The Monster of Peladon
The Monster of Peladon was the fourth story of Season 11 of Doctor Who. It was the Third Doctor’s penultimate story. A sequel to The Curse of Peladon, Monster established the Doctor’s fondness for the planet of Peladon. Although it was the last televised story to take place on Peladon, and the last to feature the Ice Warriors until Cold War in 2013, the location and monsters would be reused in other media. The story was highly politicized with pro-labor and pro-feminist themes.
The Doctor brings Sarah to the Citadel of Peladon to introduce her to his friend the King, but accidentally arrives fifty years later to find his daughter Queen Thalira on the throne. He manages to avoid arrest by the timely arrival of an old friend, Alpha Centauri, now the Federation Ambassador to Peladon, who vouches for the Doctor’s identity despite the fact half a century has passed. It turns out that they have arrived during a very tense situation between the Galactic Federation, Pel miners, and Pel nobility. The Federation is at war with Galaxy 5, and desperately requires great amounts of the mineral trisilicate – a substance rich on Peladon – for the war effort. The miners feel exploited, their way of life having not improved in the half-century since Peladon joined the Federation. Leadership of the miners is divided between the centrist Gebek and the hotheaded Ettis.
Tensions rise further when the image of Aggedor begins to appear at random, attacking and killing miners. Chancellor Ortron takes this as a sign that their deity is displeased with alien intrusion in the affairs of Peladon. Ettis convinces the miners to strike and seizes a Federation armory, while Gebek appeals for calm and negotiation. The Doctor suspects that someone is creating the appearances of Aggedor in order to further destabilize trisilicate production, but finds himself at odds with both the miners and Ortron, having only Alpha Centauri and Queen Thalira’s recollection of her father’s stories for support.
The Doctor and Blor, the Queen’s Champion, enter the tunnels to investigate Aggador’s last appearance. The Doctor finds a rich vein of trisilicate. There is a rock fall caused by the rebellious miners. Aggador appears and kills Blor, then turns on the Doctor…
The apparition disappears after killing Blor. The Doctor and Gebek make a deal, but guards appear. Meanwhile, Sarah has learned there was an explosion in the caverns and comes in search of the Doctor. The Doctor and the miners defeat the guards. Sarah, lost in the tunnels, finds a closed room (the refinery), and accidentally triggers a defense system.
The Doctor convinces Gebek that the miners should return to work, but Ettis still plans an attack. Eckersley, the senior Federation engineer on Peladon, and Alpha Centauri rescue Sarah. She is unable to convince them there was somebody in the refinery.
Ortron convinces Thalira that the Doctor is in league with the miners and must be executed. Ettis attacks Eckersley and takes Sarah and Alpha Centauri to the control room to open the armory doors. Other miners attack guards in the passageway. They reach the armory.
Ettis takes Sarah with him as a hostage, but she escapes only to be caught by guards. Ortron orders her taken to the Temple. Ettis and the miners return to the tunnels, and Gebek promises the Doctor to keep an eye on them. The Doctor arrives at the Temple. Ortron has the Doctor and Sarah thrown into the Temple’s pit, where a very real Aggador is waiting for them…
The Doctor calms Aggador with his Venusian lullaby as he did fifty years earlier. Queen Thalira orders the Doctor and Sarah be brought out of the pit, as they clearly have Aggedor’s approval, and finally tries to assert herself against her Chancellor over his actions. The Doctor convinces Thalira to send for Gebek, and leaves Sarah with the Queen. Sarah urges Thalira to stand up for herself more against Peladon’s male-dominated nobility: “There’s nothing ‘only’ about being a girl”, she tells her.
Gebek tries to convince the miners to strike rather than rebel. The Doctor is angry on learning that Alpha Centauri has called in Federation troops. Ortron appears and confines the Doctor to the Citadel. After he catches the Doctor in the corridors, he orders him placed in the dungeon.
Eckersley sets up the sonic lance in the tunnels. Sarah sneaks out and warns Eckersley that the rebels will try to capture it. Thalira can’t convince Ortron to release the Doctor, but orders him to let Sarah remain free; he agrees to since as a woman she’s harmless.
In the tunnels, the miners attack. Eckersley uses the sonic lance against them, but Gebek stops him. Sarah gives Gebek a message from the Doctor that the queen is willing to meet with him. Gebek lets Sarah and Eckersley go free, but without the sonic lance. Thalira and Ortron are alarmed to hear that Federation troops are on the way.
Sarah heads for the dungeon to find the Doctor, and Gebek sneaks into the citadel to meet with the Queen. They encounter each other and Gebek sends Sarah back, offering to release the Doctor himself. The Doctor and Gebek head for the refinery, where something suspicious is going on. Eckersley and Alpha Centauri see them on camera, and Sarah has to admit that they think the Aggador trick is operated from the refinery.
Ortron addresses the miners, trying to convince them to cooperate in order to show the Federation troops that all is well. As the miners return to work, the Aggador apparition appears, killing a miner. They head in the direction of the refinery. The Doctor gets the refinery door open, revealing an Ice Warrior!
The Ice Warrior takes the Doctor and Gebek prisoner. Another Ice Warrior, Azaxyr, appears in the Citadel and declares the planet under martial law. Azaxyr meets with all interested parties. He has no interest in the situation on Peladon, and only wants the trisilicate to be mined. He orders the miners back to work under armed guard and threat of death.
Meanwhile, a group of miners is planning a rescue of Gebek. They storm the throne room but are killed by the Ice Warriors. Ettis is the only survivor and runs away.
Azaxyr wants to execute the Doctor but Sarah, Alpha Centauri and Eckersley convince him that only the Doctor can convince Gebek to get the miners back to work. The Doctor suspects that their guard, Sskel, was the figure that Sarah saw at the refinery earlier, and Sarah confirms it. The Doctor and Alpha Centauri realize that Ice Warrior troops were on Peladon before Alpha Centauri sent for them.
The Doctor returns to the throne room to convince Gebek to start work, but the Pels are finally united against the Ice Warriors. The Doctor explains that he wants them to pretend to go back to work so he can work out a way to deal with the invaders. The miners return to work, pleasing Azaxyr, though he still doesn’t trust the Doctor. He has good reason to, as it turns out; the Doctor raises the temperature in the mines, which will weaken the heat-sensitive Ice Warriors and giving Gebek and his men a real chance of defeating them.
Ettis returns to the mines, but can’t be convinced that Gebek has a plan to defeat the Ice Warriors. Now insane, he wants to use the sonic lance to destroy the Citadel.
Azaxyr has not been fooled. He informs Thalira that he will wait on the situation before allowing her to contact Federation authorities.
The miners and Pel guards attack the Ice Warriors, who have been weakened by the raised temperatures in the mines. Gebek learns that Ettis intends to blow up the Citadel with the sonic lance; the Doctor will try to stop him. Sarah, looking after the miner that Ettis stabbed to get to the lance, is captured by an Ice Warrior and brought to Azaxyr. The Doctor reaches Ettis and fights with him to stop him using the lance. Azaxyr informs Sarah and Alpha Centauri that the sonic lance has a self-destruct that will engage if Ettis tries to use it. Ettis defeats the Doctor and starts the sonic lance. It explodes…
Sarah is distraught at the Doctor’s apparent death. Azaxyr orders Eckersley to return the temperature to normal and turn off the ventilation in the mines.
The Doctor, having survived the blast, returns to the mines. Gebek informs him that the Ice Warriors will soon be entering the mine and that the air is getting stale. The Doctor heads for the refinery, where the ventilation controls are. Gebek also informs the Doctor that Sarah is no longer in the mines.
Alpha Centauri informs Thalira, Ortron and Sarah that Azaxyr has imposed martial law on Peladon; Thalira will rule in name only. They plan their escape. They distract Sskel, and he is too slow to chase them. However, Ortron is killed while trying to protect his Queen, and Azaxyr returns in time to stop Thalira from escaping.
The Doctor and Gebek reach the refinery. Inside the refinery, Azaxyr and Eckersley gloat that their plans are working. Sarah and Alpha Centauri are in the communication room, where Alpha Centauri sends a general distress signal. Sarah discovers that Eckersley is really in league with the Ice Warriors. Eckersley sends out the Aggador apparition – a matter projection of a statue of the Royal Beast armed with a directional heat ray – to scare first the miners, then the Pel guards. Sarah, on discovering the Doctor is alive, runs to join him, leaving Alpha Centauri on its own in the communications room.
Eckersley and Azaxyr head back to the citadel, leaving a guard behind. Sarah appears, which distracts the guard long enough for the Doctor and Gebek to dispatch him. Azaxyr and Eckersley return to the communications room, and Azaxyr realizes Alpha Centauri sent a distress call; he sends it to the throne room.
Alpha Centauri tells Thalira that Azaxyr and Eckersley are really working for the Federation’s enemy, Galaxy 5. Alpha Centauri accidentally gives away that Sarah is on the loose, and is forced under threat of death to tell Azaxyr that Sarah and the Doctor are at the refinery. Azaxyr sends Sskel to the refinery; when he reaches it, the Doctor, Gebek and Sarah are already inside. He begins to blast the door. Other Ice Warriors join him while the Doctor works furiously at the controls…
The Doctor gains control of the mechanism creating the Aggedor apparitions and uses it against the Ice Warriors. Only Sskel survives and returns to Azaxyr. The Doctor sends Gebek back to his miners with a plan – he’ll control the Aggedor apparitions to get the miners back on side.
Eckersley communicates with the Doctor. He turns the security system on at the low level, warning the Doctor to surrender. The Doctor sends Sarah out to warn Gebek. Azaxyr prepares his warriors to attack the miners. An Ice Warrior approaches a group of miners, but Aggador appears and kills him. Eckersley turns up the intensity on the security system.
Azaxyr prepares an ambush for the miners and guards who are approaching the citadel.
The Doctor sends the Aggador apparitions to the Citadel, where it kills more Ice Warriors. The miners and guards head for the throne room. The Doctor collapses, finally overcome by the security system. Sarah finds a gun on a dead Pel and threatens Eckersley to make him turn off the security system. He shows her on the monitor that the Doctor is already dead, but when she looks, he takes the gun from her. He locks her in the communication room.
The miners and guards storm the throne room, where Azaxyr holds his weapon on Queen Thalira. The Pels drop their weapons, but attack the much slower Ice Warriors instead; in the resulting melee, Azaxyr and his men are all killed.
Sarah is freed from the communication room by Alpha Centauri and heads for the refinery and the seemingly dead Doctor.
Eckersley, his allies now dead, heads for the throne room and takes Thalira hostage. They head through the tunnels.
Sarah learns that the Doctor is not dead after all; he had placed himself in sensory withdrawal to avoid the effects of Eckersley’s security system. The miners and guards learn that Queen Thalira has been captured and inform the Doctor. He decides to get Aggedor’s help…
That “help” is provided by the real Aggedor, who the Doctor has used to track down the Queen by her scent. Aggedor attacks and kills Eckersley, but is himself killed in the process. Checking it unsuccessfully for a pulse, the Doctor mourns the beast’s death.
As everyone recovers in the throne room, Alpha Centauri excitedly announces that Galaxy Five has sued for peace, now that their gambit on Peladon has been defeated. Thalira and her new Chancellor – Gebek – commit themselves to a new beginning for Peladon, while the Doctor and Sarah slip away to the TARDIS. Sarah insists that the Doctor reconsider the queen’s offer to stay on Peladon as her chancellor, but the Doctor quells her, “In you get, Sarah.” When she tries to persuade him again just to bug him, the Doctor humors her. He looks her in the eye, and firmly repeats his command. “In you get.” Sarah gives up and the two disembark from Peladon.