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"I am still here. I can see nothing, feel nothing. You have locked me into hell for eternity. If this is all there is, I would rather die now... Trapped like this, like a sponge beneath the sea. Yet even a sponge has more life than I. Can you understand a thousandth of my agony? I, Morbius, who once led the High Council of the Time Lords, reduced to this - to the condition where I envy a vegetable."—Morbius
The Doctor and Sarah arrive on the planet Karn, home to the Sisterhood, who guard the sacred flame that produces the Elixir of Life. Elsewhere, scientist Mehendri Solon is attempting to build a new body for the living brain of Morbius - a criminal executed by the Time Lords.
Solon decides that the head of the Doctor will prove a fitting home for Morbius' brain, but before he can act, the Doctor is kidnapped by the Sisterhood, who fear that he has been sent by the Time Lords to steal the last of the Elixir of Life from the dying flame. The Doctor is to be burned at the stake, but he is rescued by Sarah, who goes temporarily blind in the process.
Solon convinces the Doctor that Sarah's condition is permanent, and the Doctor goes to the Sisterhood for help - convincing them of his good offices by using a firework to clear a blocked chimney and restore the flame. Returning to Solon, the Doctor and Sarah are trapped in the cellar. The Doctor releases cyanide gas and kills Solon, but Morbius' new body is working, with a plastic bowl as a temporary head! Morbius accepts the Doctor's challenge of a battle of minds, and both are severely weakened by the ordeal. The sisterhood push the disoriented Morbius over a cliff and heal the Doctor with the Elixir.
Watch it here
- Alan Smithee: The script was altered so much that the original writer asked to have his name taken off it; the story is credited instead to "Robin Bland".
- Specifically Terrance Dicks asked that it be credited to "some bland pseudonym". Robert Holmes complied spectacularly.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The Sisterhood practice Psychic Powers, but refuse to believe that there's a way to bring back a deceased Time Lord, even after the Doctor says he felt his presence in his mind.
- Bad Boss: Solon, who repeatedly abuses and mistreats his trusty assistant Condo.
- Beware the Nice Ones: You can heap all the abuse you like on Condo, but if you offer him up for sacrifice in the place of your prized specimen, his reaction won't be pretty.
- Big Damn Villains: Solon saves the Doctor from the Sisterhood's sacrificial ritual long enough for Sarah to cut him loose.
- Bloodier and Gorier: And HOW. Even Elisabeth Sladen thought it went a bit over the line.
- Body Horror
- Book Dumb: While Condo isn't the brightest bulb in the box, his simply-expressed insights are quite astute.
- Brain In a Jar
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Calling Morbius "Chop suey, the Galactic Emperor". He is not pleased.
- Distressed Dude: Once again, the Doctor gets kidnapped. Twice, in the space of five minutes.
- Exposition of Immortality: This episode contains a sequence in which the three previous incarnations of the Doctor are shown, and eight additional faces beyond that. Morbius asks "How far back Doctor, how long have you lived?" - even by Time Lord standards, it seems The Doctor has been around for a while.
- Frankenstein's Monster: this episode is an obvious homage.
- Gentle Giant: Condo, more or less.
- Guile Hero: How Sarah Jane rescues the Doctor for the second time in two serials.
- Hook Hand: Condo.
- Hulk Speak: Condo again.
- Hypocritical Humor: You Murderous Animal! Solon, Right after blowing out Condo's guts on screen. Double as Dead Baby Comedy on account of the gore.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: When Solon is discussing getting a Time Lord's head for Morbius' new body
Solon: That is why his head is so perfect! From one of your own race! From one of those who turned upon you and tried to destroy you! You get a new head for Morbius...the crowning irony.
Solon: ...I'm sorry, the pun was irresistible.
- Large Ham: Solon, oh so very much.
- Mix-and-Match Man: Morbius's monster body, cobbled together from bits of various alien creatures, notoriously including Condo's hand and what looks to be a Macra's claw for appendages (plus the prospect of including the Doctor's head as a finishing touch).
- R-Rated Opening: The story opens with Condo decapitating an insect-stage Solonian. Although the actual severing happens offscreen we get a lot of lingering close ups of the head later on.
- Redemption Equals Death: Condo's Heroic Sacrifice to save Sarah from Morbius.
- Refusal of the Call: When the Doctor first lands, he is not pleased by the fact that the Time Lords have dragged him into a situation they won't deal with themselves. Sarah guilts him out of this by marvelling at her surroundings and going off on her own anyway.
'The Doctor: "There's something going on here, some dirty work that they won't touch with their lily-white hands. Well, I won't do it, DO YOU HEAR?!"
- Squib: Contains pretty much the only use of this in Doctor Who. The general level of violence in the story contributed to the end of Hinchliffe's tenure when the Moral Guardians got involved.
- Strapped to An Operating Table
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Sisterhood of Karn.
- Temporary Blindness
- Time Travelers Are Spies: Everyone assumed the Doctor is there on behalf of the Time Lords and is there to steal their stuff/ruin their day. He doesn't even know where he is.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The sisterhood of Karn chase the Morbius creature off a cliff, a la Frankenstein
- What Do You Mean It's for Kids?: With the bleak, creepy atmosphere and graphic gore one can only wonder how this got rated PG and The Unquiet Dead got a 12.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?
- The X of Y
- You're Insane!: as Mehendri Solon is about to begin his gruesome experiment:
Sarah Jane: "You're Insane, Solon, you're mad!"