Recap / Doctor Who S18E5 "Warriors' Gate"
"One good solid hope's worth a cart-load of certainties."
The Doctor

The Doctor, Romana, K-9 and Adric are still stuck in E-Space. While they're trying to figure out a way back into N-Space (our universe), the TARDIS is hijacked by a lion-headed Humanoid Alien that walks in through the TARDIS doors while the TARDIS is still in flight. The alien brings the TARDIS to land, announces that his name is Biroc and that they should not trust the people they are about to meet, and departs as mysteriously as he came.

Our heroes find themselves in a featureless white void, empty except for the TARDIS, a stranded spaceship (whose crew, led by Captain Rorvik, are indeed untrustworthy), and an incongruous ruined stone building.

Many confusing things happen. And Adric flips coins a lot.

It turns out that the void is some kind of pocket dimension that is on (or, perhaps, somehow is) the boundary between N-Space and E-Space. When they eventually find the way out, consequently, our heroes are able to choose which way out to go. The Doctor and Adric return to N-Space in the TARDIS, while Romana and K-9 decide to return to E-Space and help Biroc in his continuing quest.


  • All There in the Manual: In the novelisation, the fate of the rogue Gundan is revealed.
    • How the slavers spaceship ended up in the void is revealed.
  • Almost Dead Guy: "The secret to the gateway is... [thud]"
  • Animated Armor: The Gundan robots are designed to resemble decorative suits of armour when they're at rest (and are mistaken for such before their true nature is revealed).
  • Art Imitates Art: The Gate is exactly copied from the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich's Klosterfriedhof im Schnee.
  • BFG: Adric holds off the slave traders with their own giant cannon. "I don't know what these levers do...but it's pointing in your direction."
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The privateer crew are, according to John Nathan-Turner, based on Stephen Gallagher's many tribulations while writing at Granada TV, and the poor work ethic he found there.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Some of the weirder parts of the story, for thematically-appropriate but difficult-to-summarize reasons.
  • Distressed Dude: All the Tharils we see prisoner are male.
  • Feudal Future: The Tharils' empire in its heyday.
  • Galactic Superpower: The Tharils who used to have an empire spanning many star systems. After a revolt, they were reduced to their current slavery.
  • Gravity Sucks
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Between the Privateer crew and the Tharils. Rorvik and his crew have the air of ordinary people just doing their job. Of course, that job is slavers, but as it turns out, the Tharils themselves were slavers of humans in the past.
  • Hand Signals: Romana tells Adric not to come out if she gives the danger signal...then mimes putting her hands up.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: According to the backstory, when the Tharils' slaves overthrew their masters, they crushed them under their own heels.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters
  • I Choose to Stay: Romana.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "You were the noblest Romana of them all." (Compare Julius Caesar V.v)
  • In the Doldrums: The titular setting of the serial. A subversion of sorts as doing nothing is the only way to get out.
  • Ironic Echo: The weak enslave themselves.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: See Almost Dead Guy.
  • Killer Robot: The Gundan robots.
  • King of Beasts: The leonine Tharils were once kings.
  • Made a Slave: The Tharls had enslaved people in the past "The weak enslave themselves" and now are slaves themselves. The Doctor gives them an Ironic Echo, and one concedes the justice, but they have suffered enough.
  • Meaningful Name: The Tharils are thralls to the Privateer crew.
  • Mind Screw: So, imagine you're in a cubby-hole you found behind a mirror, and that hole is in a different universe from the main room. Seriously, don't think about that too long, or you know what will happen.
  • Pocket Dimension: The is set inside an even smaller pocket dimension than E-Space small enough to cross on foot on the border between E-Space and N-Space.
  • Punch Clock Villain: In the worst sense. The privateer slavers think nothing of using the Tharils as ballast. Once they figure out that Romana is "time-sensitive', they immediately stop treating her like a sentient being and toss her into the clink, too.
  • The Revolution Was Not Civilized: The reason for the Tharils' plight.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Doing nothing (Tharils) vs. doing something (Rorvik) becomes an arc over the four episodes. In Rorvik's case, "doing something" resulted in the destruction of his ship and crew.
  • Slave Race: The Tharils, but this wasn't always the case.
  • Supernormal Bindings: The shackles made from dwarf star alloy, used to prevent the enslaved Tharils slipping away into the timestream.
  • Those Two Guys: Aldo and Royce. According to the novelisation, they came with the ship when Rorvik hired it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Rorvik
  • Used Future: The spaceship clearly comes from one.
  • Villainous Breakdown: "I'm FINALLY GETTING SOMETHING DONE!"
  • Void Between the Worlds: The main setting.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: The Doctor eventually realises the way to defeat Rorvik is simply to give him enough rope to hang himself.