Recap: Big Finish Doctor Who Unbound E 2 Sympathy For The Devil

The first of two Unbound stories (followed by "Masters Of War") taking place in the same Alternate Universe.


What if, after his conviction by the Time Lords, the Doctor regenerated into a different Third incarnation? And accidentally arrived in Hong Kong in 1997, instead of next to UNIT base during the first Auton invasion?

The world is a very different place. Much of downtown London, for example, has been replaced by a rather large crater thanks to UNIT thwarting a plan to wipe humanity from existence to replace them with dinosaurs. Captain Mike Yates, in a Heroic Sacrifice, volunteered to be sent back in time and blow up the New Earth Society's equipment. Sadly, no one believed Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's account of events, and he had no scientific explanation to back up his story. The plastic purges of the 1970s further damaged his career. (Although ironically, Stahlman's Gas is considered a hot commodity and quite useful.) The Brigadier was forced to retire and eventually ended up as a bartender in Hong Kong.

The Third Doctor — played by David Warner — lands in 1997 Hong Kong moments after "The War Games". He quickly realises that his TARDIS is in lockdown, and that the Time Lords have rather violently removed his memory of how to repair it. When he just happens to meet Lethbridge-Stewart at his bar, the two are quickly caught up in UNIT's investigation of a nearby crashed invisible Chinese ship. UNIT, who are not happy to have Lethbridge-Stewart meddling in their affairs again, eventually reveal that they want to investigate the crashed ship before Hong Kong officially becomes Chinese territory... which is the next day. UNIT's commanding officer, Colonel Ross Brimmicombe-Wood (David Tennant!), desperately tries to find the UN scientist who defected to China, and who was rumored to be on the crashed plane... a man only known as Ke Le.

Ke Le, as it turned out, died in the crash. And regenerated. Into Mark Gatiss. (Which means he's ginger.) The Doctor immediately recognises him as his old Academy classmate, and is very unimpressed to learn that he's now calling himself the Master.

The Master turns out to be after a Sealed Evil in a Can (well, a jar) which has been kept safe by chanting monks for 150 years; the Ke Le machines require these parasites in order to run, but the others used have gotten their fill of minds. With a fresh one, he'd be able to negotiate a much greater power base - however, the presence of the Doctor changes things. The Master tries to bargain with the Doctor (fix his TARDIS for a ride off Earth) in exchange for destroying the parasite, then immediately tries to steal the Doctor's TARDIS as soon as they get close to it. His plan fails spectacularly when the Doctor pretends that Lethbridge-Stewart's bar is his TARDIS, and the Master is stuck with a lot of English ale instead of an interdimensional spaceship. The Doctor and Lethbridge-Stewart drag the Sealed Evil in a Can close enough to a bomb to neutralise it, and the explosion has the added benefit of blowing the Doctor's TARDIS free of Earth. He and Lethbridge-Stewart take off together for new adventures.

Meanwhile, in China, an international incident unfolds, as the Ke Le units, now granted their memories back, go insane and start firing at UNIT and the crowd of civilians, just as the Master knew they would...

Tropes