School was never this exciting. Or as pastel coloured. This part is going to be more of a summary, as I think I covered a lot of my thoughts on the show in part one. The schoolkid’s uniforms of pastel shades (ugh) stuck around for part two of Russell T Davis’s BBC children’s drama.We’re back at
Sunnydale the any-town UK comprehensive, where already evil is afoot. A mysterious lady (Blake 7’s Jacqueline Pearce) with a fondness for jumpsuits and turbans tells her ‘friend’, Inga, that Behemoth is about to rise. So who or what is it?
Miss Pendragon and her assistant, Inga, look forward to raising Behemoth.
It’s a Monday morning, and the ‘adventuresome three’ (as they were nearly called) are spying on the dig that’s cropped up on their school grounds since Friday. Marcie explains she has a distrust of signs that say ‘out of bounds’ as “they never tell you why”. True, it’s not as clear as ‘beware of the dog’, I suppose.
The Marcie-gang (or not, okok) are suspicious of the dig on school grounds.
Marcie soon sniffs out that the wannabe Time Team are a bunch of phonies, and starts some digging of her own. Tom also points out they’re all blond(e) haired, which spells out that they’re all Nazis even before it’s confirmed a while later. Marcie manages to sneak behind the scenes to overhear something underground calling out, just as the whole site starts to explode! “Wow” indeed.
Marcie listens in on Behemoth’s bad dreams
The Adolf-loving Time Team cause an explosion on site!
The Nazis try to evacuate the site of school children but a young chap called Luke, who Pendragon is very creepily protective of, tumbles into the trench and breaks his arm. Pendragon screams at him for being stupid, and the poor lamb is hauled off to hospital by the only teacher who grudgingly listens to Marcie at all, the wonderful Miss Maitland (Brigit Forsyth). Reet (Kate Winslet) tags along to “ask good questions” and learns that the big dig is indeed a cover for something more sinister.
Meanwhile, Marcie and Tom investigate the site, and after a quick speech about keeping out of trouble and never drawing attention to yourself, Marcie darts into the trench, bringing Tom with her. Tom is less than thrilled at being stuck in a deep hole, being chased by angry Nazis. Then Tom fulfills the role that the hapless ‘Luke’ was meant to have filled (by being untouched, no broken bones and, er, other things like that) and opens the big, heavyily sealed door by simply putting his hands on it. Actually, why it’s so important he’s ‘pure’ is never fully explained. Going by how magnificently insane Miss Pendragon is, it’s probably entirely aesthetical. Anyway, Tom and Marcie head on into the darkness he uncovered.
Marcie and Tom go deeper underground, chased by some pissed off Nazis
There’s a nice gag about ‘finding the light switch’ as Marcie proves it isn’t a Celtic Tomb at all, but a secret research labouratory! They follow a green tube, which the Nazis call the ‘lifeline’, but for what? Kate Winslet – Reet – and Miss Maitland sneak back onto the site as well. Maitland’s worried about the supposed gas leak, but Reet points out the lack of any gas company personnel, or vans. She makes a valid point. Underground, the Nazis and Miss Pendragon have caught up with our heroes and Marcie “the brains” makes her escape into an air vent as they capture Tom. Marcie got her hands on some top secret paperwork before she legged it, and she at recognises she’s a “cliché” as she hides in the vents and reads the plans by torchlight. Whatever is buried here is named as BHM – an AI machine. Well, it’s a very angry TARDIS, anyway, as they uncover Behemoth itself!
Behemoth. Big, angry TARDIS, then. Cool set, though.
Miss Pendragon pontificates for a while, and Tom is appropriately sarcastic about it. Although he really pisses her off – and she finally notices his hair might just be dyed (naah, really?) she’s still determined to unleash her mechanical monster of destruction by putting him in the driver’s seat, because he’s “the chosen one”. He reacts by shoving her into the waiting chair, which promptly seals her in. It’s a bit like Hansel and Gretel where the witch gets shoved into the oven!
Pendragon ends up in Behemoth’s waiting arms
We have a moment to enjoy Jacqueline Pearce’s awesomely red nail polish and then Behemoth starts to rise. Before it completely takes her over, Pendragon is exctied that the ‘Leader’ will soon see the sacrifice she has made. Who’s this ‘leader’ then? Who else?
The eeeeeevil Mr Eldritch returns, and he’s bought himself some new sunglasses!
He arrives at the moment the Behemoth breaks out through the school stage, and it opens up, making me think of Hi-Fi’s and mega sound systems on beaches. It’s pretty huge, actually. Mrs Maitland is horrified and tries to release Pendragon, but this is a bad idea.
Poor Miss Maitland gets zapped by Behemoth.
As Eldritch gloats, Tom and Reet join forces underground and start to sabotage the Behemoth’s wires, which just causes it’s defence to come crashing down. This locks Reet behind a vacuum sealed door! Tom doesn’t know what to do. As things go crazy, the Nazis extract Pendragon (she is NOT happy) but then Behemoth’s lasers seal up doors, windows and, er, light switches. Turns out, Behemoth is a very confused Artificial Intelligence that’s in control of half the world’s deadliest weapons. Like a British Skynet.
Behemoth requests orders and says that either Eldritch or Marcie will instruct it. Cue a long, inolved agrument where Marcie uses her inner-Doctor Who logic to confound Eldritch! She convinces it, in a roundabout way, that free will is what matters and that Behemoth is too smart to kill the ‘stupid people’, who according to Eldritch really wanted their own destruction. Behemoth chooses not to destroy humanity and give him his ‘Chaos!’. Disappointed, Eldritch elects to take it for himself.
This isn’t really what Marcie had in mind. Eldritch’s freaky mind appears to dominate Behemoth, and Marcie pleads with the computer to let down its defences and destroy itself rather than let Eldritch destroy mankind. It does as she says, opening its defences again with a noise that sounds like a scene from Alien
(the bit where it gets Captain Dallas in the air vents!). This releases Reet, and she and Tom escape from the tunnels, but Mrs Maitland has been spurred into action and uses a digger to attack the dig site!
Mrs Maitland turns temporary anarchist!
Water and explosions seem to put a stop to Eldritch’s ambitions, he soon disapears, although we don’t actually see him go. Pendragon runs in and takes his place as Behemoth disappears back underground. There are more magnificent sci-fi sound effects as it descends back into its now deeply flooded tomb.
Pendragon sinks into the deep, finally one with her baby, Behemoth
So, the three children gather around the trench for the last time, intending to stay out of the way of the police. Marcie knows Behemoth killed itself and calls it a “good machine in a bad world”. She also doesn’t think they’ve seen the last of Eldritch, who she defines as “the worst of all bad men”. But, for now, the three of them are simply “marvellous”.
Tom, Reet and Marcy ponder the demise of the monstrous machine.
And it was mostly good fun, although again there were far too many speeches, rather than things really happening. It did have more of a point this time, and things made more sense, overall. The dialogue remains mostly witty, poor Kate Winslet is still stuck in the world’s least flattering pair of lilac jeans, and the most appropriate place for evil to gather is still…..your school!