Me: It’s Kinda, actually.
Sue: As in Kinder Surprise?
Sue: Why the weird titles all of a sudden? What happened to Planet of the Whatsits or The Whatsits of Doom? You know where you are with a title like that.
On the planet Deva Loka, all the stinky kids are chilling outside the TARDIS.
Sue: I thought Nyssa was supposed to be dead or something?
Me: No, she has a migraine.
Sue: Give her a hot water bottle and a copy of Hello! and she’ll be fine. We’ve all been there.
The Doctor knocks up a delta wave augmenter with his sonic screwdriver. Adric is concerned that the Doctor will be lost without it.
The Doctor: Why? We won’t need it.
Sue: Of course you’ll bloody need it! You always bloody need it. You’d be completely ****ed without it. I bet he wishes he has it with him before we reach the first cliffhanger.
In a dome in a jungle, a scientist named Todd is trying to convince her colleagues that the indigenous life forms on the planet pose no threat to them.
Sue: Oh look, it’s a Liver bird. And she’s looking pretty hot, too. Look at that cleavage.
Me: I’m trying hard not to.
Sue: If I was in Doctor Who, that’s the role I’d like to play: a hot scientist with a clipboard.
Me: I don’t know if the special effects budget could stretch to that.
How I didn’t get a cushion in the ribs for that, I’ll never know.
Sanders is in charge of this dome and he gives his second-in-command, Hindle, a good dressing down.
Sue: Shut up, you ‘orrible little man! This place hasn’t been the same since Lofty disappeared!
The Doctor, Tegan and Adric explore Deva Loka while Nyssa sleeps. They stumble across some wind chimes hanging from a tree.
Sue: They’ve landed in Mike Oldfield’s back garden.
Adric wanders off and he finds an empty armoured suit in a clearing. The Doctor drags him away from it.
Adric: What the…?
Sue: He was going to say **** but he managed to stop himself just in time. What a pro.
Adric slams the door shut and the vehicle suddenly springs into life.
Sue: What is wrong with Adric? Has he been taking stupid pills? He hasn’t been the same since he left Castrovalva.
The Doctor and Adric are escorted to the dome where they meet Sanders, Hindle and Todd.
Sue: At least you can reason with this lot. If this was a Tom Baker story, the Doctor would have been banged up in a cell before his feet could touch the ground.
Meanwhile, Tegan has fallen asleep under a tree. The camera zooms into her eye.
Sue: What the hell? This is a bit weird. Is this one going to be trippy? Oh, I do hope so.
I’m seriously impressed when Sue recognises the double helix around the neck of the Kinda, long before Todd points it out. Frankly, I’m amazed. What could Sue know of molecular biology?
Meanwhile, Tegan’s head has been populated with some very strange characters.
Sue: It’s Keith from the Prodigy and – no, wait, don’t tell me… It’s… It’s… Lou Beale from EastEnders! Blimey, that takes me back a bit. “Arfur! Arfur!”
Tegan is slowly driven mad.
Sue: I’m really sorry but this has turned into a bad student film. It’s a bit pretentious.
At least the sets in the dome meet with Sue’s approval.
Sue: The sets are brilliant. It’s been put together like a German Huf Haus.
Me: I’ll have to take your word for it.
Sue: It’s prefabricated. It looks like a real lab where you could actually get some proper work done. I’m really impressed with the design of this story. It feels real.
When Aris makes his first appearance, I have a little a wager with Sue:
Me: If you can tell me where you’ve seen this actor before, I will do the washing-up for a whole week.
Sue: He is very, very familiar. It would help if he spoke. I’m sure it’ll come to me later.
Back at the dome, Hindle has a dicky-fit, smashing up Todd’s lab in the process.
Sue: The prop guys are probably having kittens and praying that they don’t need another take.
Me: What do you think of the actor playing Hindle?
Sue: He’s a bit hammy but he has a very interesting face so he’s getting away with it.
Sue has never seen a single episode of The Bill, so there’s no point going down that road.
A laughing man joins Tegan in her head.
Sue: (Singing) Ashes to Ashes, Funk to Funky…
He manages to freak both Tegan and Sue out.
Sue: He reminds me of Joffrey from Game of Thrones. And I want to punch him in the face as well. I have to say, the acting is very good in this episode. I really like the way the tone keeps shifting as well, from the brightly lit scenes in the dome to the really dark stuff in her head, it’s a nice contrast. It’s well directed.
The episode concludes with Hindle proclaiming that he has the power of life and death over everyone.
Sue: Wow. That was intense. Hey, it’s not bad, this. Peter Davison is very good. He feels like a proper Doctor now.
We meet Mary Morris as Panna.
Sue: Proof that they didn’t have Botox in the 1980s. I bet she was a looker back in her day, though.
When we finished this episode, I gave Sue a picture of Mary in her prime.
Sue: I thought so. Stunning. Bloody good actress, too.
She still can’t place Aris, though.
Sue: It’s really bugging me now. His name is on the tip of my tongue. Have I seen him in a film or a television programme?
She won’t get it. Not in a million years.
Panna: The not-we must know how it is with the Kinda.
Sue: The not-we. You call me a not-we on the front page of this blog.
Me: This is what we call people who aren’t Doctor Who fans.
Sue: Normal people, you mean?
Me: If you like.
Sue: I don’t mind being called a not-we. I’ve been called a lot worse. On the blog, in fact.
Me: I’m not sure if you are still a not-we or not. You’ve seen more 1960s episodes than many fans.
Sue: I am definitely not a we.
Me: You answered three questions on Mastermind yesterday.
The three answers she got right were: Daleks, Castrovalva and Shada. She hasn’t even seen Shada!
Sue: So I’m almost a we?
Me: You are probably more of a wee-we.
Sue: Don’t push it, Neil.
Todd and the Doctor decide its time they escaped from the dome.
Sue: Nerys Hughes is brilliant in this. She’s really showing Tegan up. This is how you play the companion role, love. With a bit of decorum.
Hindle is becoming increasingly unstable.
Sue: So has Hindle been possessed by the Kinda? Just like his boss was when he opened that box earlier?
Sue: I’m really confused, then.
Me: Hindle is just insane. He’s having a nervous breakdown.
Sue: Right. So he isn’t possessed by anything?
Sue: It isn’t very clear. That’s my only problem with this story so far: it’s too complicated.
The battle for Tegan’s mind continues.
Sue: It’s basically a video for a New Romantic song. I definitely won’t forget this in a hurry.
Hindle is convinced that the plants are out to get him.
Sue: He’s been watching far too much Doctor Who. I’m surprised he hasn’t confiscated the Doctor’s celery.
Adric has heard enough. He switches sides.
Sue: Oh no, not again! Adric! What are you doing?
Me: I think he’s just pretending this time.
Sue: After last week’s fiasco? Not bleeding likely. I’ve gone right off Adric. I gave him every chance and I feel like he’s just chucking it back in my face.
Tegan is talking to herself.
Sue: This must have been a bit heavy for the kids.
Me: I was 12 when I saw this. It scared the shit out of me.
Sue: I’m not surprised. It’s very disturbing. The psychological stuff is much more frightening than lumbering monsters.
Me: Imagine coming out of this story straight into Terry and June. The change in gears gave me mental whiplash.
If two Tegans set Sue’s teeth on edge, then 10 Tegans is pure torture.
Sue: I’ll have a ****ing heart attack if I have to listen to 10 Tegans all whining at once. Please make it stop.
Tegan gives in and she allows her body to be used by the laughing boy.
Sue: This is very intense. Confusing but intense. Ooh, he’s putting his snake in her. And he didn’t even buy her dinner first.
By now, Hindle is several coupons short of a toaster.
Sue: Mad bastards are always the best villains. It feels more real. I definitely won’t forget this performance in a hurry. I can’t take my eyes off him. Even when Peter Davison is on the screen.
High praise, indeed.
Sue: I’m not following the plot, though.
When Tegan seduces Aris, I have to pause the DVD.
Sue: Okay, I give up. Who is it?
Me: Are you giving up the chance to make me do the washing-up for a week? Oh well, that’s life.
Sue: Tell me who it is.
Me: We rang the Gas Board and they said, “I’m sorry, but this has nothing to do with us”.
Sue: He worked for the Gas Board?
Me: No, he was on That’s Life!. He was one of Ester’s boys.
Sue: Glyn Worsnip?
Me: No! The other one.
Sue: Cyril Fletcher?
Me: Does he look like Cyril ****ing Fletcher? No, it’s Adrian Mills.
Sue: Oh yeah, so it is. I used to watch That’s Life! every Sunday night; I knew I recognised his face.
Me: Can I press Play again, please?
Sue: Yes. The acting in this story is so good, even a bloke from That’s Life is bloody good in it. That’s how good it is. Why did he give up acting?
Sanders arrives back at the dome with a present for Hindle.
Hindle: What is it?
Sue: It’s a Kinder Surprise.
Me: Well done, Sue.
Sue: I’ve been dying to say that ever since we started this. I’ve been biding my time.
The Doctor, Sanders and Todd are placed in a cell with the Kinda box.
Sue: That’s a lovely box. If I had to buy some Doctor Who memorabilia, that’s what I’d get.
The episode concludes with the Doctor opening it. Todd screams.
Sue: Bloody hell. I can’t go to bed on that cliffhanger. Stick the next one on.
Sue: Why isn’t Adric doing something to stop the mad ****er? You said he was just pretending this week. He’s just standing there watching!
Me: Maybe they should have given Adric a holiday instead of Nyssa.
Sue: Nerys Hughes is the only companion the Doctor needs. They have great chemistry together and she isn’t hysterical.
The Doctor: (To Todd) You ask a lot of questions.
Sue: See! She’d be perfect for you. Take her with her, you fool. And leave the rest of them here. Let Mike Oldfield put up with them for a bit.
Aris tries to hide his tattoo.
Sue: Do Doctor Who fans have snakes tattooed on their arms? I bet they do. It’s either that or a Dalek, I suppose, and that would be pretty boring.
Hindle is never going to get that toaster.
Sue: I thought he couldn’t get any crazier, but he has. It’s an incredible performance. It could have been terrible but it works. I love his catchphrase.
The Kinda jester puts on a special performance for the Doctor.
Sue: Is it Stuart Fell? Because, well, you know.
Sue doesn’t comment for a while. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s captivated or confused.
Me: Are you okay? You’ve been very –
Hindle wants to play with Adric.
Sue: What does he want Adric to measure? No, don’t tell me. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
The Doctor meets Panna. She’s very rude.
Sue: She’s brilliant, isn’t she? Even she would be a better companion than Tegan. Can you imagine it? The Doctor would have to lead her around and she’d keep insulting him and… actually, that’s a stupid idea. She’d make a great Yoda, though. They would have saved a bomb on muppets if they’d hired her instead.
The Doctor and Todd prepare to have a shared hallucination.
Sue: They’re going to drop some magic mushrooms, aren’t they?
Me: Don’t take the brown acid!
Panna: Wherever the wheel turns, there is suffering, delusion and death. That much should be clear, even to an idiot.
Sue: That joke will never get old.
Panna and the Doctor discuss the legend of the Mara.
Me: Are you following this, Sue?
The Doctor and Todd share a vision.
Sue: David Bowie would have loved this story.
By the end of it, Sue has been baffled into submission.
Sue: Answers on a postcard, please. Okay, I admit defeat. I’m lost. I haven’t got a clue what’s going on any more. I’m enjoying it but what the hell was that all about? Why the modern clock on the plinth? And why the hot coals?
Me It wasn’t hot coals. That was just a video effect.
Sue: Oh, my head hurts.
We decide to save the final part of Kinda for the following day, when Sue’s brain has had a chance to cool down. Now, if only I still had that delta wave augmenter I knocked up last Christmas.
Sue: That’s where the cliffhanger should have been. When the screen went white. The director missed a trick, there.
Panna is dead but her consciousness has been passed to a girl named Karuna.
Sue: Now I’m really confused.
It’s so confusing, Peter Davison almost falls over.
Sue: Peter is such a pro, he just keeps going. It’s an acting masterclass, this week.
Hindle’s psychosis plumbs next depths.
Sue: Did the kids enjoy this, really? Wouldn’t they have preferred a big monster than a mental illness?
Be careful what you wish for, Sue.
Aris commands the Kinda to build their own version of the not-we’s TSS machine.
Sue: Are they making an outside toilet?
Sue: His teeth remind of the red stuff dentists used to give you so they could check for tooth decay.
Me: Yes, I know what you mean. They used to come into our school to do it.
Sue: Don’t tell me – and you all ran around the playground pretending to be possessed by the Mara, yes?
Me: Are you telepathic, woman?
The Doctor finds Tegan. He wants to know what she did to Aris. She’s reluctant to tell him.
The Doctor: Now come on, Tegan, you must tell me.
Sue: (As Tegan) Okay, I got all sexy on his ass! Happy, now?
Adric gets into the TSS machine and he blasts Aris.
Sue: (As Aris) I’m on fire! I’m on fire! Seriously, I am on ****ing fire! Why hasn’t the director cut yet?
The Doctor drags Adric out of the machine.
Sue: Adric is such a twat.
Finally, everything is right with the universe again.
Sue: I just don’t get it. One minute he can create whole worlds, the next minute he can’t even drive a tank. It makes no sense.
When Adric and Tegan start bickering, Sue delivers the final blow.
Sue: What is Adric looking at? Is it the director? He really can’t act, can he? I’ve given him more than enough chances. I think the problem is the guest cast are showing the companions up. Adric is out of his depth.
Hindle finally snaps.
Hindle: You can’t mend people!
Sue: That’s very profound. Because he’s broken.
Hindle opens the Kinda box and the Doctor disables the explosives.
Sue: That was a bit of an anti-climax.
But it isn’t over yet.
The Doctor explains to Tegan how the Mara can’t face itself.
The Doctor: Do you see?
Sue: Thank God it’s not just me. This makes no sense.
The Doctor instructs the Kinda to surround Aris with mirrored solar panels.
Sue: He could easily get through that gap. What’s he waiting for?
And then the snake turns up.
Sue: They are trying.
It gets bigger.
Sue: They are really trying.
Sue: Oh dear. What a shame.
Once the Mara is defeated, Sue gives her verdict on the snake.
Sue: It wasn’t too bad. I think the jester was more annoying than the snake. I didn’t really have a problem with it. But I was making this back then, I would have stuck with the small one. That was more scary. It’s not the size of the snake that’s important, it’s what you do with it.
A little later, I show her the CGI replacement on the DVD.
Sue: Wow. That’s incredible. It’s very sympathetically done. They even kept the really annoying strobing effect.
Hindle and Sanders take a stroll in the jungle.
Sue: Hang on. Isn’t Sanders still mad?
Sue: He is. He lost his mind when he opened the box, didn’t he? I bet he’s wearing a skirt by the end of the week.
Todd and the Doctor say their goodbyes.
Sue: Oh, just take her with you!
Todd: Paradise is too green for me.
Sue: She’s practically begging you to take her with you!
The Doctor returns to his companions.
Sue: **** Nyssa.
Sue: I really liked it but I didn’t understand it. The other problem I have with it is that the Doctor was sidelined too much. I wouldn’t mind but it’s too early to be doing that to this Doctor. The acting was brilliant but Adric has to go. Yeah, I kinda liked it.
Me: You’ve been dying to say that, haven’t you?
I am bitterly disappointed. Kinda is a 9 at the very least.
Sue: Maybe I’d enjoy it more if I saw it again.
Me: With a score like that, you won’t be seeing any more snakes for quite some time.