This episode begins with a massive spoiler.
Sue: So the Master’s in this one as well?
We both sigh.
Sue: Oh, it’s the Time Lords! Have they decided to end the Doctor’s exile? That was quick. I don’t think he’s learned a damn thing.
The Doctor, who’s completely oblivious to all this, is tinkering with his faulty dematerialisation circuit.
Sue: Why is he playing with a skateboard wheel? And what does Jo actually do between alien invasions, apart from answer the phone?
The Doctor leads Jo into the TARDIS for a quick tour, but the ship suddenly dematerialises without the Doctor’s consent. Seconds later, a perplexed Brigadier walks into the now-empty room.
Me: Do you wish the Brigadier had gone with them?
Sue: Not really. Somebody has to stay behind and look after the Earth.
Nicol joins us as a mining robot traverses a bleak alien landscape.
Nicol: It’s basically Wall-E, but not as cute.
And then the TARDIS arrives.
Me: Did you notice that the TARDIS materialises slightly differently in this story? It just pops into the frame.
Sue: I can’t say I’m bothered, really. I suppose the fans get worked up about that, do they? Don’t tell me – they blame it on the Time Lords because they’re controlling the Doctor’s TARDIS. Am I right?
Waiting outside the TARDIS doors is an alien world.
Sue: What happened to the Doctor’s little porch? I liked his little porch. That little porch explained a lot.
Jo starts freaking out.
Sue: It’s an interesting reaction. It’s very realistic, and I like that. I’d feel the same way if I suddenly found myself on an alien planet. Actually, this is how I felt when I arrived at that Doctor Who convention in Newcastle the other week.
Nicol: I don’t like Jo’s belt. She looks like she’s wearing a seatbelt that she’s stolen from a plane.
Sue: Yes, it is very Wonder Woman.
Me: Oh look, it’s Penny’s dad from Just Good Friends.
Sue: He’s in Doctor Who quite a lot. He can’t get enough of it. I bet he always auditioned for the part of the Doctor when it came up.
The colonists can’t stop banging on about crop rotations and mineral rights.
Sue: So this is basically the same plot as Avatar, yes? Does Jo fall in love with one of the green blokes?
And then the colonists are attacked by a giant lizard.
Sue: Quick! We’re surrounded by back projection! Run! Hey, hang on a minute… How did that giant lizard get through the bloody door?
The Doctor makes the same observation.
Me: You are just as clever as the Doctor, love. Well done.
As Sue pats herself on the back, the Doctor is attacked by an IMC robot.
Sue: That isn’t even remotely scary.
Nicol: It looks like a surprised kitten.
The Doctor’s new mode of transportation leaves a lot to be desired.
Sue: Didn’t the Banana Splits ride around in buggies like that?
Me: (Pointing at Morgan) Who’s that, Sue?
Sue: I have no idea.
Me: Come on, love. You’ll let me down if you don’t recognise him.
Sue: Is it Downtown Abbey Man?
Me: Downtown Abbey Man would have been eight years old when this was made.
Nicol: Oh, mother!
Me: And to think I actually sell this blog on your ability to recognise actors who have appeared in EastEnders.
Five minutes later, the penny drops.
Sue: Oh, it’s Barry’s dad!
Me: Yes, it’s Barry’s dad. Aka Roy Evans, or Tony Caunter to his friends.
Sue: Is the Doctor drinking Ribena?
Nicol: No, it’s blood. I told you he was dressed as Dracula. At least the other characters refer to the fact that the Doctor is wearing fancy dress, although it’s a bit rich coming from someone dressed in a tabard.
Sue: This spaceship looks like your average Travelodge. It just needs a little coffee maker. It’s even got cable TV – look!
Nicol sniggers at the Doctor’s combat moves when he’s ambushed by green-skinned natives, but Sue is distracted by something else.
Sue: Oi! Roy Evans! How about getting out of the car and giving the Doctor a hand? You coward!
Sue thinks she’s identified a subtle in-joke.
Sue: Gail Tilsley just laughed when she mentioned Jim’ll Fix It.
Me: It isn’t a reference to Jim’ll Fix It, because that doesn’t start for another four years.
Sue: Really? So why did she laugh like that? It’s as if she knew.
Me: Either Helen Worth is a time traveller with incredibly low aspirations or it’s just a coincidence. Take your pick.
When Morgan and the Doctor reach the dome, Nicol points excitedly at the screen.
Nicol: It’s the Crystal Dome from The Crystal Maze! Is it full of shiny bits of paper?
Sue: It’s a mini-Epcot. I’d love to live in a dome like that. That design is particularly good against wind.
The Doctor is attacked by a robot with monster claws for hands.
Sue: That is ridiculous.
Nicol: They should have stuck some cat paws on it.
Sue: When does the Master turn up?
Sue: The colonists’ hair is very shiny, especially when you consider that they live in a dust bowl. They don’t have any food but they’ve got plenty of conditioner.
As Caldwell ruminates on the colonists’ predicament, Sue comes up with a theory.
Sue: This bloke reminds me of the Brigadier. He’ll come good in the end. You can tell because he has a moustache. Only the bad don’t have moustaches, apart from the Doctor and Jo, of course. Oh, and the bad guy who’s pretending to be a good guy and has a beard. It’s fairly easy to work out.
Nicol: The costumes are all over the place – it’s a cross between Tron and Game of Thrones.
Winton is machine-gunned off-screen by Caldwell.
Sue: How grim is this? Oh, wait, he’s got a moustache so he’s only pretending to be bad.
The colonists and IMC continue to argue over the rights to the planet Uxarieus.
Sue: Why are the colonists so determined to stay on this shit hole? It’s not exactly Barbados, is it? Or that lovely planet in Avatar. They can’t even get their crops to grow there. I’d have left this dump ages ago.
The episode concludes with Jo being shoved into a hole in a wall.
Sue: I’m enjoying this. I think I like it because it isn’t about the Doctor for a change. I enjoy learning about the other characters and their predicaments. It’s very involving. Yeah, I like this a lot.
Sue: So it really was back projection all along!
Me: And they would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky colonists. Yes, this is basically a politically-charged version of Scooby-Doo.
And then the Master turns up to muddy the waters even further.
Sue: Ooh! It’s the Master!
Me: You knew he was coming. They gave it away in the very first sentence of the story!
Sue: I knew he was coming, but I’m still surprised to see him. Does that make any sense?
Me: No, it bloody doesn’t.
Sue: It throws my facial hair theory out of the window, though. Which is a shame.
The primitives’ leader doesn’t have a moustache, either.
Sue: It’s a baby with a walnut for a head! That is very disturbing. Anything that looks like a baby but talks like an adult is wrong. It’s starting to freak me out.
The episode concludes with the Master threatening to shoot the Doctor and Jo.
Sue: You know, this isn’t bad at all. If this were four episodes, it would be perfect.
Me: There are still two left.
Sue: I know.
It’s another one of those episodes where Sue doesn’t comment much; a combination of her being genuinely involved in the story and running out of things to say about moustaches.
Sue: I really like the Master. He’s always fun to watch. He’s charming and you can’t help but root for him.
The Doctor and Jo break into the Master’s TARDIS.
Sue: It looks exactly like the Doctor’s. Do they make TARDISes out of Gallifreyan flatpacks?
But the Master’s TARDIS possesses something that the Doctor’s doesn’t: an anti-theft device.
Sue: Why doesn’t the Doctor have a security feature like that? The Master always shows him up, doesn’t he? And he doesn’t have a little porch either. That’s odd. It’s as if they’re filming this in the Doctor’s TARDIS…
Me: Don’t be absurd, woman!
Sue: And now the music sounds like something from The Clangers.
Me: The Clangers in Doctor Who? Don’t be ridiculous!
Jo trips the Master’s alarm (“You dozy mare!”) and gas starts pouring into the console room.
Sue: Stick your cloak in the pipe!
The colonists are told that not only will they have to leave the planet, they can’t take more than seven kilos of luggage with them.
Sue: That’s even worse than Ryanair!
And then the Master threatens to kill Jo with a Bakewell tart.
Sue: I’m still enjoying this… Please stop looking at me like that, Neil.
The Master and the Doctor are taken to the lumber-room.
Sue: What the hell is a lumber-room? Where are all the planks of wood? You can’t tease me with carpentry and then fail to deliver like that.
The Master shows off Uxarieus’ Doomsday weapon.
Sue: The Doctor and the Master always end up working together at the end. The Master is crying out for some sort of relationship with his so-called nemesis. He must be really lonely. I think the Master needs to get himself a companion.
And then, for no readily apparent reason, Winton wrestles an IMC guard in the mud.
Sue: This isn’t turning me on, you know. I just want to be clear about that. Ouch! I think he really just punched him in the face!
The colonists’ ship takes off. And then immediately explodes.
Sue: No way! That’s ****ing grim! They must have snuck out when no one was looking. They’ll be fine… It’s fine… It had better be fine, Neil!
As the Master tempts the Doctor with universal domination, Sue thinks she’s about to witness the start of the Time War.
Sue: Does the Doctor blow up Gallifrey with this super-weapon? Is that what happens?
But the Master’s plans are interrupted by the high priest in a high chair.
Sue: Uh oh, here comes Yoda again.
The Doctor sets the Doomsday weapon to self-destruct.
Sue: Why didn’t they do that earlier? Is it because the walnut baby couldn’t reach the lever with his tiny arms?
The Master evacuates the city.
Sue: The Master runs like a girl!
The Doctor and Jo escape as the city explodes behind them.
Sue: Why kill all the natives like that? It wasn’t their fault! That was a bit extreme.
The Master escapes in his TARDIS.
Sue: The Master’s TARDIS just popped out of shot, and he isn’t controlled by the Time Lords, so that blows that theory out of the water. All you’re left with now is an incompetent director.
Meanwhile back at UNIT HQ…
Sue: Yay! The Brig! I’ve missed him.
The Brigadier isn’t impressed by the Doctor’s little jaunt.
Sue: So they’ve only been gone a few seconds. That’s clever.
Me: It didn’t feel like a few seconds to me.
Sue: Oh, do shut up, Neil.
Sue: The final episode was very weak. The first four episodes were great – it was actually heading for top marks at one point – but the alien creatures let it down. And even though I like the Master, was he really necessary? His inclusion felt like a contractual obligation. In fact, the plot was pretty good until it went a bit mad towards the end. The acting was quite good, too. It’s a tough one. I’ve seen a lot worse. Yeah, I think I’ll give it a respectable:
Me: Phew. Anything higher than a six and I would have divorced you.
Sue: I don’t see what your problem is. Can I mark it up to an eight, just to annoy you?
Me: I’ll grow a moustache if you do.