Once again,this time with Sarah Jane Smith the doctor finds himself (though unintentionally) on Peladon-though half a century into its future from where he had arrived. Since the doctors previous visit some disturbing developments have occurred on the planet. The planet have become divided into two classes: an ruling one lead by Queen Thalira-daughter of the late King Peladon, and Chancellor Ortron who are employing a miner class,led by a man Gebek to mine the mineral trisilicate. The miners,especially the angry Ettis, are demanding for improved conditions while Thalira and Ortron are dealing with a war against the Federation by Galaxy 5. Meanwhile some of the miners have been destroyed by what they think to be visions of Aggedor,the once "curse" of Peladon while Ortron-who answers to the authority of an oracle of Aggedor,is convinced same as the miners that Aggedor must be appeased through sacrifice and should decide the punishment of the doctor whom,along with Sarah Jane have pledged to help unite the miners and the Pel ruling class but whom Ortron views with extreme suspicion due to wartime urgency.
Upon being released by the Queen from Aggedor,of course an "old friend" of the doctor from their previous encounter Ettis leads an attack on the Citidel to steal a weapon called a sonic lance,which he intends to use to to destroy the entire citidel along with the trisilicate mines if necessary. With the help of another of the doctors old friend Ambassador Alpha Centauri and Enginer Eckersley,in charge of the refinery call in the Federation for help Oroton attempts to recapture the doctor when he believes he is working for Gebek and the miners against the Pels. This is disturbed when,after investigating a mysterious onlooker when Sarah trips off a security program at the refinery that this particular onlooker is actually Ice Warrior Commander Azaxyr,who wishes to put the striking miners instantly back to work to obtain the valuable trisilicate. Through investigations of their own Sarah and the doctor discover that Azaxyr is not working with the Federation but is in fact from a radical faction of Ice Warriors.
With Azaxyr trying to control Peladon's trisilicate supply,Gebek leads the miners into making them believe they are mining while they plan a new defensive with the doctor and Sarah. As it turns out Eckersley is working with Azaxyr for the promise of an enormous sum of money and the promise of power over the region. During this time his trickery has led Ettis to believe that the doctor is working against the miners and Ettis is killed by the sonic lance's self destruction. The doctor finds out that Eckersley has been manipulating the entire outcome of the war with Galaxy 5 using a matter projection device to use the oracle of Aggedor as a weapon. And once in the control room uses the device for the benefit of the miners and the Queen following Ortron's death. While the ensuing conflict results in the near death of the doctor via Eckersley's brain destroying sonic alarm,Azaxyr is ultimately killed. The doctor and Sarah are graciously thanked by Queen Thalira and she asks the doctor to be her new chancellor He departs with Sarah Jane suggested Gebek is the ideal man for the job.
This story follows up The Curse Of Peledon and is not quite as popular as that story. Perhaps one reason is that there are so many twists and turns in the plot of the this six part serial, I even found it difficult to review it adequately. The key to this story is mistrust. Though on opposing sides Ortron,Ettis and Eckersley (who plays neutral in the early parts of this serial) are all suspicious of the doctors offers of help to their society. But as usual,he never gives up-as when in the end Aggedor himself is killed in the same struggle that leads to Eckersley's death. Queen Thalira is in the precise same position as her father. This represents part of the emotional roller coaster this story provides for Sarah Jane Smith. While at first with the doctors suggestion empowering the overwhelmed Queen of women's liberation, Sarah Jane is also lingered on while in tears when she believed Eckersley's sonic device had actually killed the doctor. Every character in this story,in particular the emotionally mercurial Alpha Centauri ambassador ends up taking a similar ride in this story. It is a Doctor Who episode that is easier to watch than to discuss. But in terms of its treatise on fear and mistrust overcoming good judgement,its more than worth ones viewing.