The Doctor and Romana are en route to Gallifrey.
Sue: Two K9s this week – how exciting is that? I bet they’ll conduct an extensive analysis of each other’s arses as soon as they meet.
Romana doesn’t want to go home.
Sue: Poor Romana. As soon as she gets back to Gallifrey, she should nick a TARDIS and bugger off again. I like her outfit this week. Very Romany, which is appropriate, I guess.
Suddenly, the TARDIS begins to shimmer and shake.
Sue: It’s the Black Guardian. It must be.
But the anomaly soon passes and the TARDIS arrives at its destination. The Doctor steps outside.
Sue: That isn’t Gallifrey!
The Doctor: This isn’t Gallifrey!
Sue: Yes, I know. I just said that.
Who makes her an expert on Gallifrey all of a sudden?
But even though the scanner displays images of their home planet, the TARDIS has landed somewhere completely different.
Sue: A gay nudist colony by the look of it. That’s nice.
Sadly, characters not swimming in the river remain fully clothed (although they could be throwing a pyjama party).
Sue: Is this Gallifrey in the distant past? Do these people become the Time Lords?
Me: You know how the Doctor said we weren’t on Gallifrey?
Me: Well, that’s because WE ARE NOT ON GALLIFREY!
Sue: Oh well, at least it’s a nice location. Ooh, he’s very easy on the eye.
Don’t worry, she’s referring to Varsh.
But a boy named Adric does grab her attention.
Sue: I’ve seen him somewhere before… I’m sure you’ve mentioned this character to me at some point. Adric… Adric… his name rings a bell.
On a crashed Starliner, a scientist named Dexeter is examining a slide under a microscope. He is worried about a coming Mistfall and the signs of the its approach. He reads aloud from a notebook:
Dexeter: A kind of spider. Incomprehensible lifeform. Infectious.
Sue: Are you scared yet, Neil? I know what you’re like when it comes to spiders – a big baby.
Sue is fascinated by the Alzarians’ food supply.
Sue: Nice watermelons.
Me: They aren’t watermelons – they’re river fruit.
Sue: They look like watermelons to me.
Suddenly, the river starts to bubble and boil.
Sue: It’s like this all the time at Seal Sands. You know, next to the ICI plant.
Two swimmers get into trouble and they have to be pulled out of the river.
Sue: Stop! They’re stark naked! Not for kids!
Luckily, the boys are wearing pants. Very skimpy pants.
Sue: Well, they might as well be naked – that doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. Not that I’m complaining.
Adric uses the opportunity to steal some river fruit.
Sue: How is he going to hide those watermelons? Is he going to pop them down his trousers?
Adric is pursued by a Decider but the old man ends up flat on his back.
Sue: He never touched him! He committed suicide by throwing himself into a backward somersault. I’ve seen Jurgen Klinsmann fall over more realistically than that.
Topical football joke, folks.
The Outlers (Varsh, Tylos and Keara) return to their cave to discuss the legend of Mistfall.
Sue: Did they get this lot from the same stage school? Was it a special bulk deal?
Adric runs into the TARDIS and collapses to the floor.
Sue: He looks like a girl when he’s lying down.
Meanwhile, the mist begins to fall and the planet’s occupants make a dash for the Starliner.
Sue: It’s only a bit of fog. Can you imagine what this lot would be like if it snowed.
Adric is back on his feet and a wound that he sustained to his knee has almost disappeared.
Sue: Is Adric Wolverine? Has he got mutant healing powers?
Me: Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head – Adric is Wolverine.
The episode concludes with an army of Marshmen rising out of the river.
Sue: Ooh, scary cliffhanger. I really liked that. Things are starting to pick up.
Sue enjoys the Marshmens’ emergence a great deal.
Sue: It’s shot on film, the director is using some interesting angles, and the mist helps to sell it. Yes, this isn’t bad at all. The monster costumes look like they have been made from bath mats, and it looks like they have custard skin hanging off their heads, but it’s still very good. There are lots of them, too, which is nice.
Incredibly, it’s not until Part Two of Full Circle that Sue criticises Matthew Waterhouse’s performance. Is this a new record?
Sue: It’s his eyes. They keep darting everywhere. He’s as stiff as a board, too. He looks very uncomfortable when he doesn’t have any lines to say. Unfortunately, he looks even more uncomfortable when he does have lines to say.
The Doctor tells K9 to follow the Marshmen.
Sue: Is that K9’s theme music? It’s a bit funky.
Back on the TARDIS, Romana is trying to work out where they are.
Sue: Hey, Romana owns an iPad.
The Outlers infiltrate the TARDIS.
Sue: How did this lot get in?
Me: The TARDIS door must have been left open.
Sue: For ****’s sake. When will they ever learn? It’ll be the Black Guardian who waltzes in one day. Then they’ll be sorry. Where the hell is the Black Guardian, anyway?
The Deciders wish to recruit a man named Login to their depleted ranks.
Nefred: Have you made up your mind?
Sue: He should have said “No”. That would have been funny.
K9 continues to pursue the Marshmen.
Sue: It’s lovely seeing K9 out and about, even if he is accompanied by his silly little theme tune.
Back on the TARDIS, the Outlers try to overpower Romana – and fail.
Sue: The director – who is very good by the way – isn’t a fan of Adric.
Me: How can you tell?
Sue: He’s framing his shots so Adric is hidden behind the other actors. It cuts down on the blank stares, I suppose. How did he get this job anyway?
Sue: Did he sleep with John Nathan-Turner? Is that it?
Me: I do know that he had a letter published in Doctor Who Weekly before he got the part.
Sue: He was a fan?
Me: Yes, him and the writer, Andrew Smith, were both fans.
Sue: Really? Could anyone work on the programme back then?
A Marshchild follows the Doctor onto the Starliner. He is fascinated by a knife sticking out of a river fruit.
Sue: He’s going to carve a scary face into that pumpkin.
Me: I thought they were watermelons?
Sue: I’ve changed my mind. I’m leaning more towards butternut squash, now.
In the Starliner’s Great Book Room, Decider Nefred presides over his community.
Sue: He looks like he should be working at a ten pin bowling alley. Those slots behind him are where you store your shoes.
And then Sue asks the question that I’ve been expecting for quite some time:
Sue: Do they swap Romana for Adric? They don’t, do they? He’s a companion, isn’t he? He must be. I’ve heard you and your friends talking about him. A lot. You talk about Adric all the time.
Me: As long as I don’t do it in my sleep.
She’d rather watch Varsh.
Sue: Why didn’t they keep this guy on instead – he’s so much easier on the eye. Can’t act for toffee, though. It’s slim pickings to be fair.
And more controversially:
Sue: Even the other one would be better than Adric, and he’s the campest thing I’ve ever seen on Doctor Who.
But Sue’s biggest problem with Matthew Waterhouse can be boiled down to this:
Sue: He can’t say the word ‘door’ properly. He says ‘deur’. What’s that all about?
The Marshchild is captured by the Starliner’s crew.
Sue: Aww, it’s cute. I like the twist – we’re supposed to think they are the monsters, but they’re not.
The Doctor is introduced to the Deciders.
Nefred: I am Nefred.
Garif: I am Garif.
Login: I am Login.
Sue: And you are watching The Voice. Please tell me they have revolving chairs.
Yes, a Marshman just decapitated K9.
Me: That’s it, love, he’s –
Sue: I don’t believe you. They can solder his head back on. Unless of course, Adric replaces Romana and K9. Noooooooooo!
In the Great Book Room, the Doctor is told that the Deciders only pretend that the Mistfall is toxic.
Sue: Ooh, it’s all a big conspiracy, isn’t it? It’s getting very interesting all of a sudden.
The TARDIS arrives in a cave where Romana and Adric find spiders bursting out of the river fruit.
Sue: It’s a good job you were watching Buck Rogers when this was on. You would have struggled with this.
Me: I was watching Doctor Who again at this point. The BBC changed the time slot to minimise the damage that Buck was doing to the viewing figures. I think Doctor Who was up against Metal Mickey at this point. I might be stupid but I’m not that stupid.
Metal Mickey: Boogie boogie.
Adric manages to fly the TARDIS all by himself.
Sue: What? Can any ****er fly the TARDIS now?
Romana ends up with a spider on her face and we both end up (yes, even me, and I knew it was coming) yelping in surprise.
Sue: That was another good cliffhanger. The direction was excellent. He made a crappy model look scary. And that’s no mean feat.
As the giant spider attacks Romana in the episode recap, Sue tugs at my sleeve.
Sue: Jesus Christ! Look at that!
She isn’t looking at the television. She’s pointing at a window.
I scream. And then I run away. Very quickly.
Sue: It’s okay, I’ve drawn the curtains!
A friend on Facebook told me later that it’s a river spider. This does not make me feel any better.
Meanwhile, on Full Circle, Adric apologises for moving the TARDIS.
Adric: I think I’ve pulled the wrong lever.
Sue: You flicked a switch! How can you not know the difference between a lever and a switch? Are you sure the blue star doesn’t mean he’s the village idiot?
The Doctor and Login decide to help each other out. Login will help the Doctor find his TARDIS and the Doctor will help Login find his daughter. At that precise moment, the TARDIS materialises in their path, carrying Login’s daughter.
Sue: What are the chances of that?
Meanwhile, in the Great Book Room, Decider Nefred is engrossed in some light reading.
Sue: Is he reading the system files?
Sue: Are you sure it isn’t the wine list?
The Outlers are brought before the Deciders to be judged.
Sue: Look at them – hands in their pockets, no respect whatsoever. Throw the book at them. You are surrounded by books so just reach out and grab the first one you find. It doesn’t even have to be a book – a ring binder will do.
But they are given no punishment for their crimes.
Sue: Their version of The Daily Mail would have a field day with this.
Dexeter begins to experiment on the Marshchild against the Doctor’s protestations. The Marshchild escapes from his bonds and he wreaks havoc in the lab, killing Dexeter in the process. He only calms down when he notices the Doctor’s face in a monitor screen.
Sue: Awww, he thinks the Doctor is his mum.
The Marshchild paws at the screen and it electrocutes itself. The Doctor is furious. Almost as furious as Sue.
Sue: I like it when the Doctor gets pissed off. He’s really going for it, here. Tom Baker hasn’t been this good in a long while.
The plot thickens – no one knows how to fly the Starliner!
Sue: Oh, come off it! There has to be a pilot’s manual. That’s absurd. And besides, Adric could fly it. He can fly a TARDIS without any training so this thing should be a piece of piss.
Varsh and his mates are put to work replacing components on the Starliner.
Sue: What are this lot called again?
Me: The Outlers.
Sue: Okay, so how many Outlers does it take to change a lightbulb? I’ll tell you – six. One to fit it and the other five to stand around gawping at him as he does it.
Me: I think they are doing community service. It’s the Alzarian version of Misfits.
Sue: Well, Adric has superpowers – he has healing powers, he’s good at maths and he can fly alien spaceships. What superpowers do the rest of them have?
The Doctor and Adric can’t find Romana. Her room looks as if a bomb has hit it.
Sue: That’s what Nicol’s bedroom looks like. On a good day.
Romana is behaving very strangely indeed.
Sue: Does she change into Spider-woman? Does she start crawling up the walls and swinging through the studio? I tell you what, though – If they kill her off, there will be trouble. At least eight marks off.
The episode concludes with Romana giving the Marshmen access to the Starliner.
Sue: Okay, I can see where they are going with this.
Me: Really? What do you think will happen?
Sue: Well, they aren’t really the bad guys, that much is clear, so I think they will end up working together with Adric and they will all fly off in the ship together.
Sue is losing her patience with Tylos.
Sue: Get your hands out of your bloody pockets, lad. And stop slouching.
As they congregate outside the TARDIS, Sue blows a fuse.
Sue: They’ve left the doors open again! ****ing hell. The most powerful machine in the known universe and they leave the ****ing door open. You have no idea how much this winds me up.
Me: Oh, I think we get the general idea.
Tyrol saves a Starliner member from the advancing Marshmen, but he doesn’t return the favour and Tylos is left to die.
Sue: What a coward. At least he was wearing the right colours.
The Doctor keeps the Marshmen at bay by holding K9’s head in front of his face.
Sue: Okay, this is not what I had in mind when I said I wanted K9 to have a more substantial role in the series.
The Marshmen run riot on the Starliner.
Sue: It’s so frustrating when the monsters can’t communicate with you and they spend the whole time waving their arms around like idiots.
Adric steals an image translator and the Doctor confronts him about it later.
The Doctor: Do you think it’s right going around taking other people’s property?
Sue: He’s not a very good role model, is he? Hey kids, it’s cool to steal.
The only defence against the Marshmen is oxygen, which Varsh and Adric dispense from a pair of cylinders.
Sue: SodaStream was massive in the 1980s. Just saying.
As the Doctor continues to conduct his experiments into the DNA of the Marshmen and the spiders, Sue figures it out.
Sue: This is basically Planet of the Apes, isn’t it? They have evolved from the Marshmen. I’m right, aren’t I?
She did it. She finally did it.
Aside from the odd surface detail (“His bath mat is coming loose at the seams”) Sue enjoys the final act. In fact, when Varsh is killed, she feels sorry for Adric.
Me: At least Adric got to keep his brother’s belt.
Sue: If only he got his brother’s looks and talent as well.
Adric sneaks back into the TARDIS.
Me: And that’s why you should lock the bloody doors.
Sue: Oh, leave him alone. He’s alright.
Sue: It’s his dream job – he’s 18 and he’s working on Doctor Who. You fanboys are just jealous. I’m sure he’ll settle down eventually.
The Starliner takes off.
Sue: I bet they can’t decide where to go. And why go anywhere anyway? I bet they get shot down by Daleks.
But that’s not possible, because the Doctor and Romana are trapped in E-Space.
The Doctor: I think we came through a Charged Vacuum Embointment.
Sue: A charged what?
Romana: A CVE.
Sue: I CV-what? I am supposed to know what that means?
Me: They are trapped in another universe.
Sue: So they can’t return Romana to Gallifrey?
As the credits roll.
Sue: So what happened to Adric?
Me: He’s gone.
Sue: He’s only in one story? Seriously?
Sue: I don’t believe you. I don’t believe for one moment that he shagged John-Nathan Turner just so he could appear in one story. That’s would be cheap.
Me: You can’t say stuff like that.
Sue: But you said…
Me: Okay, I admit it, Adric is back next week.
I chuckle to myself.
Sue: Stop it. I feel sorry for the actor who plays him. He’s out of his depth but he’s so keen. It’s not his fault they cast him in this. They should have given him more help. Bless him.
A little later, we watch Matthew Waterhouse’s appearance on Multi-coloured Swap Shop.
Sue: He’s so adorable.
Me: You are just taking the piss, now.
Sue: I’m not! He’s so into it. You can tell he’s a fan. I bet he had to pinch himself every day when he turned up for work. Actually, now that I look at him, he has the look of a young Matt Smith about him.
Sue: It’s that wide grin of his. Aww, he’s so cute.
Sue: I enjoyed that. The direction was excellent, some of the ideas were very interesting and the acting was pretty good, too. And I liked Adric. So there.