A couple, Daniel Berry and his pregnant wife Rosie, go out in a field near Nethermoor at night. Daniel wonders if they should leave Nethermoor before the baby comes, but Rosie insists that it’s her home. As they kiss, a shooting star passes overhead... and crashes down in a near field. The couple goes to investigate and they find a smoking crater. Strange humanoid creatures emerge from the crater and Daniel tells Rosie to run. She trips and the creatures grab her, and Daniel goes back and tries to fight them.
The next morning, a farmer is walking his dog and comes across Daniel, clad in his underwear and unconscious. The farmer wakes Daniel up, and he calls to his missing wife.
Soon, Arthur, Harry, and Adelaide are taking the train to Nethermoor. After Adelaide steps out of their compartment, Harry says that he has someone looking into Penelope Graves. Arthur seems uninterested, and Harry points out that he’s taking a six-hour train journey just to prove Martians were sighted in Nethermoor. The writer says that he respects Adelaide’s privacy, but Harry points out that Adelaide’s husband was a businessman who died two years later. Now Adelaide is working as a constable, and Harry figures that there’s some kind of scandal involved. Arthur figures that Adelaide will tell them when they earn her trust.
Adelaide returns and says that they’ll be in Nethermoor shortly, and points out that she’s missing the key to her satchel. Harry picks the lock and offers to share, saying there should be no secrets between friends.
In Nethermoor, Constable Booth tells the local s that they’ll help him search for Rosie. Their leader, Jim Gorton, figure that Daniel knows where Rosie is because he killed her. The trio arrives and introduces themselves, and Booth tells Jim and the others that they’ve come from London to help them find Rosie. Adelaide assures Jim that they’ll find his niece, but Jim says that it isn’t her problem. Booth tells Jim not to make things worse, and Harry offers to buy Jim a drink. He refuses to take a handout and tosses the coin back, and tells Booth to decide whose side he’s on: the village or a black man like Daniel.
Once the villagers leave, Booth admits that he’s surprised Merring sent the three of them to help. He admits that Daniel’s tale is far-fetched so he’s keeping him locked up. If he were to let Daniel out then the villagers would kill him. The trio talks to Daniel, who describes the aliens as spindly creatures with large black eyes. As Arthur examines Daniel’s hands, Daniel figures that they don’t believe him. Adelaide points out that the villagers saw strange lights but no one saw the spaceship. He shows them cuts on his chest and insists that he tried to fight them off, and admits that there are holes in his memories. Daniel begs them to help him find Rosie before the baby comes.
Outside, Arthur says that Daniel is lying. He has Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, associated with alcoholism. The writer suggests that Daniel was cut when Rosie attacked him, and he doesn’t remember what happened. Adelaide and Arthur are surprised when Harry says that he believes Daniel. Harry insists that there’s scientific evidence to back up life on Mars, Arthur figures that Harry is being deliberately contrary since he doesn’t buy Daniel’s story. They both agree that they should find Rosie, and Harry has an idea.
Harry hypnotizes Daniel and he recalls what happened. He describes the smell of flowers and a medallion around one alien’s neck, and Harry has him draw the symbol. Arthur still doesn’t believe that Arthur is telling the truth, even under hypnosis.
At the local tavern, The White Hart, the locals glare at the trio. Arthur notes that search parties didn’t find a crater, and there have been reports of missing sheep. He insists that Daniel created the “aliens” in a drunk delusion, and the bartender Ned overhears them and confirms that Daniel likes his drink. Adelaide realizes that the local drink, saloop, is made from the roots of orchids. She remembers what Daniel said about smelling flowers and they go out into the field to look for the orchids Daniel described.
As they search, Harry talks about Adelaide’s husband dying. She points out that it was two years ago and says that he died of a heart attack. Once she goes on ahead, Harry tells Arthur that thanks to his ability to cold-read someone, he knows that Adelaide lied. He figures that the scandal is either criminal or sexual. Adelaide finds the flowers and they find the crater nearby. There’s a meteorite at the center of it and Arthur figured that it was much bigger as it streaked through the atmosphere. Adelaide finds a medallion nearby and they confirm it matches the drawing that Daniel made.
Back at Nethermoor, the trio shows Daniel the medallion and he confirms that it was the one he saw. Arthur points out that it’s made of lead, but Adelaide points out that lead may not be unique to Earth. Daniel insists that he has to find Rosie, but Booth refuses to let him go. Outside, Booth confirms that Daniel has a temper. Harry suggests that Arthur believes Daniel is guilty because he’s black. Arthur says that the husband is a natural suspect. Booth says that it’s too late for a search party, and Adelaide agrees that they should wait until daybreak. There’s a report of Martha Stiles, a villager, reporting a strange creature on the morning after Rosie’s disappearance. Booth warns that the locals call her “Mad Martha.”
The trio goes to Martha’s house, and she realizes that Harry is Jewish in origin. She figures that they want to ask about the kobolds, but is more interested in Harry’s heritage. Martha explains that her family are Slavs that came to England from Russia. The mines closed and a lot of people died. Harry takes her hand and gets her back on the topic of goblins. She describes them as fragile creatures with fair skin and pendants around their neck.
That night at The White Hart, Harry suggests that the aliens are the “kobolds” that Martha saw, and the angels in the Bible. Ned comes over and says that he has only two rooms, and Adelaide refuses to share with Harry. Jim comes over and accuses them of protecting the darkie, and Harry tells him to leave. Harry tells Jim to hit him in the gut, and says that he gets the next punch. Jim punches him in the face instead, and Harry takes Jim down with a few punches and starts beating him. Arthur finally pulls him off and Harry goes to his room.
Harry is exercising as Arthur goes over Martha’s diary entries. He finally suggests that Harry is projecting the prejudice that he and his family met onto the locals, Arthur says that he understands how Harry feels because he let a black maid take the blame for a watch that he stole from a cousin. Harry isn’t impressed and shows Arthur a photo of Benjamin Graves. Nigel Pennington is in the photo and many others, and Harry figures that they were having an affair and Nigel killed Benjamin to get him out of the way. There’s a photo of George Ives and Arthur recognizes the man as a founding member of the Order of Chaeronea, a group for homosexuals. Harry suggests that Nigel and Benjamin were having an affair and Harry gets into bed and tells Arthur to move over. Arthur starts to light his pipe, and Harry tells him to take it outside.
In her room, Adelaide removes her necklace with a wedding ring on it. As she discovers that her photos are missing, Arthur comes over and asks if she’s all right. She points out that Harry has been acting strangely, and Arthur claims that he has no idea. Adelaide says that she’d hope Arthur would ask her if there was something he wanted to know, and he says that he would before leaving.
Arthur goes outside to smoke and looks at the sky. He hears something moving in the bushes and sees a shadowy figure. He goes over to investigate and something lunges at him from the darkness.
The next morning, Harry wakes up and realizes that Arthur is gone. He finds Adelaide at breakfast and she has no idea where Arthur has gone. He apologizes for the fight and Adelaide says that she understands. Harry describes how when he was a child, he was put in cuffs when the police arrested him after he protested a storekeeper who refused to serve “his kind.” Cecelia told him to never let anyone put him in chains, and Harry never has since then. As Adelaide takes that in, Harry says that he’ll look for Arthur and then they can search for Rosie.
Outside, Harry notices one of Arthur’s matches on the ground. The box is nearby, and Harry spots a pipe. He runs down to the path and finds Arthur in his underwear, unconscious. Arthur says that he saw one of the aliens and Harry gets him back to the White Hart. The writer figures that he was drugged and points out that the aliens left him where he was, but they moved Daniel. Harry figures that they moved Harry to protect their hiding spot,.
Back at the crater, Arthur notes bats flying overhead. He looks for the caves where they nest, and Harry follows him to a nearby opening. They go inside and explore, and Arthur admits that his prejudices blinded him. His own father rambled drunkenly. He imagined Daniel was the same way. They find bones on the cave floor and realize someone was there. Harry admits that he enjoyed being the believer, and Arthur admits that he enjoyed being the skeptical. They come to a group of aliens and the creatures lunge at them.
Back in the village, Booth confronts Jim and a small mob of villagers. Adelaide asks for volunteers, not an angry mob, just as Daniel comes out. She insists that Daniel has been telling the truth anymore, and reminds Jim that his pregnant niece is missing. Jim reluctantly leads his men after them.
In the caves, Harry and Arthur wake up and discover that they’re tied up. Harry tries to slip free., and Arthur finally breaks a nearby oil lamp to use the glass. They wonder why the aliens use oil lamps and rope as they free themselves, and then head for the surface. They come across the missing clothing as well as a supply of plant drugs. There are supplies with Cyrillic script on them, and a date of 1849. The mines closed that year and the villagers drove the Slavic migrants out. The men realize that the “aliens” are migrants who have been living there for half a century. Two families entered the caves to live and never left. They investigated the meteorite when it crashed and captured Rosie.
The migrants move in and stare at them. One of them apologizes for tying them up, and explains that they are planning to escape but need to delay.
Adelaide heads to the crater with the search party.
The elder migrant, Milov, explains that Rosie fell and cut her head, so they brought her back to help her. They steal food and clothing to survive, but never intend harm. The migrants were waiting until Rosie was ready to be moved, but now they have to flee. Harry says that they should return to their world, and Arthur warns that they have rickets and lead poisoning. Milov remembers his father’s stories about the villagers, and Harry tells them that they have to fight for their place in the world. He offers to help them.
The migrants agree, and Harry and Arthur lead them out into the sunlight. The search party arrives and Joe and Arthur are both ready to attack. Rosie comes out with her newborn and Daniel goes to her. She tells her husband that the migrants saved her life, and Milov helped her deliver the baby. Daniel thanks him, and Rosie insists to Jim that the migrants are people just like them. He looks at his nephew and smiles.
Back at Nethermoor, Arthur makes arrangements with the Home Office to have the migrants looked after. Booth delivers a telegram and knedle that Martha made for Harry. On the train back, Adelaide tells Harry that she knows he took her photos from the satchel and put it back. He asks why she changed her name, and suggests that Benjamin was having an affair with Nigel. Adelaide explains that George was her husband’s cousin, but Harry shows her the telegram with a coroner’s report. Benjamin’s death was ruled a suicide, and Adelaide insists that he would never take his own life. She believes that Benjamin was murdered. Arthur is reading the paper, and shows them an article on Nigel’s recent death. Adelaide admits that she doesn’t know what’s going on, but believes that her life is in danger.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 24, 2016