The Doctor and Adric are chilling out in N-Space.
Sue: Tom Baker is knackered. Is this the story where they had to perm his hair? He looks terrible.
The TARDIS is heading for an empire where everybody is terribly nice to one another.
Sue: Traken sounds lovely. Boring, but lovely.
Adric doesn’t understand why the TARDIS has decided to orbit Traken in the first place.
Sue: I’m with Adric. He always asks the right questions.
A decrepit old man suddenly appears in the console room.
Sue: The Doctor needs to get his locks fixed. Anybody 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 populated by egg men? You know, like the Beatles song?
The Keeper has a task for the Doctor.
Sue: It’s another wise old man in a stupid chair. Maybe he’s the Beige Guardian?
The Keeper provides the Doctor and Adric with 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 looks 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.
Meanwhile, on Traken itself, a wedding is taking place.
Sue: This is nice. There are plenty of extras, some interesting costumes, and the set design is very interesting. The budget for the plants alone must have run into thousands of pounds.
A middle-aged scientist named Tremas weds a young woman named Kassia.
Sue: He’s 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.
And that’s when Nicol walked in.
Nicol: Why are you watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Sue: We’re watching Doctor Who.
Me: 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? Thanks.
Nicol: That wasn’t my fault! It won’t kill anybody, it’ll just give them a bit of a shock, that’s all. It’s nothing to worry about. Honestly.
Meanwhile, on the TARDIS…
Nicol: And now we’re in the Futuristic Zone. Even the background hum sounds the same. The producer of The Crystal Maze must have been a Doctor Who fan, it’s the only explanation that makes any sense.
Sue: Don’t you think Adric looks like your ex-boyfriend, Nicol?
And speaking of mothers…
Nicol: It’s Mumsey!
Nicol: The woman with the white hair is Richard O’Brien’s Mumsey from The Crystal…
Me: 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: I like the fretwork on that gate. Yes, that’s very nice indeed.
The Melkur begins to move…
Sue: The lighting is excellent. The design of Mr Wonky Face is 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, that is.
The Doctor and Adric are brought before the Keeper, but just when he’s about to speak, the Melkur pokes his head into the room.
Sue: That was very funny. He looks like a giant glove puppet.
The Keeper senses pure evil inside 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 quite well, considering. Nice firm arse, too. And who would ever suspect that a statue could be a monster?
Me: Yeah, it’ll never catch on.
Tremas and the Doctor decide to team up.
Sue: He wanted to execute the Doctor two seconds ago, and now he’s his best mate. Bloody scientists.
The Doctor and Tremas eat breakfast together.
Sue: I feel like I’m watching a stage play. A lot of the old Doctor Whos feel like stage plays to me, but this one isn’t even bothering to hide it. It’s very unusual.
Interestingly, Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa fails to make any impression on Sue. 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 his beard off, you’d see it. I’m telling you!
Thankfully, she gets off this subject pretty sharpish.
Sue: Nice bit of crockery, there.
And then Nyssa finally warrants a response.
Sue: Is she Adric’s love interest? He could do better.
The Consuls of Traken can’t agree on the best course of action to take.
Sue: For a planet that’s supposed to be harmonious, they don’t half bicker a lot. 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: So somebody is operating the Melkur by remote control. I see. That is interesting, I suppose.
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 earlier. It sounded like a Sontaran, too.
And then she changes her mind.
Sue: 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.
Mumsey 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 could be Robin.
And then the ennui sets in.
Sue: It looks good, the direction is good, the acting is okay. It’s just… boring. There isn’t enough action. I bet any kids watching this were bored shitless. 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, this lot are very heavily armed.
The episode concludes with the Melkur promising more to come.
Sue: We’re already halfway through this story, mate! Get a ****ing move on!
The Doctor and his companions are confined to a cell.
Sue: I hate it when the sonic screwdriver conveniently doesn’t work like that. Why draw attention to the fact? Just say you’ve left it behind in the TARDIS. He’s always doing that. This just makes his sonic look shit.
The Consuls of Traken gather to discuss the current state of play.
Sue: Oh great, another ****ing meeting. That’s just what this story needs.
Even though Nyssa rescues the Doctor and her father, 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 clearly struggling to stay awake.
Sue: I’ve seen recons that move faster than this.
A few seconds later, and she’s gone. It’s the first time she’s fallen asleep since The Evil of the Daleks, and because I don’t fancy watching Part Three of The Keeper of Traken again any time soon, I nudge her ribs with my elbow.
Sue: What? Erm… Nice sets…
Me: Come on, love. We’re almost there.
Sue: Did I miss anything important? I bet I didn’t.
Me: They’re 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 doesn’t he come back and tell them that he made a terrible mistake in Part One, and the Doctor is the good guy after all? It would save a lot of time and effort.
The Keeper dies and all hell breaks loose.
Sue: It’s all kicking off now. And 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 wimp!
Kassia becomes the new Keeper of Traken.
Sue: Did she discuss this with her husband first? I bet he won’t be thrilled when he discovers his new wife has to sit on a chair for the next thousand years.
And then – finally! – we get a good look at the decaying creature who’s been controlling the Melkur’s actions.
Sue: So that’s what the Melkur looks like?
I put my head in my hands.
Sue: What’s wrong?
Me: I do not believe you.
Sue: Is it the Master?
Sue: Is it really? You’re not winding me up? Honest?
When the Melkur materialises in the Keeper’s chair, it is 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. Thanks for waking me up.
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…
Sue: ****ing hell. The Master’s TARDIS is much better than the Doctor’s!
Tremas is taking things rather well, all things considered.
Sue: He’s just lost his new, young wife and he’s only mildly annoyed. They must have really excellent 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 lays down the law.
Sue: Why is everybody falling for this shit? I suppose it helps that only six people live on this planet, because it wouldn’t take you very long to conquer it.
Nicol, who has been snoozing on the sofa through Part Four, wakes up as soon the Doctor starts talking about the second 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 season has a concept, then?
Me: If you like. You should 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 on this programme. They weren’t even trying.
Adric cobbles together a servo shut-off.
Sue: Adric is so practical, he’s basically the Doctor’s apprentice, isn’t he? 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’s a bit gung-ho in this story.
Me: He’s stunning the guards with an ion bonder. He’s not committing genocide or anything like that.
Sue: So why doesn’t he carry a stun-gun all the time, then? **** the sonic screwdriver – this is much more effective.
Melkur forces Tremas to kill Proctor Neman in cold blood.
Sue: That was horrific. And the Doctor must be hypnotised here or he would have stepped in and stopped that. So that’s a worry.
Melkur wants the Doctor to come closer.
Sue: How will he get in 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 to me.
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, then? I told you he was good!
The Doctor admits his TARDIS could do with some repairs, but that it’s beyond his capabilities.
Sue: “This type’s not really my forte.”?That’s very funny.
Two years ago, Sue wouldn’t have got that joke. That’s how far we’ve come. And then we return to Traken.
Sue: It just won’t end!
The Master emerges from a grandfather clock.
Sue: Eh? What the…?
And takes over Tremas’ body.
Sue: But that’s impossible. He can’t 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 inside a TARDIS?
Sue: But that’s ****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 arrived but it was too little too late. At least he looks like Roger Delgado again. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait before he has another go? Maybe he should team up with the Black Guardian. Wherever the **** he is.