Sue: I’m sorry but I missed the title. I was distracted by Tegan.
Me: Tegan isn’t in the titles.
Sue: The cat, you idiot. So what’s this one called?
Me: Hang on, I’ll rewind it.
Sue: No, just tell me.
Me: Four to Doomsday.
Sue: I beg your pardon?
Me: Four to Doomsday.
Sue: Numbers or letters?
Sue: Anything to do with Douglas Adams?
Sue: Strange title.
The first thing Sue notices about Four to Doomsday is the length of TARDIS crew’s hair.
Sue: They’ve all had their hair done. I wonder if they did it themselves? Or maybe they went to a special planet. If I were Adric, I’d ask for my money back.
Tegan’s had more than her hair done.
Sue: She’s caked in make-up. She’s trying to look like Sheena Easton, I think. But no one has changed their clothes, which is odd. They’ve all had some beauty treatment done (the Doctor has definitely been on a sun bed), but no one has bothered to change out of their dirty, sweaty gear. Especially Adric. He should be ashamed. Tegan, I can understand – she’s going to start her new job. Like anyone would be in a rush to get back to work when they could explore time and space like this. It makes no sense.
Unfortunately for Tegan, the TARDIS has landed on a spaceship instead of Heathrow Terminal 4.
Sue: The set is nicely lit. That’s half the battle won.
The Doctor decides to explore while his companions whinge.
Sue: He loves to poke around, doesn’t he? One of these days, he’ll press the wrong button and blow himself up.
The Doctor’s progress is monitored by a floating monopticon.
Sue: It’s a Toclafane from The Sound of Drums.
Of course she didn’t really say that. She actually said:
Sue: It’s one of those floaty ball things from that David Tennant episode.
Me: Oh yeah, so it is.
Meanwhile, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan are bickering about mathematics. As you do.
Adric: That’s the trouble with women. Mindless, impatient and bossy.
Sue: Steady on, Adric.
Tegan is in a very stroppy mood, and when Nyssa and Adric decide to follow the Doctor outside, she doesn’t want to be the odd one out.
Sue: She only did that to spite Adric. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. And Peter Davison isn’t even in the scene!
Their helmets fascinate Sue.
Sue: I could make a nice replica of a TARDIS helmet, if you like. They’d be dead easy to do. I’d just need some washing-up liquid bottles, some 15mm flexible waste pipe and a 1970 motorcycle helmet. Simple.
The Doctors finds a machine that goes ping.
The Doctor: Yes! An interferometer.
Adric: What’s that?
Sue: It’s for interfering with things, stupid. I’m going right off Adric. He was a boy genius in the last episode, but now he’s a thick, whining brat.
Sue recognises the voice of Monarch, which surprised me a bit.
Sue: He’s famous. Whoever he is.
Adric continues to get on Sue’s wick.
Sue: It must be his hormones. He can’t understand these strange feelings he has for Nyssa and he’s trying to overcompensate.
We meet Monarch, as played by Stratford Johns.
Sue: How the **** am I supposed to recognise him under all that? And why are the aliens playing Prize Board Bingo?
The Urbankans question Tegan about her clothing.
Enlightenment: Are you fashionable, Tegan?
Sue: For about 15 minutes in 1981, possibly. Just thank your lucky stars you didn’t ask Adric.
Tegan sketches some contemporary Earth fashions.
Sue: If the air hostess job doesn’t pan out, there’s always a future for her as a cartoonist. That’s quite a good likeness of Paul McCartney and Jerry Hall.
Monarch sets Adric a maths problem.
Sue: Nicol should be watching this. The programme is obsessed with maths at the moment. Is there going to be a test at the end of this episode?
And then we meet Bigon.
Sue: If there isn’t a “let bygones by bygones” joke in this episode, I will write to Points of View.
The Doctor and his companions are given some refreshments and Adric asks someone to pass him the sodium chloride.
Sue: This is very educational. You’d happily let your kids to watch this story.
Me: Yeah, but only if you wanted to turn your kids into irritating, obnoxious freaks.
An Australian Aborigine arrives at the feast and Tegan has to translate for the Doctor.
Sue: Why can’t the Doctor understand him? He can understand everybody else in the universe. I thought the TARDIS translated all this stuff for him? Have they never heard of continuity? I’m a bit annoyed by this.
Whatever you do, Do NOT give Sue the address to Gallifrey Base.
Two humans, dressed in green velvet, suddenly appear. They have walked straight out of Tegan’s drawing.
Persuasion: We’ve already met. This is Enlightenment, and I am Persuasion.
Me: It’s Sapphire and Steel’s brother and sister. Jade and Aluminium.
The credits roll.
Sue: So this it like V, then? Lizards pretending to be humans so they can invade the Earth? They’ll be eating mice before you know it. I have to say, I’ve seen better first episodes.
Adric doesn’t understand how the Urbankans can transform themselves into new forms.
Adric: How did you do it?
Sue: For ****’s sake, Adric. It’s probably block transfer thingy! You created a whole society last week, this is a piece of piss compared to that. Seriously, the lack of continuity in this story is really starting to annoy me.
Three billion Urbankans are stored on this ship. Once again, Adric can’t get his head around the concept.
Sue: They’re probably just tadpoles. I bet you could store a lot of frogspawn on that ship.
The Doctor decides to explore the ship. Adric and Nyssa get separated from the Doctor and Tegan.
Sue: They are really ramping up the sexual tension, now. How will they resist each other in that dimly lit storage room?
The Doctor and Tegan are given VIP seats for a very special performance.
Sue: This balcony reminds me of the video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax.
Meanwhile, Nyssa and Adric are exploring a hydroponic garden centre.
Nyssa: The light on the plants converts carbon dioxide into carbohydrate.
Sue: Seriously, is there going to be a test at the end of this?
Tegan and the Doctor watch Chinese dragons dancing. They don’t even have any popcorn.
The Doctor: Try to look as if you’re enjoying yourself.
Sue: Tegan is like the Queen at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Smile, you bitch! Smile!
Adric is still struggling to put two and two together.
Adric: Not enough oxygen.
Sue: Not enough action, you mean. This story is just people wandering around rooms and chatting. It hasn’t been like this since the 1960s!
Nyssa starts poking one of Monarch’s workers. He pushes Nyssa away and Adric flies off the handle.
Sue: Adric is so blinded by lust, he sticks up for Nyssa, even though she was clearly in the wrong. She was prodding the poor sod. What was he supposed to do?
The Doctor pretends to have a dizzy spell, so Bigon can talk to him.
Sue: It’s Peter Davison I feel sorry for. When he read the script for this, he must have thought, what the **** have I let myself in for. This is crap!
A gladiator is stabbed in the stomach. Adric and Nyssa watch as he is repaired. And then a very familiar penny drops:
Sue: It’s bloody Westworld again! Every few weeks, they wheel this out. And if they are making robots for entertainment purposes, and this is the best they can come up with, then their technology must be shit. Invent the Playstation 3 instead, you morons. Or make a mechanical Derren Brown. Anything but this.
An aboriginal dance troupe are on stage next.
Sue: Here comes Kate Bush.
Me: No love, that’s next week.
The episode concludes with Bigon opening up his chest to reveal that he too is a robot.
Sue: We’re seen it all before. Several times, in fact. It’s getting boring.
When Adric decides to side with the Urbankans, Sue isn’t all that surprised.
Sue: They do have a point. Humans are total shits. And this lot are very charming.
Bigon tells the Doctor that Monarch plans to wipe out humanity with a deadly poison. He gets quite worked up about it, actually.
Bigon: With this he will conquer Earth!
Sue: It’s just a shame he doesn’t come with an acting chip.
Adric tells Monarch all about the Doctor’s greatest archenemy, the Master.
Sue: He’s not in this one as well, is he? That would be tedious.
Sue likes Monarch, though.
Sue: As far as villains go, he’s very affable. You could easily get around him with some flattery if you really had to. I’m not frightened of him at all.
Adric reels off the TARDIS specs.
Adric: The interior’s in a different dimension.
Sue: Kick him, Nyssa.
Adric: It’s got a power room, it’s got a bathroom. It’s even got cloisters.
Sue: He recited that like a proper little fan.
Tegan can’t stand it any longer and she freaks out.
Sue: Whenever Tegan speaks, I feel myself getting stressed. She’s like an excitable dog that won’t stop yapping.
Nyssa is hypnotised so she can be turned into a synthetic copy of herself.
Enlightenment: Your eyes are getting heavy. They are getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier.
Sue: Tell me about it.
The Doctor distracts a monopticon with a cricket ball and his sonic screwdriver.
Sue: I liked that. That was a very Doctorish thing to do. He’s quite a bouncy Doctor, isn’t he?
Lin Futu monitors Nyssa’s conversion.
Sue: If they turned Nyssa into a robot for the rest of the series, would anybody notice?
Adric can’t stop apologising for Monarch’s wicked ways.
Sue: Adric is a pushover when it comes to powerful, older men. We should have seen this coming.
Lin Futu checks to see how Nyssa is doing.
Lin Futu: Two minutes.
Sue: Thanks for the running commentary, Cato.
Me: You finally recognised Cato, then?
Sue: No, I was just being racist. Sorry. Is it really Cato? Honestly?
Tegan finds her way back to the TARDIS.
Sue: If Tegan ends up flying the TARDIS, I may have to kick something.
Bigon tells the Doctor that Monarch punished him once by locking him in a drawer for 100 years.
Sue: At least he was spared the Chinese dragon dancing for a bit.
I hate to break to you, folks, but Sue is starting to have second thoughts about Adric.
Sue: I am going right off Adric. From genius to git in three episodes. It’s either his hormones or the writer is a ****ing idiot.
Tegan is still freaking out in the TARDIS.
Sue: Take some Valium! Look at me – I’m biting my nails. She puts me on edge. How long does Tegan stick around for?
Me: Not long.
Sue: Good. My nerves couldn’t take much more of this.
Incredibly, Tegan dematerialises the TARDIS.
Sue: Bullshit. And where does she think she’s going, anyway? She just left her friends behind to die, just so she could go to her boring little job. I hate Tegan. I can’t believe you made me name one of our cats after her.
The episode concludes with the Doctor facing a beheading.
Adric: No! No! No!
Sue: Oh, shut up, Adric. It’s too late for that now. Good cliffhanger, though. If in doubt, threaten to chop somebody’s head off.
Monarch orders Persuasion to spare Adric’s life.
Monarch: Do not harm the boy. The boy has great courage.
Sue: And I fancy the pants off him. Ribbit.
Adric begs Monarch to spare the Doctor’s life, too.
Sue: He’s a pushover. Buy him some chocolates, then he’ll definitely change his mind.
Monarch questions the Doctor’s actions.
Monarch: Was it scientific curiosity which caused you to interfere with my monopticons?
Sue: Would you like me to interfere with your monopticons, Neil?
The Doctor pretends to take Monarch’s side. Adric laps it up.
Sue: What a ****ing idiot. Why is Adric being written as a moron? Has the writer never seen Castrovalva? Jesus.
We are treated to some more dancing.
Sue: Oh, for ****’s sake.
The Doctor gives Adric a bollocking for being such a dick.
The Doctor: Look, he wants to use you. His subjects are all synthetic. You are flesh and blood.
Sue: It’s not even a subtext any more.
Monarch will use Adric as his emissary on Earth.
Sue: And Earth will piss their pants laughing.
Meanwhile, Tegan is still struggling to fly the TARDIS.
Sue: With any luck, the next button she presses will result in the TARDIS landing on top of that dancing dragon, and then they can all just piss off. This is ridiculous.
Monarch and Persuasion are watching this performance with keen interest.
Sue: They must be bored of this channel by now. I know I am.
Persuasion is especially pleased when Topless Male Wrestling Hour begins.
Sue: This is her favourite programme. She’s got all of these on tape.
The Doctor must take a spacewalk to reach his TARDIS, which has materialised outside the ship.
Sue: All this all because Tegan is a ****ing idiot. This has nothing to do with the villains. If it wasn’t for Tegan, this would be over by now.
Sue is becoming increasingly frustrated with the Doctor’s companions.
Sue: The Doctor should ground them for a month when this is all over. He should have three adventures on his own while they are locked in their bedrooms. That will teach them.
The Doctor arranges for the ship’s “entertainers” to perform simultaneously.
Sue: It’s like a YouTube mash-up. Or maybe it’s the Closing Ceremony. You know how shambolic they can be.
The Doctor launches himself into space. Persuasion tires to intervene and, brilliantly, the Doctor has to come all the way back to the ship again. The Doctor switches the synthetic weirdo off.
Sue: Why is he stuck in a camp waiter pose?
The Doctor tries again. This time it’s Enlightenment’s turn to mess things up and the Doctor is set adrift in space. He uses his cricket ball to save himself.
Sue: I’m no scientist but I’m pretty sure that’s bollocks.
But it’s not all bad news.
Sue: Having said that, it doesn’t look too bad. They are really trying. It’s a nice special effect.
The Doctor enters the console room and Sue can’t believe he doesn’t give Tegan a slap.
Sue: William Hartnell wouldn’t have put up with this crap from his companions.
The TARDIS materialises on Monarch’s ship and the Doctor rushes off to save Adric and Nyssa.
Sue: SHUT THE ****ING DOORS! The next thing you know, a pogo-ing Aborigine will accidentally dance into the console room and fly it away. Because any ****er can fly the TARDIS now, can’t they?
Aside from a scene where Peter Davison’s heavy breathing gives Sue palpitations, the final episode drags terribly. The Doctor passes Monarch’s poison to Adric to look after.
Sue: Is he insane? I wouldn’t trust Adric with a flask of tea.
Monarch is killed by his own poison.
Sue: What a load of old shit.
The synthetic entertainers on the ship decide to stay where they are.
Sue: (As Bigon) We are going on tour of the galaxy together. All we need now is some Arts Council funding.
And just when we think it’s all over, Nyssa faints. Cue credits.
Me: Sorry, love, it’s a six-parter.
Sue: Oh, for ****’s sake.
Sue: What tedious bollocks. Seriously, what the **** was that? Whoever wrote that one should never be allowed to write for the programme again. What the **** was Adric playing at? And the title makes no sense.