Doctor Who/Recap/S14/E01 The Masque of Mandragora

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Masque 1844.jpg

The Doctor: Humans have got such limited little minds. I don't know why I like you so much.
Sarah Jane Smith: Because you have such good taste.
The Doctor: That's true. That's very true.

The TARDIS pitches up in Renaissance Italy, having had an encounter en route with a fizzy ball of energy that the Doctor calls the Mandragora Helix. He hasn't realised that he's brought it with him, and when it escapes from the TARDIS and begins taking over or killing the locals, he follows.

The energy finds an underground temple and takes over the Cult of Demnos which is led by court astronomer Hieronymous, instructing them to prepare the way for Mandragora's full appearance. However, the astronomer himself is a pawn in political intrigues between Count Frederico and his cousin Duke Giuliano. Giuliano has just acceded to the Duchy of San Martino and a grand Masque will be held in honour.

During the dance, the Cult of Demnos attack the court and kill many, while Hieronymous - now unified with the Mandragora Helix - confronts the Doctor in the underground temple. Attempting to blast the Doctor with pure Mandragora energy, he is foiled when the Doctor reveals he has earthed both himself and the altar: the energy is drained off and the earth is safe.

Early in the story, Sarah becomes the first companion to question how come she can understand and be understood when the locals must all be speaking Italian. The Doctor says it's a "Time Lord gift", and it's later explained that it's done telepathically via the TARDIS.

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