The Carnies, Vorg and Shirna, turn up on the Minorians planet, to show off their monster peepshow. The TARDIS materialises on a ship on the Indian Ocean, not the famous blue planet Metebelis 3. The Doctor and Jo watch two passengers and a crewman return to a lounge after dinner. Suddenly a dinosaur (a Plesiosaur) emerges from the water. They meet the passengers but are regarded as stowaways. The Doctor points out a metal plate to the crewman Andrews but he can't see it. The ship is the SS Bernice, which vanished in 1926 and on the date the Doctor espies on the wall. They get out of the locked cabin and head back to the lounge where they see the three people do exactly the same thing again and once more see the dinosaur. They return to the hold and see a giant hand remove the TARDIS.
The Doctor and Jo meet up with the passengers again and go through the same procedure again. Vorg shows the Minorians the peepshow, where he has the scope set on the ship. Shirna is surprised to see the Doctor and Jo and points out they are new. Jo and the Doctor climb into the machinery of the miniscope. The Minorians plan to destroy the craetures in the scope because it breaks quarantine. The eradicator doesn't destroy the scope. The Minorians Kalik and Orum begin to plot as the eradicator is their only major weapon; they fear the Carnies might be spies. Vorg sets about repairing the scope; he spots Jo and the Doctor crawling about in the circuits. The TARDIS returns to its normal size outside the scope. Jo and the Doctor move into another section of the scope - a wetland area, inhabited by the Drashigs.
A Drashig follows the outward scent of the two; they make a run for it. Kalik is interested in the Drashigs' fearful reputation when Vorg explains. Vorg saves the Doctor and Jo, putting his hand in and shooing the Drashigs. They escape the Drashigs and head for the cave and circuits; resting, the Doctor realises they are in a miniscope. The Drashigs follow the scent and start breaking out of their area and into the miniscope's circuits. Kalik plans to overthrow his brother Zorb. Jo and the Doctor make it back to the ship; Jo is captured and once again goes through being accused of being a stowaway. A Drashig breaks through the hull; dynamite is used against the Drashigs and damages the miniscope. The crew repeat the thing and forget about the Drashigs; The Doctor stumbles out of the miniscope and returns to his normal size.
The Doctor is angry at Vorg for running the miniscope; the latter explains the scope is breaking down and that will kill all the lifeforms in it. Orum has tampered with the eradicator as he and Kalik plot further. Jo is captured and locked in the cabin, where she promptly escapes using her skeleton keys. Kalik and Orum plan to let Drashigs out of the scope, whilst the Doctor wants to return inside. Vorg kills the Drashigs that get out of the scope; and he then flicks a switch on a device which returns the Doctor and Jo to the outside and the creatures back to their time. The humans onboard the SS Bernice are back in 1926 and close to their port of call. The TARDIS takes off as Minorian matters are settled.
Carnival is a bit of fun; Leslie Dwyer (Vorg) and Cheryl Hall (Shirna) are a marvellous double act. The Drashigs are a superb creation and realised well; it's a bit of a shame that they never returned, considering some of the less succesful creatures, which the pleisour was an example of and an omen of what was to come in the Dinosaur Invasion!
Robert Holmes has some social commentary weaved in - how we get our entertainment from TV, for example. The plot to overthrow Zorb and the role of the Functionary Mionrians didn't really seem to have much point; so those subplots seem daft.
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