But it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Was it bad? Hell no, its a great little tale with a nice ending and it really captures the feel of an early 3rd Doctor story. But after listening to the trailer I’d thought it was going to be a dark tale of something sinister in a UNIT vault and that’s not this story. So it was a slight swerve ball that disorientated me a little. Maybe it was me or maybe the trailer could have been cut differently. So what is the tale then? Well the vault does play a role; its the final home for a crashed alien ship but the tale itself is about what happens when UNIT originally found the ship when it crash lands on earth. Its very much a typical 3rd Doctor story, even when told in flashback you get the sense of boys own adventure that Jon Pertwee brought to the role. Its quite a brutal tale; we’ve got alien invaders up to no good and a Doctor who’s judgment may have been fatally compromised by the lure of getting out of exile.
Lex Shrapnel is the squaddie taking care of the remains of the ship and Liz has been called in to check that they remain safe. She recounts, to Lex, the tale of what happened. Partly to give him a sense of what he’s guarding but partly as a means of dealing with the survivor guilt Liz seems to have over what happened. A lot of people died stopping this invasion and Liz’s return to the vault triggers memories she’s buried for years. This gives the story a very interesting edge and both the actors work well with each other and ensure that its a well paced and dramatic story.
The music and effect work help to make the vault a claustrophobic place and lend a sense of urgency and danger to the action scenes. The story is clever and has a satisfying conclusion; its a suitable return to the Dr Who fold for Caroline John; I hope she gets to do more of these.