The Doctor has distracted Sutekh, and Sutekh’s lost the war rocket as a result, so it can’t destroy the force field on Mars holding Sutekh in Egypt. Sutekh’s justifiably angry, but has a bit of curiosity over this guy who has upset his plan, and we get one of the great Doctor/villain confrontations, as well as some bits of Doctor Who lore, as learn what constellation Gallifrey is located in (Kasterborous)
….something brought up a few times in the new series as well, including of course this iconic scene from “Voyage of the Damned….”
As well as it’s coordinates (Since “names mean nothing” to Sutekh). These would show up again in “Death in Heaven” when Missy states that Gallifrey had returned to it’s original place (which might not have been a total lie; Gallifrey did return to our universe, but only in the far future as “Hell bent” revealed; presumably the Doctor simply went to the ‘present’ location)
Sutekh, by doing a quick search on his computer (which just blinks some random lights) has him figure out the Doctor’s a time lord of course, although of course the Doctor quickly says he’s simply a traveler. Sutekh offers the Doctor rule over an empire (Which is kind of weird, since Sutekh pretty much wants to destroy everything, would he just leave the Doctor alone?) The Doctor of course refuses (and notes that Sutekh is also known as Satan, which as I mentioned in the earlier articles, is a role the actor would sort of later play in the new series), and tortures the Doctor for a minute until the ‘organ sound’ lets Sutekh know that Scarman is calling, revealing that Sarah has been caught and knocked it. The Doctor of course objects seconds before the Mummy hits, causing Sutekh to tell them to wait. A bit of a funny blooper here, although one easy to miss-the Mummy stops before Marcus puts his hand up to halt it (although maybe it was just following Sutekh’s orders directly).
Curious why Sarah means so much to the Doctor, the Doctor tries to cover by saying the “All intelligent life is our kin”, but Sutekh figures out that they travel together, and somehow also finds out about the TARDIS (possibly by reading the Doctor’s mind). It’s not the only time the Doctor’s mostly foiled the villain’s plan, but then they seek to claim his own ship as a plan B. Oops. And if there isn’t enough devil analogies already, Sutekh pretty much quotes Milton’s Paradise lost after the Doctor calls him evil: “Your evil is my good”.
The Doctor then levitates the Doctor’s key through the portal to England, where Scarman picks it up. And it’s time for some more Doctor who lore-of sorts, with the Doctor saying that the TARDIS controls are isomorphic, and only respond to him….which, like the “State of grace” aspect (That weapons can’t be fired inside the TARDIS)-is ignored time and time again in the series, both old and new-and finally treated as a joke in “The Christmas Carol” special in 2010, where the Doctor says there’s “no such thing” when trying to activate a computer-only to find out the computer is, in fact, isomorphic. Oops.
Anyway, Sutekh uses his mind control on the Doctor. Tom does pretty good with a sort of dead-eyed Doctor, who then sends the TARDIS to mars.
Unlike some other Doctor Who serials, we never see the exterior of the Pyramid; although we do see it 35 years later in Sarah Jane’s own show, in the “Vault of secrets”, where Sarah messes up a Mars probe so NASA doesn’t get a look….
….and this is far from the last time the Doctor would set foot on the red planet. He finally meets the Ice Warriors on their home planet in last season’s “Empress of Mars”…
….and of course the penultimate story to David Tennant’s run) was Water of Mars.
Of course all three DW stories use the “of mars”.
Once the TARDIS gets to Mars, the Mummies then choke the Doctor, although they just ignore Sarah pretty much.
The Doctor then ‘dies’, and Sarah for a minute starts crying after checking his hearts-beat, but the Doctor gives her a tap on the head, letting her know he’s actually ok, and we get the first mention of the Doctor’s “respitory bypass system”, which comes up a few times in both series, apparently a way for the Doctor to store oxygen. It also helps the Doctor out of a tricky situation in next season’s “Robots of death”.
The Pyramid’s defense systems are a series of deadly puzzles, which we see Marcus and later the Doctor navigate. The Doctor explains that, despite Horus, who imprisoned Sutekh-being a sort of ‘good guy’, he was still a cunning and clever Osirian. One of the puzzles involves pressing the right symbol on a board, and Sutekh is able to counter it by “cheating” using his computer, although the Doctor has to resort to using his scarf to measure the puzzle and it’s solution “key” to touch the right symbol.
Sarah says this particular puzzle is a bit like the City of the Exillons, which also had death trap puzzles in “Death to the Daleks”, a third Doctor/Sarah story from Pertwee’s final season. Of course, places lined with death traps would show up in later stories as well, including “The Five Doctors” anniversary special, where a guardian robot and later a “chess board” made a mess of a group of Cybermen.
We also get some fun little comedy when the Doctor and Sarah enter the room a bit too soon.
Sarah then gets trapped in a dusty-looking tube (A “Decadon crucible” whatever that means), with the Doctor puzzled on how to proceed for a minute, but then two mummy robots show up-these time wearing gold bands meaning they’re Horus’s, not Sutekh’s-and give the Doctor a riddle. Horus’s voice, I’m pretty sure, is also Gabriel Woolf’s, although with less of a sinister tone. Also like Sarah Jane’s “What me, worry?” shrug here when the Doctor dust-writes “Relax”. (and shielding his own reaction to her dilemma)
Intruders, you face the twin guardians of Horus. One is programmed to deceive, the other points truly.
The two switches control your fate. Instant freedom or instant death. Before you choose, you can ask one guardian one question. This is the riddle of the Osirans. Which is the guardian of life?
The Doctor uses some reverse logic to figure out this puzzle and get Sarah out.
Which indeed. They’re both contra-programmed so that one will always give a false indication. One question. If I were to ask your fellow guardian the question, which switch would he indicate?
I see. So if you’re the true guardian, that must be the death switch. And if you’re the automatic liar, you’d be trying to mislead me, so that still must be the death switch. Therefore, this has to be the one we want.
However, Marcus has got to the Pyramid’s room holding the Eye of Horus holding Sutekh in his tomb on Earth. (I wonder how he got out of that puzzle? Did he even have to do it?The room has sort of an interesting CSO effect on the walls.
While Horus’s mummies take on Sutekh’s by pretty much karate-chopping each other, Sutekh somehow makes Marcus’s head turn into a Jackal and destroy the eye.
Sutekh says he’s “FREEEEE!” we also hear that from Marcus, although it’s a bit unclear if it’s Marcus saying he’s free from Sutekh’s influence, or he’s simply repeating Sutekh. Anyway, it’s not much help anyway since he then collapses and disintegrates.
As Sarah says, Sutekh seems to have won, and can now get out of his chair and wreck havoc-although the moment is kind of overshadowed by somebody’s hand appearing on the chair when he gets up (presumably adjusting the pillow?)-one of the most legendary Doctor Who bloopers.
However, as the Pyramid’s doors all open leading to the TARDIS, the Doctor says, in a very dramatic way-“NO! THE TIME FACTOR!” and they quickly rush out. Sutekh, turns back into his true form-the jackel we saw earlier on Marcus’s head…
(although not really as scary as his “mental projection” from part one, which appeared to have pupils and hair)
The Doctor-holding the time control from the TARDIS-sort of ‘hacks’ into the sarcophagus portal, managing to trap Sutekh, and although there’s some technobabble here from the Doctor, he ‘kills’; Sutekh by making him live for seven millennia stuck in the time tunnel (I think). The portal than bursts into flame, with Sarah remembering that the priory did, in fact, burn to the ground, with UNIT HQ replacing it at some point.
The Doctor also notes he got blamed for the great fire of London in 1666, which he technically was, in part, responsible for….although from his POV, not until his next life, in 1981’s “The Visitation”
As the priory burns and the Doctor and Sarah flee in the TARDIS There’s a weird moment before the Doctor gets into the TARDIS, with him doing a kick, not sure if it was meant to ward off the flames or just him kicking over one of the mummy cases. It’s a bit unclear.
“Pyramid of Mars” of course was a very popular serial, and of course has spawned a large number of sequels in audio (With Woolf reprising his role), comic, and novel form, such as the “Faction Paradox” spinoff which reveals a lot about the backstory behind Sutekh and his race….
and also facing the Doctor again in his seventh incarnation…..
The Doctor also had to deal with other Osirians, mainly Nepthys, in the novel “Sands of time”
And Sutekh has a son who actually becomes the Doctor’s companion in the Tenth Doctor comics by Titan…
And for those curious about how the Ice Warriors fit in with the whole Osirians building the Pyramid of Mars, “Godengine” by the late Craig Hinton offers an explanation.