Monday, November 2, 2009

7th Doctor - Night Thoughts (i)

Serial 7W/C – Night Thoughts
Night Thoughts
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' What If?!


Serial 7W/C – Night Thoughts -

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor, Ace and Hex are recovering from their recent exploits and soon fall into a Four-Yorkshireman style argument about how things could have been worse, and they all suffered far nastier fates, with the Doctor trumping everyone with the events of Season Twenty-Four:

"Luxury! When I was newly regenerated, I had to put up with Melanie Jane Bush, suffer concussion, dress up as my previous incarnation, get patronized by the Rani, become a teenage lifestyle councilor at Paradise Towers, lose my sonic goat army as WELL as visit science fiction conventions, kinky Quirk gladiatorial games AND eat pork pies! And the do the young people of today listen? Course not!"

"Well, maybe the subscribers do..." Hex offers with a shrug as he struggles to get what looks like a 1960s psychedelic plasma screen TV to play his DVD of 'Cutting It' Series Two.

The Doctor, irritated, whacks Hex away with his umbrella and realizes his stoner companion away from a device he now recognizes as the Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen.

Ace asks what the Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen actually DOES, and the Doctor explains in a bloodcurdling whisper that the device taps in the fundamental lay-lines of creations, seeking out nexuses of probability lines that refuse to collapse, paths that cannot be taken, histories that will not play out.

"It’s a What If? machine," asks Ace, arms folded, and generally unimpressed at the Doctor’s hyperbole.

"Not just ANY What If? machine, Ace!" the Doctor reproaches her. "The Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen is crystal clear, high definition with surround sound! Anyone can get a device like that to replay events that have occurred, but to get it to replay events that HAVEN’T occurred? That takes imagination! And genius! And Panasonic Batteries!"

The Doctor applies this magical talismans and the Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen clunks into life.

"This is just like that Futurama episode!" Hex enthuses.

The device will show them what is happening in a time line where things went differently after that trip to Perivale – Ace would have returned to Gallifrey to seize power with a people’s army and start blowing up zero rooms with Nitro 9; the Doctor would have gained a new companion called Kate Tollinger, encountering Ice Warriors, animal testing, and then on an isolated asteroid the Time Lord would go insane and be forced to regenerate into Ian Richardson!

"I went out the way I came in," the Doctor sighs. "Straightjacketed and gagged in a confinement cell! It’s very moving according to Mark Ayres’ musical score..."

The trio sit down eagerly to watch the story unfold, but soon looks of horror crosses their faces as the ‘roller-coaster-through-infinity’ title sequence throws up a familiar fleshy face!

"That’s not Ian Richardson!" Ace complains.

"No... it’s much worse than that!" the Doctor gasps.

Hex blinks. "Oh my god. It’s Richard Griffiths! He’s the new Doctor!" He turns desperately to his companions. "Can’t we just watch some Red Dwarf instead or something?"

Part One

Wearing a very large off-the-peg morning suit with a scarab badge on the lapel, a question mark pocket watch, a gay pink butterfly bow-tie and some trippy green prince nez spectacles, the rotund, grey haired form of a very different Eighth Doctor is grooving around his fancy new pyramidal TARDIS control console, humming Christie Allen’s "Goosebumps!" to himself.

His companion Kate Tollinger enters, dressed in her pyjamas, and tells him to shut up with his humming karioke – either learn the lyrics or stay quiet!

The Doctor changes topic by explaining he has set the TARDIS to a completely coordinates. Of course, they might materialize in the heart of a blazing star or inside a drop of oil, but the Doctor decides not to worry about that on the grounds it’s depressing.

"The only coordinates I know are for places I’ve already visited – obviously – and it’d be nice to visit somewhere new. We have the whole universe to explore, infinite possibilities in time and space..."

The TARDIS lands on Earth in 1990, specifically in the depths of the dark woods on a remote Scottish Island.

"SHIT!" the Doctor shouts as he exits and repeatedly kicks his time machine, referring to it as a ‘stupid, time-spanning, piece of crap’ and trying to smash in the windows with a silver-topped cane.

Kate however, is rather troubled as she senses something in the night air, neither physical nor mental, the taste of death that reminds her of a vivid nightmare she was having before the Doctor awoke her with his off-tune renditions.

Instantly distracted from his attempts to vandalize his own time machine, the Doctor announces he wants to hear more about Kate’s dream – was she naked in it? Was he naked in it? More importantly, were they both naked in it and was baby oil twister involved?

When Kate frostily folds her arms and explains it was a nightmare about a weird group of bickering losers in a makeshift operating theatre, performing amateur bypass surgery on a ventriloquist’s doll with no eyes, the Doctor becomes annoyed.

Putting this dream down to some mental distress call from some passing alien something or another, the Doctor decides he’s hungry and heads back inside the TARDIS for a sandwich.

Kate realizes she’s actually freezing cold and probably needs some proper clothing rather than just her pyjama shirt when she notices something bubbling under the surface of the nearby lake.

Creeped out, she calls into the TARDIS, and the Doctor shouts back that if she’s so damn interested, she can investigate herself like a proper companion ought to.

Annoyed, Kate strides over to the lake to do just that and sees what appears to be a woman skinny-dipping just beneath the surface. Eagerly, Kate leans forward for a closer look only to realize that the woman seems to be drowning and sinking to the bottom.

Kate realizes this reminds her a lot of a Richard Gere movie, and is so distracted trying to remember the title, she falls into the lake and SOMETHING grabs her and tries to drag her down.

The Doctor emerges from the time machine munching on a toasted cheese sandwich and sees his companion gurgling and trashing in the weeds. After a few moments, he remembers who she is and easily rescues her, mainly so he can admire her in a now wet T-shirt.

The shivering Kate desperately explains that some weird zombie woman is in the lake, but the Doctor laughs in her face and accuses her of watching that Richard Gere movie too many times.

Finishing his toast, the Doctor decides to head for the solitary house ahead of them through the trees, which will hopefully be nice and warm and have lots of free food. Kate protests that the TARDIS is three feet away, but the Time Lord is already waddling off.

Kate follows, so preoccupied in avoiding frostbite, she ignores the strange glow emerging from the lake as they head off.

The Doctor and Kate arrive at Sibley Hall, where they are instantly met by a man called Joe Hartley – which freaks out Kate because

a) he looks suspiciously identical to a man in her nightmare
b) he just happens to be guarding the front door?

Joe explains he spotted them from the window, which does ruin the creepy mood rather, and immediately offers to "warm up" Kate "to the bone" by sharing his hot bath and narrow bed.

Kate agrees and Hartley shouts "YAHOO!" as he ushers her upstairs, leaving the Doctor facing the twitching, furious, bug-eyed Major Dickens (who, if Big Finish could afford it, would have got Anthony Hopkins to play him) and has a hair-trigger temper.

Within five seconds the Major accuses the Doctor of being a thief, threatened him with the security alarm system he personally designed for the house, demanded gratitude for not leaving the Doctor outside to freeze to death, demanded an apology for the intrusion with his wet-to-the-bone floozy, and idly mentions he was an army anesthetist and whether or not the Doctor is medically trained in macro-cosmology.

The Doctor ignores the Major and goes to meet the other inhabitants of Sibley Hall: a woman in a wheelchair called the Bursar, a woman not in a wheelchair called the Deacon, a 7-foot stuffed bear, a blonde teenage housemaid called Sue holding a fluffy bunny, and the incredibly sarcastic son of a bitch called Colin O’Neill.

The Deacon quickly denies that this is a strange old-age brothel, but merely a retreat from the local university, here on the island to carry out a few medical experiments and get into Richard Curtis-style fun and frolics.

Almost the moment the Doctor says "Hello!", a power cut strike the house, along with the phone lines and a storm of biblical proportions strikes, trapping them in the house for the foreseeable future.

"Splendid!" the Doctor enthuses, and immediately pulls out a packet of tarot cards for an impromptu séance before noticing that the 7-foot bear is now standing on the other side of the room – something stuffed and mounted dead animals are NOT well known for.

The others don’t know what exactly STUFFED the bear, but Hartley is the resident taxidermist and veterinary science teacher, and claims it was filled with ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’.

"Goodness," the Doctor exclaims, "You mean that bear is stuffed with the preserved corpse of a young girl?!"

Everyone laughs nervously and changes the topic really quickly, and start telling the Doctor a story about a group of doctors who eagerly
experimented on the life of an ancient dying bear, tying it up and then gouging out it’s eyes... before suddenly everyone except the Time Lord laughs nervously and change the topic once more by deciding that it is time for them all to go to bed.

The Bursar asks the Doctor to help her wheelchair onto the stair-lift, which the Doctor does so on the agreement HE can use it to get up the stairs, since his latest enfleshment is such a fat bastard.

Upstairs, Hartley continues to puts the moves onto Kate until she picks up a photograph and throws it at his head. Kate then gets down to a gratuitous bubble bath sequence which ends as she hears a female voice sobbing outside the door – triggering a violent LSD flashback to Kate’s unhappy childhood which presumably would be incredibly poignant if we had seen other stories she was in.

Kate puts on a retro bath robe and storms out to find... no one there.

Hartley arrives and ogles Kate until she karate chops him in the throat and he falls down the stairs, passing the Doctor who is gleefully riding the stair lift making rocket noises.

Kate calls the Doctor a fat, childish moron and goes to continue her ablutions, while the Time Lord jeers, "GET THAT ASS!" before using the stair lift to head downstairs while humming "I See You Baby!" to himself as he does so...

...not noticing the 7-foot stuffed bear is now at the top of the stairs, holding a tape recorder.

And let’s be honest, that’s pretty damn noticeable!

At the bottom of the stairs, the Doctor notices the bruised Hartley, whacks him with a cane, and heads to the kitchen to make himself a roast suckling pig.

As Hartley resentfully gets to his feet, he hears the sound of the Doctor humming... coming from the hallway rather than the kitchen. Confused, he heads towards the noise, which seems now to be coming from the open door to the cellar.

Now deeply suspicious as to why the Doctor would be in the cellar instead of raiding the fridge, Hartley lights and candle and heads down there to see... the stuffed bear is now waiting for him at the bottom of the steps, holding a tape recording of the Doctor humming!

In the kitchen, the Doctor is making a huge sandwich and too busy whistling "Conquistador" by Procol Haram as Hartley’s screams can be heard, his babbling shrieks for help and finally silence.

The Doctor blinks, noticing this, then shrugs and decides to finish his sandwich before checking out what’s up.

Upstairs, Kate finally finishes her bath when there is a knock at her door. To her surprise, it is not Hartley but O’Neill who is scared crapless by Sue who is tormenting him with her toy rabbit 'Happy' who is angrily insisting he tell her the latest developments in "Coronation Street" in a creepy voice.

Kate is sure it is just the girl’s way of coping with her troubled adolescence – she herself lives a life of stinking privilege in a high society London Mansion, waited on day and night by servants paid on a fortune paid for by her father’s criminal dealings. This actually isn’t relevant, but just Kate bragging in a way that fills the audience who haven’t seen her origin stories... for obvious reasons.

At that moment the Doctor uses the stair lift yet again to get upstairs and happily explains that there’s been a murder – Hartley is lying dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs, seemingly from a heart attack, but the Time Lord is certain there’s more to it.

The Major glares, shouts a lot, generally accusing everyone of being the murderer, before ranting what a stupid jerk Hartley was, and then grumbling as he dumps the corpse in the fridge – which the Doctor has emptied to the point it can act as a makeshift mortuary.

The Bursar is devastated – not only has her comrade of thirteen years, a fine and gifted craftsman, died before his time... the Doctor has totally knackered her stair lift! His colossal buttocks mean it was warped out of shape and cannot carry a wheelchair.

Everyone decides to go to bed... again... but no sooner has Kate picked the lock on Hartley’s suitcase and started helping herself to his possessions (did I mention she was a cat burglar?) when she hears the oh-so-mysterious sound of the Doctor humming "I See You Baby" as the stair lift is engaged.

Assuming the Doctor is going on a midnight snack, Kate decides to head downstairs and make sure that he doesn’t accidentally eat Hartley’s dead body while raiding the fridge.

Arriving in the kitchen, Kate sees a hulking silhouette with the source of the humming and assumes she has caught him in the act. She dives over to the fridge and opens to door to remind her forgetful friend about the corpse.

She then realizes that someone has removed the corpse’s eyes and that the Doctor’s humming is no more than a tape recording of the massive, bearlike figure which slowly advances through the gloom towards her.

She runs for the door – but it’s locked!

Kate, however, is far to reserved and postmodern to start screaming like a traditional companion, and can only watch on in horror as the silent horror closes in...

But, somehow, this scene just loses something on audio.

Part Two

In a blatant cheating reedit, Kate ISN’T locked in with the humming tape recorder monster and is able to race out of the kitchen and wakes up everyone in the entire house in the time it takes to edit to the very next scene.

Kate explains the events of the previous cliffhanger, and they enter the kitchen to find...

...nothing. The figure is not there, and Hartley’s corpse has also disappeared. The Major immediately accuses Kate of possibly disfiguring the corpse herself in a monstrous act with her sharp lockpicks.

The Major then goes on to explain it is surprisingly easy to remove the eyes from a semi-frozen body using only a penknife and gives an impromptu lecture on the subject until everyone is now knowledgeable to do it – and thus are ALL suspects!

Kate points out this rather suggests that the Major himself is the culprit, especially as everyone in the group hates and despises his pop-eyed, miserable guts.

The Major shouts a bit and decides to return to bed.

The Doctor has fallen into a trance – whether this is just his trademark ‘retreat into a world of his own’ eccentricity or whether he is just really bored is not clear – but quickly gets up, collects his cane from the paw of the 7-foot stuffed bear which now stands blocking the front door, and decides to go and look for the corpse in the hope some of the other fridge contents might have got stuck to it.

He tells Kate to look upstairs and she finds a set of pull-down steps leading up into the attic to discover a chemistry lab full of Bunsen Burners, animal parts and a 7-foot stuffed bear.

As Kate explores, the door to the attic slams shut and she hears the sound of something breathing heavily, before something – probably the same something breathing heavily – attacks her.

Finally, the Doctor and O’Neill get the Bursar to the top of the steps, only to discover the old bat seems to have dozed off. O’Neill realizes she is in fact in a coma, having been jabbed with a hypodermic needle – which the Doctor immediately steals so he can sell to gullible junkies later.

At that moment, Kate falls through the ceiling screaming something in a huge fur coat just tried to stab her to death with a hypodermic and frankly my dear she gives a damn!

The Deacon heads into the attic to see what all the fuss is about, and finds so sign of Kate’s assailant – and then the sound of the Doctor humming fills the air, and she starts screaming.

Below her, the Doctor is searching for more food and humming "Pretty Vacant!" to himself as Kate insists that some seriously twisted crap is going down at Sibley Hall and they are caught right in the middle.

The Major assures them all he has a special transmitter in the outhouse and he’s called the police and they’ll be there by sunrise. When everyone takes his word for it, he rolls his eyes and mutters something about gullible morons.

As she helps the Doctor search for more food, Sue and her toy rabbit have a conversation in its chilling voice about the urban legend of the dead rabbit that the babysitter tries to pass off as dying in its sleep only to discover later it had been buried the previous day, leading to claims of zombie rabbits rising from the grave.

The Major laughs extremely loudly and swears to dismiss the housemaid if she continues to flag up symbolism in the main plot line.

Sue bursts into tears and in the creepy voice of Happy, she reveals that her mother is dead, her father has gone and her sister had drowned. She was adopted by foster parents who gave her the name
Susan McVee, but she escaped and came to work at Sibley Hall.

The Doctor blinks, realizing Sue is perfect companion material and a lot easier to emotionally manipulate than Kate Tollinger.

However, even HE draws the line at a companion who suddenly becomes hysterical, claiming ‘they’ killed her baby and that she’s determined to find out which one of them did it, and she will hunt them and gouge the truth out of them like they did to her baby’s eyes before fleeing the room in floods of tears.

"That’s one fucked up kid," Kate muses and the Doctor agrees.

The time travelers’ search for food takes them back to the attic where they find the bubbling remains of the Deacon’s headless corpse – it seems the Deacon was washing her hair in a bucket of sulfuric acid in what was an act of suicidal insanity or insane suicide.

The Doctor finds a suicide note in which the Deacon clears anyone else of blame and she confesses to a terrible error of judgement made ten years ago; her final wish is that she is not to be mourned - no funeral, no flowers, no fuss. He concludes that these must be song lyrics of some kind and thus inadmissible!

While they all draw lots for the pleasure of waking up the Bursar and telling her another of her comrades has died while she was asleep, the Doctor realizes that the old woman is in fact JJ Bartholomew – a Cuban spy in the Fawkland Crisis and notable temporal engineer.

"Remind me to get an autograph after she stops screaming," the Doctor asks Kate, ignoring the fact that a 7-foot stuffed bear is now positioned right behind them.

The Major, now shaking with rage, demands that all in the house respect his authority until such time as the police arrive. He finally activates the security system he’s been banging on about for the last two episodes and all the doors and windows automatically lock.

This delights Kate who is an accomplished lock picker and safe cracker, and in less than one minute she’s easily broken through the door and she and Sue decide to head a disused Chapel on the other side of the lake – the rush of breaking and exiting has totally conquered Kate’s fear of the strange zombie pond she nearly drowned in.

The Major’s eyes bug out and he swears furiously, before announcing that the area is a minefield of bear-traps and he activates them, intending to recapture those pesky females at all cost!

The Doctor yawns, announces he’s bored, and leaves the house, intending to return to the TARDIS and have a nice kebab, showing absolutely no fear of the automatic man traps, which prompts even MORE furious ranting from the Major.

However, the Doctor sees the thing in the lake, panics and starts running around in circles, before tripping over his own feet and falling into the snow.

At the Chapel, Kate and Sue look up as they hear the sound of the bear-traps snapping shut and the Doctor swearing in Welsh!

Part Three

Kate and Sue finally decide to investigate and find the Doctor has managed to fall with his feet, hands and head landing neatly in the middle of a separate bear-trap. The slightest move could cause it to snap shut and either cripple the Doctor for the rest of this incarnation or else turn him into someone frankly less annoying.

The Doctor doesn’t find either option particularly pleasant and so demands Kate return to Sibley Hall and get the Major to unset the traps. Kate lets out a huge sigh and minces off, making clear she’s only doing this because she is so incredibly nice.

"I should have strangled her at birth," the Doctor grumbles. "I could have told Sam she was stillborn! Oh well, it’s so often the way – too late you think of what one SHOULD have done... like going to the lavatory before falling into the bear traps. I’m busting for a piss!"

Kate arrives and haughtily commands the Major to un-set the traps, but he loudly and sarcastically explains that the bear traps aren’t actually under his control – he was lying to appear huge and masculine, when really he could never, ever deliberately hurt another human being. Ergo, someone who definitely wasn’t him is responsible.

Kate and O’Neill believe him completely and rush back outside.

"Morons," the Major mutters under his breath, passing the 7-foot stuffed bear now seemingly fascinated with the VCR.

By the time they reach the wood, the Doctor has convinced Sue to take his screwdriver from his coat pocket and, switching it to setting 1039: bear-trap smashing mode, easily releasing him from the freezing mud.

The group return to Sibley Hall to find the TV playing what at first is an episode of "London’s Burning", which rapidly dissolves into a video diary of a suicidal woman called Maude, explaining she intends to drown herself in the lake for very good reasons which have since been taped over with a popular nineties English drama.

Sue is distraught – her foster parents gave her that video when she was fourteen to reveal the truth, and now some fuckwit has taped over half of it with some crappy "realistic" drama!

Amazingly, O’Neill is just as horrified: the video was of his wife, who assumed died in a horrendous smiling accident ten years ago with his daughters Eadie and Ruth! It appears that Ruth was renamed Sue...

"SUE... I AM YOUR FATHER!" he wheezes and she and he embrace as the rest of the cast applaud and make wolf whistles.

Finally, Kate cuts through this soap Oprah crap to point out how completely unlikely it is that an estranged father and daughter just HAPPEN to get jobs at the same town in the same place the estranged mother just HAPPENS to have committed suicide in the lake which just HAPPENS to be haunted by her vengeful ghost.

The Doctor stares at her. "And you wonder WHY people don’t invite you to their birthday parties," he growls.

Awkwardly, Sue and O’Niell explain they both made their separate ways to the island to find out the truth of what happened to them all those years ago and seem to have succeeded.

The Doctor decides that, since they’re in the mood for explanations, he decides to head upstairs and confronts the Bursar about her secret identity. Kate and the Major run after him, and no one seems to notice that the 7-foot stuffed bear is already on the upper level, watching them go past...

... God damn it, these people are idiots.

The Doctor speaks to the Bursar and demands to know why she is hiding her true name as she squats in some haunted house in the middle of a lonely uncharted in the middle of nowhere. She used to be COOL!

The Major explains she has faked her own death for tax reasons and they have developed the Jar-Jar Binks Bartholomew J Simpson Trans-Action Phonogram: a precursor to the iPod, which accidentally acts as a crude time machine, sending music tracks backwards in time which can be replayed (or rather pre-played) on the average hi-fi equipment.

To demonstrate, the Major switches on the CD player and there is the sound of Kate abusing the Doctor being "a smug, self-satisfied, know-it-all Gallifreyan Lame-Brain!"

Kate isn’t sure how that could possibly work, but the Doctor’s patronizing explanation causes her to snap and call him "a smug, self-satisfied, know-it-all Gallifreyan Lame-Brain!" – which the Bursar records on the Phonograph and sends it back in time.

The Doctor is impressed at this incredible feat of trans-temporal engineering... but what the hell is it for? Why in the name of Metatraxi fellatio have they spent the last ten years building this?!

The Major looks out the window in a brooding fashion and explains that this septic isle is not called "Anthrax Island" for nothing – it was used for chemical testing during the Fawklands War, and every living creature on the surface perished. Thus, real estate prices dropped like a stone and the university could afford to build Sibley Hall on it for private research...

"GET ON WITH IT!" the Doctor and Kate shout.

The Bursar breaks down and explains ten years ago, she and her posse were at Sibley Hall when Maude O’Niell and her two daughters arrived. The four academics were suffering the Fear following some experimental acid tabs developed by the late Hartley, and mistakenly assumed that the anorexic Eadie was an evil zombie trying to claw out their eyes... they cut her head off with an axe.

The mother was understandably upset and, after recording a self-pitying video diary, through herself into the lake to drown in an appropriately symbolic, melodramatic and gothic fashion.

Kate considers telling the two academics that the survivors of the family have just had an emotional reunion downstairs, but the Doctor tells her to keep her posh mouth shut for once.

The Bursar explains that they will use the Phonograph to send a simple message ("This is Jesus Christ speaking: CALM THE FUCK DOWN!") back ten years to stop their past selves from cutting off Eadie’s head, and thus change history in a cool way.

The Doctor applauds at this selfless display, then picks up one of the Bursar’s text books and slams her over the head. "I will not be born yesterday, you scum!" he roars. "Stop pissing us about and tell the truth!" he says, ramming his cane into the Major’s testicles.

It seems the Doctor’s violent outburst is well-founded – the Bursar also found this experiment a ridiculous waste of ten years and tried to leave the island to live on her royalties in Bermuda, but the Major chopped her legs off with the bear traps!

The Major protests that this is hardly worth complaining about – they intend to rewrite history and change all these events. "It is a truth, UNIVERSALLY acknowledged, Bursar, that a man can do WHATEVER THE HELL HE LIKES if the causal nexus can be CHANGED AT WHIM!!"

The Doctor, however, points out that if that is the case, why the hell haven’t they used it already?

Certain the Major is hiding something, he grabs him by the ears and slams his head into the Time Lord’s knee. Four times.

Dazed, bleeding and ever so slightly concussed, the Major activates the Phonograph, sending the message back through time and certain it will be believed and acted upon.

Nothing happens.

The Doctor bursts into laughter, amazed at how stupid humans can be – the Phonograph is too weak and pathetic to have a last effect on history. Even if, ten years ago, Eadie still has her head, the body buried here and now will still be headless, and she’ll stay dead.

"AH-YAH! AH-HATNT-FORT-O-TAAAHT!" the Major sneers.

Downstairs, Sue and O’Neill have bonded well and are having quality time. By watching TV. As an add break comes on, they admire all the stuffed animals around the place, especially the sheer number of 7-foot stuffed bears throughout the house.

Of course, as O’Neill points out, it could be the same bear somehow able to move on its own... but that would be ridiculous. Both he and his daughter laugh loudly and change the subject.

Upstairs, the Bursar and Kate have started playing Snap with Tarot cards, so bored are they between the twisting and turning as the Major’s story and motivation change every five bloody minutes.

After a few more rounds with a phone book, the Major explains he suspected that the process wouldn’t work to revive Eadie, so they got Hartley’s brilliant mixture of magical chemical preservatives to reattach, embalm and perfectly preserve her corpse.

The Doctor realizes that – unless the Major is talking shit and that is a real possibility – Eadie’s body at this very moment could be coming back to life for the duration of this temporal shenanigans!

Suddenly, Kate realizes that the 7-foot stuffed bear is now in the room with them, and screams!!!

Hah. "Modern companion", my dorsal tubercle!

Part Four

It turns out that Kate was just screaming to distract the Bursar, allowing Kate to win the next hand. With that cliffhanger resolution out of the way (Gosh, you’d never twig the story was originally a three-parter, would you?), we return to the plot.

The Doctor broods over the Major’s latest version of events and doubts that a bunch of paranoid stoners convinced they were being attacked by zombies could have, off the cuff, come up with a ten-year plan to revive Eadie by embalming her.

The Major insists his convoluted plan was an honorable attempt to make up for the group’s mistake, but after being clubbed around the head with a copy of Dave Allen’s autobiography, the Major admits he was in fact the evil mastermind behind it all!

HE was the one who got the rest of the gang off their faces, convinced them that they were caught in a remake of Night of the Living Dead, invited Maude and her daughters around so they could be decapitated, since he had all the taxidermy stuff ready, all as part of this kickass time experiment to raise the dead.

The Doctor still doesn’t get what the Major intends to do with the Phonograph NOW, though. "Are you going to become a serial killing taxidermist and then call yourself Jesus when you ‘bring them back to life’? Be interviewed by David Frost? WHAT’S IT FOR?!?"

After a swift kick in the bollocks by Kate, the Major breaks down and explains the truth: the last ten years of hard work, misery, pain, death, murder and betrayal were for one end, and one end only...

"I will get my picture on the cover of The Rolling Stone! The first person in history to kill a living thing and bring it back to life! I’ll finally be allowed back into the Territorial Army! Supermodels will want to sleep with me! I’ll be so rich that I could buy toilet paper with my name on it!"

OK, maybe more than ONE end.

The Doctor however, knows that the body of Eadie is probably lumbering around Sibley Hall at this very minute, desperate to feed on the flesh and brains of the living – and, quite probably, is somehow the one who killed Hartley and the Deacon. As such, his immediate priority is to get the hell out of there!

After stapling the Major to the wall, the Doctor locks Kate and the Bursar into the cellar ostensibly for their own protection. He intends to run out of the house, into the TARDIS, back ten years in time, and ensure that Eadie’s decapitation goes ahead.

"Doctor!" Kate gasps. "I’m shocked! That’s the kind of ruthlessness I’d expect from your previous incarnation, the heartless Scottish gnome! You’re much softer, kind-hearted and moral figure."

"Fair enough," the Doctor shrugs, "we’ll stay here and fight the indestructible zombie then."

"On the other hand..."

The Doctor heads for the exit and bumps into Sue and O’Neill who have decided to leave the island together. Trying to act nonchalant, the Doctor suggests they head for the moored boat and get as far away from this spectral isle as it is possible to get before a hypothetical zombie tries to slaughter them.

Sue bitches that she has left her toy rabbit behind, and the Doctor pales, realizing that Happy is in fact in the cellar with Kate and the Bursar, and concludes that unless the Major was a complete moron, he’d need the preserved corpse close at hand!

"And what better place to hide it?" he broods.

"In a toy rabbit?" asks O’Neill, baffled.

"YES! The last place ANYONE would EVER think of hiding it!"

"Dude, it’s a toy smaller than my fist!"

"So it’s bigger on the inside! DUH!!!"

The Doctor quickly runs over to the police box, and (entering via a neat camera trick) takes off... to return moments later clutching candy floss and a Kiss Me Quick Hat.

The newly reunited father and daughter decide to cut their losses and get the hell out of here before any more weird crap occurs.

In the cellar, Kate discovers to her annoyance that the cellar is full of primed bear traps and the Bursar is startled as something falls over in the dark. Kate finds a torch and discovers that it is a 7-foot stuffed bear that has toppled over.

As they muse over why the house seems to be filled with 7-foot stuffed bears and yet you never see two together at the same time, the Bursar notices that the same bear is now standing upright.

The Bursar suddenly announces that when the Doctor mentioned in episode one that the bear was stuffed with a dead teenage girl, he could be right, and if Eadie has returned to life then...

The bear topples over again, crushing the bursar.

Kate decides that this is getting boring and cracks the lock of the cellar door, allowing her to escape easily and bump into the Doctor, who warns her that Happy the toy rabbit contains an irredeemable evil and must be destroyed.

Together, they hurl it onto the roaring fire.

Nothing happens.

Kate is still a bit puzzled. If the Doctor went back in time and ensured that Eadie had her head cut off, there would be no time paradox and Eadie could not have become a zombie.

The Doctor smacks his forehead. "I KNEW I forgot something!", before admitting he actually spent three weeks at Blackpool instead, enjoying himself in the vain hope his true mission would come back to him at some point.

Basically, this means that Zombie Eadie could still be around, so the two time travelers run out of the hall as fast as they can!

Kate decides she’s having none of this. Clearly the strange hulking silhouette with a tape recording of the Doctor humming was really Sue, acting out some creepy revenge plot, since she had motive, opportunity and tape recorder. Plus, she was just plain creepy.

The Doctor isn’t convinced.

"What exactly are you saying, Doctor? That the time paradox DID bring Eadie back to life, and her body WASN’T in the toy rabbit but somewhere else? And that Eadie simply lumbered out of the house, into the lake, scared the living daylights out me, lumbered BACK into house, used the phonograph to record you humming, and thus the phonograph triggered another temporal paradox allowing her to stay alive long enough to brutally murder Hartley, trick the Deacon into committing suicide and crushing the Bursar to death all while wearing a disguise disturbingly similar to the 7-foot stuffed bear that seemed to magically teleport itself throughout the house when no one was looking? Is that it? Is that what you’re saying?"

Upstairs in Sibley Hall, the Major looks on in shock as the 7-foot stuffed bear appears in the doorway of the attic, then bursts open to reveal the eyeless walking corpse of Eadie, who then chops the Major’s head off while a tape recording of the Doctor humming plays.

Back at the TARDIS, the Doctor quietly sniffs and announces he would never suggest such a ridiculous idea. "Clearly, Sibley Hall is built over an ancient Indian burial ground," he snaps.

Kate admits that is a mighty plausible idea as she and her companion enter the TARDIS and take off, leaving Anthrax Island completely free of life.

There’s a psychotic flesh-eating zombie, but no life.

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