The Doctor and Adric are chilling out in N-space.
Sue: Tom Baker is knackered. Is this the story where they had to re-perm his hair? He looks terrible.
The TARDIS is heading for an empire where everybody is terribly nice to each other.
Sue: Traken sounds lovely. Boring but lovely.
Adric doesn’t understand why the TARDIS has decided to orbit Traken. And neither does the Doctor.
Adric: Well, you should know. You are a Time Lord, aren’t you?
Sue: I’m with Adric. He always asks the right questions.
Without warning, a decrepit old man appears in the console room.
Sue: The Doctor needs to get his locks fixed. Anyone can waltz into the TARDIS these days – even when it’s flying! The TARDIS definitely needs a good service.
The old man is the eponymous Keeper of Traken.
Sue: He’s got a hard-boiled egg for a head. Is Traken a planet of egg men? You know, like in the Beatles song?
The Keeper has a special task for the Doctor.
Sue: It’s yet another wise old man in a stupid chair. Maybe it’s the Beige Guardian?
The Keeper gives the Doctor and Adric a potted history of Traken.
Sue: Is he showing them his home video collection? Is he trying to sell the Doctor a time-share apartment on Traken? It does look very nice, mind. What’s the weather like?
Evil shrivels up and dies whenever it reaches Traken – and that’s exactly what happened to a naughty Melkur when it landed in a grove one day.
Sue: Poor Mr Wonky Face.
On Traken itself, a wedding is taking place.
Sue: This is very nice. There are lots of extras, some interesting costumes, and the set design is very interesting. The budget for the plants alone must have run into the thousands of pounds.
A middle-aged scientist named Tremas marries a young woman named Kassia.
Sue: He is definitely punching above his weight.
But Kassia is obsessed with the calcified Melkur in the grove.
Sue: Isn’t there a chocolate bar named after this guy?
Me: That’s Milka, love.
At this point in the proceedings, Nicol walked in.
Nicol: Why are you watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Sue: We’re watching Doctor Who.
Me: Just for a change.
Nicol: Are you sure this isn’t The Crystal Maze? They’re filming in the Aztec Zone again.
Me: Go away, Nicol. Don’t you have a cake to bake? And this time, can you make sure there are no horrific side effects, please?
Nicol: It wasn’t my fault! It won’t kill anyone, it’ll just give them a bit of a shock, that’s all. It’s nothing to worry about. Honestly.
Photos of Nicol’s TARDIS cake are still available on our Facebook page. Thankfully, no one has posted a photo of what happens to you once you eat a slice.
Meanwhile, back on the TARDIS.
Nicol: And now we are in the Futuristic Zone! Even the background hum sounds exactly the same. The producer of The Crystal Maze must have been a Doctor Who fan, it’s the only explanation that makes sense.
Sue: Don’t you think Adric looks like your ex-boyfriend, Nicol?
And speaking of mothers…
Nicol: It’s Mumsy!
Nicol: The woman with the white hair – it’s Richard O’Brien’s Mumsy from The Crystal –
Me: STOP IT! You’re obsessed!
Nicol: Says the man who’s been running a blog about Doctor Who for two years.
Sue has other things on her mind.
Sue: Nice fretwork on that gate. Very nice.
And then, to Sue’s surprise, the Melkur starts to move.
Sue: The lighting is excellent in this scene. The design of Mr Wonky Face is very distinctive and creepy, too.
The Keeper materialises in the sanctum.
Sue: All that power at his disposal and he can’t even cut his own fingernails. That’s shameful.
The Doctor and Adric are brought before the Keeper, but just as he is about to speak, Melkur pokes his head into the room.
Sue: That’s very funny. It looks like a giant glove puppet.
The Keeper senses pure evil in the sanctum and the episode concludes with the Doctor and Adric condemned to death.
Sue: Clever monster.
His job complete, Melkur returns to the grove.
Sue: It moves very well, considering. Nice firm arse, too. And who would ever suspect that a statue could be a monster?
Me: It’ll never catch on.
Tremas and the Doctor decide to team-up.
Sue: His ego got the better of him. Two seconds ago he wanted to execute the Doctor and now he’s his best mate. Bloody scientists.
The Doctor and Tremas take breakfast together.
Sue: I feel as if I’m watching a stage play. A lot of the old Doctor Who‘s feel like stage plays but this one isn’t bothering to hide the fact. It’s very unusual.
Interestingly, Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa doesn’t engage Sue at all. She may as well be a kitten fart in a dress.
Anthony Ainley on the other hand.
Sue: He reminds me of somebody.
Oh no, here we go.
Sue: Christopher Eccleston.
Me: What have you been smoking?
Sue: I’m serious! It’s his eyes and nose. If you took that beard off – I’m telling you!
Thankfully, she gets off this subject pretty sharpish.
Sue: Nice bit of crockery, there.
Finally, Nyssa provokes a response.
Sue: Is she Adric’s love interest? He could do better.
In the sanctum, the Consuls of Traken can’t agree on which course of action to take.
Sue: For a planet that’s supposed to be harmonious, they can’t half bicker. It’s never how they describe it in the brochure, is it?
Melkur gives Kassia a dog collar to wear.
And then the big twist is revealed.
Sue: Ahhh, so somebody is operating the Melkur by remote control, eh? That’s interesting.
It doesn’t cross her mind that somebody could be inside the Melkur.
Sue: Hang on, is it…?
I brace myself.
Sue: Is it a Sontaran? I’m sure I saw a Sontaran’s hand pushing all those buttons. It sounds like a Sontaran, too.
And then she changes her mind.
Sue: No, is it… is it the Ice Warriors? They have the same eyes.
And then she gives up.
Sue: I’m over thinking this, aren’t I? It’s just the Melkur, isn’t it? That’s what the alien is called. I know you want me say it’s the Master, but I won’t do it. And it can’t be him anyway: the Melkur has been there for a thousand years. I can’t imagine the Master hanging around that long to do anything. I’ll shut up now.
Mumsy warns Nyssa not to enter the grove.
Sue: I’m getting a very strong Downton Abbey vibe from this episode.
Adric listens in on the conversation.
Sue: If Adric had a cape and mask, he’d be Robin.
And then the ennui sets in.
Sue: It looks good, the direction is good, the acting is alright… It’s just… boring. There isn’t enough action. I bet the kids were bored shitless. I think I miss Romana, too. She would have sorted this out ages ago.
The Doctor, Adric and Tremas are rounded up by the Fosters.
Sue: For a planet that’s supposed to be peaceful, they are very heavily armed.
The episode concludes with the Melkur promising Kassia that more is yet to come.
Melkur: It is only beginning.
Sue: We’re already halfway through this story, mate! Get a ****ing move on!
The Doctor and his companions are placed in a cell.
Sue: I hate it when the sonic screwdriver conveniently doesn’t work. Why draw attention to the fact? Just pretend that he’s left it behind in the TARDIS. He’s always doing that. This just makes his sonic look shit.
I can tell that Sue’s mind has begun to wander.
Sue: The women on this planet have great dresses for shoplifting. You could cram loads of stuff into those arms.
Sue is not a shoplifter, just so we’re clear on that.
The Consuls of Traken gather to discuss the state of play.
Sue: Oh great, another ****ing meeting. That’s just what this story needs.
Nyssa rescues the Doctor and her father but she still fails to elicit a response from Sue.
Sue: This is a typical Part Three. Lots of running around and not much happening. I don’t have anything else to say.
As the meeting draws to a close, Sue is struggling to stay awake.
Sue: It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and I can feel my eyes getting heavy. I’ve seen recons that move faster than this.
A few seconds later, she’s gone. I think it’s the first time she has fallen asleep since The Evil of the Daleks.
I don’t fancy watching Part Three of The Keeper of Traken again so I nudge my elbow into her ribs.
Sue: …what? …urmm…. nice sets.
Me: Come on, love. We’re almost there.
Sue: Did I miss anything? I bet I didn’t.
Me: They are going to choose a new Keeper.
Sue: Will the new Keeper have to sit on a chair for a thousand years?
Sue: Are they given any magazines to read?
The old Keeper is dying.
Sue: Why can’t he just come back and tell them all that he made a terrible mistake in Part One and the Doctor is the good guy after all? It would save everybody a lot of time and effort.
The Keeper dies and all hell breaks loose.
Sue: It’s all kicking off now. It’s only taken them an hour.
The Doctor tries and fails to enter his TARDIS.
Sue: It’s only a bit of wind. Get up, you wimps!
Kassia becomes the new Keeper of Traken.
Sue: Has she discussed this with her husband? I bet he won’t be thrilled when he discovers that his new wife has to sit on a chair for the next 1000 years.
And then – finally – we get a good look at the decaying creature who has been controlling the Melkur’s actions.
Sue: So that’s what the Melkur looks like?
I face palm.
Sue: What’s wrong?
Me: I do not believe you.
And then, just like Warriors’ Gate, the penny finally begins to drop.
Sue: Is it the Master?
Sue: Is it really? You’re not winding me up, are you?
The Melkur materialises in the Keeper’s chair, accompanied by a very familiar sound effect.
Sue: It’s his ****ing TARDIS!
The episode concludes with the Melkur in control.
Sue: Ooh, I’m all excited now! I’m glad I didn’t sleep through that bit at the end, now. Thanks.
Sue: Okay, let me get this straight: there’s a TARDIS sitting in a chair.
Me: That’s right.
Sue: And the Master’s TARDIS can walk, talk, and fire weapons from its eyes.
Me: That’s about it.
Sue: ****ing hell – the Master’s TARDIS is so much better than the Doctor’s!
Tremas is taking things rather well, all things considered.
Sue: He’s just lost his new, young wife but he’s only mildly annoyed. They must have really good life insurance policies on Traken.
Adric and Nyssa head for the TARDIS.
Sue: Is Adric allowed to bring chicks back to the TARDIS with him? Doesn’t the Doctor have rules about that sort of thing?
Back at the sanctum, the new Keeper is laying down the law.
Sue: Why is everybody falling for this shit? I suppose it helps that only six people are living on this planet – it doesn’t take you very long to conquer it.
Nicol, who has been snoozing on the sofa throughout Part Four, wakes up as soon the Doctor starts talking about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
Nicol: Entropy increases.
Sue: Boredom increases.
Me: It’s this season’s theme.
Sue: What? Boredom?
Me: No, entropy.
Nicol: So this is a concept season?
Me: If you like. You must join us for tomorrow’s episodes – it’ll be right up your street, I swear.
The Doctor escapes from the Fosters by banging their heads together.
Sue: Oh my God, that was so naff. That was the worst example of pretend violence I’ve ever seen. They weren’t even trying.
Back in the TARDIS, Adric has cobbled together a servo shut-off.
Sue: Adric is so practical – he’s basically the Doctor’s apprentice. His acting is getting better all the time as well. I still don’t see why people have a problem with him.
The Doctor races back to the sanctum.
Sue: The Doctor is a bit gung-ho in this story.
Me: He’s just stunning the guards with an ion bonder. He’s not committing genocide or anything silly like that.
Sue: Then why doesn’t he just carry a stun-gun around with him all the time, then? **** the sonic screwdriver – this is much more handy.
Melkur forces Tremas to kill Proctor Neman in cold blood.
Sue: That was horrific. And the Doctor must be hypnotised for real or he would have stepped in and stopped that. That’s a worry.
Melkur orders the Doctor to come closer.
Sue: How will he get into the Master’s TARDIS? I hope the entrance isn’t through his bum-hole.
The Doctor finally confronts the Master.
Sue: He doesn’t look like the Master.
Me: This is what he looked like the last time we saw him on Gallifrey, remember?
Sue: He didn’t look like that. It isn’t even the same actor, is it?
But the Master’s plans go tits up, thanks to a plucky Alzarian and his homemade servo shut-off.
Sue: So Adric killed the Master? I told you he was good.
Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor admits that his TARDIS could do with some repairs, but it’s beyond him.
Me: This type’s not really my forte.
Sue: Very funny.
Two years ago, Sue wouldn’t have got that joke. That’s how far we’ve come.
And then we suddenly return to Traken.
Sue: Oh no. It just won’t end.
The Master emerges from a grandfather clock.
Sue: Eh? What the…?
And then he takes over Tremas’ body.
The Master: A new body at last!
Sue: But that’s impossible. He can’t just take over another person’s body like that.
Me: He used the power of the source.
Sue: No he didn’t. Adric shut it off. He didn’t have that power any more. And how did his TARDIS escape at the end?
Me: The Master had two TARDISes.
Me: Yes, if you look carefully, you can see the grandfather clock TARDIS inside his Melkur TARDIS.
Sue: So the Master had a TARDIS in a TARDIS?
Sue: But that’s just ****ing stupid. You can’t do that. Can you?
Sue: That was tedious. The first three episodes were so boring, I almost lost the will to live. Things picked up when the Master turned up but it was too little too late. Not that he did very much except cock it up at the end. At least he looks like Roger Delgado again. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait before he turns up to have another go? Maybe he should team up with the Black Guardian. Wherever the **** he is.