Well, if there was any hint this might have been the Doctor Who universe…
OK, it isn’t, but I saw a very familiar face in this one.
The story here begins with Vila finding a coded message from Servalan to…someone on a pirate planet. Yes, space pirates. But the problem here is Servalan is hiring Cancer, the galaxy’s best assassin, someone with a crab logo who has never really been seen but has also never really failed. Now, the only way to stay alive would be to find and defeat this Cancer person first, and that means going to the pirate planet and getting captured on purpose.
Avon does that by pretending to be a helpless crash victim, caught and locked up to be sold into slavery. And inside his cell is…the First Doctor!?!?
OK, it’s actually actor Richard Hurndall as some poor fellow named Nebrox. But Hurndall played the First Doctor in The Five Doctors special episode since William Hartnell was kinda too dead to do so. He still looks a lot like the First Doctor, so I suppose I’ll just call him that. Anyway. the Doctor has some information for Avon about what Servalan may have been up to and that a black ship that just flew past the Scorpio. Servalan was probably hiring Cancer, and now she’s sticking around to maybe buy some slaves. Or at least watch the auction. The Doctor wants to be rescued because he’s an old man and keeps getting passed around as a slave.
So, yes, Avon does rescue the old man when Dayna comes down to rescue him. Now they know what Cancer’s ship looks like, and soon Avon and Tarrant are teleporting inside, finding Cancer torturing a slave girl named Piri. And…for a master assassin, Avon and Tarrant do seem to handle him without too much trouble.
So…he’s not really Cancer, is he? Oh, he looks the part, but he wasn’t that impressive when he had to be. So, who really is the assassin? It must be either the Doctor or Piri. The friendly old man or the frightened young girl. One or the other. Can’t be both, can it?
It’s the girl. She murders the old man off-screen.
Granted, by then the fake Cancer is wandering around loose on his own ship, one that Avon, Tarrant, and Soolin are guiding back to base while Vila and Dayna take the Scorpio. The two men, Tarrant especially, seem inclined to protect the panicky woman, but Soolin, she’s suspicious, and she manages to avoid getting bitten by Cancer’s toxic crab spider monsters that are somewhat decent-looking puppets. By then, the real Cancer has captured Avon, and Tarrant is still too stupid to realize the Cancer he’s chasing is a fake. But thanks to Soolin, they do manage to take out Cancer with her own spider-crab monster and then get back to the Scorpio before Servalan can blow them to bits.
And, I would like to think, the Doctor regenerated into Patrick Troughton.