Tales from /lost+found 106: The Hen With the Sapphire Pendant

8×21 February 27, 2004
THE HEN WITH THE SAPPHIRE PENDANT (Serial 132)

Setting: Gatchina, Russia, ca. 1870
Regular Cast: Rowan Atkinson (The Doctor), Scarlett Johansson (Alice)
Guest Starring: James Ganfolfini (Tsar Alexander III), Jennifer Beals (Empress Maria), Anthony Stewart Head (The War Chief)

Plot: The tracer leads the Doctor and Alice to nineteenth-century Russia. The Doctor is able to pose as a minor diplomat to gain access to the Gatchina Palace. While they initially hope to avoid local events while they look for the fifth segment, this becomes impossible when they discover the War Chief posing as a German diplomat. At first, they fear that he has already located the segment, but it eventually becomes clear that the War Lords are making a third attempt to change the course of World War I. The War Chief surprises the Doctor by pursuing a peaceful plan: he means to preserve the Three Emperor’s Alliance, strengthening the relationship between Russia and Germany, and preventing the formation of the Franco-Russian alliance. He believes this will put Germany in a stronger position and lengthen the coming war. Part of his plan involves War Lord agents framing the French delegation for an assassination attempt. The Doctor gains the confidence of the Tsar by foiling the attempt himself, but in doing so reveals his presence to the War Chief. Neither the Doctor nor the War Chief can expose the other as an impostor without implicating himself as well, forcing the two into a rhetorical battle to sway the Tsar’s opinion. With comparatively greater freedom of movement, Alice meets and befriends the Empress, bonding over their shared interest in the arts. Alice finds herself inexplicably drawn to a particular Fabergé egg in the Empress’s collection. The Doctor gains the upper hand in his debate with the War Chief, but worries that his adversary does not seem to be taking the argument seriously. This is because he is simply biding his time, distracting the Doctor while a second War Lord strike team prepares to assassinate the Empress. Alice helps Empress Maria evade the assassins and alerts the Doctor. The War Chief is impressed by the Doctor’s ruthlessness when he tricks the War Lords into blowing themselves up. It seems as though the War Chief has won anyway, however, since the dead assassins carry forged French credentials. The Doctor challenges the authenticity of their papers and accuses the War Chief, who submits to being searched as he thinks it will reveal nothing. But the Doctor had earlier pocketed a War Lord icon from the first assassin team and slipped it into the War Chief’s pocket. The War Chief is expelled by the enraged Tsar, who goes on to send for the French ambassador to discuss a treaty. In appreciation for saving her life, Empress Maria gives Alice the egg with which she’d been so fascinated, which turns out to be the fifth segment of the Key to Time. Realizing they have only one segment left to find, the Doctor plugs the tracer into the TARDIS console, but is alarmed by the results and disconnects it, desperately hiding the results from Alice.

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