Head of Gold is the third episode of the first Common Series.
A war-loving, power hungry alien general is devastating his home planet in his hope of conquest. He suddenly stumbles upon a map that leads to the location of the Face of Rassilon, said to make the wearer into a god. But there is more to this artifact than meets the eye.
Within an oasis surrounded by a gigantic desert is a compound, General Kagar argues with his captains about the invasion plans and their slow progress. Captain Hykal states that the armies have conquered East Uu't, and located an entire mine full of Zakkor Gems. Kagar looks at her in awe, and asks how big the mine is, while stroking a large red jewel encrusted into black rock at the side of his desk. Jokut tells the General that the underground mine is as vast as the whole of East Uu't itself. Kagar smiles and says that with the Gems, their invasion effort will have enough resources to take control of Asriack in a matter of weeks. Hykal also mentions that they found something else while down in the mines. Kagar looks at her, intrigued and she shows him a piece of papyrus-like paper, ancient but very well preserved. They unfold it and it is shown to be a map of Asriack from an unknown time period. Kagar then notices the symbol of a golden face of a bearded man near their compound. Kagar states that that is the location of the fabled 'Head of Gold' and with it, the wearer would become a god. He tells his captains that will that power, Asriack would only be the beginning. Kagar orders most of his armies to that location.
Cay'xin - Asriack
The TARDIS lands within the middle of a bustling town. The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive and the Doctor tells the two of them that Cay'xin is Asriack's capital city, a vibrant place of culture, entertainment and, casually mentions, that at one point it was occupied by separatists seeking to conquer the planet. Amy asks if this is before or after that happened. The Doctor says that he landed at about two years before that happens, right at the centre of the city's finest hour.
Suddenly, there is a rustling quake that shakes the entire city and one of the Asriackins shout out and points to the distance - where giant tank-like machines are advancing. Amy and Rory stare at the Doctor disappointed, but the Doctor says that at least they'll know what they'll be doing today. They watch as Kagar's forces march in and then stop, with Kagar seated on top of one of his tanks. He announces to the people of Cay'xin that the city is now under their 'protective custody' and that they will leave as soon as they have located a 'potentially dangerous object' hidden somewhere in the city. They will be searching homes and be drilling through the city's centre until the object is found. He warns that any resistance will result in immediate execution, and that this is for their benefit. After he has finished speaking, the troops begin bursting into houses and ransacking the places.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory follows Kagar's tank to where he is going. One of the soldiers stop them but with the aid of psychic paper, the Doctor tells him that they are agents hired by Kagar to secretly excavate any potential locations that the soldiers would not be able to look into. The Doctor warns that the soldier should keep quiet or he will be executed along with them. The worried soldier allows them to pass and they begin walking just behind Kagar's tank and see that he is on his way to a large hole - the Zakkor Gem mines. One of the civilians runs in front of the tank and shouts to Kagar himself that he knows that all he wants is the Gems, so why is he invading civilains' homes. Kagar, instead of killing him instantly, says that the gems are just a bonus and that the object was originally in the mines. He is looking to see if anyone stole it. After that, he shoots the man down and moves on.
The Doctor, quite recklessly says that he may know where the object is. Amy and Rory stare at him, shocked that he is being so brash when he just saw this man kill someone so casually. Kagar says that only he has the map, so how would he know where it is. The Doctor says that this map must be indecipherable to him if he is invading houses. Kagar once again begins to say that he is doing so to see if the civilians moved it, but the Doctor says that that is just a front and that he has absolutely no idea where it is. Kagar admits that he doesn't and even throws the map at the Doctor to show that he cannot read the text. The Doctor opens up the map and sees that the writing is High Gallifreyean and then sees the golden face on the map. The Doctor looks visibily scared and Kagar notices this and states that he actually can read it and has them restrained as they make camp just beside the mines.
In Kagar's tent, the Doctor, Amy and Rory are chained to chairs in front of Kagar. the General asks how the Doctor can read the map. The Doctor states that his people wrote the map. Kagar is in shock, and quickly tells him that the people who brought the object and the map to this planet came here thousands of years ago - he would not be alive then. The Doctor acknowledges that but states that the object he seeks is a legend on his planet as well. Amy asks what the object is. The Doctor grimly states that it is the Face of Rassilon, a mythological item of great power that was said to make the wearer invincible but Rassilon apparently 'cursed' the Face. Kagar dismisses curses as fairytales and demands to know where it is. The Doctor states that he will never tell him. Kagar then has two of the guards begind them to aim at Amy and Rory's heads. The Doctor relents and agrees. He tells Kagar that the object is in the very bottom of the mines. Rory asks the Doctor what the curse actually was. The Doctor says that he has no idea and all the stories say is that 'he who wears it, pays a terrible price'. Kagar arrogantly tells the Doctor that he is willing to pay it for the power that the Face is said to provide. He has the guards take the three of them down into the mines with himself and his captains only. They are going down to the mines immediately.
Within the mines, the Doctor notices the Zakkor Gems, saying that they are one of the rarest jewels in the galaxy. Kagar smiles and states that he most of the Zakkor Gems on the planet, and uses them to finance his armies. Amy spitefully tells him that he is putting a price on other peoples' lives, which he willingly destroys. Kagar tells the Doctor that he should make sure his assistants stay quiet, must he take drastic steps. The Doctor tells Amy to keep quiet. The Doctor asks Kagar why he is invading, what he has to gain from it and what will he do if he gains complete control. Kagar says that with the aid of the Face, he will conquer the galaxy, make the entire system a world where those who support hi will benefit and those who defy him will be destroyed because complete power, in his eyes, means unity and peace. The Doctor snidely says that is the excuse of every dictator. Kagar glares at him but they finally reach the end and the Doctor says that they need to dig just a bit deeper to get to the Face. Kagar gets a small ball and pushes it into the rock and presses a button on his glove which causes the entire wall of rock to turn to dust instantly. Behind that rock, they see the location of the Face - a huge pyramid with a staurcase heading to the chamber above.
When they reach the top, Kagar sees that there is nothing in the chamber except a small plinth and a golden helmet with the face of an enraged bearded man on it. He takes it from the plinth and stares at it lustfully. He proclaims that in his whole life, he has hoped that the 'Head of Gold' was a reality and now it is. He then shouts out to everyone that he will now become the most powerful being in the galaxy and despite protests from the Doctor, Kagar places the mask on his head and his eyes begin to glow and he starts to levitate - stating that he can feel the power flowing through him. The Doctor shouts out that he should take it off - there is a reason it is called the Face of Rassilon and that he remembers what the curse was. He who wears the face of the Time Lord, Rassilon... shall become Rassilon. Kagar begins to outstretch and he can be heard screaming and soon a different voice is heard laughing. Rassilon has been reborn. Rory asks who Rassilon is and the Doctor says that he is the founder of the Time Lords, driven insane in his lust for power - thought to have died in the Time War.
The venomous Rassilon jeers at the Doctor, and states how he is now more powerful than ever. He says that with his new form he will dominate the Universe and have the Time Lords reign supreme. Hykal and Jokut demand to know what happened to Kagar and Rassilon states that Kagar's mind is destroyed - only Rassilon is within this body. He shoots through the rock up above and out into Asriack, using his mind to break apart the city of Cay'xin to create his palace as a monument of his supremacy.
Back in the pyramid, the captains ask the Doctor if there is anything that is able to stop Rassilon. Rory snaps back that they should be overjoyed at being under the command of a more powerful dictator. Hykal says that they had to because their families were being threatened and they only did this to prevent their hometowns from being destroyed. With Rassilon in command, no one is safe. The Doctor sasy that the legend fortells that should Rassilon be released, he would forever have to wear his own helmet for eternity, possibly because the genetic coding of Rassilon, needs the helmet's genetic manipulating technology to keep Kagar as Rassilon. Should the helmet be removed, Rassilon would no longer be able to hold his DNA in place of Kagar's Asriackan genes and he would die. Jokut says that Rassilon is practically omnipotent, and that it would be impossible to remove it without Rassilon noticing. The Doctor tells him that if they distract Rassilon, someone else can remove the Face.
As Rassilon is building his palace, Hykal and Jokut order all the troops, tanks and aircrafts to bombarde Rassilon. Missiles, shells and lasers are shot from almost every angle but Rassilon uses a sheild, protecting himself. The Doctor, Amy and Rory are in the TARDIS and land themselves just underneath Rassilon. Rassilon is too busy toying wth the troops to notice and begins to sending all the lasers back and kills every soldier who fired them. He throws a missle which destroys two aircrafts and crushes all of the tanks into cubes instantly. Hykal is killed by a stray laser and Jokut orders the aircrafts to keep firing but he is also killed whe Rassilon throws one of the aircrafts at him. Rory says that the Doctor better hurry up because the monitor shows that Rassilon has decimated the entire army in practically twenty seconds. The Doctor says that he just needs to flip one last switch. Once he does, the light from the TARDIS shoots out an orb of white light and it hits Rassilon who is thrown back and lands on his own palace which breaks apart into the components he used to make it because of the sheer force of his fall. The Face comes off on impact and Kagar's lifeless body lies slumped in the middle of the wreckage. The Doctor picks up the Face and says that Rassilon's DNA is inside Kagar, and seeing as Kagar is dead, neither he nor the Face will do any more damage. The Doctor takes it with him, saying that he can put it 'on a shelf somewhere in the TARDIS', and they all set off for their next destination.
Within the TARDIS, the Doctor sees that a card was inside the Face, he takes it out and sees the Tarot card, The Fool upside-down, showing the upside-down image of a sinister looking jester making a 'ssh' hand gesture like the Death card with the letters scattered about the card stating 'Silence'.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Rory Williams - Arthur Darvill
- General Kagar - Roger Allam
- Rassilon Voice - Brian Cox
- Captain Hykal - Jemima Rooper
- Captain Jokut - Ewen Bremner
Behind the scenes
- The design for the Face bears resemblence to common representations of god-like figures including the image of God in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. The Greek king of the gods, Zeus. And also, even more fittingly, one of the common interpretations of Father Time.
- Another Tarot Card is seen in this episode. This one being The Fool, except it is upside-down, which signifies impulsiveness, ill-advised desire for change and starting new things but never finishing them.
- the Face of Rassilon looks almost like a variation of Omega's mask from The Three Doctors, complete with gold/bronze finish and 'angry' expression.
- Kagar's invasive war effort and his lust for the planet's rare Zakkor Gems may be some reference to the trade of blood diamonds to finance warlords in Africa.