After their recent events with The Doctor, including travelling in the past where they got to meet Rosa Parks (see the previous story "Rosa"), her three companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, find themselves back in present-day Sheffield. The Doctor announces to the group that they have arrived just half an hour after they were accidentally teleported away (see "The Woman Who Fell to Earth"). This is after a very bumpy ride and many abortive attempts to return her three travelling companions home, and in the correct time period, making Graham wonder if The Doctor can actually control the TARDIS.
The TARDIS has materialised outside the Park Hill housing complex where Yasmin lives. Seeing how sad The Doctor is to part ways with them, Yasmin invites her to join her for tea. The Doctor's face brightens and she accepts the invitation. Fellow companions, Ryan and Graham, are also invited. Ryan accepts but Graham declines, deciding he wants to stop by his home as he feels he needs some time to himself to grieve over the death of his wife, Grace.
After introducing The Doctor and Ryan to her father and sister Yasmin gets a phone call from her mum, Najia, asking Yasmin to come and pick her up after she is sacked from her job in a nearby hotel. While waiting for Yasmin to return The Doctor and Ryan decide to visit the family's next-door neighbour to collect a parcel that had been delivered there a few days earlier. Outside their next-door neighbour’s front door they meet a woman who introduces herself as Jade McIntyre who explains that one of her colleagues, Anna, has not been to work for the last few days and has not called in sick. Gaining entry to the flat the group discover it is covered in spider webs. They soon discover Anna’s dead body lying on her bed covered in spider webs. The Doctor deduces that she has been killed by a large spider. The question is where is the spider now? After finding nothing in the wardrobe The Doctor and Jade move for the door as Ryan checks under the bed discovering the spider which, when it crawls out from under the bed, they discover it is the size of a small dog. Exiting from the bedroom as quickly as they can The Doctor uses vinegar and garlic taken from the kitchen to spread it on the floor, walls and ceiling in a square to dissuade the giant spider from following them and so becoming a bigger threat if it gets outside.
|Yasmin Exits the TARDIS
On leaving Anna's flat they are joined by Graham who has also discovered that the attic of his house is filled with spider webs and an unusually large shed spider skin. The Doctor notes Jade wasn't surprised by the spider webs in Anna's flat and demands she reveals what she knows. The group learn that Jade is an arachnologist who has been investigating strange bizarre behaviour patterns with the spiders in Sheffield.
They head to Jade's lab, where she explains her lab had been working on enlarging spiders to harvest their webs as its more durable than Kevlar. However, on discovering that something was wrong with the spiders, they have now suspended the experiments. Jade then pulls out a map, which she has marked all the unusual activity, that she has become aware of. On looking at the map The Doctor realises that the spiders are sending a message, grabbing a marker and connecting the dots on the map. It forms a web with an empty area in the middle - a recently built luxury hotel complex. This is the same hotel which Najia worked at until recently before being fired by its American owner, Robertson.
|Ryan and Graham
Arriving at the hotel, and joined by Robertson, Yasmin and Najia, the group learn that giant spiders are infesting the complex. One of these attacks Robertson when he visits a bathroom. He manages to escape from the advancing spider which had gained access to the bathroom via the bathtub. On hearing the commotion Robertson's bodyguard, Kevin, enters the bathroom, gun at the ready, as Robertson makes a hasty retreat. Robertson shuts him in with the spider. Gunshots are heard. On opening the bathroom door Robertson witnesses the giant spider dragging Kevin into a large hole where the bathtub used to be.
On entering the bathroom, The Doctor decides to poke her head down the hole to see what is down there and discovers another large spider. On exiting the bathroom The Doctor tells everyone they need to get somewhere bright for their safety. However, Robertson and Ryan are for leaving the hotel altogether. Everyone agrees and starts running back to the hotel's entrance. However, on reaching the lobby, they find that the spiders have webbed up the entrance to trap them inside the hotel. Realising that the spiders intend to trap them as prey, The Doctor tasks Graham and Ryan with capturing a spider for examination, while the rest go to the basement and discover that the spiders have come from abandoned mine tunnels that are beneath the complex. There they come across two cocoons, one of which contains the body of Kevin. The Doctor however, discovers something far worse further in - finding that a cavernous area of the mine has been used as a landfill. Though he attempts to deny having any knowledge of this, Robertson relents and reveals that his waste disposal company JLR Disposal has cut corners and dumped the waste in the old mine so as to make a profit. The Doctor notes that this is effectively toxic waste which has been building up and getting more toxic. On hearing this disposal company's name Jade reveals to The Doctor that her experiments involved genetically modified spiders and that it is highly likely that the giant spiders are the offspring of a specimen that must have been dumped by the same company, on the belief that it was dead. On learning this The Doctor theorises that the toxicity of the dumping ground has mutated the spiders further causing them to grow to a large size.
Upstairs in the hotel Graham and Ryan manage to capture one of the giant spiders but in doing so they are chased by a horde of others. Fleeing in panic they manage to get back to the kitchen so that Jade can examine the specimen. She wonders though if it is the biggest one. Ryan tells her that there's no way that they're going back out there to find out – which is exactly what The Doctor asks them to do. Wondering around the hotel they find themselves in the ballroom. Initially they do not find any spiders there but then they both realise that they did not check the ceiling when they walked in. They shine their torches up and to their horror find an enormous spider on the ceiling. As they turn and run, it lands with a loud thud on the floor and starts to chase after them, but they manage to slam the doors in its face so trapping the spider in the ballroom.
Reunited back in the kitchen The Doctor concludes that the huge spider, Graham and Ryan discovered in the ballroom, is the mother spider, and the rest are its offspring. The Doctor comes up with a plan to kill the spiders humanely by getting the group to lure them into a panic room that Robertson had built into the hotel. Attracted by the supplies of food in the panic room, and to get away from the load music that Ryan plays over the hotel's speakers, they are soon locked inside. The group then arrive in the ballroom to deal with the mother spider. But The Doctor and Jade realise that the mother spider is dying from being unable to adjust to its massive size. However, before The Doctor can ensure that the giant spider dies humanely, Robertson kills it with his bodyguard's gun, much to The Doctor's disgust. Angered by his actions, The Doctor tells Robertson that the spider wasn't a threat as it was already dying. Robertson though passes it off as a mercy-killing.
With the situation resolved and later that evening, Graham, Ryan and Yasmin contemplate returning to their normal lives. They all meet back outside the TARDIS and once The Doctor lets them in where they all decide to continue their travels so they can see more of the universe, much to The Doctor’s delight. Together, they pull the lever to start their new adventures through space and time.