The Master initiates his 'Operation: Hidden Fire'
Tree Of Life
Writer: Steven Moffat
Story number: 5.12
Enemy: The Seventh Master, Avatars
Setting: 21st Century London
Format: 1x45 minute format
Previous Story: Ragnarok
Following Story: Vengeance Sevenfold

"Tree Of Life is the twelfth episode of the fifth series of Doctor Who. It first aired on 25th September 2010.


"United Earth!" - Avatars

The Doctor, Martha and Kale arrive back on Earth and finally learn what the 'Avatar Project' is. But an old enemy has a terrible part to play in this seemingly benevolent system. A secret that could bring Planet Earth crashing down into darkness.


A voiceover from Martha details events that happened outside of the TARDIS' perspective, shown in flashbacks. The constant advertising of an 'Avatar Program', which would keep the Earth 'defended'. A young man is shown with a Japanese man waving to a cheering crowd, with robotic behemoths on either side of them. Martha explains how Earth 'fell for this trick before, from the same man'. However, humanity was 'gullible enough to fall for it again'. Martha then concludes by saying it was then that they would suffer their worst attack, and they may even lose this time.

Picking up instantly from the previous episode, the Doctor, Martha and Kale are following the coordinates of the 'Hidden Fire', now that they have been given its location by the Gandrians, who were deciphering the Seer's prophecy for a while. They land on Earth - London, 2010.

They see that nothing is wrong. There is no attack. No aliens. Nothing. Just then, Martha notices something - a large, sinister looking robot walking through the streets. At first, they are cautious, but they see that everyone is just walking past it and not even giving it a second glance. They go over to the 7ft behemoth, and it looks down to them. In a low, robotic voice it refers to itself as an 'Earth Defence Droid', part of the 'Avatar Program' - and here for humanity's best interests. The Doctor asks who is controlling the droids. The robot looks up at the rebuilt Canary Wharf. The Doctor, Martha and Kale make their way there and see that Canary Wharf has been fitted with a large television screen right at the top which is advertising the Avatars with the young man from the start of the episode, naming himself 'Angelo Kapitan', ward of 'Dr. Akuro' - the creator of the droids.

They all make there way inside, but before they can walk anymore, there is an announcement from the large screen. It is also being broadcast throughout the entire country - maybe the world. Angelo speaks out to the nation, stating that the droids, or Avatars have brought much closure to Earth. War has ceased to be because of the unity brought to combat any alien threats with the droids being the greatest deterrent and humanity has worked to make itself a more advanced species. However, Angelo starts to mentions a few things. He states first, that Dr. Akuro is not the creator of the Avatars (Dr. Akuro then makes his way out of the doors of Canary Wharf - looking completely stone-faced and almost malicious) and then he tells them that the Avatars are not to defend humanity - they are too police them. By that revelation, he orders 'Operation: Hidden Fire' and Dr. Akuro suddenly morphs into a Type-2 Avatar and starts shooting at random people. The Doctor, Martha and Kale then see that all the Avatars are gunning down men, women and children. They hide in an abandoned building, keeping quiet as the carnage goes on outside. Once they feel that the Avatars have moved on, they start drawing up their plans on how to get to Canary Wharf safely.

Kale sees that the technology is in fact, human in origin but 21st Century humans do not have that kind of technological advances to create an android of Akuro's sophistication or those of the Type-2s. The Doctor struggles to think of what kind of species could be able to do so, ruling out Cybermen or Daleks as they would have revealed themselves by now. Martha tells them that the only way they will find out is if they get to Kapitan. They wait until nighttime to make their way out and sneak past two Type-1s at the doors, distracting them with an EMP bomb. They get to the elevator and get to the middle of the building before the doors open and reveal three Type-1s. Before the Type-1s could react, Kale blasts the two in front in the heads, who fall on top of the last one, giving them all enough time to close the doors and make their way up to the top floor. There they see a hallway with two Type-2s at the doors. They aim their weapons but Kale shoots first. They are more durable than the Type-2s and seem to only sustain moderate injuries from the first blasts. Kale shoots again and they finally die. The doors then slowly open, revealing an office with Angelo sitting watching television, guarded by a Type-2.

When Angelo notices them, his gleefully mellow demeanour melts away and shows hatred and anger. He gets the two Type-2s hiding behind them to grab Martha and Kale. Angelo then punches the Doctor in the face, knocking him to the ground, calling him a 'coward' and a 'fool'. The Doctor says that they have never met, but Angelo reassures him that 'they know each other better than anyone'. The Doctor then realises who this young man is - the Master. Martha gives a look of pure horror, saying how he died. The Master, sadistically relishing this, says that when the Time Lords were sent back into the Time War, he teleported using a Random Planetary Teleporter that he quickly built while in his previous body. He also drained enough life force from Rassilon to forge another regeneration, but it was a greulling task and it ended up going on for too long - becoming far too young. He then landed in the Australian Outback and managed to find a UNIT base, from which he rose to financial power with brainwashed soldiers acting as slave labour until he could use them as test subjects. The Doctor then asked what were they be tested for. The Master did not answer but moved towards a Type-2 and told it to 'open its face', from which its face did open and revealed a vacant, human face within.

This disgusts the Doctor, Martha and Kale. The Doctor verbally berates the Master's barbarism, but the Master rebukes by stating that he is not as barbaric as the Time Lords, who drove him to insanity for their own ends and even that failed, leaving him broken and insane. He then tells them how glad he is that he and the Doctor are the only ones left. Kale then tells him with venegful pleasure that before they came here, the Time Lords were brought back to life again. The Master accuses him of lying and threatens to have the Type-2 break his neck. The Doctor then reveals that this is the truth, becasue of him on Azulamatza, that the Time Lords (and Gallifrey) are back. This enrages the Master and reveals how he will cease to just kill the humans - he will convert them into Avatars. He then states that he will leave 5% of humanity alive as a 'gift' to the Doctor for his efforts in 'grooming' them. The Master says that once he has his army - he will attack New Gallifrey (and convert 98% of them into Avatars), then take over the Universe - keeping the Doctor alive to watch.

Kale activates a button on his Manacle and a flash of orange pulsates from him and disables the Type-2s. He then pulls out his Blaster and points it at the Master, telling him to stop or he will shoot. The Master scoffs at the idea, stating that he would have to shoot him 13 times before you could kill him, as he is a Time Lord and now in possession of an entirely new cycle of regenerations. The Doctor tells Martha and Kale to just run. As they do, the Master yells out to them that they should run, and to 'go to the streets and see what humanity is destined for'. As they make their way to the streets, they see the Avatars are converting people as they stand, with robotic conversion equipment protruding from their backs. They see one of the Type-1s has spotted them and slowly makes its way towards them. Before it can reach them, it is destroyed by an EMP bomb from an unknown assailant. They see a young man, armed to the teeth ushering them into his van, which they do so.

He introduces himself as Drake Logan, a student conspiracy theorist and hacker that was researching the Avatar Project. He has managed to find enough information to know that the Avatars are dangerous. The Doctor tells him that they are made by an alien madman and that they would probably be controlled with a wireless connection towards a power core within Canary Wharf and need to go back. Drake tells them that London is a war zone, with people being turned into Avatars everywhere - on the streets, in their own homes, everywhere. They will need to hide out in his shack on the outskirts of town for a while before it would be a bit safer to go back.

As Drake drives off, Martha's voiceover is heard again. She speaks of how this was 'the day humanity fell', and how this small, insignificant planet would be the bedrock for the greatest threat in the Universe. She asks herself if even the Doctor could stop his old enemy now, who now finally has the will to destroy him, which was his most prized defence.



  • This is the Master's first appearance since The End of Time.
  • Cameron Robertson is the youngest actor to play the Master.
  • The Master is seen watching the Clangers and enjoying it, just as he did (as Roger Delgado) in The Sea Devils.
  • The Avatars share many similarities with the Cybermen - as they are both humans fused with cybernetics. The difference is that the Avatars show some basic emotion and are only controlled by the Master.
  • Two types of Avatars are shown: Type-1s, which are more heavy and made of some scrap and Type-2s, which are far more streamlined and lighter.
  • Togo Igawa previously appeared in the Torchwood episode, Cyberwoman, also playing a cybernetics expert (except this character was not originally a cyborg, unlike Dr. Akuro).

See Also

Phoenix Saga - Series 5
Red Scar  • Prime  • Trial By Fire  • The Fear  • His Return  • Pentagram  • The Lonely Heart  • Sand Devil  • Time Slip  • Ripples In The Lake  • Ragnarok  • Tree Of Life  • Vengeance Sevenfold

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