The one written by a potato crisp.
After their traumatic encounter with the Silurans and Sea Devils, the TARDIS crew aim to spend a restful time visiting Tegan's grandfather in his little English village. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Stop sniggering at the back.)
Well, something's gone very wrong with the local historical reenactment event. Little Hodcombe's local squirearchy, Sir George Hutchinson and his friends, have come under some malign influence. The reenactment suddenly involves real violence, people staggering about with Mind-Control Eyes, and projections from the 17th Century (including muddy urchin Will). And on top of all that, Tegan's grandfather has gone missing.
After initially leading Tegan and Turlough into the village in the manner of a worn-down parent with two squabbling kids, the Doctor gets the picture, and sends the companions back to the TARDIS so that he can conduct a "scientific investigation" while they stay safe. Instead, they find that the Malus is already inside the TARDIS, so they go to tell the Doctor and get in trouble. Tegan finds herself unwillingly crowned as Queen of the May, while Turlough gets locked in with Tegan's grandfather after being snuck up on by a man in a suit of armour whose resemblance to the knight with the rubber chicken out of Monty Python's Flying Circus is bound to be totally accidental.
Meanwhile, the Doctor, Will and local plucky schoolteacher Jane Hampden discover the source of the trouble inside the local church: it is, of course, all caused by the Malus, an evil time-travelling alien war machine feeding on psychic energy. Can the Doctor, the schoolteacher, the urchin, and the companions, plus Tegan's granddad, save the day? Will Tegan go quietly? Will there be tea? Yes.
- Alien Blood: The psychic projection of the Malus inside the Tardis has what look like green blood oozing out of its eyes and mouth. (Whether it the Malus actual blood is unknown)
- Big Bad: The Malus
- Big "NO!": The Malus, through Sir George.
- Black Comedy: At one point the Doctor tries to lighten the mood by saying that Tegan as the Queen of the May will be "the toast of Little Hodcombe". Having witnessed what happened to the Queen in his own time, Will doesn't appreciate his humour.
- Burn the Witch!: Tegan is nearly burnt at the stake as a sacrifice.
- Changed My Jumper: The Doctor trades out his peach-colored coat and pants from the previous serials to a French Gray coat, creamy-pink pants, and a sweater vest with an extra stripe on it. This outfit would stick all the way up to "The Twin Dilemma".
- Continuity Nod: References to the tinclavic mines on Raaga, from Eric Saward's story "The Visitation"note .
- Deadpan Snarker: Turlough, even more than usual.
- The '80s: Tegan's outfit, when not being kitted out as Queen of the May.
- Emotion Eater: The Malus, which also does a sideline in Mind Rape.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Hutchinson tried to exploit the Malus for his own end, but instead, the creature began to use him by organizing the war games
- A Fête Worse Than Death: Little Hodcombe's celebrations of an historic anniversary incorporate ritual prompted by the evil being sleeping beneath the village church. Tegan is offered the Guest of Honor's place—on top of a pile of kindling, tied to a stake.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Will is not, as the Doctor thought, a psychic projection, but was actually brought forward in time from the English Civil War. Fortunately the Doctor will bring him back.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Malus has glowing green eyes.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Used when the trooper is decapitated by the Malus' psychic projections.
- Hate Plague: A sentient alien WMD that is both the cause of and empowered by Hate Plagues is awakened in a British village.
- Human Sacrifice: "I know what happens to the Queen of the May at the end of her day!"
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Don't try this on Tegan.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Colonel Woolsey and the Doctor try this on Sir George near the end. It doesn't quite work.
- Medieval Morons: Subverted. Will is a farmboy from the 17th century, and while illiterate and barely aware of what year it is, he turns out to be quite a bright lad.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Malus, which is Latin for "evil" and sounds like "malice".
- Plucky Girl: Tegan.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Sir George Hutchinson has it pointed out to him that he is detaining people illegally. His response? "As the local magistrate, I will find myself quite innocent."
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:Hutchinson: Are you mad? You speak treason.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The can in this case being a church.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Kamelion, again. Though he does appear in a scene that didn't make it to broadcast. Hurray!
- Spot of Tea:Turlough: I quite miss that brown liquid they drink here.
Turlough: No, tea.
Will: What be tea?
The Doctor: Oh, a noxious infusion of Oriental leaves containing a high percentage of toxic acid.
Will: Sounds an evil brew, don't it?
The Doctor: True. [Beat] Personally, I rather like it.
- Stock Episode Titles: 39 uses
- War Reenactors: A reenactment of the English Civil War coincides with the awakening of the Malus. Its baleful influence turns the reenactors more violent than it otherwise would have been (and Tegan is almost burnt at the stake).
- What Year Is This?: The Doctor asks Will this question. Will is quite excited, as he's pretty sure he knows the answer to this one.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Surprisingly little, considering.