Sue: Bloody hell, he’s still Tom Baker.
Me: We’ve never had a recap like this before.
Sue: Oh yes we have. We get them all the time.
Me: Not before the opening titles we don’t.
Sue: Oh yeah. I forgot about them.
The Watcher was the Doctor all the time!
Sue: That doesn’t make any sense. It’s a very disappointing regeneration. And I don’t like seeing the Doctor with white gunk plastered all over his face.
Then the titles kick in…
Sue: Peter Davison! Isn’t he lovely?
And the story’s title appears.
Sue: Castrovalva? I’m guessing it’s either a planet or a Spanish restaurant.
The story picks up where Logopolis left off, with the newly regenerated Doctor and his companions trying to escape from the Pharos Project. Unfortunately, they are immediately apprehended by security guards and the Doctor collapses. The guards drag Adric, Tegan and Nyssa away to be interrogated.
Sue: Yeah, just leave the injured person to die alone in a field.
Adric tells the authorities that he’s actually an intelligent alien lifeform from another universe.
Sue: Adric always has his hands in his pockets. It must be his age.
Thanks to Adric’s distraction, Tegan and Nyssa manage to steal an ambulance – with the Doctor inside it.
Sue: It’s turned into Charlie’s Angels. You go, girls!
Sadly, the incidental music leaves Sue cold.
Sue: I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in Dudley’s house when this went out. He must have been mortified. I know I am.
A stone column materialises in mid-air.
Sue: It’s okay, I know it’s the Master. I don’t even have to ask.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor begins to unravel his scarf.
Sue: That’s sacrilege! They’ll never be able to sell that on eBay now.
Tegan is frustrated, too. “Rabbits!” she cries.
Sue: What has Tegan got against rabbits?
Me: It’s a Doctor Who swearword. Farscape has ‘Frell’, Battlestar Galactica has ‘Frak’, and Doctor Who has ‘Rabbits’.
Sue: Oh, okay…
The Doctor’s regeneration isn’t going very well.
Sue: He’s pretending to be William Hartnell, isn’t he? He should have rabbited up his lines a bit – that would have made it more authentic.
The Doctor’s regeneration is failing.
Sue: So what does that mean?
Me: It means we get Colin Baker in approximately 10 minutes.
Nyssa tells Tegan not to worry – the TARDIS is on a preprogrammed flight.
Sue: I used to have a muff like Nyssa’s.
Me: Okay, let’s not go down that road again.
Sue: It’s true. I also had a red velvet jacket and red velvet chords. Actually, there was a time when I probably looked like a blonde version of Nyssa. But without the tiara.
Me: Oh, that makes it alright, then.
Speaking of clothes, the Doctor has found himself a new jacket.
Sue: So his new costume is just sitting there waiting for him? He doesn’t even get to choose? That doesn’t seem fair.
The Doctor stares into a mirror and rues the reflection looking back at him.
Sue: I wouldn’t complain if I were you. It’s a massive improvement on Tom. You should be chuffed.
The Doctor picks up a recorder.
Sue: NO! PUT THE RECORDER DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM THE INSTRUMENT!
He plays a little tune (badly) and puts it back again.
Sue: Thank rabbit for that.
The Doctor changes into his new costume.
Sue: He needs some white underpants.
Sue: His pants. They’re black. You can see them through his trousers. Look!
Me: Oh yeah. I’d never noticed that before.
Sue: Don’t worry, I’ll keep you right. You just need to stare at Peter Davison’s arse a little bit more.
The search is on for the TARDIS’ Zero Room.
Sue: Why have we never heard of the Zero Room before? And why is it so far away from the control room? You’d think it would be next to the loo, or something convenient like that.
When he finally reaches the Zero Room, the Doctor is suddenly able to levitate.
Sue: That’s impressive – his jacket is defying the laws of gravity.
The Doctor gives his companions specific roles to perform during this difficult regeneration.
Sue: So it’s basically Tegan’s job to serve the drinks and feed them peanuts? Well, that makes sense, I suppose.
Meanwhile, Adric is trapped in…
Sue: A sex dungeon.
The Master is using Adric to generate a simulated projection of himself. Or is it stimulated? I forget.
Sue: I still don’t understand what that’s supposed to do.
The TARDIS is heading for Event One, which Sue correctly surmises is the Big Bang, long before Nyssa does, and Sue is rubbish at science (especially bioelectronics and telebiogenesis).
Sue: What a strange episode. I didn’t follow most of it – there’s a lot going on – but I’m sure it will settle down eventually.
Me: What about Peter Davison?
Sue: It’s too early to say. I know I’ll like him – I love him in All Creatures… – but I still don’t know how he’s going to play the part. He’s all over the place at the moment, but that’s part of the plot, I guess. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Sue: Nyssa must be roasting in that muff.
The Master appears on the scanner screen to gloat.
Sue: (Singing) The Ace of Spades! The Ace of Spades!
The Doctor leaves the safety of the Zero Room and collapses again. Luckily, a roundel dispenses some medicine, and then a motorised wheelchair mysteriously appears out of nowhere.
Sue: The TARDIS is looking after him. You go, girl!
Meanwhile, in the Master’s sex dungeon, Adric is still being tortured. At one point, the Master raises the platform he’s standing on so he can taunt his victim more effectively.
Sue: (As the Master) Just wait there while I move this up to crotch level.
It’s at this point that I feel Sue tugging urgently on my arm.
Sue: Pause it. Quickly. Pause it now. No, go back a bit… There! Yes, pause it! Look! Adric has a little stiffy…
I quickly hit the ‘play’ button again.
Sue: How embarrassing.
Me: It wasn’t that small, was it?
The Doctor comes up with a plan to jettison a quarter of the TARDIS, although his companions are worried they’ll lose the console room in the process.
Sue: Just use the other one, then. They’ve got two! Half of them should definitely hide in the mahogany one, just in case.
Tegan prepares to play Russian roulette with the ship’s architecture.
Sue: I hope they don’t get rid of the room with all the spare K9s.
The Master discusses his nefarious plan with Adric.
Sue: This makes no sense whatsoever. How can there be two Adrics running around? How can he do all this stuff?
Me: Block transfer computation.
Sue: Rabbit off. Whoever wrote this script was tripping on something.
The Master is the proud owner of a trap within a trap.
Sue: It’s nice to see him planning ahead for a change. I like that.
The Zero Room has been jettisoned, and the TARDIS crew are forced to search for an alternative. Thankfully, the TARDIS data bank provides the perfect solution: Castrovalva.
Sue: It’s the new Tapas bar next to the marina. If you hurry up, you might make it in time for happy hour.
The Doctor is completely helpless once again.
Sue: Why does the Doctor always have bad regenerations? You never see the Master or Romana fannying on like this.
Me: I think it happens if you don’t plan your regeneration and you just fall into it. Literally, in his case. Remember how David Tennant slept through most of his first story? This is nothing compared to that. Even Pertwee spent his first episode flat on his back.
Nyssa builds a Zero Cabinet out of the remains of the Zero Room.
Sue: I’m impressed. The sliding panel is a nice touch. Nyssa has really gone up in my estimations. She has all the makings of a good carpenter.
The TARDIS lands on the planet at a cockeyed angle (which amuses Sue a great deal), and then the crew set out to find Castrovalva.
Sue: Eh? I thought the planet was called Castrovalva. I’m really confused now.
Nyssa and Tegan balance the Zero Cabinet on the wheelchair.
Sue: This is what it looks like in IKEA every Sunday afternoon.
And then Nyssa falls into a river.
Sue: Was that an outtake they decided to leave in? And why are they so keen to help the Doctor anyway? They hardly know him. They are putting a lot of trust in a man who turned up in their lives just before members of their immediate family were murdered. They’re very trusting, considering.
They eventually reach the place they’ve been searching for: Castrovalva!
Sue: Are you sure? It could be the Italian restaurant next door.
They search the rock face for an entrance.
Sue: It’s a lovely location, I’ll give them that. The birds are getting on my tits though.
Me: Oh, I don’t know. They’re doing their best.
Sue: I meant the birdsong, you idiot. It’s too loud.
Tegan and Nyssa return to the Zero Cabinet to find the ground covered in red liquid.
Sue: Oh no! Not more lipstick spillage.
And not only that – the Doctor has vanished!
Sue: The plot thickens… Come on, let’s stick the next one on.
Sue: Why does every episode of 1980s’ Doctor Who have to sound like a level from Zelda? Why is that?
When Nyssa and Tegan find the empty Zero Cabinet, Sue tuts.
Sue: It looks like someone has fly-tipped a fridge into a hedge. I hate it when people do that.
The Doctor climbs the rock face which will lead him to Castrovalva, but when he looks down, he suffers a mild panic attack.
Sue: Is the Doctor afraid of heights because he fell to his death? That would make sense. It also means Tom Baker’s Doctor must have been frightened of spiders.
Tegan and Nyssa follow the Doctor.
Sue: Could Tegan be more inappropriately dressed for a spot of mountaineering? I bet she can’t wait to be let loose on the TARDIS wardrobe.
Me: Unless they jettisoned it, of course.
Sue: Well, in that case they should land on Planet of the Shops and stock up on some more clothes. How long has Adric been wearing his outfit, now? It’s a bit silly, isn’t it?
A local hunting party suddenly surround the Doctor.
Sue: They look like a bunch of Ewoks who have been out paintballing.
The Doctor is taken to Shardovan.
Sue: Shada van? Did he just say Shada van?
Sue: I had this image of Ian Levine driving around in an ice cream van, but instead of selling ice cream, he’s trying to get people to watch his version of Shada.
Me: Then thank God you are hopeless at block transfer computation.
Castrovalvan fashion doesn’t really do it for Sue.
Sue: Why is he wearing a wastepaper bin on his head with gaffa tape wrapped around it? How long did it take for the designer to come up with that?
The Doctor is invited to dinner.
Sue: So they’re the nice guys, after all? That’s good. For a minute, I thought we were supposed to be frightened of them. Phew.
The Doctor tucks into a stick of celery.
Sue: I ****ing hate celery.
Me: Then you have something in common with Peter Davison. He hates celery, too.
Sue: Really? I never would have guessed. Probably because he’s such a great actor, I expect.
The Doctor is introduced to the Portreeve.
Sue: Bloody hell, his wastepaper bin is very elaborate. He must be the top dog with a bin like that.
Luckily, she’s too wrapped up in the Portreeve’s wastepaper bin to pay any attention to the man who’s wearing it.
Sue: I love the floors on Castrovalva. They’re very Tuscan. The sets are great, actually. They’ve done a really nice job.
Meanwhile Adric is still tied up.
Sue: So Adric is making this up? Is that basically it?
Me: Yes. It’s block transfer computation.
Sue: Complete bollocks is what it is. It might as well be magic.
The Master chortles to himself as his plan begins to mature like a good cheese.
Sue: The guy who plays the new Master…
Me: Anthony Ainley.
Sue: He’s not very good, is he?
The actor who plays the Portreeve, on the other hand…
Me: What about him? Is he any better?
Sue: He’s alright, I suppose. I wish he’d speak up a bit, though. Actually, he’s very familiar. Yeah, he’s definitely famous.
The Doctor gets lost in Castrovalva’s impossible architecture.
Sue: It’s like an Escher painting, this.
The Doctor and his companions go round and round in circles.
Sue: It is an Escher painting! Hang on a minute…
She points to her left, where a framed print of MC Escher’s Relativity hangs on our living room wall.
Sue: I thought you bought that print because you liked the artwork.
Me: I do!
Sue: No you don’t! It was just an excuse to sneak a Doctor Who reference onto our living room wall without me knowing anything about it, wasn’t it? Be honest.
Too late – the episode is racing to towards its hyperventilating conclusion.
Sue: So Castrovalva doesn’t exist, and neither do all the people who live in it. This is actually quite interesting, now.
Sue: The special effects are a bit crap, but the idea is sound. It reminds me of Inception. They should do this again, but on a decent budget, for the 50th anniversary story. The TARDIS should land on Castrovalva and we could meet all the ex-Doctors. You can do anything with block transfer whatsit, and it would be a nice nod to the fans.
Me: So you accept the concept of block transfer computation now?
Sue: Now that I know it’s basically Inception, and they are all in Adric’s head – sort of – it almost makes sense. I just find it hard to believe that Adric could imagine all these details. Why is he imagining some of them as beekeepers? What’s that all about? And why doesn’t he just use his powers to confuse the Master instead?
Me: The Master is torturing him.
Sue: Are you sure? It looks like he’s enjoying himself.
The Doctor realises the inhabitants of Castrovalva are unaware of their predicament and, for them, life is always like this.
Sue: So they don’t realise they are figments of a teenage boy’s imagination. This is a bit deep, actually.
Sue goes very quiet at this point, as she desperately tries to keep up with this story’s frantic final act.
Sue: Hey, it’s him! It’s the ****ing Master!
Yes, the Portreeve was the Master all the time.
Sue: Why is his trap so complicated? Why didn’t he just kill the Doctor when he was having a nice lie-down earlier? Why does he always have to complicate things?
Shardovan takes a leap of faith…
Sue: It’s Adam Ant.
…and the Master’s plans come to a grinding halt.
Sue: He’s very clever when it comes to making a quick getaway, but he’s completely useless when it comes to just about everything else.
The projection folds in on itself, which means all the Castrovalvans are doomed.
Sue: I feel sorry for them, even if they don’t exist.
Their screams would suggest otherwise.
Sue: This is horrible!
Thankfully, Adric manages to find the exit.
Sue: Adric has to be the most powerful boy in the universe if he can do that. The fans who don’t like him are just jealous.
The Master gets his just deserts as his creations turn against him.
Sue: He’ll be fine. He’s real, so he won’t disappear. He’ll be back. Hopefully with a better actor next time.
The Doctor’s gang march back to the TARDIS.
Sue: Adric looks ill. Then again, imagining a whole society must have taken it out of him, poor thing.
Me: He’s hungover. In real life, I mean.
Sue: Out on the tiles with JN-T again? At least his expression suits the emotions his character would be feeling.
Me: It’s some of his best acting.
Sue: I loved that. Actually, I loved the second two episodes; I wasn’t that keen on the first two. Once I realised it was basically Inception, and Adric was the one imagining everything, I could go along with it. It was quite profound in places. And it helps that I have some eye candy to look at now.
Sue: I also like the way it drew on the threads of the last story. In fact, it almost redeems the last one. Almost.