Spoilers for the episode
They get to the Oasis and find Tegana but Barbara doesn’t believe his story and it gets her into trouble. While Marco Polo has enough of the Doctor and attacks him. They save him by explaining condensation.
The water’s run out and Marco’s wondering where Tegana is because he sent him to the oasis to get water. He thinks Tegana’s got lost and they’ve managed to move the caravan forward a bit but this is probably it for them if they don’t get water soon.
Ian says it’ll be hot again soon and they should get started but Marco says they should stay where they are. Barbara notes that the Doctor and Susan are still in the TARDIS but Ian says to let them sleep.
The Doctor wakes up and realises condensation has gathered inside on the walls of the TARDIS. So he gets Susan to collect water from the walls.
The Doctor takes the water to Marco but he’s angry because he thinks the Doctor has been keeping water from them. I think he attacks the Doctor because a lot of shouting happens. Ian gets him to stop and they then explain condensation to him. He makes the Doctor drink the water first in case it’s poisoned.
They manage to reach the oasis because of the TARDIS water and they find Tegana. He says he had to wait for some bandits to leave and he heard they were going to the north.
Marco wants to leave the oasis because it’ll be dangerous to stay. Barbara walks off still suspicious of Tegana and Tegana tries to convince Marco he shouldn’t trust them because of their story with the water.
The doctor thinks he’ll have the TARDIS fixed soon but Marco’s making them move on and he doesn’t like all the rushing about.
Barbara doesn’t believe Tegana’s story of the bandits because it was so cold last night and it’s unlikely they’d want to be out in it. I think bandits would brave the cold for whatever they’ve got planned.
Ian decides to ask Tegana because he thinks he’s going to be truthful about betraying them apparently. He asks how many bandits there were and why didn’t they light a fire. Tegana doesn’t really answer.
Marco tells the Doctor when they leave the oasis the TARDIS will be locked and the key handed over to him. The Doctor tells him he doesn’t realise he’s talking to a man of superior intellect. Well if you’re so smart why haven’t you outsmarted him yet.
Then it’s back to Marco’s voice over telling us about the journey. They’re going to a temple.
They arrive at Tun-Huang and talk about the cave of five hundred eyes where a load of evil men lived. Susan wants to know more and Ping promises to tell her later.
The doctor hopes to get on with some work now that they’ve stopped. Ian points out he doesn’t have a key but the Doctor says he’s made another.
Barbara wants to talk to Ian about Tegana but he blows her off so he can listen to Ping’s story about Aladdin. She goes on for a while and it’s not very interesting. I’d prefer they get on with the plot instead of dragging it out like this.
Then Ian decides that what this episode needs is a vocabulary lesson and a bit of a history lesson because it wasn’t going slow enough as it was. Then the cave of five hundred eyes is mentioned again and I’m beginning to think we’re never going to get to this cave.
But then Tegana goes to the caves to visit a man called Malik to get news about their plan. He is taken to another man who tells him he failed at Lop to meet their man but the other part of the plan is going well. They’ve gathered an army and it’s marching to another city. He tells them about the TARDIS and they plan to capture it and kill every one. Malik has noticed a woman in the outer cave.
The woman is Barbara who has followed Tegana so of course she gets kidnapped.
Back at the caravan and Marco is angry that Barbara is gone and that she‘s allowed to wander alone. I’d call him sexist but she does get kidnapped every time she goes off on her own. He tells the Doctor to stay where he is and no one else is to move while he goes to look for her. I get the impression he’s regretting keeping them. All they’ve done is cause him trouble.
Back in the cave of five hundred eyes the men holding Barbara are gambling and laughing menacingly. Not sure why they needed to show us that. It’s not like we’ve forgotten Barbara has been captured.
Susan and Ping think they might know where Barbara is because she was very interested in the cave of five hundred eyes and try to convince the Doctor that’s where she’d go. They think she’d go by herself because Marco and Ian would probably try to stop her.
The doctor catches Chenchu listening to them so he asks the man where the cave is. Susan insists on going with him but he’s determined to go alone because he’d get so far by himself. He’d get distracted by something shiny and forget about Barbara or decide he doesn’t to rescue her after all. But he relents quite quickly and lets Susan and Ping come with him. Chenchu tells them they can’t go at night because they won’t come back alive but the Doctor ignores him.
At the cave and Susan is frightened of the eyes. The Doctor looks at the carvings and says it’s quartz. Susan reminds him he’s meant to be looking for Barbara and not admiring the carvings.
The man the Doctor questioned has gone off to Tegana and tells him he told the doctor where to go.
The Doctor’s had enough of looking because he says he’s got enough work to do in the TARDIS. They find something of Barbara’s and all begin shouting for her. Susan then finds a statue and starts screaming because we didn’t have enough screaming this episode when Barbara got captured. It’s a bit of a weak cliffhanger compared to Tegana pouring away the water last episode.
This episode was way too slow with not a lot to keep me interested. Ping’s story dragged and there were lots of moments where nobody said anything but I’m sure they were doing something so it would have been better as the original video. This episode really felt like a history lesson. I know it’s meant to be educational but it’s so forced. The only bit they managed to make entertaining was when Marco attacked the Doctor for keeping water to himself and the only way to save him was to explain condensation.
The singing sands managed to hold up without the Doctor but this episode wouldn’t have. He’s the most entertaining part and he doesn’t get to be mean enough. I like that he gets distracted and has to be reminded of what they’re doing.
I continue to dislike Ian but he didn’t have enough to do this episode to be really annoying so that’s a plus. Barbara gets captured again but at least it’s because she’s active in the story (following Tegana to the cave and doing her own investigating) instead of just because she’s a woman.
I like Susan and Ping’s friendship. Susan’s a bit of a trouble maker and tries to scare Ping but she’s gotten wise to it by now.
I have a feeling this is going to really be dragged out and they’re going to tour all the educational places in the desert they can think of. It might not be so bad but half the time the audio is bad and I’m not sure what they’re saying.
This cliffhanger seems to be the weakest so far. Barbara has been captured but the immediate threat is Susan screaming and that’s the moment you’re left with. It’s not making me want to watch the next episode.
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