080 – A Battle of Wits (The Time Meddler Part 3)

Written by Dennis Spooner
Directed by Douglas Camfield

The Doctor confronts The Monk and his intentions start to become clear.  Meanwhile, two survivors of the Viking scout party decide to take the inhabitants of the monastery hostage.

Step 9: ??? Step 10: Profit

“No more visitors!  It’s getting so you can’t call a monastery your own.”

The Doctor, it turns out, has escaped through a secret passage in the cell.  Vicki and Steven follow.  There is a lot of moving around in this episode, from monastery to beach, to village, to forest.  Everyone is moving toward the endgame in the next episode.  However, the important thing is that we discover two things about The Monk.  First, we get an idea of his intentions.  He is meddling in history.  We get a convenient look at his seven-point plan.  Vicki and Steven find cannons mounted along the cliffs overlooking the beach.  He seems to want the villagers to light beacon fires, which will draw the Viking fleet to land in Northumbria rather than its historic landing place.  Drawn to the fires, The Monk plans to destroy the fleet.  This is just one step in his plan, something which is still a bit vague.

The second thing we learn is that he has a TARDIS.  Vicki and Steven follow a cord to a sarcophagus, and through a door in the side, they enter a room with roundels and a console.  We can draw the conclusion that The Monk is one of The Doctor’s own people, at this point in the show’s history, yet unnamed.  This is something The Doctor has already figured out, and he captures The Monk at stick-point, pretending he has a gun.  Unfortunately, before he can get The Monk to confess, Sven and Ulf arrive at the monastery and take The Doctor prisoner, locking him in the same cell with the secret passage.  Both The Doctor and The Monk make short work of the two incompetent Vikings.  The Monk continues his plan, asking the now suspicious Wulnoth (the village leader) to ensure the fires are lit.

We are marching to the conclusion.  This episode was a bit weaker since it mainly involved marching the characters from here to there to service plot revelations.  Certainly not the strongest of the four, but not the weakest thing we’ve seen in the series up to this point.  The confrontation of The Monk and The Doctor is long overdue and I hope for a glorious battle of words.

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