Ian describes the Doctor as "the ultimate wanderer."
As their travels in the TARDIS continue, Ian notes that the Doctor's influence is rubbing off on himself and Barbara. Recently, they have become increasingly likely to embroil themselves in events outside of the ship.
Grigory describes himself as a strannik, a religious pilgrim, whereas Mikhail Kropyn refers to him as a starets, an elder of the Church who is believed to be a faith healer. However, he is not a priest.
Grigory tells Ian that he spent much of his youth carousing around the village where he grew up. His sister Maria and his brother Dmitri both drowned in separate accidents. He himself almost suffered the same fate on the latter occasion but managed to survive. He believes that God gave him a special purpose to fulfil and that he was not able to save his siblings as he was not destined to do so. He subsequently named his two children after them.
Grigory claims to know the future. He tells Ian that he does not experience visions but instead possesses an ingrained certainty that events will follow a particular course.
The Doctor tells Ian that the chronon particles emitted by the alien device have a deleterious effect on time travellers and are also damaging to the health of ordinary humans if they come into physical contact with it, though not to the same extent. It effects the Doctor and Susan more seriously than Ian and Barbara as they have travelled through time far more extensively.
The alien device was designed for the purposes of information gathering. It was seriously damaged either in transit or when it fell to Earth. Due to the emission of chronon particles by its damaged power source, it began to detect and record humanity's future at a rate of approximately 1,000 years per day. Once it has reached the limit of its information retention capabilities, it will vent its information around the Earth and every human will gain precise knowledge of the future.
Grigory tells Ian that the Doctor's presence is woven throughout the tapestry of human history.
The information gathering device, the ranger, was created by the Dahensa. They have yellow, glowing eyes and four arms. Two of their arms end in scorpion-like pincers whereas the other two end in humanoid fingers. They will attempt to invade Earth at least once more at some point in the next 1,000 years.
By connecting the ranger into the telepathic circuits of the TARDIS, the Doctor is able to remove the knowledge of the future from Grigory's mind. The Doctor tells Ian that he may still be able to remember these events, though probably only in the form of dreams.
While the synopsis stated that the story takes place at the end of the 19th century, within the story it is stated that it is the turn of the century or perhaps a bit later. Grigori Rasputin, who became a journeying pilgrim in 1901, arrived in St Petersburg in 1903, dating this story with more specificity. As the story states that Rasputin (1869-1916) is in his early 30s, the story must also take place after 1899.