Erimem is still recovering mentally and physically from the whole business in Tibet, so the Fifth Doctor and Peri try to cheer her up and convince her she's a welcome member of team TARDIS no matter what. Erimem is thinking of leaving the TARDIS and just finding a quiet place to recover for a while — but before she can finish that train of thought, the TARDIS lands them on a deserted spot in space and Erimem is transmatted somewhere else.
While Peri complains about Erimem always having to play the Damsel in Distress and never getting a break, the Doctor befriends the local friendly dictator, "Auntie". The woman is the leader of a small colony, and every few years, she selects people who can be transmatted home. The colonists, for their part, spend their entire lives in their rooms, only talking to others via chat (with their webcams turned off) and the occasional — very occasional — social visit by transmat.
Erimem and Peri both separately befriend a few colonists, who freak the hell out once they realise that someone is near them and touching them and they have to talk to two people at the same time. The Doctor calls Auntie out on her regimen, but Auntie explains, with sadness, that she really has no other choice. Also, there's a race of warlike reptilians eating people and waiting for their eggs to hatch.
Once Erimem knocks out a lizard guy (with a bit of coaxing from the Doctor), Five goes off to tell Auntie (Hey it's Deborah Watling!) about the deadly guests while Peri and Erimem try to get the 16 remaining colonists to understand the concept of "doors" and "corridors" and "outside". As it turns out, Auntie knew about the lizards munching on her crew, but really tried her best to protect the people she loved — she was just waiting for the terraforming project to finish, and sacrificing humans to pacify the lizards in the meantime. Luckily, the project is done by now, and after the lizards are blown up, the rest of the Human Popsicle crews of the other ships can be thawed out and re-intergrated into what's left of society. Five assumed that Erimem will stay to rule as their queen, but Erimem won't have it and decides to just stick with team TARDIS.
- Big Brother Is Watching
- Cannibal Tribe: The offspring of the Lizard Folk eat their dead mother first.
- Computer Voice
- Continuity Nod: Erimem's still upset since "Tibet" and the pool is still frozen from when Peri made it into an ice skating rink.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind
- Distress Call
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Peri says the TARDIS usually lands on Earth (And on Earth usually lands in England). A lot of Lampshade Hanging is used and then... This is Subverted.
- Epiphany Therapy: Subverted. The colonists' panic attacks are very real, and it'll take a long time for them to get over them.
- God Guise: Erimem confuses some Lizard Folk temporarily for Sobek.
- Hard Light: In Holodeck form. Erimem has found a bird garden slash duck pond.
- Human Popsicle
- I Am A Humanitarian
- I Choose to Stay: Invoked, but subverted. Five assumed that Erimem will want to stay as the colony's new leader. She absolutely doesn't.
- Lizard Folk
- People Farms
- Planet of Hats: Colony of agoraphobia.
- Properly Paranoid
- The Quisling: Auntie was collaborating with the Lizard Folk.
- Red Herring: At one point we hear Laroq running, pleading to the Computer Voice to turn down the power He's on a treadmill.
- Robot Buddy: Called Butler.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism
- Servile Snarker: Vidler.
- Space Station
- Star-Crossed Lovers
- Talking Your Way Out: The Doctor does this to General Makra'Thon, in order to suggest Erimem where to clonk him from behind
- Take That!: Five explains to Erimem that his philosophy is "the more the merrier", until he realises that last time he said that, he got Tegan.
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Transmat system returns.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- Whole Plot Reference: To E. M. Forster's short story "The Machine Stops".