Terror of the Zygons – 50th Anniversary Summary

Art by Andy Lambert

So, it’s no secret that the Zygons will be returning in the 50th. They only appear in one story, Terror of the Zygons, which I watched over the past few days. The summaries on the internet can be quite boring and take you through a lot of unnecessary plot, so I prepared my own (orginally for myself, no don’t ask) that sums up the basic story and brings out important points about the Zygons and their abilities. Yes, it does tell you what happens in the end, but I did leave out A LOT.

If you don’t know what the Zygons look like, see here. The picture on the left is taken from the filming of the 50th (but has only the Zygon in it, no spoilers)

Terror of the Zygons Summary

Doctor: Fourth (Tom Baker)
Companions: Sarah Jane Smith, Dr Harry Sullivan (surgeon working for UNIT who ended up in the TARDIS and stayed there for a while)
Others: Brigadier & UNIT
Setting: Scotland, 1970s (or was it the 80s?)

Basic Plot and Highlights

The Brigadier summons the Doctor to Scotland in the 1970s. In a small town an oil rig (reinforced with concrete and steel) and the people on it has been destroyed, and UNIT have been called in to investigate.

Harry goes to the moor where the rig was located to take a look, where he finds a man who was working on the rig stumbling from the water. He’s only able to reveal a small amount of what happened before he’s shot dead, and Harry is grazed with a bullet and admitted to hospital.

Harry tries to repeat what he heard to Sarah, but before he can he’s kidnapped by the Zygons, who trap the Doctor and Sarah in a decompression chamber and try to suffocate them. Harry wakes up surrounded by Zygons and they explain to him that they’re in a spaceship that crashed underwater, too damaged to fly them home. They have a monster with cybernetic implants (the ‘Skarasen’) living in the water that’s been destroying the rigs, and they require the monster’s ‘lactic fluid’ to survive. Despite them being dependent on it, monster is apparently indestructible, even against nukes. Harry also discovers that the Zygons can impersonate any human they have wired up to their ship, after which one of them uses his form and goes after Sarah. It falls out of a barn loft, however, and the disguise is broken revealing the true creature underneath.

Meanwhile, the Doctor finds a small device that he deduces was attached to the rig and programmed to send out a call, prompting the monster to attack. The Doctor decides to go back to the moor, where the device conveniently attaches itself to his hand and starts transmitting, before an extremely unconvincing plastic figurine rises from the water. Meanwhile, UNIT pick up the signal and the Brig uses his pencil and ruler to work out its being transmitted from Loch Ness.

(Fun fact: the target novelisation of this story was called “Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster”. Spoilers much?)

Harry runs to the controls on the Zygon ship and presses random buttons, causing the device to deactivate and the Doctor to be saved. The Doctor, Sarah and the Brig decide to visit the local castle to try and get permission from the Duke to throw depth charges into Loch Ness, but they discover the him and his employees are in fact disguised Zygons.

Sarah discovers a secret tunnel behind a book case in the castle to the Zygon ship and rescues Harry (prompting one of my favourite quotes, “let’s go find the Doc and the Brig”), before The Doctor enters the tunnel and is captured. The Zygons reveal that, because they cannot return to their world, they plan on taking Earth instead. The Brig begins throwing depth charges into Loch Ness, but the ship rises from the water and into the sky, with the Doctor still on board.

The Zygons inform the Doctor that their refugee ship will be here in a few centuries, and it’s time to start conditioning the planet in anticipation of its arrival. They land the ship in London, and Commander Broton, head of the Zygons, leaves the ship to plant the signalling device – the idea being that the monster will destroy the city as a show of its abilities, and the Zygons will blackmail the humans into meeting their demands and helping them turn Earth into their new homeworld. The Doctor manages to activate the ship’s self-destruct, destroying all the Zygons except for Broton. He escapes and is reunited with Sarah, Harry and UNIT.

(During this bit, the Brig receives a call from a female prime minister. Which is really weird, considering it was broadcast in 1975.)

Sarah works out where Broton planted the signalling device, and after a confrontation the Brig shoots Broton dead. The Doctor finds the signalling device and feeds it to the monster, noting that without orders it will return ‘home’ – to the depths of Loch Ness.

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Posted in Classic Series Tele-Stories (does not include DVD photo galleries), Doctors, Fourth Doctor, Other Post Types, Story Media, Summaries

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