After last week's disastrous co-written clips show, K9-cocreator Bob Baker has a second stab at writing the series, this time on his own, and it's fantastic.
Well, it's all right, which is good.
However, despite being broadcast next, it may not come next chronologically.
Here's K9 in last week's edition, pontificating to Gryffen and Starkey on his connection to the S/TM...
K9: "A calculated risk, but this event points to there being an even bigger connection between myself and the S/TM than we previously thought."
Inarguably, a connection between K9 and the S/TM was already being assumed.
And yet, here are Gryffen and K9's words on the same subject this week, as they appear to realise this connection for the first time...
Gryffen: "Something's happening up there. It's affecting the S/TM, and you."
K9: "It would seem so, but why?"
Gryffen: "Well... [SHRUGS] ...the S/TM came from the ship, that would explain why it's being affected but, as to why you're being affected i-it... [BEAT] ... you travelled... here... through the S/TM."
K9: "So there is perhaps some lingering effect?"
Gryffen: "That could explain it."
Oh dear. It's now unavoidable - even on the DVD box set, these episodes are in the wrong order. Behold as everything unravels...
In this one Thorne supplies Gryffen with a Virtual Reality Encasement Suit, the helmet of which was on display in Gryffen's house back in Dream-Eaters:
Oh dear oh dear.
Despite this confusion though, we do at last get a script which pulls together some of the disparate threads from throughout the series, giving a sense of the bigger picture, and implying more of the same to come. What? What do you mean that last week's clips show already did all of those things? Argh, my brain hurts, but not because of the show being cerebral.
Returning again to elements from the series' earliest episodes, Gryffen has to confront his agoraphobia to go investigate the fallen angel himself to procure another piece of hardware for the S/TM to save his family. Quite how dressing up in a spacesuit helps him to overcome his psychological disability is not really explained to this viewer's satisfaction.
Along the way however he discovers that the Korven are again involved, at which point K9's description of them is suddenly ramped up to highly dangerous.
K9: "We are dealing with Korven temporal dynamics. They're a warrior race more dangerous than the Jixen. In fact more dangerous than any alien I've encountered."
I got the impression that whoever had been the race returning in this episode, K9's reaction would have been similarly apocalyptic.
The snowy wastes of Canada (apparently north of London - in the future they appear to have annexed Scotland) are represented here by a similar white void to the inside of the computer game building in The Custodians, and VR in several episodes, but with snowflakes blowing around, and no condensation on anyone's breath.
If I sound like I'm just whinging about nitpicks, then consider that scenes 3 and 4 each appear to take place in different locations, but have been shot on the same set. Here's Thorne on the Department's bus (ding-ding!), spying on June chatting to Gryffen:
Thorne's on the left, about to turn and depart for the next scene, in which he is reporting back the conversation to the silhouetted Lomax, before again exiting, again on the left, presumably to return to June:
That is the same room! :)
Now, up until this point in the series I had understood all of the scenes in this room to be set in the same location. However, given that some scenes in here have featured Lomax behind the frosted glass, while others have featured a capped driver, maybe they have always been intended to represent two different locations? Scene three above features no-one behind the glass - so is that a third location then? Or have they just parked for the driver to go and get everyone a round of doughnuts? Or did Thorne merely pop out to the little villain's room until June had left?
Admittedly, the Doctor Who universe does have a precedent for different offices to share an identical design, specifically in The Invasion.
Despite the serious challenge of such IrwinAllenisms, overall this episode is good stuff again. The sight of Gryffen and Thorne facing off against each other is still a relief, purely because they are the series' best regular actors.
I think there's more to come on this storyline. On the strength of this episode, I would hope that it's again written by Bob Baker, except that of course he appears to have later gone on to co-write last week's one.