Episode 12: Time and the Land
Penelope is back in the alternate 22nd century of New Camelot, in the court of King Arthur the Second – but her true destination is the Hidden Kingdom of the Tanu, where her former lover King Fenn is about to face his ultimate destiny. There, she will discover the answer to the Riddle of the Two Dragons and the last secrets of Excalibur, her father’s masterwork.
As usual, a few notes about this episode:
It was a very character-driven episode, centered on Penelope’s decisions and with no real antagonist or conflict – but it was certainly not a “time-off” story. Indeed, it marked a pivotal milestone (so to speak) in our Time Lady’s personal evolution, as well as in the whole King Arthur / Tanu plotline that has been around since our first two seasons.
Penelope’s seventh incarnation seems to be clearly marked by the pursuit of wisdom and the “great-power-great-responsibility” theme.
The story itself revolved around her interactions with various key NPCs, including the Tanu King Fenn, who played a major role in several previous stories – his last appearances were in the first episode of season 14 (where he was at the very heart of the story) and, less prominently, in the third episode of season 15 (Penelope’s latest regeneration, which gave her an even greater link than before to the Power of the Earth, the telluric energy which has played such an important role in our various New Camelot / Tanu / Lloigor stories). There were still some loose ends to tie regarding this character and his ties to Penelope and NOW seemed the perfect time to do so.
Having recently realized that her old arch-enemies the Lloigor seemed to be entirely absent of the main future continuum (as opposed to the alternate timeline New Camelot) and that her father Morrolan’s own discoveries about the Power of the Earth hadn’t yet revealed all their secrets and mysteries, Penelope had decided, at the end of our previous episode, to seek some answers from the Tanu – particularly from Queen Alba (wife of King Arthur II) and her half-human, prescient daughter Princess Dana.
So I decided to wrap up my various New Camelot / Tanu loose ends into a coherent storyline, adding two new narrative elements: the aforementioned Riddle of the Two Dragons (my own interpretation of the well-known tale about the boy Merlin discovering two fighting dragons beneath King Vortigern’s tower) and the first clear indication of a “new deal” regarding the Lloigor, Penelope’s most enduring arch-enemies… who have apparently completely vanished from this continuum too. Could this have something to do with the incoming season finale? We’ll know soon enough!
An important aspect of this episode was how it brought Penelope back to the very first elements of her unique heritage and odyssey: the sword Excalibur, the very existence of the New Camelot future, her father Morrolan’s secret experiments and his connections to Arthurian legend… and even the mysteries of her own TARDIS…
Last but not least, New Camelot also provided the perfect new home for Just Penny (Penelope’s single-lived clone – see last episode). We’ll take a short break next weekend – see you in a fortnight or so for the antepenultimate episode of our season!