The Time Warrior

The Time Warrior
The Time Warrior.jpg
Season: 11
Episode: 1
Vital statistics
Air date 5 December 1973 - 5 January 1974
Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by Alan Bromly
Episode guide
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The Time Warrior is an episode of Time Warriors, guest starring Doctor Hiiiiii-Ya and, in her first appearance ever, future K9 costar And Company.

Plot

Group hug!

The story starts off in the 2130s, or whenever UNIT stories take place. Scientists are disappearing, UNIT wants to know why, and the Doctor figures out that someone is using a Technobabble to steal them to the 1190s. Meanwhile, Sarah Jane, Girl Reporter is Girl Reporting on UNIT by using her aunt's credentials, and she accidentally stows away in the TARDIS before the Doctor goes back to get medieval on some 13th century ass.

Later, in the past, a local warlord/robber baron named Irongron has recently been stepping up his warlording and robbing and baroning. The Doctor spies the real menace: a Sontaran, named Linux because all Sontarans are sexless unix. (That should be the worst joke on this wiki, from now until the end of time, or I will eat my war helmet.) Since we've never seen Sontarans before this story, I should explain that they're potato men from outerspace with basic time travel technology, but then anyone reading this page has probably seen more than enough of them before watching this episode. Anyway, he's has been kidnapping scientists from the future to help him fix his crashed ship (because he's the Rani in disguise), and trading futuristic weapons and killbots to Irongron in exchange for a place to stash his scientists. This will lead to England developing nukes by the 17th century, when they're not ready for them (unlike 1970s Americans and Russians, who were obviously ready for nukes), so the Doctor has to stop it.

Meanwhile, the hero of our story, a mercenary assassin named Hal, gets captured, then so does Sarah Jane, then they escape, and the Doctor gets captured, but he escapes, and gets captured by Sarah Jane (who thinks he was working for the bad guys), and… you can guess the rest up to the last episode. Although there's actually a battle scene in between all the escapes that's not bad for the show's budget, mainly because of the way the Three casually walks through lobbing smoke bombs as if he's just out for a walk.

Anyway, the final capture is the Doctor getting captured by Linux and giving his usual "If you stop doing bad stuff, I'll help you" speech, with the usual results, but fortunately, one of the scientists sticks something up the Sontaran's probic vent by surprise before he can shoot the Doctor.

Now the only problem is Irongron and his men. After all, it's not like Linux will wake up from being left unguarded on the ground with a mild concussion and all his weaponry, right? So Sarah Jane gives them all drugs. She also gives a speech to the kitchen women that was clearly deliberately crafted to trigger /pol/.

Then, surprise, Linux comes back. Fortunately, instead of shooting the Doctor, he decides it's time for some WWF-style wrestling. But then Irongron comes in and yells "I'm a clown! I like coke!" and Linux shoots him and runs off to get in his spaceship. Which he suddenly decides has been repaired, even though nobody's worked on it since it wasn't repaired enough. Anyway, while he's running away from all the people he's just beaten but left standing, his probic vent makes a perfect target for Hal to fire an arrow into, but since the only archer, Hal, doesn't know anything about probic vents, that shouldn't matter. But Hal shoots him right in the probic vent anyway. How lucky for everyone.

Linux slumps into the ship's computer, which makes it asplode. This message was brought to you by Microsoft, reminding you that if you use free software, you may just get what you pay for. (OK, sorry, I'm eating my war helmet now.)

Everyone lives happily ever after, especially Sarah Jane, even though she'll surely be arrested for sneaking into a top-secret UNIT base with false credentials and stuck in a C19 black facility for the rest of her life, and the Doctor, who forgot to fix the problem of the 1190s being in the 13th century, which you'd think would have some major effect on history.

Reception

"Praise tha lawd, I finally have a decent companion!"

Sarah Jane plays off the Doctor perfectly right from the start. And, since this is the start, they get to do things they never get to do again, like the bit about Sarah Jane thinking the Doctor is evil. And meanwhile, even people who don't like late Pertwee like him here. The two of them could have carried this entire story by themselves, but fortunately, they didn't have to.

The plot is a bit silly if you take it seriously, and the characters even moreso, but as an excuse for a lighthearted romp, it holds up well enough. The Sontarans were a great alien race before further appearances diluted them, and Linx's motivation comes through as believable in just a few lines. Holmes does the totally-OTT-comedy version of his usual double act for the first and best time with Irongron and Bloodaxe, and also sets up Rubeish, the main captured scientist, as a comedy foil for the Doctor. Many of the other characters are a bit dull, Hal, but there's enough fun here that you won't get bored.

Trivia

  • The Doctor mentions that he comes from Gallifrey for the first time.
  • Bob Hoskins was supposed to play Irongron, but he turned it down, which is why all Sontarans ever since look like Bob Hoskins.
  • For some reason, Sarah Jane's last name was left as a surprise reveal until episode four. Spoiler: It's Smith.