A "star" falls to Earth, close to the castle of Irongron in the age of the Crusades. He heads off with his serfs to study the star and claim it. A figure emerges from the "star": Linx, a Sontaran. Irongron and Lynx make a deal; in return for shelter, protection and a chance to repair his ship, Linx will produce weapons so that Irongron can rule. Lynx needs, though, to go forward in time to get scientists. The Doctor goes to a secret research station, where he learns from the Brigadier that scientists have gone missing. There he meets a Professor Rubeish and Sarah Jane Smith (Liz Sladen), a journalist who is working under her aunt's identity. Irongron begins to pilage and Sir Edward tries to stop him; Irongron is assisted by Linx. The Doctor is woken by a detector, the Professor disappears and the Doctor catches a brief glimpse of Linx. Sarah walks into the TARDIS, whilst the Doctor follows the trace left by the Sontaran matter transmitter. He materialises close to Irongron's castle. Sir Edward's archer, Hal, tries to kill Irongron; Sarah distracts him and is taken captive by Irongron's men. The Doctor follows, where he sees the Sontaran remove its helmet, revealing the humpty dumpty face beneath.
Sarah thinks she is in a medieval reconstruction. Hal is captured. Linx sees Sarah; he notices that she is from a different time. He interrogates her and she explains the Doctor and the TARDIS. Linx shows Irongron one of the weapons he has made - a robot knight. Irongron uses the knight to fight Hal. The Doctor saves him by firing an arrow at Irongron's control unit. Hal flees with Sarah. The Doctor finds Linx's quarters and the missing scientists, including Rubeish. Linx enters and the Doctor and Sontaran talk. Hal and Jo make it back to Sir edward's castle. Sarah believes the Doctor is helping Irongron. They discuss what is happening and sarah suggests a combo raid to grab the Doctor. The Doctor and Linx talk further (we learn that Gallifrey is the Time Lord home planet for the first time). Linx doesn't care if he is interferring with human development; he links the Doctor to a computer, which keeps him trapped. Linx gives Irongron more guns. The Doctor gets Rubeish to turn a switch, which allows the Doctor to escape. He makes it to the courtyard, where he is surrounded. Irongron raises an axe to kill the Doctor.
Hal fires an arrow which allows the Doctor to escape. He is taken captive, back to Sir Edward's castle. He explains the Sontaran and that he works for UNIT to Sarah. Irongron marches on the castle; the Doctor thinks up a way to defend it (dummies and stink bombs). Linx reveals his face to Irongron and tells him he is soon going to leave the primative humans. The Doctor and co. dine and he suggests that Irongron's castle should be taken. The Doctor plans a sleeping draught. Sarah and the Doc disguise themselves as monks to enter Irongron's castle; they make for the Sontaran's quarters. Linx returns and threatens to kill the exhausted scientists. The Doctor stops him and offers a deal: return the scientists, leave the weapons and let the castle be evacuated before take-off and he will help in the repairs to the Sontaran ship. Linx replies; he shoots the Doctor.
The Doctor hinys and Rubeish hits Linx on the probic vent, an energy plug on a sontaran's neck, knocking him out. The Doctor needs to stall Irongron, so he disguises himself as a robot knight; he fights him. Sarah Jane adds the sleeping draught in the food. Rubeish, following the Doctor's instructions, dehypnotises the scientists, who continue working and pretend to be hypnotised. Irongron unties Linx and brings him to the dining hall. The Doctor is faced with a firing squad. Sarah rescues him and they escape to Sir edward's castle. Linx prepares to leave ; the Doctor heads back to Irongron's castle, where the men have fallen asleep. The Doctor sends the scientists back to thw 20th Century. Irongron is shot by Linx when he attacks him. Hal disarms the remaining men and evacuates them from the castle. Hal returns and shoots Linx, with an arrow, in the probic vent. They escape and the castle explodes with the weapons and the Sontaran ship. The TARDIS dematerialises.
Although this story is punchy at times, I don't think it is Robert Holmes's best. There is a fitting medieval sound to the dialogue, some nice appearances from June Brown (Dot Cotton in EastEnders) and David Daker (Irongron), but not much going for the script really except....
The Sontaran! Sarah Jane!
This makes the story. Kevin Lindsay is really good as Linx as is the costume design and face mask for the Sontaran. I was actually more scared of the Sontaran costume I saw at the Dr.Who Longleat exhibition (back in 1976?) than I was of a Dalek.
Tere are a few other things of note: Bernard Lodge's time tunnel opening and ending sequence was used for the first time. It is a simply beautiful effect. Furthermore, the ever great Dudley Simpson (incidental music) was gradually moving away from what I call the Pertwee sound; the music was slowly becoming a less intense electronic sound.
A bit of fun, that loses its puff by episode four, alas.
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