Production Code: 6D
1 - 18/01/1983 18:50
2 - 19/01/1983 18:45
3 - 25/01/1983 18:50
4 - 26/01/1983 18:45
Tegan falls once more under the influence of the Mara and directs the TARDIS to the planet Manussa. There the Federator's son Lon and his mother Tanha are preparing for a ceremony to celebrate the banishment of the Mara five hundred years earlier.
The Mara takes control of Lon and uses him and Tegan to obtain from Ambril, the Director of Historical Research, the 'great crystal' - the large blue stone that originally brought it into being by focusing energy from the minds of the planet's one-time inhabitants. The Mara now plans to use the crystal during the ceremony to bring about its return to corporeal existence.
The Doctor and Nyssa, aided by Ambril's assistant Chela, locate Ambril's aged predecessor Dojjen, who predicted the Mara's rebirth before wandering off into the wilderness. The Doctor allows himself to be bitten by a snake in order to enter a state of mental commune with Dojjen, who tells him that fear is the only true venom and that in order to defeat the Mara he must find the still point within himself.
The Doctor and his friends then return to the caves where the ceremony is being held. The Doctor, by concentrating his thoughts with the aid of a small replica of the great crystal, is able to find the still point and repel the Mara.
Tegan collapses in the market square and is taken into a fortune teller's booth. The fortune teller removes from around the young woman's neck the dream inhibiting device that the Doctor earlier gave her. Tegan then succumbs to the Mara's influence and causes a snake skull to appear in the fortune teller's crystal ball. The skull gets bigger and bigger until the ball shatters.
The Mara-possessed Tegan and Lon take a carnival barker named Dugdale into a secret room behind a cave wall carved with snake images. Once inside, they link hands and order Dugdale to look at them. Although frightened, he eventually obeys and sees Tegan's eyes glowing red.
Chela rescues the Doctor and Nyssa from the cells, but they are recaptured by guards. The possessed Lon orders that they be killed. Nyssa screams.
Dojjen walks calmly away from his mountain refuge. In the caves, the Doctor assures a tearful Tegan that she is now free of the Mara forever.
Buddhism (character names, Zen jokes).
Native American culture (the Hopi Snakedance ritual, as described by 'soul catcher', the photographer who saw it as the 'still point' of his life).
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (the showman is like the Player).
I, Claudius (Lon's characterisation).
Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust.
T.S. Eliot (especially The Wasteland and The Four Quartets).
Star Wars (Lon's 'sky hero' pastiche).
1980 horror film The Awakening.
The Three Faces of Eve.
The Doctor : "Dreams are important... never underestimate them."
Dojjen : "Fear is the only poison."
The Doctor : "What is the snakedance?"
Dojjen : "This is. Here and now. The dance goes on. It is all the dance. Everywhere and always. So. Find the still point. Only then can the Mara be defeated."
The Doctor : "The still point. The point of safety. But it's in the chamber somewhere. Where?"
Dojjen : "No. The still point is within yourself, nowhere else. To destroy the Mara you must find the still point."
"I offer you fear in a handful of dust."
Tegan, aged six, lived in a house with a garden and a tree. The Doctor obviously doesn't have his lock picks on him, since, as in Kinda, he spends a whole episode behind bars.
Manussa is in the Scrampus system, and is a colony of a Federation formed by one of Lon's ancestors [part of a network of former Earth colonies]. The Mara was created here, and ruled, turning the former Manussan Empire into the Sumaran empire.
It was defeated by Lon's ancestor 500 years ago [and escaped to Deva Loka (see Kinda)]. [The blue crystals have very similar properties to those of Metebelis 3 (Planet of the Spiders),] but here they are manufactured in zero gravity to ensure there are no imperfections.
A young Martin Clunes, now better known as one of the stars of the sitcom Men Behaving Badly, appears in an early television role as Lon.
Brian Miller, whose wife Elisabeth Sladen had portrayed the Doctor's companion Sarah Jane Smith, appears as Dugdale.
Johnathon Morris, star of the BBC sitcom Bread, appears as Chela.
Ambril's pink and black fur hat.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Peter Davison
Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
Tegan - Janet Fielding
Ambril - John Carson
Chela - Johnathon Morris
Dojjen - Preston Lockwood
Dugdale - Brian Miller
Fortune Teller - Hilary Sesta
Hawker - George Ballentine
Lon - Martin Clunes
Megaphone Man - Brian Grellis
Puppeteer - Barry Smith
Tanha - Colette O'Neil
Director - Fiona Cumming