Recap: Doctor Who S22 E3 "The Mark of the Rani"
The Master: Ah, but you've not been informed of my purpose here.
The Rani: Oh, I know why you're here. To destroy the Doctor. You've never had any other. It obsesses you, to the exclusion of all else.
The Master: You underestimate me. Certainly I want to destroy him, see him suffer, but that is just an exquisite first step. I have a greater concept, one that will encompass the whole human race!
The Rani: You're unbalanced. No wonder the Doctor always outwits you.This episode was NOT brought to you by the tourism boards of Gallifrey or Miasimia GoriaWe open with a bunch of grubby miners from Oop North, going to the bathhouse after a long day's work. The old woman who runs the place herds them into a room - where poison gas suddenly comes up from the floor and knocks them all unconscious. Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor and Peri are in the TARDIS, which is being pulled off course by a "time distortion". Both Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant massacre American accents as the Doctor establishes that the only person who could pull the TARDIS off course like that is a Time Lord (or a Dalek, but we're pretty sure it's a Time Lord). Back in the bathhouse, two gas-masked mooks carry the unconscious miners into another room, mysterious red marks appearing on their necks. In a serial called "The Mark of the Rani". Hmmmm, can't imagine what those are.The Doctor and Peri land in what we'll learn is Industrial Revolution-era Killingsworth, and set off to track the time distortion. The miners from the bathhouse have apparently been brainwashed into homoerotic behavior and small-child kicking, which is an improvement on Peri's dialogue. She makes a valiant effort to convince us that she's A) intelligent, with her specialty in botany and B) insightful, talking about extinction and the effect of technology on the environment, but despite her hideous dress covering up her two best assets, it's not working. Her obliviousness extends to the Doctor, who notices there are no birds, but completely fails to notice the blatantly-moving scarecrow Peri points out. Those of us who have seen a Master episode know random disguises are his hat, so clearly, we've got at least one renegade Time Lord hanging about.The brainwashed miners come upon a piece of equipment being hauled into town, and attack it, though not before the Doctor and Peri have witnessed them - and the strange mark on their necks. The equipment belongs to George Stephenson, the famous engineer who built England's first railway line. And just in case anyone was ambivalent about what significance the scarecrow Peri pointed out might have had, the next shot is of the scarecrow spying on the Doctor and Peri, hopping a fence to follow them, and letting out a very distinctive chuckle. Oh, it's definitely the Master - he's stalking his favorite enemy.The mysterious woman who runs the bathhouse hijacks a local kid to do her bidding (and unfortunately, her accent leads to Colin Baker on the DVD commentary asking "what part of Jamaica" she's from), and a close-up reveals that the makeup people totally forgot about half of the prosthetic Kate O'Mara wears in the rest of her scenes. The Doctor and Peri ride by on their way to see Lord Ravensworth (the local landowner), and his timey-wimey detector goes haywire when it's pointed at the bathhouse and the rapidly-becoming-obvious woman who runs it. Detects a Time Lord, you say? And there's a mysterious woman lurking about, experimenting on people and generally being very suspicious? No, couldn't be a certain fellow renegade classmate of yours who's got this Thing for experimentation and a serious lack of morals. Six is not one of the more observant of Doctors.More workers (we're just going to start calling them Luddites, because that's supposedly what she's turning them into) show up at
- And I Must Scream: Luke and two of the miners' tree-ification by the Rani's land mines. Say what you like about the basic concept or the realisation of it, the thought of being trapped conscious and immobile in tree form for a potentially very long time must be one of the scariest ideas in the show's history.
- Not only that, the remaining mines are still out there (as far as we know), waiting for other unsuspecting folk to activate them.
- Artistic License – Pharmacology: If that really was meant to be mustard gas in the Rani's booby-trap, the miners' face-covering gas masks would not have kept the Doctor and Peri safe. Further details are left out to avoid inflicting gratuitous psychological damage on readers, suffice to say that you should not look up the detailed effects of mustard gas on exposed skin if you value your SAN points.
- The Baroness: The Rani
- Big Bad Duumvirate: If the Master weren't so obsessed with one-upping the Doctor and the Rani were more willing to cut her losses, they might actually be dangerous.
- Breather Episode: After the unrelenting nastiness of the past few stories, the show busts out a (relatively) Lighter and Softer episode poking fun at how overcomplicated and full of themselves Time Lords, especially evil Time Lords, are, and especially hanging many lampshades on the Master's propensity for getting out of trouble and his general nutiness.
- Can't Argue with Elves: And one should not try to out-plot or out-lecture Time Lords.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Master expresses a rare bit of remorse when Luke gets transformed into a tree. The Rani, on the other hand, seems to find it quite amusing.
- Everyone Went to School Together: The Doctor's graduating class is not only comprised of him, the Master and the Rani, but pretty much every other Time Lord of the Expanded Universe that ISN'T Romana.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The Master and The Rani end trapped in a malfunctioning TARDIS with a rapidly-growing T. Rex bearing down on them.
- Failed a Spot Check: Seriously, Doctor—get your eyes checked.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Vaporizing several humans is apparently fine. But vaporizing the dog means the camera has to cut away.
- Green Aesop
- Groin Attack: The Rani's Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Check out the Rani's trousers.
- Historical-Domain Character: Stephenson. The first real historical personality to appear in the series since the various Dodge City figures in "The Gunfighters".
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: A three way example, between Colin Baker, Anthony Ainley, and Kate O'Mara.
- Jerkass crossed with Large Ham: Definitely a Time Lord thing, if you've seen "The Five Doctors" or the Trial of a Time Lord arc.
- Kick the Dog: The Rani, even more than the Master, who's usually a walking, talking example of this trope. Poor dog. Poor presidential cat note . Poor millers. Poor guy that got turned into a tree. Poor Peri.
- The Masochism Tango: Both Peri and the Doctor and the Master and the Rani seem to be dancing to this trope. One wonders why Peri puts up with all the verbal abuse and why the Rani just doesn't whack the Master upside the head with a crowbar and go find another planet with brain-fluid producing subjects.
- The Master: Is back somehow.
- Master of Disguise: An Evil Time Lord thing. The Rani's old-woman outfit does use prosthetics, though, which makes it better than the Master's random scarecrow outfit.
- And the Rani's disguise makes sense. She's undercover and probably doesn't want any Time Lords/Time Agents/other aliens spotting her and recognising her. Why oh why, in the name of sanity, was the Master lurking in a field dressed as a scarecrow? It's starting to look like his entire evil career is just an excuse for a bit of dressing up. If only they'd had LARPing and Cosplay on Gallifrey, perhaps his life would have taken a more positive direction.
- No Biochemical Barriers: The Rani is harvesting the chemical from human brains that lets humans sleep to treat the aliens she has been tinkering with who have lost the ability to sleep.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Seriously, given that almost everybody is supposed to be from the same village in County Durham and is making a spirited attempt at the accent the variation between even siblings is... astonishing!
- Oop North: Complete with trouble at t'mill.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "The Mark!... of the Rani!"
- The Right of a Superior Species: The Rani compares the exploitation of lesser series with stepping on ants.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Another Evil Time Lord thing. We're well aware of the Master's penchant for abusing the thesaurus, but the Rani gets in on the act, too. Of course, this episode was written by Pip and Jane Baker.
- Maybe just a Time Lord thing in general - the Doctor does this a lot too.
- Shipper on Deck: You just know that the Rani ships the Doctor and The Master. She wants the two of them to go get a room and just leave her to her experiments.
- Title Drop: See Punctuated! For! Emphasis! above. The Master does it every other scene.
- Transflormation: The Rani has mines that transform anyone who steps on them into a tree.
- Unexplained Recovery: The Master, conspicuously fails to explain how he managed to escape certain death the last time we saw him. This came about from the script editor's desire to avoid a Voodoo Shark explanation of the Master's survival.The Master: Come, come, the whole universe knows I'm indestructible!
The Rani: Is that so?
- Unwitting Pawn: The Rani and the Master. She blames him (see Groin Attack).
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Six, of all people.
- The X of Y