On a bleak moorland, a battle is coming to an end - a turning point in Earth's history. Scottish rebels led by Bonnie Prince Charlie have been routed by the British Army. The survivors vainly continue the battle or run for their lives. Four of the highlanders head away from the battle. Colin McLaren, laird of the clan McLaren, has been gravely injured. His children, Alexander and Kirsty, support him as they leave the field, aided by Jamie McCrimmon, the faithful clan piper.
However, the group does not get far before they are set upon by a Redcoat with murder in his eyes. Alexander engages the soldier at the crest of a hill. The battle is short and brutal. Alexander runs him through with his claymore.
It is Culloden Moore, 1745.
Nearby, the TARDIS materialises. Ben and Polly are first out, picking their way through some brambles to get a better look around. The Doctor follows quietly. Ben thinks the landscape looks like home, but Polly is uncertain. The Doctor is more concerned by the indistinct sounds coming from over the hill - shouts and what seems like an explosion.
Suddenly there is a whistling in the air above them and a projectile slams into the ground before them. It is a cannonball, still hot. This is enough for the Doctor and he turns to hurry back to the TARDIS for safety. But Ben and Polly won't let him go, not until they're sure whether they're back home or not. Ben heads up the hill to look round whilst Polly chides the Doctor for appearing scared. She convinces him that they should follow Ben.
The highlanders have found a cottage in which to hide out for the moment. While they tend to the laird's wounds, they all speak bitterly about the terrible battle. The clans are shattered, the rebellion is defeated and the loss of life was prodigious. Colin is concerned over the whereabouts of Prince Charles. Bitterly, Jamie says he was the first to flee the field.
Alexander is ready to attack Jamie for the slander against the Prince, but Colin's order stays him. The laird wishes he had died on the battlefield rather than see his people broken like this. Kirsty moves to calm him.
There is concern among the highlanders as to what is next for them. The Redcoats are still about, killing the wounded and hanging their prisoners. They feel very trapped here. Alexander, looking out the window, spots three strangers approaching. They are not soldiers but they're not Scots either. It is Ben, Polly, and the Doctor coming over the hill. Alexander and Jamie split up to capture them.
Ben leads the way down the hill toward a cannon sitting abandoned. He thinks it must have been the source of the cannon ball, but the Doctor can see from a distance that it's been spiked and is unable to fire. The Doctor's attention is drawn by a tam o'shanter on the ground. He likes the hat and puts it on his head, modelling proudly. Polly notices some writing on it: "With Charles our brave and merciful Prince Royal, we'll greatly fall or nobly save our country". The Doctor dismisses this sentiment as "romantic piffle" and tosses the hat to the ground. Suddenly Alexander is at his side, his claymore at the Doctor's throat. Jamie holds Ben at bay with his dirk. Alexander makes the Doctor pick up the hat and then he herds the three strangers off toward the cottage.
Alexander leads his prisoners into the cottage, his anger at a high boil. He's certain these are no Scots due to their disrespect of the tam o'shanter. The Doctor has worked out where they are and that the Prince in question is Bonnie Prince Charlie. Alexander realises that the trio are English and accuses them of being scavengers here to pick valuables from the corpses on the battlefield. He is ready to despatch them here and now.
Polly begs the Doctor to do something. Kirsty is intrigued to learn that the odd little man is a doctor. She tries to convince Alexander to spare them for the moment, at least long enough to save their father. Alexander argues against this but soon the point is moot. Ben has noticed a pistol lying on the bed next to the laird and he takes advantage of the argument and confusion to snatch it up unchallenged. With that, the Doctor is now in charge and he orders Polly to disarm Jamie and Alexander. He orders the two men back against one wall, but his next move is unexpected - he goes to examine the laird's wound.
The shoulder wound is not bad, if only he could stanch the bleeding and prevent infection. He sends a reluctant Kirsty to fetch clean water. Polly is to go along to help. The two women head out.
The Doctor orders Ben to drop the gun, further surprising Alexander and Jamie. The Doctor says he is only trying to help the laird and extracts a promise form both that they will do no harm to himself and his friends. Ben can't understand this but does as he is told, tossing the gun down carelessly. It goes off.
No one is harmed, but the noise is deafening...and can be clearly heard outside. Jamie is certain that the Redcoats will be upon them in a second. Sure enough, six of them are on the hill not far away. They've heard the sound.
The soldiers are led by Lt. Algernon Ffinch, a foppish man who leads from atop his fine white horse. His men report seeing a rebel at the window of the cottage, where the gunshot came from. Ffinch and his Sergeant seem excited at the prospect of a bit of sport. The troopers ahead of them have done too thorough a job of "eliminating" the rebels. Ffinch orders the men to shoot first if they try to flee and to take no risks against the desperate rebels as they advance on the cottage.
Desperation has indeed set in with Alexander. He refuses to run and leave Colin to the soldiers. His only hope is to try and draw the Redcoats off. Before anyone can stop him, he dashes outside. He raises his sword and shouts the clan battle cry - Creag an tuire! - as he charges the soldiers.
Alexander is gunned down almost immediately.
The soldiers burst into the cottage, the Sergeant in the lead. Ben's glad to hear a London voice again, but the Sergeant believes he is an English deserter in league with the rebels. Suddenly the Doctor steps forward, speaking in a thick unidentifiable accent, and demands to speak to the commanding officer. Lt. Ffinch arrives and the Doctor introduces himself as Dr. von Wer, a German physician from Hanover, the same as King George.
The Sergeant is unimpressed, urging the Lieutenant to hang them all and have done. Ffinch takes a moment to identify the laird and Jamie and to dismiss Ben's claim for POW status, then he has them all dragged out, including the injured Colin.
Elsewhere near the battlefield, the remnants of the fighting are being observed by a shady character, a solicitor called Grey. He is clearly a gentleman and would seem to have no place on a battlefield. But he watches from safety some distance away, engrossed in the straggled fighting still going on. He keeps his spyglasses trained on the field while his obsequious secretary, Perkins, potters about making lunch and speaking sycophantically with Grey. Grey seems somewhat disappointed in the brevity of the battle. He has high regard for the highlanders, but believes they were ill-led. He is even more concerned at the soldiers who are butchering and hanging the survivors. He believes these men - used to "hard work and little food" - would bring a fine price as slaves in the islands.
Grey is consumed by the idea and by the fortune he could make in the slave trade, and he decides on the spot that he is going to use his new position as Royal Commissioner of Prisons to do just that. He has a ship already under his command, captained by a man called Trask, and this will facilitate the trade very well. Almost as soon as Perkins places lunch upon the table, Grey stands and decides to head out to the battlefield to try and salvage some of the prisoners from the overzealous soldiers. He takes a moment to chastise Perkins about some corkage in the wine and then strides off, dragging his secretary with him.
Polly and Kirsty return to the cottage with some water, but are horrified to see the Redcoats dragging their prisoners out. Kirsty must explain the gruesome fate that awaits their friends before Polly realises what trouble they are in. However, Kirsty seems at a loss to do anything about it. She says all they can do now is mourn. The ever-resourceful Polly decides they must try and create a diversion. She drags Kirsty out of hiding and heads off along the hilltop, in plain view of the cottage
Ffinch and the Sergeant see the movement and can just make out the two women in the distance. The Sergeant tells Ffinch that the Dragoons have orders to stop and search every woman as it has been rumoured that Bonnie Prince Charlie is trying to escape dressed as a woman. Ffinch isn't sure he believes all this, but decides to check it out for himself. He takes two men with him and leaves the Sergeant in charge of the prisoners.
Polly is thrilled to see the commanding officer following after them. She is certain that nothing can happen to the prisoners with him away. Kirsty cannot see what good this will do them, but Polly plans to use Kirsty's knowledge of the area to their advantage. They head out on the high track, far ahead of the pursuing soldiers.
At the cottage, the Doctor tries to ingratiate himself to the Sergeant, but to no avail. The Sergeant clearly has nothing but contempt for Lt. Ffinch and isn't afraid to say it out loud. The Doctor threatens to report him when Ffinch returns, but the Sergeant promises he won't be alive when the Lieutenant comes back. Ben is horrified at this lack of protocol and protests, but the Sergeant assures him that Ffinch always leaves "the dirty stuff" to him. The Doctor, Jamie, Ben, and Colin are herded up onto the platform and nooses tied around their necks. The ropes are pulled taut and the hanging is ready to commence.
Suddenly, Grey arrives and calls a halt to the proceedings. He identifies himself as His Majesty's Commissioner for the disposal of rebel prisoners and begins ordering the Sergeant's men to release the prisoners, especially the "sturdy" young lads. The Sergeant is apoplectic and protests vehemently. He doesn't seem to believe Grey's identity, but he cannot read the commission presented to him. Grey decides to circumvent all of this and has Perkins count out several coins into the Sergeant's hands. Soon the Sergeant is encouraging his men to untie the prisoners.
However, Grey is only interested in the two young men, leaving both Colin and the Doctor to be hanged. But the Doctor steps brazenly forward, putting on his "German" accent and invoking Article 17 of the Aliens Act of 1730. A citizen of a foreign power cannot be hanged without first informing his ambassador. The Sergeant is unimpressed, but Grey is touched by the Doctor's "faith in His Majesty's justice". He decides to let the Doctor live and take him along with the others.
Jamie pleads for the life of the laird and when the Doctor convinces Grey that he can heal the man's wounds, Grey again agrees. All four of them will be transported to Inverness to await a "sea voyage". The prisoners are glad to have been spared, but only the Doctor seems to have any idea of the even worse fate that awaits them. Grey is just glad he managed to stop the hanging in time.
Kirsty has led Polly to a small cave in the hills. She says her family uses it as a hideout after cattle raids. Polly is appalled at this brazen lawlessness, but Kirsty says they only take from those who steal from them. They enter the cave as darkness gathers outside.
The space is small and completely dark. Kirsty provides some light and begins searching inside a small box for some food stored there. All she finds is a hard stale wheat biscuit. Polly refuses to eat it. She turns her mind to the situation at hand. They were able to see their friends spared the gallows and marched away, so they are safe for the moment. Kirsty is certain they will be taken to Inverness and the gaol there. Kirsty begins to cry, despair overtaking her again. Polly becomes annoyed at this weakness and tries to think rationally.
She thinks the easiest way to get a prisoner out of gaol is bribery and looks around for something they can sell for money. She contributes a small bracelet but thinks it inadequate. They'll need clothes and food as well. As they talk, Polly notices a gold ring on Kirsty's finger but the girl refuses to part with it. She is elusive but says that her father entrusted it to her before the battle and would not want her to part with it, even to save his life.
Polly becomes insistent, thinking it is the only way to save their friends, but Kirsty draws her dirk and holds her off. Dismissing Kirsty's peasant superstitions, Polly leaves her to strike out on her own. Kirsty seems to regret driving her off and tries to warn her to be careful in the darkness. Polly shrugs her off and goes outside.
It is much darker than Polly bargained for and she has trouble finding her way. She moves cautiously, trying to look and listen carefully around her. Unfortunately, the real threat is beneath her feet in the form of a camouflaged animal trap. Polly falls into the dirt-walled pit, angry with herself for the mistake.
However, worse turns to worst when she begins climbing out. She sees a hand holding a dagger waiting for her at the top...
It is Kirsty holding the dagger, nearly as frightened as Polly. She thought perhaps it was a Redcoat in the animal trap. Polly badgers the girl to help her out, but that becomes a problem very quickly. Kirsty's not got a proper footing and when Polly begins pulling on her hand to climb out, Kirsty herself topples over into the pit.
Kirsty is unharmed and Polly is quick to try again, suggesting a game of piggy-back to help them get out. Polly clambers up onto Kirsty's shoulders and Kirsty stands up... with some difficulty. However, as soon as her head clears the top of the pit, Polly notices a light coming down the nearby road toward them. The Redcoats are still pursuing and are nearly upon them.
Polly jumps back down and both women listen carefully. Lt. Ffinch and his men have been walking the moors for some time in pursuit of the girls. It is late, they are tired, and Ffinch himself is very cross. He berates his men as worthless dolts and then sits down at the edge of the roadside to remove his boots and massage his aching feet. He decides it's time to give up, but he refuses to walk another step. He orders his men to go and fetch his horse so he can ride back to camp. He even keeps their lantern so they must march in the dark. He threatens them with 300 lashes apiece if they are not back within one hour.
Kirsty is beside herself with fear. The English Lieutenant is not far from them at all and they'll never be able to get out of the pit without him hearing. Polly shuts off the girl's crying and puts forth a plan. They are going to lure the officer into the pit with them.
Polly and Kirsty begin to make strange, unearthly noises. Short plaintive howls that soon have Lt. Ffinch on his feet and moving through the dark. A few more steps and he's at the lip of the pit. The ground gives way beneath him and he slides in with a cry.
Kirsty immediately takes the officer's pistol and points it at him. He is trapped, embarrassed and indignant. He is also helpless as the two women use his sash and belt to tie him up. Then they begin to empty his pockets, looking for money. Kirsty's hatred of the English bursts forth. She steals from him as they have stolen from her land, taking not only his money but also some food he's got stashed in his pockets. Bitterly, Kirsty wonders about the fates of Jamie and her father.
At Inverness, Jamie and Colin, along with the Doctor and Ben, are being shoved into a dark, dank, rotting prison cell. They are close to the sea and water nearly gushes through the walls. Colin is still in pain, but it is clear that with the bleeding stopped he's doing better. There are many other prisoners in the gaol, all of them rebels of one stripe or another. Their constant talking and grumbling fills the air.
The Doctor, beginning to enjoy himself on this adventure, shouts, "Down with King George!" It brings a cheer from the prisoners and a rebuke from the guard. The Doctor says he was only listening to the echo, but more likely he was trying to assess the size and strength of the prison population.
The Doctor looks after the laird, satisfied that his shoulder wound will heal in time. Jamie cannot understand this "medicine" and so the Doctor puts on a wild act of astrology, superstition, and bloodletting in order to put the boy's mind at ease. Ben can't understand, but then he's actually heard of germs and Jamie hasn't.
While bathing the wound again, the Doctor discovers a large embroidered flag hidden under the laird's clothes. It is revealed to be Prince Charlie's personal standard, entrusted to Colin for safekeeping. Against Jamie's objections, the Doctor removes it and wraps it around himself, hiding it beneath his coat. The Doctor says it will be safer if Colin was not caught with it, but there is something else on the Doctor's mind....
He tries to distract them all by starting up a tune on his recorder. It is a traditional Scottish patriotic song and despite admonitions from the guard, soon the entire gaol population is singing along. The guard enters and quiets everyone down. The Doctor puts on his "German" accent and accuses the Scots of trying to drive him crazy with "their music". He tells the guard he has learned of a plot to assassinate the English General, the Duke of Cumberland, masterminded by Jamie!
Chaos breaks out among the prisoners at this apparent betrayal and Jamie leaps to get at the traitorous Doctor. He is stopped by the guard and the Doctor is spirited away to solicitor Grey to tell what he knows. He does manage to clue Ben in on the ruse with a wink just before he goes.
Jamie is furious and turns on Ben, who tries to explain the trick. Outside, the Doctor's got a chance to escape and rescue them all. In here, nothing. Jamie seems to consider this, but Ben presents him with another problem. He's noticed a line of discolouration running all round the sunken cell. It is the high-water line in the room, and water still gushes in from the walls.
Polly's found 20 guineas on Lt. Ffinch, a fortune as far as Kirsty is concerned. Ffinch is still indignant and warns the girls they'll hang, but Polly will have none of this. She's in charge now and quite enjoying torturing the foppish officer, learning much about him from his identity papers. She threatens to tell his commanding officer that he was captured by two girls and this puts the proper fear into him. He would be discredited and his career over if word of this ever got out.
Polly snips a lock of Ffinch's hair to seal his cooperation. She knows he'd do almost anything to keep from being humiliated and she has plenty of material for blackmail. She bids farewell to "Algy" and then clambers up on Kirsty's shoulders to escape the pit. Ffinch is to be left alone to await the return of his men.
Solicitor Grey and his secretary, Perkins, meet with Captain Trask, master of the ship Annabelle, at the seaside inn the Sea Eagle. It is as disreputable a place as the business being conducted within. Trask is there to arrange the transportation of the Scottish prisoners to Caribbean plantations as slave labour. All of them - but Grey particularly - are conscious that they are not above the law and the solicitor still fears discovery of his crimes. He is in a hurry to load the rebels aboard and to get them out of Inverness. Tonight. They are due before a judge in the morning and must be gone before then. Captain Trask agrees to this, despite the short time frame.
Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the prison guard, bearing information on a plot against the Duke of Cumberland. He also has brought the Doctor. For his "assistance", the guard expects payment before he leaves. Grey has Perkins settle the matter with a silver shilling and the Doctor is brought in. Grey dismisses Trask and Perkins to begin loading the prisoners on the Annabelle. He will deal with the Doctor alone. He produces a flintlock pistol to prove he can handle things on his own.
Once alone, the Doctor dons his "accent" and admits cavalierly that he lied about the plot. Instead, he offers the greedy solicitor a chance at £15,000 and reveals the Prince's personal standard from beneath his coat. He says that the person entrusted with it would be likely to know where he went when he left Culloden. Grey agrees with this, but the Doctor refuses to name the prisoner until Grey agrees to give him half of the £30,000 bounty on the Prince.
However, the greedy Grey has been so taken in by this story that he's turned his back on the table where his pistol lays. The Doctor abandons his ruse and moves with sudden speed and agility to snatch up the gun. He may not be a great marksman, but at this close range, even he couldn't miss Grey. The lawyer is livid of course, vowing revenge as the Doctor ties him up with the standard.
He puts on a concerned tone and a physician's manner to get Grey to say "aahh" under the guise of examining his throat. When Grey opens his mouth, the Doctor stuffs a handkerchief in it to gag him. Grey becomes even more angry.
There is a sudden knock on the door and the Doctor gets nervous. He places Grey in a nearby cupboard and closes the door, ready to admit his next "patient". It is Perkins at the door, dumbfounded to see the Doctor there and no sign of his employer. The Doctor tells him gravely that Grey is a sick man and has gone to lie down. Only the Doctor's timely presence saved him. Perkins, a nervous servant with little capacity for thought of his own, buys this story. The Doctor presses his advantage by becoming suddenly very worried about Perkins' eyes. He manoeuvres Perkins over to the table and begins examining his eyes very closely, his tone denoting worry. Perkins denies that he suffers from headaches until the Doctor slams his head onto the table a couple of times. Then he must admit that indeed his head does ache!
The Doctor diagnoses the terrified man with print blindness from too much reading and tells him he must rest his eyes for at least one hour. He will face great peril if he does not. Helpless, Perkins agrees and crawls onto the table to rest. The Doctor blindfolds him to "rest his eyes" and tells him to ignore the thumping coming from the cupboard in the corner. It's all in his head...
Then the Doctor escapes.
Back on the moor, Lt. Ffinch has been trapped in the animal pit for some length of time. At last his men return and find him there. The Sergeant and the two other men are greatly amused at the "misfortune" of their commanding officer, which infuriates Ffinch.
The Sergeant sends the others away and tries to decide (at length) how he will go about freeing the Lieutenant from the pit. He is looking for a bribe, drinking money for himself and the men, in order to get him out and then forget about their cruel leader's "situation". Ffinch gives in but remembers that Polly and Kirsty took all his money. He blusters, promising the money when they return to Inverness. Already, Polly's predictions have begun to come true.
Trask enters the back room of the inn to report that his men have begun transporting the prisoners. He finds Perkins lying on the table babbling about his eyes. The thumping from the cupboard suddenly begins again and Trask finds the bound Grey inside. Trask is mightily amused as he frees Grey.
The solicitor is furious and blames Perkins for the Doctor's escape. Trask is surprised to see the Prince's standard but Grey cares little about it at this point. He orders Perkins to summon the watch to find the Doctor and he orders Trask to complete the loading before the soldiers arrive.
The Doctor hasn't gotten far, just to the kitchens of the inn. He hides among the grease and the filth. A scullery maid called Mollie works there, oblivious to his presence as he hides. Shortly, Mollie is called away by the rough voice of the innkeeper and the kitchen is empty.
The Doctor emerges, looking for some sort of disguise to help him escape the inn, but all he finds are the clothes of the women who work here hanging on a line. With no other choice, the Doctor begins adopting the disguise. He is just finished - wearing gown, apron, cap and cloak - when Mollie returns. She is concerned by this unrecognizable newcomer, but is too busy with her orders from the innkeeper to bother much.
Trask hurries about the selection of prisoners from the gaol, passing over several weakened specimens and those who have already died. He picks out Ben, Jamie, and Colin for transport. The laird is much better and now able to move on his own, thanks to the Doctor's care. The three men are almost grateful to leave the cell as the sea water has nearly risen to their waists, but they do not know what awaits them.
The prisoners are marched from the gaol to the docks and must pass the Sea Eagle inn on the way. Ben nearly collides with an old woman who stumbles from the inn just as they pass. It is the Doctor, but Ben does not recognise him. For the Doctor's part, he's just glad he's not too late.
Trask shoves the "woman" away and leads the prisoners into a waterside warehouse next to the inn. From there they will be led to a launch and thence to the Annabelle. Jamie inquires of Ben where the clever Doctor might be, noting that if he doesn't act soon it will be too late for them all. Trask shuts the two men up and then leads them from the warehouse down to the docks. Ben thinks they can make a break for it and swim to freedom, but Jamie admits he can't swim. The prisoners are forced into the launch.
The Doctor enters the warehouse just as the prisoners are gone. The guard in charge is closing up, along with a comrade. The Doctor, still posing as a scullery maid, tries to get past them with a "drop of broth" for Captain Trask, but he has gone. The Doctor then offers it to the guard, who takes it greedily and dismisses his comrade so he can have it all himself. The Doctor must find another way to save his friends.
Ben, Jamie, and the other prisoners arrive alongside the Annabelle, a fine ship but put to an evil purpose. Here, Captain Trask is lord and master, and he wants his new arrivals to know it. On the deck is the figure of a man wrapped in a sack tied tight. He is lying on the deck, clearly bound and gagged. Trask tells the newcomers that the man, Jim Mews, found the Annabelle an "unhappy ship" and now must be let off the only way he can be... straight down. Trask kicks the body and the sack falls off the deck and into the water. The only way off the ship is by death. Ben, Jamie, and the others watch as Jim Mews drowns...
Ben, Jamie and Colin are forced down into the Annabelle's hold. It smells and is already full of "stinking fish" as Trask puts it. Human cargo. They make some space for themselves and try to figure out what will happen next. The laird is feeling much better now, his fever abating. How his recovery will be affected by this toxic new atmosphere remains to be seen.
Ben tries to find out where the ship might be bound by asking one of the men already on board. However, Ben's Cockney accent engenders only anger and mistrust. They think him an English spy and the group begins to close around him. The laird speaks up, calling for them to leave this "friend of the Prince" alone. The leader of the mob, is Will "Willy" MacKay, a long-time friend of the McLaren clan. He recognises Colin immediately. He also knows Jamie the piper, son of Donald McCrimmon. Willy takes Colin's word and backs off from Ben.
Willy is pleased to discover that Ben is a sailor and reveals that he himself used to be Captain of the Annabelle. Trask was his mate while running arms from France, but Trask betrayed him when the English Navy boarded the ship and now he is master.
However, it is clear to Ben that Trask is not working for King George in this venture. Hence all the secrecy and tromping around at night. In fact, he believes that Trask is working in direct contravention of the law by conspiring to sell them all as slaves! This is the first time that this idea has occurred to any of them and they are all alarmed.
Polly and Kirsty have reached Inverness and have found shelter in a barn. Polly is waiting for Kirsty to return from a shopping excursion. She at last arrives, loaded down with some clothes, trays, and oranges. It was Polly's list and Kirsty cannot figure what her plan is. Polly gets dressed in the clothes and explains that they are going to pass themselves off as orange sellers. She remembers reading about them in a book once. Kirsty calls them "coarse common girls" but Polly thinks that works well. They'll be easily able to mix in with the soldiers swarming around Inverness and locate the Doctor and the others. They'll also be on the lookout for Lt. Ffinch, whom Polly is sure will be their ally, albeit unwillingly.
At the bustling Sea Eagle Inn, Lt. Ffinch settles down for a glass of wine to calm his nerves. He's finally out of the pit and back amongst civilised society. He is very glad. But things are going to get complicated for him once again as his Sergeant ushers in two "orange sellers" who are looking for him. Kirsty is appalled at the rough handling she is subjected to, but Polly shushes her protests to keep her Scots accent from being detected.
But it is detected...by the Doctor. He is in the crowd, still disguised as a scullery maid, sitting at a table near the Lieutenant when Polly and Kirsty are brought before him. Ffinch reacts in horror when Polly calls him "Algy". The Sergeant thinks he recognises the girls as the rebels they were chasing yesterday but Ffinch shoos him away quickly. The girls are getting too chummy and the Sergeant is getting a whiff of something not quite right.
Ffinch is apoplectic with rage, but he knows he can do nothing. The girls have more than enough on him to ruin his career and they haven't even left him with a shilling to pay for his wine. Polly is unconcerned, noting that their friends probably don't even have water, let alone wine. She demands to know where they have been taken. Ffinch is surprised to learn that they are not in prison where they are supposed to be. Kirsty and Polly have already checked.
Ffinch refers them to Grey, Commissioner of Prisons, who is conducting business from a back room in the inn. Then he begs to leave. He bumps into Perkins on the way out and points out the young ladies to him. Ffinch is more than grateful to escape this place.
Perkins is anxious to go and attend to the lovely young ladies, so much so that he nearly trips over an "old woman" in his way. Luckily, the Doctor manages to keep his face hidden so that Perkins does not recognise him. Perkins tells Polly and Kirsty that solicitor Grey is seeing to his duties. "Giving some rebel prisoners the choice between life and death".
But the choice that Grey offers to the prisoners in the hold of the Annabelle is far from simple. He waves a handful of documents above their heads, saying they are clemency orders. But clemency is only for those who will serve as "witnesses" against other rebels. Those who don't turn King's evidence shall be hanged. As expected, the highlanders are repulsed at this offer and denounce it loudly.
However, Grey provides another alternative: transportation to the West Indies to serve as plantation workers in the colonies. The documents he holds are actually voluntary transportation contracts. By signing them, the prisoners can be legally transported to the islands and will be required to serve out 7 years of indentured servitude. Faced with this or the gallows, some of the highlanders are willing to sign. They have a naïve hope that they will be released after their 7 years.
Will MacKay speaks up, trying to keep his kinsmen from signing. He says he has seen the plantations in question and working in them is a death sentence as sure as the gallows, just a long and demoralising one. Grey disputes MacKay, reminding the prisoners that there is nothing noble in dying on the gallows, followed or course by drawing and quartering. The choice he offers is certain death or the possibility of freedom after 7 years of servitude. Many of the men are ready to sign on the dotted line. In fact, in the end only Colin, Jamie, Will, and Ben are left by themselves in the "hanging line".
Suddenly Ben comes forward as if he is going to sign, a shock to Jamie and the others. Grey is also surprised, especially when Ben asks to read the contract before signing. Not knowing that Ben truly knows how to read, Grey hands the documents to him. And he immediately tears them to shreds. Chaos breaks loose and Trask knocks Ben unconscious. Other sailors hold back the clamouring prisoners.
Grey orders Ben bound and condemns him to "ducking" in the sea by way of punishment. He hurries off to draft new contracts - without which his enterprise has not even a whit of legality. Trask and his men drag Ben away amid the shouts and catcalls from the rebel prisoners.
Back at the inn, Perkins is basking in the company of the two lovely young ladies. It's not often that they pay attention to the likes of him. However, Polly is getting antsy at Grey's long absence. She is worried about being found out and would like to leave. Perkins threatens to rouse the watch if they do not stay and at least play a hand of whist with him. Suddenly he is accosted by what appears to be a grubby old woman. He is shocked to find "the German Doctor" holding Grey's gun on him.
Suddenly Grey bursts in, furious over the delay in his plans to transport the prisoners. He needs Perkins to help him write up new contracts and it must be quickly. He is flabbergasted to see his clerk apparently playing cards with two wenches and a scullery maid. With the gun still pointed at him, Perkins does not give the Doctor and the others away. Grey orders Perkins to follow him to his rooms to get started immediately.
Caught between two masters, the nervous Perkins is unsure what to do. He tries to rise and follow Grey, but the Doctor stops him, warning him to say nothing to his employer unless he wants "another headache". Perkins agrees to stay put for ten minutes before moving, to allow the Doctor and his friends to get clear.
They make for the barn, happy to be free and safe. The girls are amazed that the Doctor is free as well. Once inside, the Doctor begins to get out of the scullery maid's outfit. Polly learns that the Doctor's gun wasn't loaded but she is very glad that he was a good enough actor to pull off the bluff. Once back to himself again, he lies down on a pallet of straw and closes his eyes. Polly is still worried about their friends, but the Doctor seems to be several steps ahead. He tells them about the ship.
Polly thinks they should try and capture the ship and then the rebels could sail to France for safety. Kirsty refuses to leave Scotland, but the Doctor thinks it a very good idea. He starts to tell her - knowing his history - that they would only need to stay away until 1753 but he stops himself from giving away the future to her. He simply says it is the safest way and it won't be long until they can return to their home. Kirsty agrees and wonders how they will go about capturing the ship but the Doctor has closed his eyes again.
Polly needles him and he presents his "plan". With the money the girls have stolen, they should be able to buy weapons from the English soldiers, eager to part with souvenirs for hard currency. With a rowing boat, they can smuggle the cache of weapons onto the Annabelle and from there... Well, he hasn't thought that far ahead but he's sure they can think of something. Then he yawns and closes his eyes for some much needed rest, much to the chagrin of Polly and Kirsty.
Grey returns to the Annabelle with Perkins and a new set of contracts. He is still in a foul mood and ready for any trickery from the prisoners. He urges Trask to shoot anyone who tries to destroy the contracts again. However, he stops short of using force to coerce the men into signing the documents. He is certain they will sign of their own accord if given the option of death or transportation, but if there is any coercion, no one will sign. He is certain of it.
However, that does not apply to Ben. He will still be punished for his earlier actions. The sooner the better.
Some time later, the girls are back in the barn having had a less-than-successful venture out to purchase weapons. The soldiers would not take them seriously and they have very little at all. However, the Doctor arrives a bit later, pushing a wheelbarrow. He reveals that it is full to the top with swords, daggers, muskets, and pistols. Practically the Duke's arsenal. Kirsty is aghast and looks over the weapons happily.
As she does so, the Doctor notices the gold ring on her finger, the one that Polly noticed earlier. Kirsty protests again, but the Doctor knows she is lying. It does not belong to her father and it carries the Stuart seal. Gently he encourages the girl to tell the truth. As he suspected, the ring belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie and was given by the Prince to Colin in the heat of battle after Colin saved his life. She refuses to hand it over, but the Doctor is very insistent. He feels it only proper that the ring now be used to save Colin's life. He plans to use it as bait. "Bait for a very greedy man."
Ben's "ducking" is underway on the deck of the Annabelle. He has been bound hand and foot and attached to the yardarm with a rope. At a signal from Trask, Ben is raised high up in the air, his face a mask of fear. Then, he is dropped into the water, the rope still attached.
Trask looks to Grey for a sign that he should have Ben brought back up. But Grey waits. And waits some more. The motion of the water ceases. He has decided to drown the man who made a fool of him. He has decided to drown Ben...
Solicitor Grey finally relents and orders the rope hauled up. But instead of bringing up a drowned sailor, the rope comes up empty. Ben is gone. All observing are stunned.
Ben has escaped and managed to swim underwater out of sight of the sailors on deck. He finally bursts to the surface sputtering and breathing heavily. He's pleased that he's escaped but he knows he's not out of the woods yet. He swims off toward the docks some distance away.
Once he reaches the dock, Ben climbs up and sits. He is soaked and shivering, sitting next to a rowboat covered with a tarpaulin. Suddenly he is approached by a Redcoat, certain that at last his luck's run out. But he is surprised and pleased to learn that the "Redcoat" is actually the Doctor in another disguise. He is here guarding the rowboat, now home for the cache of weapons he and the girls have collected. Soon they'll be heading to the Annabelle. He and Ben head off to the comfort and safety of the barn.
In Captain Trask's quarters, Perkins shows Grey the signed contracts. Only Will, Colin, and Jamie haven't signed, but that's of no matter. As soon as Grey himself has signed off, this little "transaction" will be legal. Well... slightly more legal than before. Grey is concerned that this is all concluded quickly and the ship launched for Barbados on the morning tide, but Trask is worried only about the sailing.
He does, however, inquire as to what might happen if the Duke of Cumberland ever learned of Grey's slave trading. Grey's voice goes hard as he assures Trask that he and Perkins will vouch for each other. If Trask were to speak out, he and he alone would take the fall. The implied threat is very clear to a penitent Trask.
Ben is now warm and well-fed and back to his old self. He explains to Polly that he got loose of the ropes using an old Houdini trick - flex your muscles while they tie you, then relax them to become smaller and thus escape. Easy. The Doctor has changed back into his regular clothes - including stove-pipe hat - and Ben goes off to do the same now that his clothes are dry.
The group goes over their rescue plan. Ben is to row the Doctor to the Annabelle. While he distracts the crew, Ben is to deliver the weapons to the prisoners via the porthole. However, Polly and Kirsty are unhappy with this plan. They refuse to wait on the sidelines and do nothing. They are very insistent and so the Doctor agrees to a change in plan. They will go with him in the rowing boat whilst Ben carries out another task....
Colin, Jamie, and Will are still in the hold of the Annabelle, despite their refusal to sign the transportation orders. They really can't blame their kinsmen from signing, but they wonder what fate Trask will mete out for them. Will seems content with his choice, despite the certainty of death. He has no desire to die a slave. Colin agrees, but he does wish he could see his daughter Kirsty once more before he dies.
In the captain's quarters, Grey is giving final instructions to Perkins, who is to go along on the voyage to collect payment for delivery of the slaves. 3,500 guineas for the lot. Perkins is to return to London at the end of October. Suddenly there is a commotion as Trask and some of his men burst in. They drag the Doctor with them, saying they caught him coming over the side. The Doctor, using his "German" accent, says he came of his own free will, bearing a "small token".
Grey is understandably wary after his last encounter with the Doctor. He dismisses the sailors and Perkins but retains Trask to keep the Doctor in line. The Doctor fumbles in his pockets, playing for time, before producing the ring he took from Kirsty. The Prince's ring.
Grey recognises the Stuart coat of arms immediately and is stunned when the Doctor says he got the ring from Prince Charles himself. It is clearly the genuine article. The Doctor says that Prince Charles, disguised as an ordinary highlander, was taken prisoner at Culloden and the he knows where the Prince is. But he will only part with that information for 10,000 guineas.
Whilst the Doctor keeps Trask and Grey engaged, Polly and Kirsty row alongside the ship and up to a porthole. Through it Kirsty can see her father sleeping. She calls to him and for a moment he thinks he is dreaming. But he soon wakes and is exceedingly pleased to see his daughter safe and well. She and Polly begin handing in the weapons and it seems to him like a dream once again. A very good dream. Kirsty draws him closer and tells him of the Doctor's plan.
Grey agrees to the bargain and the Doctor announces that the young piper captured with him is really the Prince in disguise. Jamie! The Prince is right here in the hold of the Annabelle. Grey warns him of the consequences of lying, but the Doctor insists he is telling the truth. Grey and Trask cannot afford to doubt and start for the hold. But they do not remember Jamie in the mass of rebel prisoners and are forced to bring the Doctor with them to identify him.
The three men, joined by two other sailors, descend into the darkened hold. All of the prisoners appear to be sleeping. Using a lantern, the Doctor searches for the Pretender. At last he finds Jamie, far back in the hold. But it was all a ruse to get Trask and Grey deep in the hold. Jamie is the first to rise up, fully armed, followed by all the others. Grey and Trask are completely surrounded.
Both draw swords and begin to fight for their lives. The chaos is deafening as the highlanders shout and swords clash. Grey is fairly quickly captured, but Trask manages to escape the hold and get up on deck. There he faces Will MacKay, his former captain and the man he betrayed to the English. Several other sailors come to Trask's assistance and Will is drawn away. However, Ben has snuck round the other side of the ship and now faces Trask himself. The two men fight but Ben is unarmed and soon on the losing end. Jamie appears from the fray and joins in. Together they toss the evil Trask into the firth.
With their captain despatched, the fight goes out of the rest of the sailors and soon the highlanders are in control of the ship. Will quick takes command and commanders the highlanders to be his crew. They will sail to France immediately, to safety.
Ben, Polly and the Doctor are reunited on deck, happy at their victory but concerned about trying to return to the TARDIS with the entire English army out to capture them. They plan to take Grey with them as a hostage to aid in their escape, but they don't know what to do with Perkins. The clerk was captured in the fighting and suddenly appears on deck, begging to be set free. He is suddenly on the side of the highlanders, explaining that they'll need a clerk on their travels and noting that he speaks French. It is clear he's only trying to save his own neck, but his points are well taken and Colin agrees to bring him along.
Solicitor Grey is brought over for the rowboat journey back to shore and Perkins takes just a moment to spit upon his condescending former boss. He says he's been wanting to do that for a long time. Indignant, Grey is bundled unceremoniously over the side and into the rowing boat.
Soon the Doctor and his friends are back on the docks, watching through the fog to try and catch a glimpse of the Annabelle. A lantern can be seen through the thick fog, indicating that the ship is on its way out to sea. The Doctor, Ben, and Polly just hope they can beat the English blockade and reach France safely.
Suddenly, Jamie appears with them, much to their surprise. He apparently didn't fancy a trip to France and he knew that the Doctor would need help reaching Culloden. He doesn't seem to fear the Redcoats still hunting for rebels in the glens. They see a group of soldiers approaching and duck into the nearest building. Grey is still bound but is not gagged. He shouts out to try and attract the soldiers. Jamie draws his dirk and threatens the man to silence but it is too late. They've heard him.
The soldiers enter cautiously while Grey tries to call out from the hand now firmly clamped over his mouth. But Ben and Jamie are too quick for the soldiers and manage to knock them all cold. However, they've turned their attention away from Grey, who breaks loose and escapes through a window. Ben is very worried now that they have no hostage, but the Doctor has another idea. He thinks they can find another person to assist them. Polly agrees....
The group quickly finds their target - Lt. Algernon Ffinch - taking a bit of air outside the Sea Eagle Inn. Ben and the Doctor try to force him to come along, and Polly adds her implied threat of exposing his earlier "misfortune", but still Ffinch refuses. But when Ffinch's commanding officer comes out to see what's keeping him from their card game, the Doctor has another plan.
He puts on his "German" accent and shows the Colonel the Prince's ring. He convinces the Colonel that they know where the Prince is hiding and are taking their old friend Ffinch to capture him. Ffinch tries to protest, but the Colonel buys the story hook, line, and sinker. He orders Ffinch to go with them. Defeated once again, Ffinch does as he is told.
Before long, they have reached the moor and the cottage where the Doctor and his friends were captured. They thank Lt. Ffinch for his "help" and Polly even returns his identity papers. He is finally off the hook. Polly has also been telling the Lieutenant of solicitor Grey's illegal activities. He even seems pleased to have helped the strange vagabonds.
Grey, however, has tracked them to the cottage and now accosts them with soldiers in tow. He credits Lt. Ffinch for capturing the prisoners and vows lethal punishment for all of them. But Ffinch orders him to be silent, announcing that he knows all about Grey's illegal slave trading.
Grey is astonished but not unprepared. He says confidently that the men signed transportation orders of their own free will and can be legally sent away. However, he is unable to find the contracts when he searches for them. He is flabbergasted as Lt. Ffinch has him arrested as a traitor and a blackguard. The Doctor has foiled his plans.
The Doctor, Ben, and Polly bid the Lieutenant goodbye, thanking him for his help. He says he was only doing his duty, "putting paid to a villain", but at last admits that there might be another reason he helped them. Polly. She rewards him with a kiss before he goes. He warns them all to hurry along, as there are still soldiers searching the moors for rebels.
Jamie is still unsure where Grey's contracts went. He knows the men signed them. The Doctor innocently produces them. He must have picked the solicitor's pockets during the battle on the ship. Ben is once again astonished by the wily new Doctor and starts to lead the way back to the TARDIS.
But Polly is concerned about Jamie. She fears that he will be captured if he is left here on the moors. Already, gunshots can be heard in the distance. Jamie says he'll be all right, but Polly suggests they take him with them in the TARDIS. The Doctor seems quick to accept, asking only that Jamie teach him to play the bagpipes in return. Jamie accepts and the group heads off toward the ship.
The young piper is a bit reluctant to enter the strange blue box at first, but his new friends encourage him to inside and he does so. Soon the ship dematerialises and is on its way to a new adventure.
|Source: Jeff Murray
, it's revealed that mere moments after the TARDIS's departure, Culloden Moor was visited by an immortal man called Jared Khan, trying to acquire the TARDIS for his masters, the Charrl.