The Doctor and Liv, with Helen in tow, follow the distress signal from Galileo back to the 1600s. Helen has much to learn about blending in to Earth’s history as a time traveler, but someone else there is being even less quiet about it: she meets a man who knows what watches and photographs are. A local noble is killed during what seems to be a hunt for a creature that doesn’t belong on Earth. Finally, the Doctor locates Galileo in exile with his daughter, seemingly losing his mind…until, in a moment along, Galileo reveals that he does recognize the Doctor, and he is being held captive. The Eleven has engineered this trap, leaving assassins to deal with the Doctor while he moves on to his next goal.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair), John Woodvine (Galileo Galilei), Esther Hall (Virginia), Gunnar Cauthery (Cavalli), Ewan Bailey (Count Licori), Harry Myers (Cleaver), Mark Bonnar (The Eleven), Lizzie Mounter (Beggar Woman), John Banks (Monk / Youth)
Notes: The Doctor says that Galileo’s daughter gave him recorder lessons, which could be interpreted to mean that he last visited during his first or second incarnations (though the second Doctor’s variable ability to play the recorder may well indicate that a later incarnation felt the need for a refresher course).
LogBook entry and review by Earl Green
Review: Who could resist a story revealing that the iconoclastic Doctor is old friends with a “heretic” like Galileo Galilei? This is one of those matches made in heaven that emerges as one of the most appealing elements of this story, with Galileo being able to see through the Doctor’s change of appearance. Equally well characterized are the two assassins, and while facing down an assassin sent to kill him is not a new thing for the Time Lord, facing down assassins as nasty as these is a rare… well, whatever the diametrical opposite of a pleasure is, that’s what it is, and it’s a rare one.
The assassins have naturally been dispatched by the Eleven to do his dirty work, but the mention of that character is the only thing connecting this story to the rest of Doom Coalition 1; otherwise, The Galileo Trap could quite happily be a standalone piece.
Despite the desperate circumstances which forced her to join the TARDIS crew in the previous story, Helen seems to be quite readily accepting of her new status as a time traveler, even if she doesn’t fully grasp the implications (or the need to fit in with the local crowd). Considering her frequently surly disposition in The Red Lady, it’s a bit odd to hear her comfortably grooving on her new time traveling status. It’s a fairly sharp turn in her characterization.