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Professor Rumford: Are you from outer space?
The Doctor: No, I'm more from what you'd call "inner time".
The search for the Key To Time takes the Doctor and Romana to present-day (well, 1970s) Earth, where the Tracer leads them to a group of standing stones on Boscome Moor. The third segment is nowhere to be found, and the travellers instead meet the elderly Professor Amelia Rumford and her assistant Vivien Fay, who tell them that the site has had a varying number of stones over the years.
Then the inevitable druids show up and inevitably nearly sacrifice the Doctor, before it is revealed that the stones themselves are sentient - a lifeform called Ogri who feed on blood. One of the Ogri kills the head druid and it is revealed that Vivien Fay is in fact the Cailleach, a being worshipped by the druids, having taken on human form after being on Earth for thousands of years. Fay transports Romana to a spaceship hidden in hyperspace at the circle, and the Doctor follows.
Accidentally releasing two justice robots, the Doctor is sentenced to death but he tricks them into instead knocking Fay unconscious. Reading her mind, the robots (called Megara) establish that Fay is in fact Cessair of Diplos, the criminal they have been sent to try. They transform her into the final stone in the circle, but not before the Doctor has snagged her necklace - the segment of the Key that he has been looking for.
- AI Is a Crapshoot: The Doctor's tale of justice machines
- All Myths Are True
- And I Must Scream: Cessair's fate
- Beat Them At Their Own Game: How the Doctor outwits the Megara.
- Celtic Mythology
- Cool Old Lady: Professor Amelia Rumford. When going out to find the Doctor, she takes a policeman's truncheon with her.
Romana: What's that?
Vivien: A policeman's truncheon. Last year, when she lectured in New York, she took it with her in case she got mugged.
Romana: And did she get mugged?
Vivien: No, she got arrested for carrying an offensive weapon.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: The Megara are pretty much just sentient sparkles
- Exposition of Immortality: There are three portraits missing from the wall at Boscombe Hall. The Doctor and Profesor Rumford come across them later, revealing them to all be portraits of Vivien Fay painted at various points during her long existence on Earth.
- Fan Disservice: Professor Rumford is played by the 75-year-old Beatrix Lehmann who is quite clearly not wearing a bra beneath her blouse. And it gets quite cold in some of the exterior scenes, if you're into that sort of thing in old women.
- Foot Focus: There is quite a lot of focus on Romana's bare feet in the first two episodes.
- Golem: The Ogri are a mix of this and Living Statue, since they're part of a stone circle.
- I Have Many Names: Cessair, aka Vivien Fay, aka Morgana Le Fay, aka The Goddess, aka The Cailleach...need we go on?
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Megara
- Literal Cliff Hanger
- Milestone Celebration: Averted. This is the 100th Doctor Who serial and it's original broadcast was close to the series' 15th anniversary. There would have been a scene in which the Doctor would have gotten a cake and a new scarf for his birthday, but the idea was scrapped because it was considered to be too self-indulgent.
- Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The Doctor suggests that Gog, Magog, and Ogre could be inspired by the Ogri, large rocks that feed on blood.
- Plot Allergy: Cessair, like all Diplosians, has an aversion to citric acid, which helps in discovering her true identity.
- Really 700 Years Old: Vivien Fay
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Megara are an interesting variant; not evil per se, but certainly fulfilling the same role in the plot.
- Silicon-Based Life: The Ogri
- Stripped to the Bone: The Ogri can do this to anyone who touches them.
- Vapor Wear
- The X of Y