The Doctor and Lucie are reunited by the Sisterhood of Karn, but the Sisters plan to summarily execute them both, eliminating the Doctor as a potential subject for gene-splicing experiments to revive Morbius. However, the Sisters have miscalculated: the Doctor isn’t the only Time Lord available to become an unwitting DNA donor to revive Morbius. Forced down on Karn, Straxus becomes the donor and Rosto is enslaved. The new reign of Morbius begins. The Doctor and Lucie are whisked away to Gallifrey, already under siege from Morbius’ forces. Unsurprisingly, the Time Lords respond to the crisis by going into hiding, while the Doctor and Lucie use the TARDIS to go to Karn. With the Time Lords cowering, the Doctor is ready to take Lucie’s advice: he plans to cross his own timeline and prevent Morbius’ rebirth from taking place. But with Gallifrey’s Eye of Harmony faltering under attack from Morbius, the Doctor’s TARDIS misses the intended temporal destination and arrives ten years into Morbius’ new reign of terror.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Samuel West (Revenant), Kenneth Colley (Zarodnix), Alexander Siddig (Rosto), Nickolas Grace (Straxus), Barry McCarthy (Bulek / Eurelz Captain), Nicola Weeks (Haspira / Trell), Katarina Olsson (Orthena / Trell), Barnaby Edwards (Galactinet)
Timeline: after Sisters Of The Flame and before Orbis
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: The idea of a rematch with Morbius, possibly the most unhinged member of the rather crowded pantheon of unhinged Time Lords, was a promising one; the fourth Doctor, after all, had only survived a previous battle with Morbius by the skin of his teeth. Add Gallifrey-under-siege to the mix, and surely The Vengeance Of Morbius couldn’t disappoint.
Sadly, however, it actually manages to do exactly that. Somehow The Vengeance Of Morbius is a surprising misfire in the eighth Doctor / Lucie series. Despite the slow-burn build-up of the story in Sisters Of The Flame, Vengeance continues building things up slowly and then lets things down with a rushed confrontation at the end. Worse yet, we’ve been subjected to a Last Of The Time Lords-style fast-forward, one involving the conquest of Earth, and whatever resolution solves that sequence of events is tied up “off-screen” (or off-speaker).
Utilized even less in this episode than in Sisters is Alexander Siddig, as Rosto barely utters a word for the entire episode; one wonders if perhaps Siddig should’ve been saved for the role of Morbius himself. (Surely he’s come a long way since the first season Deep Space Nine episode The Passenger, in which he had to play pure evil, perhaps being a little too obvious in the process.)
Add to that a cliffhanger that doesn’t leave us hanging but instead leads into a good deal of tearful hand-wringing over the Doctor’s fate (with a zinger ending after the end credit music), and The Vengeance Of Morbius is curiously unsatisfying.