Yeah, little known fact is that Barbara's one of the earlier pioneers of cosplay.
It's time for another historical episode, as the TARDIS materialises inside an Aztec tomb. The Aztec era happens to be one of Barbara's specialties, and she loves the tomb's shiny trinkets so much that she immediately puts one on
. Upon emerging from the tomb wearing the snake bracelet, Barbara is hailed as the reincarnation of the Goddess Yetaxa. Oh, and the door to the tomb shuts itself behind them.
Despite the Doctor's very stern warnings, Barbara seizes the opportunity to influence history. Her intentions
are good (she decrees an end to the practice of Human Sacrifice
), but she instantly makes one of the high priests suspicious of her alleged divinity and pitches the other one headlong into a crisis of faith. Barbara finds that even a goddess can't effect social change by fiat.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is told to rest in the serene gardens together with the rest of the old folks. He befriends Cameca, an very sweet Aztec woman, who turns out to know the son of the tomb's architect. Seeing a way out, the Doctor spends more and more time with her... and accidentally gets engaged
when he makes a cup of hot cocoa.
Ian, off on his own, actually meets the son of the tomb's architect, who immediately takes exception to him — having been the champion of the Gods until Ian arrived. Ian is forced to fight him in judicial combat, and the Doctor, hoping to get his hands on the tomb's blueprints, unwittingly helps the guy (not knowing that Ian will be his opponent). Luckily, Ian turns out to be pretty damn Bad Ass
and can easily hold his own in combat.
In the middle of all that, Susan is sent off to a seminary for proper education, and gets into an Arranged Marriage
as part of a plot by Tlotoxl to trap and discredit Barbara.
In the end, the Doctor bids Cameca farewell, lashes up a pulley wheel to open the massive tomb door and let them back in to escape in the TARDIS. Barbara didn't convince anyone to stop human sacrifices, but her priest friend at least managed to separate himself from Aztec society and became a hermit instead.
- Accidental Proposal: Offering to make a cup of hot cocoa for a woman is considered a marriage proposal by the Aztecs.
- Arranged Marriage: Susan is almost forced to marry a guy who would become a Human Sacrifice three days later. He plans to spend his final few days with a nice young wife.
- Aztec Mythology
- The Bad Guy Wins: The villain gets rid of the pesky false god, his rival, and he gets to keep sacrificing. For the time being at least. The Aztecs will still be massacred and enslaved by the Spanish and the practice of human sacrifice will cause future generations to look down upon the Aztecs as mindless savages. In other words: this episode was a lose-lose situation.
- Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon / The Corpse Stops Here: Ian with the attack on Autloc (although in this case Autloc isn't actually dead)
- Bookcase Passage: The innocuous-looking stone in the garden.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Slightly at the end of the first episode, as the evil high priest looks straight at the audience when he vows to destroy Barbara.
- Disney Villain Death: Ian throws Ixta off the top of the temple.
- Driven to Suicide: The intended victim of the sacrifice Barbara interrupts, encouraged by Tlotoxl.
- Evil Versus Evil: Cortes' conquest of the Aztecs. Barbara wanted to prevent the Evil Versus Evil aspect at least.
- Faux Affably Evil: Ixta's treatment of Ian comes across as this, although thanks to Values Dissonance he thinks he's behaving like a Worthy Opponent.
- Girl of the Week: It's pretty clear from the script and acting that there is some romantic tension between the Doctor and Cameca, even though the proposal was accidental.
- God Guise
- Grave Robbing: Implied as the reason why Ixta's father put a secret passage into Yetaxa's tomb.
- Human Sacrifice
- Large Ham: Tlotoxl. Who knew Richard III was in fact an Aztec high priest?
- Manipulative Bastard: Tlotoxl
- Nice Hat: Almost everyone in the story gets to wear silly hats.
- Oh Crap: The Doctor when he realizes he's engaged.
- Posthumous Character: The un-named tomb-builder who was Ixta's father and Cameca's lover.
- Pressure Point: How Ian wins his battle against Ixta, only using his thumb.
- Punch Clock Villain: Tlotoxl.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Autloc
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Tlotoxl says they will be destroyed if they follow "Yetaxa's" command to abolish Human Sacrifice, but it has less to do with the gods not being appeased, and more to do with the Clock Roaches.
- Right Makes Might
- Shown Their Work: Notably, Mayincatec is averted, as the screenwriters evidently did a bit of research.
- The Unpronounceable: The cast members never seemed to have reached a consensus on how "Tlotoxl" is actually said, although nobody manages to get it right (it would've been more like "Tlo-tosh-l").
- The X of Y: All four episode titles follow this format.
- You Can't Fight Fate: "You can't rewrite history, Barbara. Not one line!" (Later stories show that it's actually closer to "You can change history, but it's a really bad idea to do so.")