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Demons of the Punjab Recap

At their flat, the Khans are celebrating Nani Umbreen's birthday. Yasmin says that she has to celebrate her birthday, and Nani points out that she was the first woman married in Pakistan and now she's in a wheelchair. She talks about her deceased husband and gives her daughter and granddaughters things that belonged to her husband. Nani gives Yasmin a wristwatch with a broken face, and says that it must never be fixed. She refuses to say why and talks about the stories she could tell them, and tells her granddaughters that she might when they're older.

Back at the TARDIS, Yasmin shows the Doctor the watch and asks to go back to 1947 and find out what happened to her grandmother. The Doctor warns that it could be a risk but loops the watch into the TARDIS telepathic circuits. Graham and Ryan agree and the Doctor pilots the TARDIS to India. They materialize near the border and as the Doctor walks off she gets a sudden migraine and flashes of insectoid aliens. As a man comes by on a wagon, the Doctor tells the others what happened and says that she didn't like it at all. The man, Prem, warns them that the roads aren't safe. Yasmin explains that they're looking for Umbreen, claiming that they're "family friends", and Prem offers them a ride. As they get on, the Doctor tells Yasmin that she intercepted something in her brain.

As they get on the wagon, Prem says that he's a flower merchant. A holy man comes by and Prem offers him a ride. The holy man says that he'd rather walk and Prem heads on in the wagon. Above them in the trees, one of the aliens watches the holy man walk along the road after the others leave.

Prem's wagon arrives at a farm and Umbreen comes out and complains that Prem is late. He tells them that his passengers are her family, and Yasmin comes over and stares at her grandmother. Much to Umbreen's surprise, Yasmin hugs her and says that they're distant relatives. When Graham says that they're from England, Prem advises him to keep it to himself. Umbreen says that she's getting married tomorrow... to Prem. Yasmin realizes that Prem isn't her grandfather, and the Doctor says that they're just there to offer their best wishes and leaves. Prem's younger brother Manish xx comes out, and Yasmin and the Doctor notice that Prem is wearing the watch.

Umbreen's mother Hasna comes out and says that it's been announced. The others go inside, and Manish says that he has advanced information. Once he leaves, Yasmin tells the others that Prem isn't her grandfather because Prem is Hindu and she's Muslim, and doesn't look anything like the photos. Yasmin refuses to go until they've resolved the mystery, and goes to help Manish. The Doctor complains that they shouldn't have gone and then eagerly goes inside to hear what's going on.

In the barn, the family is listening to a newscast about the announcement of the border between India and Pakistan. Umbreen insists that nothing has changed, and Manish tells them that it's 1947... and the partition of India. They go over to the stream where Manish is putting up a border marker, and the Doctor tells Yasmin when it is. She warns that millions will die, while Manish tells his family that he got word weeks of ago from his sources of where the border would fall. He points out that the farm is on the Pakistan side with the other Muslims, and that Prem has a hard decision to make since Umbreen is Hindu. The Doctor has another migraine, and two of the aliens--demons--appear in the forest nearby. The Doctor scans them and they disappear, and she says that they'll deal with it.

The Doctor and her companions run into the forest and find the aliens standing over the holy man. The aliens gesture and the entire group suffer debilitating migraines. Prem arrives and shoots at the aliens, and they disappear. They go over and confirm that holy man is dead, and Prem explains that he was a holy man that they invited to bless the marriage. The Doctor wonders why Prem is taking it so calmly, and he says that he's seen the aliens before when he was a soldier. He asks who they are, and the Doctor points out that there's a glowing dust on the holy man's body. The Doctor confirms that the holy man wasn't poisoned. Prem says that Manish has changed since he went off to war, and the Doctor picks up energy traces nearby. Graham and Yasmin go back to the barn while the Doctor and Ryan go looking for the aliens and Prem insists on going with them. The Doctor warns Yasmin that she's treading on her own history and could erase herself if she makes the wrong move.

The Doctor, Ryan, and Prem follow the energy traces and Manish points out that the English have cut up his country. They come to a transmat doorway buried in the forest floor, and it teleports them inside. There's no sign of the aliens, and the Doctor activates a device and realizes that it's a Thijarian Hive. She says that the Thijarian are assassins and brings up an image of the holy man, and asks Prem where he's seen them before. Prem refuses to talk about it, but Ryan says that they can help him and Prem says that he saw the Thijarian in Singapore when he was fighting. They were standing over his older brother's dead body, and then they disappeared in the haze as the evacuation sounded. Prem took his brother's necklace and ran, and the Doctor says that they'll protect the entire family.

A cylinder filled with the dust rises out of the central mechanism, and the Doctor takes it. The Thijarian appear and telepathically "say" that the trio have desecrated the sacred Hive, and everyone winces in pain from the resulting migraines. The Doctor says that the Thijarian are desecrating the planet and she knows who they are, and tells them to leave the people alone. She uses her sonic to teleport her and her friends out, but when Ryan and Prem run they disappear. The Thijarians appear and the Doctor spots a miniaturized transmat lock on the nearby trees. She grabs it and runs.

Ryan and Prem rematerialize elsewhere in the forest and continue running.

Yasmin and Graham return to the barn and tells them that the holy man is dead. Hasna tells Manish that his family is cursed, and Manish goes to get the holy man's body while Hasna prays for the family. Umbreen says that they can't go on with the wedding because the holy man had agreed to marry a Hindu to a Muslim and there are few who would. However, she refuses to give up that easily on the one certain thing in her life. Graham and Yasmin go outside, and Yasmin says her grandmother inspired her. However, she figures that Nani lied to her. Graham suggests that she didn't want to tell her everything and advises Yasmin to live the moment and figure it out later.

Ryan and Prem return yelling that the Doctor is gone, and Graham and Yasmin come over as the Doctor joins them. She yells at them to get into the barn, puts one of the transmat locks on the ground, and runs into the barn with the others. The Doctor plants the other lock on the ground, and the Thijarian teleport in and tells them not to interfere or they'll die. Prem offers himself if the aliens leave the others, and the Doctor tells them that she's locking them out of the barn using the transmat locks. She activates the one in the barn, teleporting them out, and says that she's created a transmat barrier around the barn so they can get married. The Doctor warns that the barrier will only keep the Thijarians out for twelve to eighteen hours, and Umbreen says that they're going to get married.

The Doctor opens the canister and analyzes the contents, but her sonic overloads from the data input. She sends her companions to get local parts so she can analyze the contents old-school. Once they have everything, the Doctor starts breaking the content down. Umbreen comes in and invites them to the wedding. In the Hive, the Thijarians monitor the barn through the lock.

The woman gather in the house and Umbreen tells Yasmin that she's known Prem their entire leaves. She sees her life mapped out with them there, and Hasna says that they may not let them stay. Hasna tells them that she heard gunshots earlier and points out the misery that follows Prem. Umbreen doesn't care about traditions and then asks the Doctor to officiate their marriage. The Doctor agrees and sheepishly admits to Yasmin that she's just getting a little involved.

Prim meets with Graham, Ryan, and Manish to play cards. Manish says that he thinks his brother has lost his mind, and asks if Prem loves him. Prem tells him that he loves him even if he doesn't recognize the younger brother he left behind, and Manish warns that Prem and Umbreen can't live together there. He says that they changed when the line was drawn, and abruptly walks out.

Graham and Ryan go back to the others and Yasmin wonders why Nani never told her family about what happened. The Doctor analyzes the contents and determine that it contains billions of DNA fragments. The transmat lock breaks, and the Thijarians teleport in, grab the Doctor, and teleport back to the Hive. She asks if they've come to assassinate her, and they says that they're not assassins. The aliens say that they have changed and they honor the lost as they cannot honor their own. Their homeworld was destroyed and the survivors returned to find nothing. The canister contains the remains of all their ancestors, who died unwitnessed and unsaved. The two Thijarians gave up a hundred generations to sift the dust and mourn the dead. Now they travel across time space mourning those who die alone and honor life as it passes. The Thijarians says that millions will die during the partition, and they came there because Prem's time is soon. The Doctor asks them to give him one name, and the Thijarians say that the fixed force of time cannot be stopped. The aliens show the Doctor how the holy man died.

Later, the Doctor teleports back to the barn and tells her companions that the Thijarians told her everything. She says that Prem dies that day and they have to let it happens so that Yasmin lives. Umbreen loses her husband on the day that they marry and never speaks of it. Yasmin wants to stay and make sure Umbreen is harmed, and Ryan and Graham agree. The Doctor gives in but wars that they can't tell the family what they know.

The next morning, the wedding begins and Graham places a necklace of flowers around Prem's neck. Manish left early but Prem says that his brother will be there. He heard the violence getting closer during the night, and explains that people who have lived there all of their lives have been whipped into a mob. Prem wonders how they protect people when hatred is coming from all sides, and Graham says that all they can do is strive to be good men. He assures Prem that he's a good man and hugs him, and takes him to be married.

Umbreen chooses to be married on the new border. Yasmin cries and Hasna asks if she's okay. The Doctor breaks the barrier rope and tells the couple that she sees the certainty that they have in each other. She says that they are committing to love, making them the strongest people on the world. Umbreen picks up the rope and asks Yasmin to finalize their marriage by tying their hands together. Manish returns and looks on.

Inside, Umbreen says that they get to have their day because of Manish, who kept on through the droughts and famine. She asks if he will let her feed him, and Manish says that he worked the land for his brothers: one who didn't come back and one who wishes he hadn't come back. He tells them that none of it will make a difference in the face of what is coming and walks out. The Doctor goes after Manish and Prem gives Umbreen the watch as a mahr to keep forever. He drops it and Hasna says that they are cursed. Umbreen assures her husband that it's perfect and they kiss.

Manish grabs a gun and the Doctor asks him if he used it to kill the holy man. He insists that it's his time to fight, and tells the Doctor to leave with her friends if they want to live. Horses sounds in the distance and Manish says that the future is coming. The Doctor rides out and sees the horsemen coming, then goes into the barn and tells everyone that they have to leave. Hasna refuses to abandon her land to thugs, and the Doctor explains that Manish killed the holy man with Prem's rifle. Umbreen agrees with Hasna, and Prem tells them to get anything essential from the house and come back. In the house, Yasmin sees a map of the world and recognizes Sheffield. Umbreen says that she picked a place at random to go to and selected Sheffield. when they return to the barn, Prem says that he has to talk to Manish. Umbreen refuses to leave her husband, but Prem says that he will distract the horsemen long enough for the others to escape. Prem and Umbreen kiss, and then she leaves with Hasna. The Doctor offers to go with Prem, but he says that they are demons he has to face alone.

Going out, Prem faces the horsemen as they ride toward the farm. Yasmin and the others see him, and Manish tells Prem that they are checking the land for people that don't belong. Prem says that everyone is welcome there, and tells Manish that he knows he killed the holy man. Manish declares that the holy man was not holy if he would approve such a union, and Prem asks what happened to him. One man draws his gun on Prem, who says that they fought together in Siam and made a good team. Manish insists that Prem and his brother fought for his country, and Prem tells him that it wasn't what he fought for.

The Thijarians teleport to the Doctor and her companions and says that they will watch over Prem now.

Prem begs Manish to yield, but Manish knocks his hand away.

The Doctor tells Yasmin that it's time to leave.

The horsemen shoot Prem down.

The Thijarians teleport back to the hive and honor Prem's memory, uniting his image with all the millions of others that they have honored.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor tells Yasmin that Umbreen made it out and lived. Later back at home, Yasmin asks Nani if she was happy with how her life turned out. Nani says that she is and she loves Sheffield for the stability and home that it gave them. The old woman asks if Yasmin wants to know about the watch, and Yasmin tells her to tell her another time.

Written by Gadfly on Nov 12, 2018

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