The Sound of Drums – Episode Guide


 Having repaired Jack’s broken Time Vortex Manipulator the Doctor, Martha and Jack return back to Earth in present-day London. Visibly shaken by their ordeal they make their way to a main street whereupon the Doctor insists that they will have arrived in the same time zone as the Master.

Jack notes that the Master will have regenerated and as the Doctor observes a nearby tramp tapping out a rhythmic beat on a mug a giant screen above them reveals Harold Saxon, the newly elected Prime Minister. The Doctor recognises him instantly as the Master and after kissing his wife Saxon addresses the cameras around him, concluding:

“What this country really needs, right now…is a Doctor”

Mr Saxon walks through the halls of Downing Street, casually greeting his new employee Tish Jones. He enters the cabinet room and declares the work of government will begin, throwing files of paper up into the air. Failing to crack a smile from any of his ministers he suddenly launches a verbal attack on his employees, branding them traitors for joining him only when the political votes moved into his favour. As a reward he gasses them, watching as they choke before tapping out a rhythmic beat on the table.

The Doctor, Martha and Jack return to Martha’s flat. After noting that it is only four days after the Time Lord met his her, Martha listens to the first half of an answer machine message from Tish but switches it before she can reveal where she has got a new job.

In Downing Street journalist Vivian Rook sails through security to interview Saxon’s wife Lucy, bribing her with promises of a positive image in the morning papers. She agrees but once they are alone Vivian suddenly becomes very serious, claiming that she believe the entire world to be in great danger, all because of Harold Saxon.

Whilst the Doctor accesses Saxon’s website on Martha’s laptop, Vivian declares that his entire biography is a fake, his name is missing from all archives until eighteen months previously, when the Archangel network was launched. Lucy claims she knows nothing of such activities, and after Vivian begs her for any knowledge that might expose her husband, she admits she did once have doubts, but she has made her choice.

Suddenly Saxon reveals himself in the corner of the room, confirming that Harold Saxon is an invention. Vivian asks who he is and he tells her he is the Master.

“And these are my friends”

Suddenly two floating metal orbs appear before him. He begins to lament about the approaching drumbeat as the devices close in on Vivian, childishly noting her fear of them. Rotating weapons appear from within them and Saxon and Lucy rush out, blocking out her screams of pain. Lucy appears to fear the fact that Vivian was unaffected by Archangel, but her husband comforts her.

“Tomorrow morning, I promise. That’s when everything ends.”

In Martha’s flat Jack is puzzled at how the Master could create such an extensive biography, and theorises that he may have used the TARDIS to travel back decades in time. The Doctor dismisses the idea, claiming that before the ship left them in the year one hundred trillion, he fused the coordinates so the ship could only travel between then and the present day, with only eighteen months leeway.

Both Martha and Jack admit they seemed drawn to Saxon, and Martha claims it was something in his voice. The Doctor notices that she is tapping out the same rhythm he saw the tramp tapping in the street, but she appears not to notice it. Suddenly an announcement is made on the television, the Prime Minister talking about recent alien activity and the government secrecy surrounding it.

He then claims that he will hide nothing, and reveals that a new species has contacted him, the same floating balls that attacked Vivian Rook. He names them as the Toclafane, a race who will launch first contact with mankind the following morning. He then talks of every man and woman taking their place in history, be they a lorry driver, a farmer…or a medical student.

The Doctor suddenly realises something is wrong and turns the television around to reveal a bomb strapped to it. He, Martha and Jack flee to the road outside as the windows give way to a massive fiery explosion. Martha tries to phone her family encase they are in trouble, despite the Doctor’s warnings.

She speaks to her mother, unaware that her mother is being watched by one of Saxon’s henchmen. She grows suspicious when Francine declares she and Clive are going to live together again, and after her father reveals that he and his ex-wife are not alone, Martha dashes to her car. As the henchmen tackle Clive and place him in a van Martha, the Doctor and Jack speed to help.

However, upon their arrival the henchmen open fire on the car and they are forced to rush away, as Francine is thrown into the van as well and Tish is abducted inside Downing Street. Martha blames the Doctor for what has happened and after ditching the car she phones her brother Leo, who is in Brighton with his son.

He appears safe and well but before Martha can tell him to hide the Master interrupts the conversation, swearing that he will find her eventually. The Doctor takes his friend’s phone and speaks to his nemesis, calling once again by his chosen name. He asks whom the Toclafane really are, knowing the name to be no more than a fairytale.

He then reveals that Gallifrey is gone, along with the Time Lords and most of the Daleks. The Master remembers being resurrected to help the Time War, only to flee in terror and hide at the end of the universe. He appears to relish the prospect of being the destroyer of two civilisations, to be like a God.

The Doctor asks him to leave the Earth but Saxon claims it is too late, and talks of the drumming inside his head, the constant drumming he can hear everywhere, the same beat the Doctor heard in the street and in Martha’s flat. The Doctor demands to know what Saxon has done, but receives no response, instead watching a television in a shop window as it claims that he and his friends have been labelled public menaces. On Saxon’s orders they run, realising that the Master as taken control of everything.

As the world’s media report the news of first contact, the Master watches a different programme; the Telebubbies. He marvels at what he views as a masterful piece of evolution, as one of the Toclafane appears in the room. It asks if “the machine” is ready, and he claims it will be prepared at 8:02 the next morning.

“The world is waiting.”

That night, in an abandoned warehouse Martha arrives having visited a fish and chip shop. With no further news on her family the Doctor tells his friends about the Master. Once his friend, he recalls how every Time Lord child, at the age of eight was taken to the Un-tempered Schism, a gap in the fabric of reality. Each child stood and faced the power of the time vortex. He explains that some were inspired, some ran away…and some went mad.

Himself one of the children that ran away, the Doctor sits as Jack receives a message on his Vortex Manipulator. He is forced to reveal that he now works for Torchwood, but protests that he rebuilt it following the battle of Canary Warf, doing so in the Doctor’s honour.

The file is a message from Vivian Rook, automatically sent following her death. An attached document relates to the Archangel network, a global communications network covering every mobile phone. The Doctor patches into it and reveals the same rhythm the Master spoke of being played inside the phone, a hypnotic message to all; calling for them to vote for Saxon, to believe in him. It is this that hides his true identity, even from the Doctor.

Now knowing how the Master is controlling everyone, the Doctor has a way to fight back. Dismantling the phone he adapts the TARDIS keys of himself and his companions to create a miniature perception filter, drawing attention away from whoever holds it. With the keys on string hung around their necks the trio then take to the streets, unseen and unheard.

Soon after, the American President arrives in England to confront Mr Saxon. He declares that UNIT now has control of the first contact, warning that Saxon will be removed from office if he does not take the situation sensibly. Due to first contact being disallowed of sovereign soil the event will now take place on the aircraft carrier Valiant. He departs as Saxon reveals to his wife Lucy that he has already made plans for such a situation; he has a private jet ready to take them onboard.

Lucy departs but the Master remains, seemingly unaware that the Doctor, Martha and Jack are watching events unfold from a corner of the airstrip. Soon a police van arrive containing the Jones family (except Leo), and they are dragged outside. Jack considers using the perception filter to attack Saxon but the Doctor insists that the Master is his problem.

“I’m not here to kill him. I’m here to save him.”

Jack uses his Time Vortex Manipulator to locate the Valiant and the trio teleport themselves onboard. Arriving at dawn the next day, Martha discovers that the ship is not floating on the sea, it is an airbase. Above deck Saxon and his wife arrive as the President makes the final preparations for the televised first contact. The Prime Minister then reveals to his wife that the Valiant was made to his design; he knows every detail of it.

Making their way through the bowels of the ship, the Doctor suddenly sense something and runs off, Martha and Jack in tow. They find themselves in a hold containing the TARDIS. Joyfully they step inside, only to find that the Master has cannibalised the ship to create a Paradox Machine, ready to trigger at 8:02. He realises they must act quickly, before announcing that he has a plan to stop the Master.

Moments later the televised broadcast begins, with President Winters giving the address. He discusses the moral benefits of first contact as the Doctor and his friends arrive, with the Doctor aiming to place one of the perception filters around Saxon’s neck in order to cancel out the Archangel signal.

Soon the Toclafane arrive, and President Winters introduces himself. However, the creatures are unsatisfied and demand to see the Master. Saxon then chooses his moment and takes the floor, taking control and ordering the Toclafane to kill the President. They do so and the Doctor makes a run to attack, only to be caught by Saxon’s guards. Revealing that the perception filter doesn’t work on him, the Master looks on at Martha and Jack, who runs to attack him only to be shot down by the Time Lord’s Laser Screwdriver.

The Doctor begs him to calm down and offers to help stop the drumming sound in his head. However the Master has other ideas, and asks the Doctor to recall the experiments of Professor Lazarus, who managed to alter the aging process. He explains that the technology is now held within his Laser Screwdriver, and with the Doctor’s biological pattern obtained from his severed hand, the Master can now manipulate the process to his own will.

He aims the device at the Doctor and fires, causing him to writhe in agony. As the torture progresses Jack hands Martha his Vortex Manipulator to teleport herself to safety, before watching as the Doctor falls to the floor, and old man. As the Jones family are brought on deck he demands to know what the Toclafane are but the Master simply replies

“Doctor, if I told you the truth, your hearts would break”

The Toclafane ask if the machine is ready and after announcing to the nearby television camera that the end of the world is about to follow, the Master finally declares

“Here come the drums!”

And as the TARDIS roars to life the sky above the Valiant tears open. Six billion Toclafane descend on the Earth, entering every home and building they can find. Upon the orders of the Master they wipe out one tenth of the population, and as the screams and cries for help ring through the communications system of the ship, Martha looks around in dismay.

She leans close to the Doctor, who whispers something in her ear, and after glancing from her family, to the Doctor, to Jack, she tearfully activates the Vortex Manipulator, teleporting away from the Valiant and back down to Earth. She arrives on a hillside outside London and watches as the Toclafane swarm into the city, setting it alight.

“I’m coming back” she snarls and then runs off into the distance, whilst high above her the Master, Lucy and the aged Doctor look on at the devastation below.

“So it came to pass that the human race fell and the Earth as no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion as master of all. And I thought it good…”


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