Roots: There are references to James Bond, Land Rovers, Jack the Lad, and Daimlers.
Goofs: Why doesn’t the Vurosis just get Nigel to drop its brain down the well?
If Duncan doesn’t remember anything after the skeleton, how does he know that he killed Ben before anyone gets the chance to tell him?
The Vurosis isn’t especially dangerous until it gets its brain back, suggesting that the Doctor’s claim that it can regrow from just a remnant is hyperbole – if it could regrow a brain, why didn’t it do so here?
Dialogue Triumphs: “Of course, that’s the trouble with being a genius. Sometimes you just can’t see the blindingly obvious.”
Continuity: The Vurosis is an intelligent proto-molecular parasite from the Actron Pleiades star system. They usually prey on defenceless planets with easily-adaptable carbon-based life forms. They arrive as seeds, germinate underground, and then spread and reproduce by telekinetic transmutagenic alteration of the indigenous animal population. The Vurosis’ brain is a detachable unit, resembling a stone and akin to a sentient seed. It can apparently regrow itself from even a small fragment [but see goofs]. The Doctor somehow manages to turn its telekinetic transmutagenic power back on itself, destroying it.
The Doctor drinks dandelion and burdock here. He later eats marmalade straight out of a jar, and receives a jar of Thick-Cut Tawny from Sadie at the end. He uses the psychic paper to pretend to be from the Council’s Heritage Department. He gets a nasty graze on his forehead. He “tweaks” Nigel’s hypothalamus by touching his face. He uses the sonic screwdriver to disrupt the Vurosis telekinetic transmutagenic field.
Martha drinks mineral water in the Drinking Hole. She and Tish used to play tennis in the garden, pretending to be the Williams sisters.
Links: The Doctor mentions Voga (Revenge of the Cybermen).
Location: Creighton Mere, Derbyshire, the early twenty-first century [c2007].
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Martha have recently visited the Italian Renaissance, the worlds of the Vega Opsis system, and the Frozen Castles of the Ice Warriors.
The Bottom Line: Like most of Baxendale’s work, a derivative horror story that starts out as a mass of clichés and turns into a sloppy, technobabble-ridden mess with little thought for logic or plausibility. Still, it’s shorter than Fear of the Dark.