So, after all those weird planets and things from the last few storylines, it’s time to go somewhere really exotic. That would be Wales.
Yes, Wales. There’s a-brewin’ a-transpirin’ out that way. A former coal company is opening to produce oil and chemicals, promising jobs, but getting protests from a long-haired type named Professor Jones. And then a miner dies while glowing bright green. This looks like a job for UNIT!
But the Doctor won’t come.
No, he finally wants to get to the planet Metebelis 3 like he’s been trying to for multiple serials now. Jo will go, but mostly because she has the hots for Jones, a man who reminds her of the Doctor only younger. The Brigadier doesn’t seem to mind driving Jo there too much to join the protests. As for the Doctor, he says he’ll follow along eventually.
So, see, I knew this was the last serial with Jo in it. It does one thing really well: set up that she is looking to do more about things she cares about very much. So many companions just get a sudden chance to go home or just disappear without explanation *cough cough*Liz Shaw*cough*. But here, they’re actually setting up Jo to leave. Her infatuation with Professor Jones (a man whose face she has apparently never seen because when she finally does meet him, it takes her a few minutes to realize he is who he is) leads to something approximating a “meet-cute” that is fairly similar to the first time she met the Doctor.
Also, there is a nice bit where the Brigadier, talking to the man at the chemical company Stevens, is getting almost the exact same speech as Jo from Jones. Only the two men emphasize different details and the like. And what are Jones’ pet peeves? Ecological damage, fossil fuels, meat consumption… Heck, this guy was about forty years ahead of his time as I watch the episode in 2019 by my reckoning.
Anyway, Jo and Jones hit it off, the Brigadier calls the Doctor in, and the Doctor looks like he would be glad to help out. You know, since Metebelis 3 was a hostile hellhole of a planet he seems to have barely escaped from. He speeds down in Bessie to meet up with the Brigadier. The two head down to the mines to begin an investigation. But there shouldn’t be anyone down there right now. But the elevator is working, sending someone down that the Doctor can’t retrieve because the mechanism broke. Three guesses which female character on the show is headed into those dangerous mines without the Doctor…
Wait, Jo is the only female character. That was too easy…