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Is that fear I can feel in your mind? You are not accustomed to feeling frightened, are you Doctor? You are very wise to be afraid of me!
—The Doctor trembles before the Great One

Sarah Jane visits her friend Mike Yates at a crypto-Buddhist retreat in the English countryside. Some of them have apparently been skipping meditation lessons to hang out in the basement and summon ENORMOUS FREAKING SPIDERS from Metebelis III, a world ruled by the terrifying things. As if enormous spiders weren't bad enough, these are enormous telepathic mind-controlling spiders, and one of them takes over a Buddhist and turns him into a spider-puppet. Naturally, they have designs on our world; but their chief aim at the moment is the recapture of a blue crystal prism thingy. Conveniently enough, the Doctor has just received one in the mail! It's from Jo Grant, who he gave it to back in "The Green Death".

Puppet guy follows Sarah Jane back to UNIT HQ to steal the Metebelis crystal, using mind-thrown lightning bolts to get past security. Awesome. Psychic powers so rarely come with offensive capabilities. A completely badass hovercar vs. helicopter chase ensues, but the guy gets away. The Doctor and Sarah Jane deduce who the thief must have been, and head back to the retreat--but by then the puppet guy has misplaced it.

The evil monks turn a mandala into a portal to Metebelis III, and puppet guy goes through. Sarah Jane, who really should know better than to step into glowing circles on the ground, finds herself there as well. She tries to foment glorious revolution amongst the human proletariat, but their arachnid overlords promptly arrive to put an end to that. She is saved by the timely intervention of the Doctor--who's used the TARDIS and the crystal to get to Metebelis III himself--the spiders attack him, leave him for dead, and go back for reinforcements. They're back bright and early the next morning to haul Doctor and Companion back to Spider HQ, where they have obviated prison cells by the simple expedient of swaddling their prisoners in spider silk.

The Doctor wiggles out of his cocoon, frees Sarah Jane, and decides to put the crystal back into the cave where it was found in the first place, on the theory that it will placate the intelligence that spawned it. But the radiation will surely kill anyone who enters the cave! If only there were some brave hero willing to sacrifice his life to replace the crystal! One who could, if he were to die, regenerate into Tom Baker!

There is.

Tropes

  • The Adjective One: The Great One.
  • Author Appeal: By Proxy: The massive (and completely gratuitous) car chase that takes up most of the second episode was the writers' farewell gift to Jon Pertwee, who appreciated any excuse to drive motor vehicles very fast.
  • Back for the Finale: Mike returns to redeem himself after getting booted out of UNIT for his betrayal in Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
  • Badass Normal: Sgt. Benton. The mind-thrown lightning bolts instantly kill normal humans, and seriously inconvenience the Doctor. Benton takes two to the chest, and shakes it off with enough wherewithal to bring the car around.
    • He also makes a damn fine cup of coffee.
  • Book Ends: Jon Pertwee's run as The Doctor begins and ends with him stumbling out of the TARDIS and collapsing.
  • Catch Phrase

 "ALL PRAISE TO THE GREAT ONE!"

 Sarah Jane Smith: This is the abbot of-- no, it's Cho-je. I mean, it looks like Cho-je -- but it's really K'anpo Rinpoche ... I think.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Thank you. That makes everything quite clear.


All praise to the Great One!

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