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Belasz: What are you doing here?
The Doctor: That’s a very difficult question. Why is everyone around here so preoccupied with metaphysics?
Glitz: I think she’s going to kill us, Doctor!
The Doctor: Ah! An existentialist!
The Doctor and Mel visit Iceworld, a waystation for space travellers on the inhospitable ice planet Svartos, where they run into old
friend acquaintance Sabalom Glitz, who has come in search of a dragon that is rumoured to guard a treasure in the tunnels below Iceworld. They are joined on the quest by Ace, a young woman working as a waitress in one of Iceworld's eating establishments after being stranded on Svartos by a Negative Space Wedgie.
Along the way, they cross paths with one of Iceworld's long-term inhabitants, a Humanoid Alien named Kane who must live in sub-zero temperatures to survive, and who is also seeking the dragon's treasure for his own purposes.
The first episode ends with an infamous Literal Cliff Hanger, as the Doctor climbs past a safety railing and dangles himself over a precipice for no apparent reason. (The intention was that he'd found his way blocked by a rockfall -- which isn't shown in the episode as aired -- and was trying to reach a path that crossed the cliff face -- which also isn't shown until Glitz helps him down onto it at the beginning of the following episode.)
At the end of the adventure, Mel -- in a front-runner for the hotly-contested title of Most Arbitrary Doctor Who Companion Departure Ever -- decides to leave the TARDIS and travel with Glitz, and the Doctor offers Ace a lift home (via the "scenic route").
- BFG: Kane's men gear up with some in preparation for the "ANT hunt"
- Call Back: There's a brief cameo by an Argolin from The Leisure Hive, in the restaurant where Ace worked.
- Children Are Innocent: The writer Ian Briggs intended the little girl to represent innocence but was dismayed by the choice to put her in a Mini Pops-esque dress which caused controversy in both fan and media reviews.
- Crying Little Kid: Whose getting lost saves both her life and her mother's.
- Continuity Nod: The Doctor scoffs at the idea that the dragon is a myth like the Loch Ness Monster. Of course, The Doctor has already encountered two different Nessies.
- Deal with the Devil: Kane with Belasz, and unsuccessfully Ace.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold
- Fun with Acronyms: Agressive Non-Terrestrial.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The Doctor successfully distracts a guard by engaging him in metaphysical debate.
- Hostage for Macguffin: Ace for the Dragonfire.
- Humanoid Alien
- Human Popsicle
- An Ice Person
- I'm Melting
- Jumped At the Call: Ace.
- Kick the Dog: Kane herds all the innocent travellers aboard Iceworld onto Glitz's ship and blows it up, either For the Evulz or because he doesn't want anybody reporting his escape.
- Literal Cliff Hanger
- The Lost Lenore / Posthumous Character: Kane's lover Xana, who committed suicide rather than get captured.
- Mark of the Beast: Kane freeze-brands the hands of all his workers with a super-chilled coin.
- Moral Dissonance: The Doctor and the story treat Glitz as a Lovable Rogue to the point that Mel happily goes off with him, despite the fact that he sold his crew into slavery and that his response to the deaths of dozens, if not hundreds of innocent people is anger that his ship got blown up.
- Name of Cain: It was originally intended to be Hess, but then Rudolf Hess hit the headlines again.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Many of the guest characters are named after famous figures of academic film criticism and theory. Plus Kane and Ace's real name Dorothy.
- Not So Different: So we have an ancient alien, exiled from his home planet, who recruits disaffected teenage girls to act as his Dragons. Who are we talking about, again? Lampshaded by the fact that the console in the centre of Iceworld's control room has a very similar silhouette to the TARDIS console.
- Not Using the Z Word: Kane's army of vacant-eyed, shambling, Nigh Invulnerable men. Their behaviour is explained as being due to their memories being wiped by cryo-freezing.
- Outlaw Couple: Kane and Xana, by implication.
- Plank Gag: With the Doctor's brolly. Glitz is Distracted By the Shiny and ducks in time.
- Rage Quit: Kane's suicide on finding out that everyone he wanted vengeance on is already dead.
- Rule Number One
- Running Gag: Glitz defining "philanthropic", from "The Mysterious Planet".
- Sealed Army in a Can
- Something That Begins With Boring
- The Starscream: Belasz unsuccessfully
- Stuff Blowing Up: Ace's specialty.
- Totally Radical: Ace, thanks to Executive Meddling.
- Tracking Device: The treasure map. Unusual example, as the Doctor and Glitz never apparently realise it or find out.
- Treasure Chest Cavity: The dragon's treasure is inside the dragon's head; it's a cyborg that was built around the MacGuffin to keep it safe from Kane.