In Montgomery, Alabama, in 1943, Rosa Parks gets aboard a city bus. She gets in via the front entrance, ignores the driver's orders, and when she objects the driver grabs her arm and drags her off. Rosa sits down on a white-only seat to get her dropped purse. The driver yells at her to get off, and Rosa stands up and leaves. When Rosa tries to get in the back, the driver closes the door in her face and drives off.
Twelve years later, the TARDIS materializes in an alley. The Doctor tells her companions that she missed Sheffield and insists that she can control the TARDIS but sometimes it has a mind of its own. She says that they're on Earth in the U.S. in 1955. A sensor goes off displaying traces of artron energy, and the Doctor wants to go check it out.
The Doctor leads her companions out and scans for the energy, and a white woman drops a handkerchief. when Ryan picks it up and hands it to her, her husband Mr. Steele punches him in the face and tells him to never lay hands on his wife. Graham says that Ryan is his grandson and Steele figures that they're not from around there. Steele says that Ryan will swing from a tree if he touches a white woman again. Rosa walks up and tells the group to step away, and tells Steele that his suit will be ready the next day. Steele glares at Ryan and then walks off with his wife.
Once the white couple move on, Rosa asks if Ryan is crazy. She reminds them of what they did to Emmett Till and introduces herself. The Doctor says that she's a big fan, then quickly covers. Rosa recommends that they get out of Alabama. As she leaves, the Doctor covertly scans her for artron energy and confirms that she it all around her.
A man, Krasko, finds the TARDIS and trains a high-tech device on it. He tries to open the TARDIS without success, knocks on the door, and gets no answer. Krasko blasts the TARDIS with his device and confirms that it's force-field protected, and walks off.
The group goes to a bar and Yasmin and Graham tell Ryan who Rosa is. The Doctor confirms what date it is from a newspaper and says that she refuses to give up her seat the next day. The staff and customers glare at Ryan, while the Doctor explains that Martin Luther King is a minister in Montgomery. Graham notices the stares, and the waitress comes over and says that they don't serve Negroes. She mistakes Yasmin for a Mexican and tells them to eat somewhere else, and the Doctor leaves with her companions. Outside, the Doctor tells them to go back to the TARDIS and be safe while she locates the sources of the energy anomalies. The others refuse to leave since Rosa can't, and the Doctor locates the epicenter of the anomalies. As they walk away, a local police officer watches them from his car.
Krasko approaches Rosa and stares at her without saying anything. He finally says that there's no problem and Rosa moves on as Krasko smiles.
The Doctor follows the converging anomalies to the bus company and they find an empty room that is padlocked shut. She reveals a suitcase in the middle of the room that was concealed by a perception filter, and opens it to reveal high-tech equipment. The Doctor figures that it belongs to another time traveler, and recognizes the equipment. As she starts to explain, Krasko arrives and fires an energy weapon at them. They run out and hide, and then the Doctor approaches Krasko and says that she's unarmed. She points out his temporal displacement weapon, says that it's out of energy, and notes that she has his spare battery from the suitcase. Krasko asks if she has the TARDIS, and the Doctor points out the vortex manipulator on his wrist.
When the Doctor asks what Krasko wants with Rosa, Krasko feigns ignorance and says that if they don't get out of Montgomery then he'll kill them. The Doctor back to her companions, briefly scans Krasko, and tells the others that they're not leaving as they walk away.
The group goes to a motel and breaks into a room. Ryan accidentally compliments Yasmin and tries to blow it off. The Doctor says that since Krasko is watching the TARDIS, they can't use it as a home base. They try to work out what's going on, and the Doctor explains that Krasko has his temporal displacement weapon set for the far future. She figures that the TARDIS detected the stray artron energy and figures that if he wanted Rosa dead, she'd already be dead. The Doctor also detected something unusual about Krasko with her last scan and needs to investigate further.
The Doctor writes on the wall, putting down everything that they know about Rosa's history and the fact that she was a seamstress. Someone pounds on the door, and Yasmin and Ryan hide in the bathroom. The Doctor wipes the writing on the wall and opens the door, and Officer Mason comes in. He says that they've been making folks uneasy and asks if they know Yasmin and Ryan. Mason insists on checking the bathroom, and Graham interrupts to claim that they're there to pitch 21st century phones. The officer looks in the bathroom and finds no one there, although the window is open. Mason tells them to leave as soon as their business is concluded and leaves.
Ryan and Yasmin are hiding behind a dumpster in the alley outside, and Ryan says that he has to keep working to keep his temper. He points out that the police stop him more than white lads, and Yasmin says that she gets racially harassed as well. However, Yasmin tells Rosa that she can be a policeman because of Rosa and that's change. Graham calls them in and the Doctor says that they need to find out as much about Rosa as possible. They try to remember the name of the bus driver, and Graham remembers that it's James Blake from what Grace once told him. Ryan jokingly says that Grace would start a riot if she was there and Graham agrees.
The group researches Rosa's life and finds out where she works and lives. Graham finds the bus routes that go near them, and they find Blake's bus. Ryan has no choice but to ride in the back of the bus, and Yasmin wonders where she should sit. The group gets off at the store where Rosa works, wait until she gets off work that night, and Yasmin and the Doctor join Rosa on the bus. The Doctor sits with Rosa and claims that they're doing market research for bus companies and asks about Rosa's bus schedule. Rosa answers and then says that if the Doctor keeps sitting there then she'll have to give her seat up to her. The Doctor moves and Rosa asks if she'll get the right to sit anywhere she wants by answering their questions. When the Doctor admits that it won't, Rosa says that she isn't surprised and gets off at her stop. Ryan follows her and says that he'll meet them at the motel later.
Graham goes to talk to the driver and find out where they're all drinking, while Yasmin compiles a timeline of what happens the next night. Meanwhile, the Doctor goes to talk to Krasko and persuade him not to interfere.
Rosa goes to her house and notices Ryan following her. She finally confronts him and Ryan says that he wants to help with the fight. Rosa wonders if he's a spy, and Ryan points out that a spy would know how to follow her. Satisfied, Rosa invites him in for coffee.
The Doctor goes back to the bus company and checks the suitcase. Krasko comes in and shoots at her, and the Doctor throws the suitcase at him to block the blast. His weapon overheats and he's forced to drop it, and the Doctor asks her about the Stormcage identifier tattooed on his wrist. Stormcage is a prison in the far future. Krasko says that he did his time and says that a few thousand people got killed because of what he did. She knows that Stormcage put a neural restrictor in his brain before releasing him, stopping him from killing Rosa outright. The Doctor smashes his vortex manipulator and Krasko grabs her by the throat but can't harm her and now he needs her to get him out of the time zone.
When the Doctor asks why he's there, Krasko says that it's where things started to go wrong. He figured that Rosa's actions changed the world. The Doctor tells him to go somewhere else, and then realizes that he plans to change history. Krasko says that they'll see if she can stop him and leaves.
Rosa and Ryan go inside, and Rosa introduces Ryan to her husband Raymond, Fred Gray, and Martin Luther King. Ryan is awestruck to meet King and says Grace would have loved to meet him.
Yasmin works out Rosa's timeline.
Graham finds Blake and talks to him, and Blake talks about how it's part of his job to keep the coloreds separate from the whites. Blake says that he's going fishing the next day, saying that a fellow from the depot came by and told him that the route changed so they wouldn't need him.
Ryan joins Rosa outside and says that he got to meet them all and talk with them. He tells Rosa that things will get better and it's worth the fight, and thanks her on behalf of himself and Grace. Rosa says that she hasn't done anything, and Ryan leaves.
Back at the hotel, Graham tells the others that Blake is taking the day off and Krasko has taken over and reassigned the route to Elias Griffin Jr. The Doctor figures that Krasko is planning to nudge history enough so that it doesn't happen, and they need to keep history in order by making sure that Rosa is told to stand rather than sit. Ryan fiddles with Krasko's displacer until the Doctor takes it away, and Ryan and Yasmin come up with the same idea.
The next morning, the Doctor and Yasmin go to see Griffin and tell him that he's won an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas. However, he has to leave immediately and they've assigned someone to cover him. Griffin says that he and his wife will go, and the Doctor rips off part of her jacket and tells Yasmin that they need to stay close to Rosa.
Graham and Ryan find Blake fishing and Blake is less than thrilled to see Ryan. They say that they heard that black groups are planning sit-ins, and Blake angrily goes back.
The Doctor and Yasmin go to the store and the Doctor asks Rosa to fix her coat. Yasmin offers to keep Rosa company and Rosa agrees to fix the coat. The Doctor whispers to Yasmin that she's going to get Graham and Ryan, and Yasmin shouldn't let Rosa out of her sight and make sure that she's on the bus on time.
When Blake goes to the bus company, Krasko is posing as a mechanic. He's secretly wrecked the bus, and tells Blake that they'll cancel the route. Graham and Ryan secretly watch and realize that Krasko is a step ahead. The Doctor joins them and tell Ryan to check every bus stop along Blake's route and tell them that the bus is coming and they have to wait. The bus has to be crowded enough that Rosa is expected to move.
Graham and the Doctor steal a bus and take it to Blake, and says that it's his replacement bus. He says that none of the other drivers knew anything about the sit-in, but the Doctor rushes him aboard. They get on the bus with him and he leaves, and Krasko is watching from across the street.
Ryan discovers that Krasko has put up notices of suspension at the bus stops.
Rosa tells Yasmin about how she continued her education, and the promise of tomorrow keeps her going. She's impressed that Yasmin is a police officer, and Yasmin prepares to work overtime to finish her job.
People board the bus and Graham realizes that it's emptier than the previous night.
Ryan runs around telling people that the busses are still running. He tries to convince an elderly white couple to wait, and the man takes offense and keeps walking with his wife.
Rosa finishes the Doctor's coat that she's working on and Yasmin rushes her out the door.
Ryan finds Krasko blocking the road with his car and tells him to move. Krasko refuses, and says that he's already runs. He knows the bus is three passengers short so Rosa won't be asked to stand and Ryan's "kind" won't get above themselves. Ryan takes out the displacer he recovered earlier and blasts Krasko into the past, and moves the car.
Yasmin and Rosa get onto the bus and Rosa sees an empty seat. Ryan runs up and comes in, and tells the Doctor that he got rid of Krasko with the "borrowed" displacer. Blake tells him to use the rear door for coloreds, and Ryan goes there as Rosa takes a seat. The Doctor and Yasmin move back, and the Doctor realizes that they have to stay on and take up the seats so that Rosa will be asked to stand up. Yasmin realizes that they're part of the story, and Graham doesn't want to be. The Doctor says that they have to not help Rosa so that history continues on course.
Blake tells Rosa to clear her seat, and Rosa gets up. She glares at Blake and then sits back down. Blake comes back and tells her to stand up, and Rosa refuses. The Doctor and the others watch as Blake goes to call the police. Mason and the other officers arrive and arrest Rosa, Ryan waves to her as she's taken away.
Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor tells her companions that Rosa's actions led to a boycott of the busses in Montgomery. In a year, segregation on busses was ended. Life was still hard for Rosa, but they kept fighting and eventually Rosa received a Congressional Medal of Honor. Ryan points out that it took Rosa's entire life, and the Doctor says that she changed the entire universe. She shows her companions an asteroid outside the TARDIS named after Rosa.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 22, 2018