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Recap / Doctor Who S26 E3 "The Curse of Fenric"

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The penultimate classic story goes out of its way to give us all bloomin' ginormous night terrors.

"I am the only one left now. I raise these stones to my wife, Astrid. May she forgive my sin. The day grows dark, and I sense the evil curse rising from the sea. I know now what the curse of Fenric seeks: the treasures from the Silk Lands in the east. I have heard the treasures whisper in my dreams. I have heard the magic words that will release great powers. I shall bury the treasure for ever. Tonight, I shall die, and the words die with me."

Production code: 7M

The one where the Doctor has to break a heart to save it.

Written by Ian Briggs. This four-episode serial first aired from October 25 to November 15, 1989.

The Doctor and Ace step out of their TARDIS into a 1940's English naval base near Maiden's Point on the Northumbrian coast during World War II. Befriending the base personnel, they learn that the base, run by Commander Millington, is being used as a listening post where Dr. Judson is using his ULTIMA machinenote  to crack inscriptions written on a Viking crypt beneath the base, warning of a being called Fenric, which has attracted Millington's attention believing he can gain Fenric's power. Outside the base, the Doctor and Ace discover a covert squad of Soviet commandos, led by Captain Sorin, who are seeking to capture ULTIMA for themselves; the Doctor warns them to stay low, while Ace and Sorin become smitten with each other.

The Doctor and Ace find a glowing Oriental vase, a treasure captured by the Vikings and left in the catacombs, but it is taken by Millington when they return to the base. As Millington and Judson prepare to use ULTIMA to decipher the writings on the vase, vampire-like Haemovores begin to emerge from the sea, attack and convert the English and Soviet troops and other residents into more Haemovores. When Judson runs ULTIMA with the vase, energy strikes Judson, and he becomes infused with Fenric. Fenric begins to give orders to the Ancient One, an old Haemovore in control of the other monsters, to continue to assault anyone in their path. Ace is able to warn one of the women of the Women's Royal Naval Service, Kathleen, in time for her to escape with her newborn child, Audrey.

The Doctor reveals he has previously faced Fenric, an ancient evil since the dawn of time, besting him by challenging him at a chess problem. Arranging another chess problem in the same room where the nerve gas has been stockpiled, the Doctor is able to delay Fenric while he runs off to seek a more permanent solution. Sorin, the last remaining member of his squad, enters the room and prepares to shoot Fenric, but Fenric reveals that Sorin is one of his "wolves", having descended from the Vikings that carried the cursed vase to the English shores, and takes over his body. When Ace returns to the room, she unwittingly helps Fenric, in Sorin's body, to solve the chess problem. The Doctor arrives too late, as Fenric can no longer be stopped. Fenric orders the Ancient One to attack the Doctor, but a psychic barrier created by Ace's trust in the Doctor prevents the Ancient One from acting. When Fenric threatens to kill Ace, the Doctor tells him to go ahead, revealing to Ace that she too is one of Fenric's pawns and that he has known so ever since he met her on Ice World. It was Fenric, he explains, that created the time storm that transported Ace there in the first place. Furthermore, by saving Kathleen and Audrey, she has assured that the cycle remains unbroken, as Audrey will grow up to become Ace's mother whom she despises. Why else, he asks, would he invest so much in some anti-authoritarian urchin? It's not as though he cares about her. Ace's faith shatters, causing the psychic barrier to drop, but instead of attacking the Doctor, the Ancient One grabs Fenric, pulls him into a sealed chamber and releases a lethal dose of the gas. The chamber explodes, killing them both. The Doctor pulls Ace out of the store as it explodes behind them.

The Doctor tries to explain to Ace that he didn't mean what he said, but had to break Ace's faith in him to allow the Ancient One to act. He would have done anything not to hurt Ace, but he had to save her from the curse. On the shores of Maiden's Point, Ace wonders why she cannot stop hating Audrey, her mother, even though she loved her as a baby. Ace dives into the bay, no longer frightened of the water, and surfaces, liberated. Now truly able to be friends and with no more secrets between one another and no-one playing intergalactic games with either of them, the Doctor and Ace walk off back to the TARDIS.

This story provides examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Two of the Haemovores' victims have this. In the 1940s.
  • Actor Allusion: Miss Hardwicke was based on Miss Tillings from Dennis Potter's Stand Up, Nigel Barton. Both roles were played by Janet Henfrey.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Most of the runes being translated by Dr. Judson tell the story of a Viking who was part of the raiding party who acquired the 'treasures' that included Fenric's resting place... and the terrible misfortunes that befell them. It ends bleakly.
  • Arc Welding: Ace being transported to Iceworld in "Dragonfire" and Lady Peinforte's "magic" in "Silver Nemesis" were the manipulations of Fenric, who was also the Doctor's mysterious chess opponent in the latter.
  • Artistic Licence – Sports: The Doctor has perplexed Fenric with a chess puzzle the being cannot solve. The solution is accidentally provided by Ace - the black and white pawns team up and work together! This is presented as a solution that Fenric, by his nature, could not comprehend. In reality, it's a solution that nobody who understands chess could comprehend. note  The Doctor all but confirms this. He defeated Fenric using chess puzzles the first time they met. It is implied that he cheated then as well, counting on Fenric not to realize that in the Doctor's case Good Is Not Nice, and more importantly Good's Going To Cheat Like Hell.
  • Asshole Victim: A couple of these are featured including Millington, a murderous and ruthless military commander who was willing to commit genocide and betray his then-allies (the Soviets) to win a war and Miss Hardaker, an overbearing religious zealot who consistently nagged Phyllis and Jean up until their transformation.
    • Subverted with Nurse Crane, whom Judson (possessed by Fenric) promptly kills for treating her former patient like a child. Even if it's "what Judson would've wanted" (in Fenric's words) it still comes across as a Disproportionate Retribution. The novelisation expands on this by revealing that she is also apparently a Soviet spy who has been working with the Russians to steal the Ultima machine.
  • Bad Future: Fenric is trying to force one where humanity evolve into Haemovores. It's not clear whether this has been averted.
  • Batman Gambit: The Soviets are meant to steal ULTIMA, which has a poison gas canister hidden inside it that will activate when the Soviets decrypt a prearranged word that would be placed in British cyphers. To make it easy for the Soviet commandos, Millington has deliberately weakened the defences and cut off communications, which of course just makes it easier for Fenric to launch his own gambit.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The Doctor wanders onto a secret naval base, bypassing a patrol holding them at gunpoint by barking orders and nitpicking about uniform cleanliness, breezing into an office and proceeding to write his own letter from the War Office, which he promptly hands over to yet more soldiers as proof of his right to be there.
  • Big Bad: Fenric serves as this to the Seventh Doctor's era despite not appearing until now.
  • Body Horror: Just look at the page picture!
  • Body Surf: Fenric can do this between his "Wolves".
  • Booby Trap: Commander Millington booby traps his chess set. Ace and the Doctor set off a gas grenade, which Doctor defeats by placing a wastepaper basket on top of it. Ace then comments that it was lucky that he used a gas grenade, and if it had been her, she would have placed a couple of sticks of dynamite under the table instead. With sudden realization, Ace and the Doctor both then look under the table and bolt. A few seconds later, the table blows up.
  • Bookcase Passage: The entrance to secret lab under the church is concealed behind a bookcase in the crypt.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Or rather, Break Her Heart To Save The World, which doesn't make it any less painfulinvoked.
  • Buffy Speak: Ace refers to Judson's logic diagram as "the flip-flop thingy." The cantankerous Dr. Judson is impressed enough that she knows what it is.
  • Call-Back:
    • To "Dragonfire" and "Silver Nemesis", it is revealed Fenric was manipulating these events.
    • The Doctor mentions his companions so his faith in them will hold back the Haemovores.
  • The Chessmaster: The Doctor, to the point where even Ace is frustrated by his scheming.
    • In Part 4, he and Fenric become literal Chessmasters.
      • Contrast with the fact that the events of this story are because Fenric wasn't actually a Master of Chess when they first met.
      • For all we know, neither was the Doctor. His winning move (getting the other side's pawn to turn against him) is blatantly illegal.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Haemovores are repelled by faith, and thus are able to be fended off with symbols that represent it, from a cross to a Communist badge. This later gets horribly subverted with Reverend Wainwright's death, as World War II had so badly shaken his faith in God that he could no longer rely on Christian iconography when he needed it the most.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: It's difficult to hear due to the sound mix, but at one point to fight off a Haemovore, the Doctor begins reciting the names of all his past companions. (With only one more storyline to air after this, this marks the original series' final opportunity to acknowledge its past.)
  • Cosmic Plaything: It's revealed that Ace was just a pawn in a game between the Doctor and Fenric.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Rev. Wainwright's holy symbols are ineffective against the Haemovores. This is because the Haemovores are not actually repelled by holy symbols (like a cross), but rather the faith that their wielder has invested in them. As by this point in the story, the priest's faith is severely wavering, what power he may have had has simply seeped away...
  • Cthulhumanoid: The Ancient One
  • Culture Clash: Kathleen is insulted when Ace (being from The '80s) assumes that she wasn't married, despite her having a child.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Commander Millington orders the phone lines cut to isolate the naval base. Unfortunately, once the job is done, they urgently need reinforcements.
  • Darker and Edgier: Without question the darkest story of the Seventh Doctor's tenure, featuring vampiric Body Horror monsters, a reverend rapidly losing his faith in God, a character designed as an allegory for Alan Turing with all the angst that comes with it (though here, homosexuality is replaced with physical disability), one of the most ruthless villains the Seventh Doctor has ever faced, and a climax that requires the Doctor to emotionally abuse Ace in order to save her life.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Ancient One. He's the last survivor of an Earth that has been rendered lifeless due to over-pollution and is quite sad when describing being the last living person on Earth. Furthermore, he expresses frustration to the Doctor when they meet, stating that he was grabbed by a time storm by Fenric and forced to follow Fenric's vase prison across Europe and placed himself into hibernation in order to avoid serving him, after finding out Fenric had no intention of sending him home. And he seems quite crestfallen at the fact that he's been summoned again, this time to destroy all life on Earth (a move that will eliminate his future). He arrives with the Doctor to stop Fenric and refuses to comply when ordered to kill Ace, who through pure chance is standing between him and Fenric and her faith. And once the Doctor breaks Ace's faith in him (which is keeping him from shoving her out of the way via invisible barrier), Ancient One promptly sacrifices his life to save humanity.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Kathleen mentions "Frank" and Ace asks if that's her boyfriend. Kathleen is slightly insulted by the implication that she might have had a child out of wedlock, but Ace really didn't mean anything bad; it just wouldn't have been a big deal to her.
  • Death Notification: Kathleen gets a telegram notifying her of her husband's death.
  • Demonic Possession: How Fenric manifests.
  • Dies Wide Open: Those the Haemovores kill.
  • Dirt Forcefield: When the Doctor and Ace escape from the exploding ammunition store and dive for cover, the Doctor gets his hand muddy; then, moments later, he uses the same hand to dry Ace's tears, and it's clean.
  • Dirty Communists: Averted. At first, it seems the Russians are an antagonist force, what with them performing a covert mission in England, and attacking Royal Marines, and holding up the Doctor and Ace at gunpoint. As the story develops, we gain more sympathy for them, they become protagonists and the Royal Marines end up as antagonistic Mooks until they join forces.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Millington is quite mad, but is quite low-key about his madness, rarely raising his voice beyond a stern commanding tone. His madness instead tends to express itself quietly in the form of his staring around him in a vacant, unfocussing fashion and occasionally blurting out an ominous quotation from Norse mythology while things get more and more chaotic.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Millington justifies using chemical WMDs on Germany or Russia on the grounds that it would end the war, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. The same reasoning was used in real life to justify the use of nuclear weapons on Japan.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Fans complained about "Silver Nemesis" when Lady Peineforte's magic worked and was actually called magic. This story claims that her powers had been derived from a Sufficiently Advanced Alien. Though it is unclear exactly what Fenric is...
  • Eldritch Abomination: Fenric is supposed to have been something from the dawn of time, possibly even earlier. He is so powerful that the most the Doctor was able to do during his last (unseen) encounter with him was imprison him, and he only meets his end through events caused by his own abilities.
  • Evil Cripple: Subverted with Judson. Once Fenric takes him over he loses his disability.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Commander Millington hopes to work with Fenric.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Fenric makes a speech about how long he's been trapped in the bottle since "the Time Lord" confounded him with the "contest of traps." The Haemovores are all dressed in period costume appropriate to the time period they became Haemovores in. The Ancient One is a double subversion of this; it was brought back in time thousands of years by Fenric and has subsequently lived for a thousand years since following the flask to Maiden's Point from the Orient.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Doctor points at one of the runic inscriptions in the crypt, and asks Ace what's unusual about it. She deduces that it's written in an earlier alphabet, so that means it's older, but that's not what the Doctor was referring to — she hadn't realised that it hadn't been there the last time they were in the crypt.
  • Fanservice: Ace wears stockings and suspenders, a fact that is clearly seen when climbing down a rope ladder then fighting the haemovores at the bottom. It's all very period-costume, despite the fact Ace never bothered before, until the moment she starts kicking. We even get a brief glimpse of her knickers, though that probably wasn't intentional.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Although haemovores at first appear to be repelled by standard holy symbols, this is in fact revealed not to be the case— what repels them is actually the wielder's faith. A reverend whose faith has been destroyed by witnessing the horrors of war is unable to repel the haemovores with his Bible, but a Russian soldier successfully repels them with his Red Star badge and his faith in Communism. Ace can also repel them because she has complete and unwavering faith in the Doctor, which becomes an important plot point in the final episode when he needs to weaken her faith in him so that he can beat Fenric.
  • Foreshadowing: Ace mentions to Kathleen an old house in Perivale, which the Doctor overhears. This was supposed to lead into "Ghost Light" before the running order was switched.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: The sequences where the haemovores rise up to feast on the living display everything from Elizabethan doublets to eighteenth century seawool. Justified, as they've all been holed up since they were turned and haven't exactly had a chance to nip down to the shops and pick up something trendier.
  • Genius Cripple: Dr. Judson.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Miss Hardaker says, "I know what girls who go to Maidens Point have in mind. You will never go near the place, neither of you." Not too hard to guess what it's referring to.
    • Plus this conversation:
      Ace: I didn't know you were married.
      Kathleen: I've got a baby.
      Ace: Yeah, I just thought that-
      Kathleen: Well you can stop thinking it, all right?
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When Fenric takes possession of a new host.
  • Good Shepherd: Reverend Wainright. Despite the war having destroyed his faith in human goodness, his desperation to retain it comes across as earnestly benevolent; he readily helps the Doctor and Ace, and pleads for the lives of Sorin and co.
  • Grand Theft Me: Fenric. Takes over Millington's body, then Judson's, then Sorin's.
  • The Grotesque: The Ancient One, the head Haemovore.
  • Haunted Technology: When translating the Viking inscription, the ULTIMA Machine is suddenly mysteriously unstoppable.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Ancient One agrees to help the Doctor after realizing that Fenric was using him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Ancient One uses the poison to kill the body Fenric is using and itself.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Haemovores can be repelled by faith itself. Reverend Wainwright sadly fails to repel one using a bible, as the horrors of the war have destroyed his faith. Sorin repels them with a red star badge from his uniform, because he has faith in communism. And the Doctor can repel them stronger than anyone, because he puts his faith in his friends.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • Millington and Judson are played at least in part as an estranged couple forced to work together long after the relationship ended badly.
    • Jean and Phyllis, once converted to vampires, suggest that they were 'cursed' from birth, a reference both to their status as Fenric's wolves but also to attitudes towards homosexuality viewing it as an affliction or burden.
  • I Have Many Names: Fenric, according to The Doctor.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: The Haemovores, having evolved around thousands of years of chemical pollution, have an extrasensory sensitivity which renders them vulnerable to the "psychic barrier" mounted by concentrated faith.
  • Hypocrite: Millington has a bit of a bee in his bonnet about treason, and frequently uses this as a justification for killing people opposed to him. He is actively betraying not just his country but his entire planet and species by helping Fenric usher in the end of the world.
  • Immune to Bullets: Bullets slow the Haemovores down but can't kill them.
  • Insane Admiral: Commander Millington is insanely paranoid about the Soviets. Once things really hit the fan, he isolates the base so no one can countermand his orders, and joyfully attempts to help Fenric spread his destruction across the world.
  • Instant Runes: They appear in the church as Judson reads the translation.
  • It Won't Turn Off: The ULTIMA machine.
  • Kneel Before Zod:
    Fenric: The choice is yours, Time Lord. I shall kill you anyway, but if you would like the girl to live... kneel before me.
    Ace: I believe in you, Professor.
    Fenric: Kneel if you want the girl to live!
    Doctor: Kill her.
  • Large Ham: Jean and Phyllis are two juicy slices of utter ham.
  • Last of His Kind: In the far future, pollution destroys all life on Earth except for the Ancient One.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Ace realises that Kathleen is her grandmother, and the baby is her mother.
  • Meaningful Echo: Reverend Wainwright recites from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians, but breaks off before the last word: "Love". "Love", we later find, is also the code word that would cause the Ultima machine to self-destruct, releasing enough chemical toxin to destroy a city.
  • Meaningful Name: Fenric comes from Fenrir, a wolf in Norse Mythology who would break free at the end of the world. And the Haemovores are called 'Wolves of Fenric'.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ace twice gives the villains the key piece of information they need to advance the plot. Also applies to the Doctor, as his determination to keep Ace out of the way and thus in the dark (for her own safety) is what led to her not realizing what was going on, and accidentally helping the villains out of a genuine desire to guard the Doctor's back.
    • Ironically, had the Doctor just told Ace he had successfully turned the Ancient One against Fenric, he could simply have gotten Ace to rush to his side on the other side of the room. Effectively letting the Ancient One grab Fenric and kill him without traumatizing Ace.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Or rather, Alien-Viking-Fish-Vampires.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Dr. Judson was based on Alan Turing.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Doctor imprisoned Fenric around the 3rd century after tricking him in a Game of Chess. It's not revealed exactly what happened.
    • More importantly, the relationship between Ace and her mother. We are never told WHY Ace is estranged from her mother to the point of hating her guts to the extent she does, in the stories leading up to it.
    • Millington and Judson's past and the incident where Judson was crippled. There are hints that Judson's accident that crippled him involved Millington in some shape or fashion, but it's never expanded upon except for Judson usage of it to guilt Millington to continue with their scheme that they are working on. This is actually expanded on on the novelisation where Millington accidentally broke Judson's back during a rugby game in their school days.
    • Depending on how you look at it, the story Ace tells Kathleen about a haunted house in Perivale can be seen as one. Originally, Curse Of Fenric was was supposed to open season 26 and lead directly into Ghost Light (the original planned finale). But behind the scenes issues led to the story order being changed and Ghost Light airing before Curse of Fenric. So, it either can be taken that Ace is talking about her previous adventure in Ghost Light or that Ghost Light was not the only haunted mansion Ace and Doctor had an adventure in prior to Curse of Fenric.
    • The Doctor has previously been in the Naval Cipher Room in Berlin, for long enough to have gained a knowledge of what's in the files.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The story is set in and around a military base in northern England but most of the cast make no effort to sound northern; possibly justified as below, in that most of the action is set at a military base which wouldn't necessarily be populated by people from the local area. Jean and Phyllis in the script are also supposed to lose their London accents after they get vampirised but on screen they continue to sound as if they've just come from the set of Grange Hill.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The Doctor states that the Haemovores are not 'vampires'. Anyone to refer to them as such is immediately corrected.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Doctor tricking Fenric and sealing him in the Shadow Dimension.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Doctor mentions that they'll be fine as long as Dr Judson doesn't realise that the Viking inscription is a logic puzzle. Ace reacts with horror — she's just told him that it is.
    • In the last episode, the Doctor in turn is aghast when he discovers Ace unwittingly gave Fenric the solution to the chess puzzle.
  • Ominous Fog: Fog is frequent in the story's setting, tying in with its Gothic Horror angle, and Fenric himself manifests as a mysterious green gas.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • The author was not allowed to mention Ragnarok (though it would have been entirely appropriate given the Norse theme), in case audiences thought there was a connection with the Gods of Ragnarok in "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy".
    • Also applies to Audrey. Of course, the baby with the same name as Ace's mother turns out to actually be Ace's mother.
  • Oop North: Meant to be set in northern England, although few, if any, of the guest cast try to sound northern. Faintly justified in that it's mostly set on a naval base during World War II; plenty of possibility for none of the sailors and marines stationed there to be from the local area. A lot of the characters aren't locals - Millington, Judson; even the Reverend Wainwright's distinctly non-Northern accent could be explained by him having gone to public school and learning to speak proper, like.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Besides acting more like zombies than vampires, Haemovores can be blocked by a psychic barrier created by one's faith. Instead of fangs, they also have gross-looking barnacles and suckers all over their faces.
  • Playing Possum: One of the last surviving Soviet soldiers plays dead after being shot by Millington. He is later able to deliver a fatal shot to Millington and save the Royal Marine captain, leading to the two sides joining forces.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Doctor's habit of not telling anyone else what's going on comes back to bite him big time.
  • Psychic Powers: Despite being imprisoned, Fenric can still transport people through time.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: Fenric:
    "Ah... the sound of dying. When it comes to death, quantity is so much more satisfying than quality."
  • The Radio Dies First: Enforced.
  • Radio Silence: Cmdr. Millington order not just radio silence, but for good measure he orders all radios on the base destroyed. Of course then things start getting bad, and just after Cpl Perkins reports he's destroyed all the radios, he's ordered to put them back together again.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Doctor is forced to crush Ace's faith in him with a particularly nasty speech in order to make his plan pay off. He apologizes afterwards.
    Fenric: Time for the one final game. The choice is yours, Time Lord. I shall kill you anyway, but if you would like the girl to live, kneel before me.
    Ace: I believe in you, Professor.
    Fenric: Kneel, if you want the girl to live!
    The Doctor: ...Kill her.
    Fenric: The Time Lord finally understands.
    The Doctor: Do you think I didn't know? The chess set in Lady Peinforte's study. I knew.
    Fenric: Earlier than that, Time Lord. Before Cybermen, ever since Ice World. Where you first met the girl.
    The Doctor: I knew. I knew she carried the evil inside her. Do you think I'd have chosen a social misfit if I hadn't known? She couldn't even pass her chemistry exams at school, and yet she manages to create a time storm in her bedroom. I saw your hand in it from the very beginning.
    Ace: No...
    The Doctor: You're an emotional cripple. I wouldn't waste my time on her, unless I had to use her somehow.
    Ace: No!
  • Re-Cut: A slightly extended version with approximately 6 minutes of new material was done for the 1991 VHS release. A "movie" edit was done for the DVD version (alongside the originally broadcast serial), which removes opening and closing credit sequences and cliffhanger reprises for the middle episodes, restores certain deleted sequences, and reorders certain scenes. It's generally considered by fans that the plot is much easier to follow in this cut.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The eyes of every person Fenric takes over turn red.
  • Red Scare: Subverted; the plot involves a Soviet commando troop infiltrating a British naval base to try and steal a code-breaking device, but the British commander turns out to be a lunatic who allies himself with the Big Bad, and the Soviet soldiers end up becoming the Doctor's allies.
  • The Reveal: That the baby is Ace's Mother.
  • The Scottish Trope: "Let the chains of Fenric shatter."
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Fenric.
  • Scenery Porn: Some lovely, atmospherically brooding shots of Maiden's Bay and the military base.
  • She Is All Grown Up: as Ace literally points out to the Doctor before using her feminine wiles to distract the Royal Marine Sergeant.
  • Shoot the Dog: The Doctor tells Fenric that he only took Ace in because he knew Fenric's curse was inside her, all while insulting Ace and making her cry. He had a good reason, but ouch.
  • Shot at Dawn: Millington orders the Doctor, Ace and Sorin executed for treason. They are saved from the firing squad by the intervention of Sorin's men.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: 1940s computing is surprisingly accurately shown, and so are most of the details of period cryptanalysis. German cryptography really did depend on rotors, as shown, and the rotor diagram on Judson's blackboard is extremely simple but essentially accurate. On the other hand, translation of an ancient script is not "decryption", and the Prisoner's Dilemma name-checked by the Doctor and Judson in part 1 is not an algorithm but a well-known problem in game theory.
  • Show Some Leg: Ace volunteers to distract a guard, advising the Doctor that she's "not a little girl anymore." That was weird enough for fans not used to seeing this particular companion presented in a sexual way, but the ensuing and very strange conversation with the guard, involving time seeming to move at different speeds, did not provide the sort of dialogue typically associated with leading women flirting with guards.
  • Slasher Smile: Fenric, in the body of Dr Judson when the Haemovores corner Nurse Crane, and later as Captain Sorin, on having learned the solution to the Doctor's chess challenge.
  • Smart Ball: Teenage delinquent Ace demonstrates that she paid attention to her Computer Science lessons, if nothing else. Then again, we already knew she was talented at chemicals, having invented her own explosive.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • Fenric is apparently trying to perform one. The Ancient One getting transported back and spreading poison will enable the Haemovores to evolve. Subverted when the Ancient One performs a Heel–Face Turn and destroys Fenric's host body in a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Ace only exists as the result of a stable time loop: she befriends her grandmother as a young woman, and, when disaster strikes, sends her to a specific address in London with Ace's infant mother.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Exploding chess sets.
  • Survival Mantra: The Doctor repels an army of vampires who cannot harm those who have faith by reciting the names of his past companions under his breath.
  • Switch to English: The Russian soldiers' first scene has them speaking Russian with subtitles, then their leader says, "From now on, we speak only English", and they do.
  • Symbolic Baptism: The ending where Ace is swimming in the water is shown to be her cleaning her ugly relationship with her mother away after facing her past.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The poison used is green.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Sorin is Ace's love interest for about... 30 minutes.
  • Those Two Girls: Jean and Phyllis. They don't really do much, at least not while they're alive.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: Audrey (who is played by a baby BOY)
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Millington has his office decorated with Nazi emblems and furnishings as a means towards this trope.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Both the British and Soviet forces know that Haemovores are running around the area and killing people. Clearly, the logical thing to do is start attacking each other. In defence of the British, they're commanded by Millington, who is quite quite mad, and the Soviets are merely defending themselves.
  • Translation Convention: Captain Sorin instructs his men to speak only English from here on in. Despite wearing Soviet uniforms and everything. And they continue to do so, even while dying or otherwise under great duress.
  • Underwater Ruins: An ancient Viking ship sucks Viking descendants down into the water, killing them and turning them into Haemovores when the curse activates.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Ace and Sorin, with Ace acting unexpectedly sultry towards him in one scene.
  • Viral Transformation: How the Haemovores are created.
  • The Virus: Haemovores propogate by spreading themselves to humans like a viral plague.
  • We Meet Again: The crippled Judson, now possessed by Fenric, stands up and reveals glowing green eyes.
    Judson/Fenric: We play the contest again, Time Lord.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: The reason Ace reacts so strongly to the Doctor's feigned rejection.
  • Wham Line:
    Fenric/Judson: We play the contest again, Time Lord.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ace lets the Doctor have it (several times) for concealing vital plot-related information from her, as well as using her by breaking her faith in him. That last one in particular is the one that hits her the hardest, and the one she in turn lashes out the hardest at the Doctor for.
  • Wrong Insult Offence:
    Crane: Commander! Have some respect for the wheelchair! The man is an invalid!
    Judson: I'm not an invalid! I'm a cripple!
  • The X of Y: The final instance in the Classic Series, with the tradition not returning until the Revival Series episode "The End of the World" 16 years later.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Fenric is big on this trope; the moment he no longer requires the services of his army of Haemovores, he orders their destruction.