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Recap: Doctor Who S20 E6 "The King's Demons"
The Master: Oh my dear Doctor, you have been naive.
The Doctor: Not at all. You may disguise your features, but you can never disguise your intent.

The second of the Fifth Doctor's two-part adventures, this adventure was also penned by Terence Dudley - author of "Four to Doomsday" and "Black Orchid".

Our story opens up in 1215 AD on Earth, where King John is being an incredible dick to everyone around him - including his host Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam. Such a dick, in fact, that Sir Ranulf's son, Hugh, takes a dueling challenge to defend his father's honor from the King. He must fight the King's French champion: the Master Sir Gilles Estram. As the pair start their jousting match, the TARDIS randomly lands on the field and interrupts everything. Thinking this might be some sort of trick from the Black Guardian (villain of the three previous serials), the Doctor and companions, of course, waltz right out into the open, and scare the crap out of the locals.

...except King John, who proudly proclaims the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough to be demons and happily invites them to enjoy the food and entertainment at Sir Ranulf's castle.

Gladly, the Doctor accepts—explaining to Tegan and Turlough that this is only a day before the King, in London, took a vow to join in the Crusades - and that he can't possibly be in two places at once (...well, we know the Doctor did that earlier this season...). As the day goes on, Turlough is randomly thrown into the dungeon and the Doctor suspects the King is not who he claims to be. Somehow, this results in a swordfight with the Master the king's champion. Through a wonderful display of swordsmanship rather awkward fight, but still a fun one to watch, the Doctor disarms his opponent - who then immediately whips out a dildo tissue compression eliminator. That's right! For all three of you, the Doctor included, who didn't realize this sooner - Sir Gilles Estram is really the Master!

Let's be fair, though: they really didn't entirely try to hide this fact. The anagram under which Anthony Ainley went was a good one - as was the anagram of the character's name. However, this is all given away by the fact that you can plainly hear Anthony Ainley's distinct voice about halfway into the first episode as he speaks his lines. Great try, though - he doesn't even look like Ainley, and they didn't even need to disguise him as a random Alien-Asian mystic or a really elderly man to do it!

Anyway, the Doctor and Master have a quick stare-down before the Master is quickly dragged into an iron maiden by King John's men, kicking and screaming. The Doctor hesitates about this, for some really weird reason, before letting the Master get thrown inside. Of course, this iron maiden instantly turns out to be the Master's TARDIS. Why the Doctor never figured out this outnote , we will never know. As the Doctor stares at the now-empty space dumbfounded, the Master goes down to the dungeon and frees the previously-imprisoned lady of the castle - now earning trust with the locals while proclaiming the Doctor to be an evil demon.

Anyone else think the Master is just pwning the Doctor here?

Meanwhile, Fake!King John makes the Doctor his champion - and the Doctor's first action is to send Tegan back to the TARDIS.note  His second action is to go down to the dungeon, where he finds Turlough (it's really amazing that Turlough accepts people accusing him of doing evil and trying to kill him at this point - to the point that he lampshades it!)... but no Master. For reasons that we're never told, the Doctor shoves the Master's tissue compression eliminator into the Master's TARDIS (we get some technobabble, but it doesn't really work).

Bumbling around the castle, the Doctor hears not-King-John singing and wanders in to find... a robot! A really, really crappy looking robot trying to hold an instrument and 'sing' along to the 'music' that it creates. This, as the Master conveniently pops in to tell us, is Kamelion. Found after the Master's last encounter with the Doctor, Kamelion can turn into anything with a human shape - and then demonstrates by turning back into the King, as well as the Doctor and Master in quick succession before turning back into that horrible prop his base form.

Finally, the Master decides to reveal his master plan. As it turns out, the Master now plans to use Kamelion's weak will and shape-changing to go throughout the universe and undermine reality as we know it. The Master is using 1215 AD as a trial-run to see if he can get the Magna Carta to not longer exist by making King John an even bigger Jerk Ass than before (really, considering how he's been treated by the media these days, would anyone notice?).

In quick succession, everyone else of the story runs in to see the Doctor, Master and Kamelion battling it out by... glaring at one another. Turlough grabs a sword and threatens the Master as Kamelion magically turns into Tegan - who is then dragged into the TARDIS. The Master continues glaring at the vanishing TARDIS, then vanishes for the rest of the story - apparently foiled, despite the fact that he's gained the trust of most of the remaining cast by this point.

Inside the TARDIS, Tegan is creeped the hell out when Kamelion shows up as Kamelion!Tegan. Turlough makes some really disturbing comments that can be taken either way, and the Doctor offers threatens to take Tegan home if she won't shut up. Kamelion ignores all of this and says he's going to go hide in the TARDIS be a great companion for a good, long time. Tegan says she'll shut up, and the Doctor announces that they're going to go to the Eye of Orion, where a nice, relaxing vacation will be had by all. Seriously. We swear.

Tropes

  • Agent Scully: Turlough mocks the notion he can summon Hell
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy
  • Duel to the Death: Between Hugh and the champion.
  • Evil Redhead: The king's champion.
  • Exact Words: Used in Agent Scully trope
  • Fake King
  • Finish Him!: The king's order to the Doctor
  • Get It Over With: Hugh tries this — after it's already been determined he will be spared.
  • Glove Slap: How the champion does his challenges
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: This time, with swords.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hugh, for his father
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Averted when Doctor and Tegan get into an argument about King John's legacy; at one point, Tegan (rather snottily) points out that she knows her history, only for the Doctor to take some rather quiet pleasure in expanding on just all the ways in which she's wrong and how King John was a much better ruler than the history books make out. Lesson learned for Tegan; never try and claim you know more about history than a time traveler.
  • The Master
  • Meaningful Name: Anthony Ainley was credited for the first episode of this serial under the name of 'James Stoker', which is an anagram for 'Master's Joke.' Also, of course, the character of Sir Gilles Estram is another anagram of Master (though only the last name).
  • Pride: Hugh
  • Robot Buddy: Kamelion, who is a buddy of both the Master and Doctor for this tale.
  • Sword Fight: Go Doctor go!
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: The lady does embroidery while discussing Hugh's anger with her husband.
  • Thicker Than Water: Sir Ranulf's cousin Geoffrey at one point goes with the Doctor because Ranulf had asked him — "For your sake, cousin."

EnlightenmentRecap/Doctor WhoThe Five Doctors

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