Image of the Fendahl
Image of the Fendahl was the third story of Season 15 of Doctor Who.
In Fetch Priory, scientists Thea Ransome and Adam Colby are examining a skull they have nicknamed “Eustace”. The skull is twelve million years old and they are incredulous at the evolutionary implications. Meanwhile, lead scientist Dr. Fendelman and his collaborator, Maximillian Stael, begin their nighttime experiments with a time scanner. Its power seems to affect the skull, which they seem unaware of. The skull in turn has some sort of effect on Thea. In the woods outside of the Priory, a hiker walking by is attacked by an unseen creature.
Meanwhile, the Fourth Doctor and Leela are in the TARDIS, worrying over the damaged K9. The Doctor insists on referring to K9 as an “it,” to Leela’s chagrin. As the Doctor tries to repair K9, the TARDIS is affected by a Relative Continuum Displacement Zone — a hole in time. The Doctor traces it to Earth and the TARDIS lands near the Priory the next day. The Doctor and Leela find a man called Ted Moss. He says there are strange things going on in the Priory.
Adam finds the corpse of the hiker while out walking their dog, Leakey. Fendelman suggests covering this up, loathe to media and police interrupting their potentially groundbreaking work. Fendelman tells Stael to have armed guards posted and to do a postmortem on the body. Thea and Adam learn of the lockdown though guard David Mitchell after a loud argument between him and an old local woman, Martha Tyler. She is a white witch and the cook at the priory. Stael reports his inability to discover the cause of the hiker’s death, but the body is decomposing rapidly. Fendelman orders him to dispose of the body.
The Doctor and Leela decide they must investigate the priory just as Thea switches on the time scanner. A compulsion draws her to the machine. The skull and she seem to merge. Leela has split up from the Doctor. As she investigates a nearby cottage, a shotgun is fired at her. Meanwhile, the Doctor feels the presence of the same unseen creature. He finds himself paralyzed, unable to run as the creature is about to consume him.
The Doctor regains control of his legs and runs from the creature. Ted Moss reloads his shotgun and moves to the door of the Tyler cottage, where Leela overpowers him. Jack Tyler gets rid of Ted Moss and talks with Leela.
Thea is being gradually taken over by the skull, the Fendahl. The Fendahl kills Mitchell, the security guard. Embryo Fendahleen briefly appear on the unconscious Thea as the Doctor and Adam watch. Fendelman has the Doctor locked up in a storage room on suspicion of Mitchell’s murder. Jack Tyler talks to Leela about his “gran” and the old religion, and being involved with “something nasty.”
Adam goes to talk to Dr. Fendelman about the disconnected telephone. Fendelman thinks the skull is extraterrestrial. He shows Adam a skull x-ray; a pentagram is part of the bone structure, and he believes it is a neural circuit that stores energy and then, eventually, signal to others that there intelligent life on the planet.
Mrs. Tyler returns to the cottage, terrified. Mother Tyler says that something was after her, “hungry” for her soul.
Thea is again drawn to the room where the time scanner is kept. She sees the x-ray of the skull. Stael appears and, revealed as the leader of the local coven, proclaims she is the key to his power, the chosen one.
The Doctor enters the room where the skull is kept. He finds the skull. It begins to “power up”, glowing brightly. It forces him to touch it. He yells in pain as the skull glow ever brighter.
Leela arrives and pries the Doctor away from the skull. The Doctor tells her it’s a Fendahl’s, a species he believed a myth. He rouses Mrs. Tyler from her shock and asks her about the being which attacked her. She has precognition as a result of growing up near a time fissure. She later tells Jack that the figure she saw in her mind was a woman.
Meanwhile, Stael pulls a gun on Dr. Fendelman and Adam. He shackles them to pillars in the cottage’s basement. The Doctor and Leela use the TARDIS to follow the Time Fissure and find the Fendahl’s home planet. It had been placed in a time loop — and only the Time Lords could do that. Stael assembles his cult, preparing their ceremony. Fendelman realizes what is happening. The Fendahl has used his ancestors and him to regain life. He pleads desperately with Stael and his followers to stop, but Stael shoots him.
When they return, the Doctor, Leela and the Tylers head back to the Priory. Suddenly they find their legs cannot move. The group are all stuck as a full-grown Fendahleen bears down on them.
The Doctor uses Jack’s gun, loaded with rock salt, to kill the Fendahleen. The group concentrate and escape its telepathic influence. Meanwhile, the cult uses Thea’s body as a host for the Fendahl core to manifest. The Fendahl turns the cult members into Fendahleen and paralyses Stael when he catches its gaze. The Doctor and Leela sneak into the cult’s room and free Adam. The Doctor tells Leela to get Adam to safety and tries to help Stael. He begs the Doctor to bring him his gun. Stael kills himself.
The Doctor confers with the others. He realizes the Fendahl requires thirteen Fendahleen to become an incredibly powerful gestalt entity, but with Stael and a Fendahleen dead, the creature is incomplete. While the Doctor works on the time scanner, he theorizes the Fendahl may have guided human evolution. This may explain mankind’s darker nature. Leela and Jack are attacked by the Fendahl’s forces and kill one of the Fendahleen. The Doctor rigs the scanner to destroy the entire cottage. He and Leela enter the basement and take the skull. The Fendahl core tries to stop them, but in its weakened state, they avoid its paralytic effects. Without the skull, the core is rendered powerless, and is destroyed in the explosion.
The Doctor and Leela leave in the TARDIS to find a star about to go supernova and drop the Fendahl skull into it. The Doctor calls K9 a “him”, saying that he can if he wants — after all, K9 is his dog. K9 nods in agreement.