Vengeance on Varos
Vengeance on Varos was the second story of Season 22 of Doctor Who. It introduced the alien Sil.
On Varos, a planet in the constellation of Cetes, the public torture of the rebel Jondar is broadcast throughout the planet. Citizens Arak and Etta watch the event from their room. Arak complains that they never show anything new to watch. In addition to the lack of new programming, the two must also deal with food rationing. Also, that night will be a punch-in vote ordered by the Governor, and voting is mandatory.
Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor is repairing the TARDIS console. Peri complains that the Doctor has caused three electrical fires and a power failure, nearly collided with a storm of asteroids, got lost in the TARDIS corridors twice, wiped the memory banks of the flight computer, jettisoned three quarters of the storage hold and burned her “cold dinner”, all since the time-travelers left Telos. Minutes later, the TARDIS stops. It has stalled in the middle of deep space and the Doctor can do nothing to fix it.
Sil, the Mentor representative of the Galatron Mining Corporation, is negotiating with the Governor over the price of Varos’ Zeiton-7 ore. Their discussion, like many others, ends in stalemate. For many years, the Galatron Mining Corporation has swindled Varos by paying far less for the ore than its market value. To make matters worse, the Chief Officer is in league with Sil. The Governor moves on to conduct the night’s vote. He addresses the people, asking for their vote on if they should hold out longer for a fair price on the ore. The Governor loses and is forced to endure Human Cell Disintegration Bombardment. The process slowly kills the target and this is the third time his recommendations have failed to pass. The guard Rondel recommends that the Governor execute Jondarto please the citizens so he can recuperate before the next vote.
Peri locates the TARDIS manual and presents it to the Doctor. He quickly dismisses it. He knows perfectly well what has caused their dilemma. The transitional elements within the TARDIS have stopped producing orbital energy and they need Zeiton-7 ore to realign the power systems. The Doctor explains Zeiton-7 is exceptionally rare and only comes from one planet: Varos. The Doctor repairs the TARDIS enough to get to Varos. They arrive right before the execution of Jondar is to take place.
The guard on station to watch over the execution believes the TARDIS is a hallucination caused by the Punishment Dome. The Doctor and Peri exit the TARDIS and he thinks they are hallucinations as well. With some help from the chained Jondar, the guard is incapacitated. The two free Jondar and make their escape after being cut off from the TARDIS by more guards. They are rescued by Rondel. He has defected after speaking with Areta and decided to help them. But he is killed shortly thereafter by pursuing guards.
The Doctor, Peri, Jondar, and Areta continue through the Punishment Dome, attempting to make their way back to the TARDIS. During a run-in with another group of guards, the Doctor is separated from the others, who are arrested. He enters a corridor that appears a desert. With all of Varos watching, he succumbs to the heat and collapses with his end as a close-up.
During the ordeal, Peri has been brought to the control center in the company of Sil and the other officers. They question her as she watches them bring the Doctor’s body to an acid bath for disposal. It turns out he is not dead; his mind was influenced to make him believe he was dying of thirst in a desert. The Doctor suddenly stands up and walks over to the attendants while their backs are turned. The surprise makes the first attendant jump, pushing the second into the bath. A struggle ensues. The first attendant is pulled into the acid bath by the second attendant. The Doctor strolls out, saying, “You’ll forgive me if I don’t join you.”
After making his way from the acid baths, the Doctor is cornered by Quillam, Varos’ chief scientist, and taken away. Back in the control center, it is decided the Doctor and Jondar will be executed in a good “old-fashioned” way, while Peri and Areta will be reshaped with a cell mutator. The Doctor and Jondar are placed in the nooses while the Governor and Sil watch. At the last moment the Doctor asks the Governor about Sil and his extortion. Sil’s bodyguards rush the platform and pull the lever. The two simply fall through the holes, the rope coming right off the support. As it turns out, there was to be no execution — it was all to get information out of the Doctor. The Doctor suspected this when he noticed that they were not being filmed.
The group tries to stop the cell mutator on Peri and Areta, but they are told it’s at too advanced a stage. The Doctor and Jondar grab the weapons of nearby guards to intimidate Quillam to deactivate the mutator, but it fails. The Doctor resorts to shooting the entire control panel. The process has stopped in the nick of time and Peri and Areta return to their original form. The four escape back into the depths of the Punishment Dome towards a possible escape route. Peri, still in a stupor from the mutator, is recaptured and taken to the control center.
The Chief and Sil make their final move on the Governor, hoping he will be killed in the next vote, securing their control of Varos and the Zeiton-7 ore. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Jondar and Areta make their way into the End Zone of the Dome, where the exit is supposed to be. The vote starts and the bombardment begins, but the guard Maldak has a change of heart and stops the device, saving the Governor and Peri. The three make their way through the ventilation ducts to meet with the Doctor.
The Doctor’s group is chased by two cannibals and loses them in some poisonous tendrils. The Chief and Quillam arrive on the scene but are entangled in the tendrils, killing them. They meet with Peri, the Governor and Meldak. They all make their way back to the control center and put an end to Sil’s plans of controlling Varos. The Galatron Mining Corporation also began to side with Varos; a second source of Zeiton-7 ore has been found and Sil is ordered to obtain the Varosian ore at any price. The Doctor and Peri bid the Governor farewell, taking the replacement ore with them.
The Governor issues a message to the citizens saying that there will be no more injustice, torture and executions. Arak and Etta watch in disbelief, wondering what they’ll do with their new-found freedom.