. Benton tells the Brig he saw a Black Mariah, which leads the Brig to think of Stangmoor. The Doctor and Jo try to put the Keller machine out of action but it has begun to teleport itself. It kills two convicts and then materialises and begins to attack them.
Barnham enters and the machine teleports itself. His pure mind has saved them. The Doctor and Jo are taken prisoner again. UNIT have Stangmoor under surveillance and plan to take the prison. Yates escapes. The Doctor begins working on the machine with the Master; he has made a device with a coil to set up a field around the machine, putting it temporarily out of action. The Doctor is taken back to his cell, where he tells Jo of the time he was in a cell with Sir Walter Raleigh. The Brig. dresses in a boiler suit and flat cap, pretending to be delivering supplies to Stangmoor; the truck he is driving contains UNIT soldiers, who engage in a fire fight with the convicts. The vastly superior (ha!ha!) UNIT troops overwhelm the convicts. Mailer takes the Doctor and Jo hostage; Jo tries fruitlessly to overpower Mailer. A pistol fires.
The Brig. shoots Mailer. The Master has gone to the hanger, containing the missile. Yates radios in the position. The Keller machine breaks out of the coil and begins to teleport and feed again. The Doctor and Jo are attacked and are saved by Barnham (again). the Doctor dismantles the machine and observes the black blob parasite inside it. The Master talks to the Doctor on the phone; the latter will exchange the dematerialisation circuit for the missile. Barnham protects everyone from the machine so long as he is close to it, so the Doctor plans to destroy the machine and the Master in one go. The Doctor and Master talk; the machine starts to pulse, debilitating the Master as the Doctor works on the abort circuit on the missile. Barnham is killed trying to stop the Master trying to escape. The missile and the Keller machine/parasite are destroyed, but the Master escapes with his TARDIS dematerialisation circuit. He calls the Doctor and says he will return someday and destroy the Earth and wishes the Doctor fun with his exile.
This second story from Don Houghton is fun viewing so it almost makes one forget the weaknesses in it, of which there are many. The cliffhangers are repetitive with the threats from the Keller machine. It is a bit far fetched to suppose a missile will be moved close to a prison, with few guards, precisely during a peace conference. Yates is shot but has an amazing recovery.
The Chinese are the first "communists" on the show, with their Mao suits and red star cap badges. Chin Lee (played by Houghton's wife) mentions Imperialism. The Doctor mentions he is on friendly terms with Mao himself - a bit strange given his history; another example of tht strange propensity of the Doctor to hang out with authoritarians, the Institution, etc.
Fun but not brilliant in the end.
The media doesn't change -
1 time siden