Doctor Who/The Keys of Marinus
From The TV IV
The Keys of Marinus is the fifth serial of the first season of Doctor Who, and the fifth serial overall.
Guest Stars: George Couloris (Arbitan), Robin Phillips (Altos), Katharine Schofield (Sabetha), Edmund Warwick (Darrius), Francis de Wolff (Vasor), Michael Allaby (Larn), Henley Thomas (Tarron), Fiona Walker (Kala), Martin Cort (Aydan), Donald Pickering (Eyesen), Stephen Dartnell (Yartek), Martin Cort (Warrior), Martin Cort (Voord)
The Sea of Death
The TARDIS lands on the beach of a small island with a large pyramid. Outside on a beach composed of glass beads Susan removes her shoes and prepares to take a swim. Ian stops her just in time; her shoes have melted right where she dropped them: in a pool of acid. They are on an island in the middle of a sea of acid!
Susan borrows Ian's shoes to go back to the TARDIS and get herself another pair. When she comes back outside, she notices webbed footprints and follows them to the base of the pyramid.
Meanwhile the others discover several glass, one-man mini-subs on the beach. The only evidence of their pilots is a single, empty, rubber diving suit -- empty because its occupant was eaten away by the acid.
They go to investigate the pyramid. When they reach the base, they split up: Ian and Barbara go left, and the Doctor goes right. They will meet at the opposite corner. Soon afterward, Ian and Barbara hear a scream as Susan is pulled into the pyramid by forces unknown. They hurry to investigate, but find nothing. Meanwhile the Doctor is also pulled inside. At the far corner, while waiting for the Doctor, Ian is pulled inside and finally Barbara as well. Everyone is inside the pyramid.
Susan who has been wandering around the interior, is grabbed by a man in a diving suit. She screams, and runs away. A hooded figure who witnessed the attack is then attacked himself. Ian rounds the corner just in time to help the hooded figure fight off his attacker. The man shoves the attacker against a wall and presses a button, activating a trap door, sending the attacker down a shaft to his death in the acid below.
Having won a measure of confidence from the hooded man, Ian is told that it has been many years since the Voord (the men in diving suits) last attacked. The others join them and the man, Arbitan, tells them of the Conscience of Marinus: a machine that was first used as an infallible judge and jury. Later it was modified to influence the minds of men; to prevent them from doing evil.
For seven centuries they had peace, until a man named Yartak developed a resistance to the machine's influence. He and his followers robbed, killed, and performed unspeakable acts of violence at will. Yartak's followers wished to use the machine for their own evil purposes, so five, key micro-circuits were removed from the machine. Arbitan has one. The others are hidden in various places on Marinus.
Arbitan has recently modified the machine so that it can now control the Voord. The time has come to reassemble the machine. He has sent his followers to retrieve the keys, but none have ever come back. He even sent his daughter last year. She did not return either. Now he is alone and needs their help.
The Doctor and the others decline to get involved and head back to the TARDIS. However, they find that Arbitan has placed a force barrier around it. He will only release the barrier if they agree to retrieve the keys. They are forced to help him.
He outfits them each with wrist bands, pre-programmed to facilitate their travels across the planet. They just twist the dial and off they go, teleported instantly to their destination. Alone in the pyramid, Arbitan is stabbed by a Voord who was waiting in the shadows.
Barbara was the first to teleport, separate from the others. At their first destination, Morphoton, Ian, the Doctor, and Susan find Barbara's travel dial with blood on it.
The Velvet Web
Ian, the Doctor, and Susan push their way into the next room and are immediately disoriented by an unbearable cacophony of lights and sound. When the onslaught abates, they find themselves in a beautifully decorated room, where servants attend to their every need. Barbara is already there unharmed, relaxing and sampling the food. The others join in; all except Ian, who expects that there is a price to be paid for all of this.
Altos, a young man who seems to be in charge, tells them that everyone gets everything they want here. So Susan asks for a dress made of her favorite material, and the Doctor asks for a laboratory with every imaginable piece of scientific equipment. They all suddenly become tired and fall asleep.
A young woman, Sabetha, enters through a secret passage and places small discs on their foreheads while they sleep. Barbara's falls off unnoticed. The flashing lights and sound begin again as they had when they first arrived. Barbara is eventually beaten down by the pain of it all and loses consciousness.
In the morning, Susan's new dress is ready. She loves it. Concerned, that Barbara is still asleep, the others rouse her. She is puzzled. She sees a drab, run down room, not the palatial setting she remembered from the night before. She wonders why they don't see it too. Susan's dress is a bunch of dirty rags. She knows that something has happened to the others.
Altos returns. He knows the treatment didn't work on Barbara. He forcibly takes her away, telling the others that he is taking her to see their "physician". But she is able to break free and escape into the city.
Altos enters a control room where disembodied brains live in glass jars. These brains control the human beings of the city, using them as slaves. Sabetha will be punished for improperly placing the discs, causing the Mesmeron treatment (mind control) to fail. She is locked outside the city. Barbara witnesses her outser and goes to speak with her.
Meanwhile the Doctor is getting a look at his new lab: an empty room with a tin mug. But that's not what he sees. He imagines just what he wanted to see: every kind of scientific device imaginable.
The brains issue Altos an ultimatum: find Barbara or die. So he finds Barbara outside and grabs her, but Sabetha smashes something over his head, allowing her to escape.
Barbara is relieved to find Ian, but he turns her in, his mind firmly under the control of the brains. The brains explain that since she has seen them for what they are, she must die. Ian is ordered kill her. He grabs her by the neck and begins to choke her, but she breaks free and destroys the brains' life-support systems, killing them almost instantly. Freed from the illusion of the Mesmeron treatment, the city dwellers riot, setting fire to the city.
Sabetha and Altos were both followers of Arbitan who failed in their missions to return the keys. Sabetha is in fact Arbitan's daughter. The Doctor, will skip ahead two jumps to retrieve the fourth key alone. As loyal followers of Arbitan, Altos and Sabetha will accompany the others retrieving the third key. They will all meet again in five days time.
Susan goes first, twisting the dial on her wrist band, disappearing instantly. She finds herself alone in a forest full of screaming/whispering sounds.
The Screaming Jungle
Susan is alone and frantic. The jungle was making a whirring, evil sound. When the others arrive the sound has stopped and no one hears it. In fact it is very still and quiet. They see an overgrown archway, but it will take the better part of a day to cut through it.
Ian leaves Barbara and Susan for a moment while he and Altos search the perimeter for a way in. While they are gone, Barbara finds a statue, and on its head is one of the micro-circuit keys. When she stands on the statue to reach the key, the statue's arms grab her and the entire construction rotates a half turn leaving a solid wall in its place.
The others do not find a way in, but they do find the key which was somehow dropped. Postulating that Barbara might use her travel dial to jump if she were in danger, Susan and Altos jump to the next destination. Before she joins Susan and Altos, Sabetha tells Ian that the key they found is a fake -- it's a fraction shorter than it ought to be. All the keys were absolutely identical in size and appearance. The real key must still be here somewhere.
Ian is alone. The rotating statue has returned. Having witnessed Barbara's disappearance earlier, Ian stands on the statue himself. It activates in the same manner as it had before. Now he is in a small courtyard littered with various odds and ends. He looks around a bit and unwittingly activates a booby trap. From behind a pillar Barbara shouts a warning. He barely avoids getting an axe in the head from a mechanical suit of armor. She warns him that there are booby traps everywhere.
Barbara passes through a door and enters a small room where a net is cast on her, knocking her to the ground. Inch by inch, the ceiling creeps downward, a ceiling covered with wooden stakes. She calls out to Ian, but he is in no position to help her. He caged himself in another booby trap when he pulled a tool free from a pile of metal bars.
Back in the room the stakes have almost reached Barbara. A man appears and stops the trap, raising the ceiling back to where it should be. Barbara tells him that Arbitan sent her, and she offers her travel dial as proof. He takes the dial into the next room to verify its authenticity.
In the other room the man, Darrius, is attacked and strangled by a vine. He calls out for help. Ian who has now managed to free himself, frees Barbara from the net; and the two of them save the old man from the vine.
Convinced of their credibility and on the verge of death, the old man warns them that the jungle will come alive and try to get in when darkness falls. He also tells them where the key is hidden: D-E-3-O-2. He dies before he can tell them anything more useful.
They go into the next room and find a safe with letters on the dial, but despite their many efforts, they cannot open it. They search the room looking for clues, and even read his diary of experiments. The jungle begins to make a strange whispering noise, and the plants begin coming through the walls, destroying the structure and equipment as they do. They haven't much time left.
Ian has an insight: DE3O2 must be a chemical name, not a safe combination. Even as the plants invade, they search the lab and find a jar marked, De3O2. Buried beneath the earthy substance within is the key. They each activate their travel dials and escape certain death.
Now they are in a frozen wastland. Barbara cannot move and despite Ian's prodding, she lies down.
The Snows of Terror
Barbara looks up and sees a dark figure in a fur parka. The man takes them back to his remote cabin, saving their lives. The man, Vasor, tells Barbara that he is a fur trapper and that they are three miles from the nearest village. He also volunteers that most men fear him. He helps her get circulation back into her somewhat frostbitten hands by lightly rubbing them.
When Ian wakes up, she helps him in the same fashion. Ian thanks him for saving their lives. When Vasor tells them about a stranger who was looking for two girls, Ian and Barbara become hopeful. Ian asks for furs to make the journey, but Vasor insists that furs are his living and he must paid. Ian is forced to trade his travel dial for the furs. He leaves by himself in search of Altos and the girls.
Alone with Vasor, Barbara discovers that he not only has Ian's travel dial, but he has the others as well. Not only that, but he also has the micro-circuit keys that Sabetha was carrying around her neck. She confronts him, and he tries to lie about it at first, but she is too smart for him. He admits that he took them thinking they would be worth alot. He stranded the girls in a nearby cave where he stores his traps.
Out in the snow with wolves near at hand, Ian finds Altos tied up ... by the trapper. Suspecting further foul play, Ian looks in the bag that the trapper gave him and finds raw meat. He casts it away hoping that will be enough to keep the wolves away.
Back in the cabin Barbara has armed herself with a knife. Vasor is chasing her trying to disarm her. When Ian and Altos return, she is just able to open the door to let them in. Ian forces Vasor to lead them to the cave where the girls are.
In an icy cave, Sabetha and Susan's fire has just gone out. They do not have any more wood, so they wander deeper into the cave. When the others arrive, the girls are gone. Only the remnants of their fire remain. The trapper is afraid to go any further, claiming that demons inhabit the depths of the cave.
Meanwhile the girls have crossed a rope bridge where they discover a chamber with a large block of ice and four frozen warriors in battle armor. They retreat from the room back the way they came and meet the others at the rope bridge. Vasor, who remained on the other side, casts his side of the bridge down, leaving them stranded.
The entire group (Ian, Barbara, Susan, Altos, and Sebetha) explore the caverns looking for another way out. They come upon the ice chamber that Susan and Sabetha found earlier. Inside the block of ice is a micro-circuit key. They open a valve, letting steam flow through pipes that warm the ice.
They leave the chamber to gather materials to help them get back across the chasm. Susan inches her way across the chasm on two giant icicles. They are then able to re-string the bridge.
Returning to the chamber they find the block of ice completely melted. As Sabetha takes the key, the warriors come to life. Slow at first, but quickening as they thaw, the ice warriors pursue them through the tunnels. After the group crosses the bridge, Ian remains a moment longer and casts his side of the bridge down into the chasm, killing one of the pursuers.
They return to the trapper's cabin and reclaim their travel dials and the other micro-circuit keys. The ice warriors (Vasor's demons) have followed them and are beating at the door. Unwilling to face the demons alone, Vasor grabs Susan, taking her as a hostage. As he backs away from the others, he gets too close to the door and is stabbed in the back by the ice warriors outside. They all activate their travel dials.
Sentence of Death
Ian awakens in a vault, his head hurting. He had seen the fourth micro-key in a display case and a body on the floor, but then someone hit him over the head. He looks around to discover, Tarron, an investigator, who has waited patiently for him to regain consciousness. Tarron wants to know many things, including the whereabouts of the missing key. They searched him while he was unconscious, but they couldn't find it.
Ian is charged with the murder of Eprin, the man whose body was on the floor and a friend of Altos. In this society (the city of Millenius) the accused are presumed guilty. The burden is on Ian to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is innocent.
Everyone is reunited at the Guardian building where Ian is being held. Ian chooses the Doctor to act as his counsel. The tribunal grants him two days to speak with witnesses and gather evidence.
After questioning Tarron at the scene, the Doctor re-enacts the murder with Barbara as Ian and Susan playing dead. His re-enactment implicates the relief guard, Ayden, but it's only a theory. They need more evidence.
Barbara and Susan visit the relief guard's home, pretending to know the location of the missing micro-circuit key. His reaction tells them that he knows where the key is. Later at the tribunal, the Doctor uses another of their micro-keys to trick Ayden into explicitly admitting his guilt. He begins to implicate co-conspirators, but before he can name names, he is killed by a bright flash of light.
Despite this revelation, the tribunal still believes that Ian is guilty, and they sentence him to death. Outside the courtroom, Barbara gets a personal call. It's Susan. She has been kidnapped and they are going to kill her if they reveal where the missing micro-circuit key is hidden.
The Keys of Marinus
Even though Susan has been kidnapped, Barbara decides not to tell the Doctor. Ian has been sentenced to death, and the Doctor needs to keep his mind focused on his defense. She and the others will look for Susan.
Barbara, Sabetha, and Altos visit Kala, the dead relief guard's wife, at her apartment to ask her about Susan. She knows nothing and begins to cry. She tells them that she knows they must have been worried sick ever since they talked to Susan. They leave her to be alone. The moment they are gone she stops crying and smiles. She has Susan tied up in the back room. She is the kidnapper!
As the others walk away, Barbara realizes that she never told Kala that they talked to Susan. How could she have known. She must be in league with the kidnapper. They return to her apartment, sneaking in, just in time to keep Kala from shooting Susan with a pistol.
Barbara calls Tarron to tell him that it was Kala who killed her husband, and he takes Kala into custody. That doesn't stop Ian's execution though, because whether out of spite, fear, or simple cold calculation; Kala names Ian as her accomplice. However it does make Tarron suspicious enough to set a trap in the evidence room.
Later they catch a hooded figure taking the mace from the evidence cabinet. It is Eyesen. The missing micro-circuit key was hidden in the mace, and the Doctor knew it all the time, he just couldn't tell anyone. Ian is released and his travel dial returned. A declaration is signed formally giving the final key to the Doctor. Everyone jumps back to the island pyramid to give their keys to Arbitan.
Back in the pyramid, the Doctor and the others begin to suspect trouble when Sabetha doesn't meet them. They split up. The Doctor and Barbara find Altos and Sabetha and set them free. Susan and Ian go to find Arbitan.
Yartek, Arbitan's nemesis, is in control of the machine. He inserts four keys, but he is still missing the final one. Ian and Susan enter the chamber and after a short conversation with Yartak (disguised as Arbitan) Ian gives him the fake key. Sabetha insists they must leave: if Yartak inserts the fake key, the machine will explode! They fake key is eventually inserted and the machine destroyed.
Sabetha and Altos are in love. They stay behind on the island -- they still have their travel dials and can go anywhere. Everyone says goodbye and the TARDIS vanishes.
- Barbara apologises to the Doctor for risking Susan's life (when she is kidnapped).
- The Doctor is not altogether unhappy when the Conscience of Marinus is destroyed, saying that man was not meant to be controlled by a machine.
- Ian's execution was to have occurred when the clock pointer reached the star (veritcal/straight up position).
- The people of Millenius, Tarron in particular, have never seen a travel dial.
- After the Conscience of Marinus machine is destroyed, the Doctor is given the last micro-circuit key to keep.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- The Doctor suggests that in his line of work Tarron needs a healthy dose of skepticism and should read Pyrrho. He goes on to say the he has actually met Pyrrho himself.
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