The moment had been prepared for: Nicol had already agreed to watch this story with us, what with her being a mathematician and everything, and because she was going away this weekend, we planned on watching all four episodes on Thursday. But when 8:30pm rolled around, and I reached for my New Beginnings box set, I was in for a shock: the Logopolis DVD was unplayable.
Me: ****ing entropy! That’s just ****ing typical!
What’s really odd is that I can’t remember throwing Logopolis across the room the last time I saw it.
Anyway, thanks to some block transfer computation (aka USENET) we began Logopolis a little later than expected.
Tom Baker’s final story begins in a motorway lay-by.
Sue: Whenever I look at the TARDIS, I notice different things about it. Today, I am fixating on the pink and cream tinting in the glass.
Nicol: I’m starting to worry about you, mother.
Me: Don’t worry, Nicol. It isn’t even a real TARDIS.
The police box bends and wobbles as a familiar sound effect heralds the arrival of a space-time machine.
Sue: It is now.
Evil laughter rings out as a policeman is dragged into the box.
Sue: Okay, let’s get this out of the way: is it the Master?
Nicol: You mean she’s actually right? And I was here to see it? Wow.
A few minutes later, we meet Tegan Jovanka.
Sue: Now she looks familiar. Where have I seen her before?
Tegan’s Aunt Vanessa can’t get her car to start and Tegan is running late.
Aunt Vanessa: Now calm now, Tegan, dear.
Sue and Nicol: It’s Tegan!
Yes, we have a cat named Tegan. My fault, of course. Blame me.
Sue: It’s the mouth on legs!
Nicol: It’s little Teagie Weagie.
Me: No one ever calls her that.
Nicol: Right… So this is why you call out Tegan’s name in a mock-Australian accent all the time. It suddenly makes sense.
When their car pulls away, Sue doesn’t fancy their chances of making to the airport in one piece.
Sue: Blimey, she’s had a few accidents in that. I wonder how many people she’s killed?
Meanwhile, the Doctor is moping about in the TARDIS cloister room. He decides that it’s time he fixed his ship’s chameleon circuit, and to do that he will need to survey a real police box back on Earth.
The Doctor: There’s some in the North that are still in use.
Sue: Are we going oop north? And by north, I don’t mean the Watford Gap.
Nicol: They’re going to Newcastle – that’s why Adric is wearing the Newkie Brown star on his pyjamas.
Sue: So the Doctor is finally going to fix the TARDIS? After all this time, he’s actually going to fix it?
Sue: I know why he’s suddenly decided to do it now. He’s jealous of the Master, isn’t he? He wants a TARDIS that can sit down in a chair and fire laser beams from its eyes, too. And who can blame him?
Meanwhile, Tegan’s car has broken down in the lay-by.
Sue: My mum had an Afghan coat just like hers. It stank.
On his way back to the console room, the Doctor looks in on Romana’s old quarters.
Nicol: Has Romana gone? When did that happen?
Sue: She left with K9 not that long ago. It was very sad. I’m still getting over it.
Nicol: Oh, I see. So Tegan is the replacement dolly bird, then?
Me: Dolly bird? What decade are you living in?
Nicol: It’s hard to tell, living with you two.
The Doctor demonstrates the TARDIS chameleon circuit to Adric.
The Doctor: In theory we should be able to do things like this.
Sue: What? You can play old video games on it?
The Doctor doesn’t want to be conspicuous any more.
Adric: Why? Who’s looking for us now?
Sue: Well, there’s the Black Guardian for a start.
The TARDIS materialises next to the real police box in the by-pass. On the other side of the road, a figure in white is waiting and watching.
Sue: Is it an Auton?
The Doctor materialises his TARDIS around the police box.
Sue: I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I’m sure it isn’t a real police box. In fact, I’m fairly certain it’s the Master’s TARDIS.
Nicol: Are you actually following this?
With the police box now inside the TARDIS console room, Adric and the Doctor take its measurements.
Nicol: I wish I had those measurements when I was making my cake.
The Doctor introduces Adric – and Sue – to the concept of block transfer computation.
Sue: This is very complicated. Did they really expect small children to follow this? Did you follow it when you first saw it?
Me: Of course I did. Everything I know about science, I learnt from watching Doctor Who.
Nicol: You know about tachyons and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and that’s about it!
Me: Hey, you forgot bioelectronics!
The Doctor watches Tegan as she tries to change the flat tyre on her car.
Sue: She’s making a right pig’s ear out of that. I hope she never has to land a plane.
Nicol: You’d think Tom Baker would offer to help them out. He isn’t very heroic.
And still the Watcher watches.
Sue: Neil, am I supposed to know who that is?
Nicol: I think it might be Anthony Gormley.
The Doctor enters the police box in the console room, only to find himself standing in a dimly lit copy of the room he just left.
Sue: See! I told you that he’d landed in a TARDIS! I’m dead chuffed I got that right.
Meanwhile, Tegan enters the police box on the by-pass (please keep up at the back).
Sue: I had a suit exactly the same colour as Tegan’s uniform, and you know what? I ****ing loved it.
Me: Are you sure you want me to include that in the write-up? That’s really embarrassing.
The Doctor and Adric are trapped in a TARDIS in a TARDIS.
Sue: This is a brilliant concept. I love it. I just wish the lighting was like this all the time.
The Doctor finds his way back to the lay-by, where he is met by the police.
Sue: Oh, it’s him.
Sue: It’s the Between the Lines guy. I like him, he’s good.
Tom Georgeson’s Detective Inspector leads the Doctor to Tegan’s car. Sitting on its front seat are two dolls.
Sue: I told you it was the Master. It’s good, this.
Nicol: Yeah, it’s alright, I suppose. I haven’t got a clue what’s going on but it’s interesting.
Sue watches the Watcher.
Sue: Why is the Master disguised as a clown?
Me: That isn’t the Master.
Sue: Who is it, then?
Me: Wait and see.
The police want to take the Doctor back to their station for questioning.
Sue: Why? What has he done that’s so terribly wrong? Is it a crime to leave some dolls on the front seat of a car? That’s a bit weird.
Nicol: GET IN THE BACK OF THE VAN!
Adric creates a distraction and the Doctor races back to the TARDIS. But he has to jettison Romana’s room to escape a gravity bubble. Sue is gutted.
Sue: Just think of all those shoes he just chucked away.
Meanwhile, Tegan is wandering around the cloister room in a daze.
Sue: This place reminds me of a level from Unreal Tournament, the only computer game I was ever any good at.
Tegan: It’s unreal!
Sue: See, Tegan thinks so too.
The Doctor receives a transmission from Traken: Tremas has gone missing. The Doctor believes that the Master probably took over his body.
Sue: At least they are addressing last week’s massive plot hole. I still don’t buy it, though.
The Doctor decides to flush the Master out of his TARDIS.
Sue: What a ****ing stupid idea. Is he joking? He must be joking. Tell me that he’s joking.
The Doctor heads for the Thames.
Sue: That’s definitely been in EastEnders.
Adric starts flipping switches on the TARDIS console like a pro.
Sue: Adric really knows his shit. He’s the best co-pilot the Doctor’s ever had. Unless you count Romana, of course; she could fly it on her own.
The TARDIS lands with a bump.
Tegan: Crazy idiot of a pilot!
Sue: She’s dealt with the concept that she’s walked into a huge spaceship that was disguised as a tiny police box very quickly, hasn’t she? I can’t tell if that’s because she’s really clever or really stupid.
The Doctor and Adric prepare to open the TARDIS doors.
Sue: What the ****?
But nothing happens.
The Doctor: That’s odd. There’s no pressure on those doors at all.
Sue: Thank God there’s no pressure! You’d both be dead if there was!
The TARDIS has accidentally landed on a barge. Sue laughs, which clears the tension a bit. The Watcher stands on a bridge above them.
Sue: How can the Master appear over there just like that?
Me: He isn’t the Master!
Sue: Then who is it? Is it another Time Lord? I’m confused.
Tegan bursts into tears.
Sue: Poor Tegan. Her mind has finally snapped.
But Tegan pulls herself together.
Sue: My first impressions of Tegan are very good. She’s tenacious and up for anything. Is there any particular reason why she’s Australian?
Me: The producer thought she might appeal to our antipodean cousins.
Sue: That makes sense. JNT was pretty canny.
Adric jumps to the same conclusion as Sue.
Adric: So that was the Master?
The Doctor: How did you deduce that?
Adric: I just guessed.
The Doctor: Never guess. Unless you have to. There’s enough uncertainty in the universe as it is.
Sue: I’m sorry! It’s not very clear, Okay? You don’t have to bite my head off!
The TARDIS arrives on Logopolis. The crew are greeted by the Monitor.
Sue: That isn’t the Master, is it?
Sue: Just checking. God, this is so confusing.
The Monitor leads the Doctor and his companions through the streets of Logopolis.
Nicol: So this is the planet of the mathematicians, is it? It isn’t very flattering. We don’t all look like that, you know.
Sue: Even on your very worst hair day, you don’t look as bad as this lot, Nicol.
Nicol: It’s a bit insulting to imply that if you are good at maths, you must have a deformed head. I don’t like it.
Sue: Logopolis is a shit hole. It’s not much of an existence, sitting in a poky hole playing with your abacus, is it? It looks like slave labour to me.
Nicol: It looks like my ideal job. I wish somebody would pay me to solve equations all day.
A Logopolitan smiles to himself.
The Monitor tries to explain block transfer computation. Sue doesn’t buy it.
Sue: That’s impossible! Isn’t it? Nicol?
Nicol: You can model any space-time event with mathematics. But I’m pretty sure that you can’t do it by mumbling the numbers out loud. Actually, I’m fairly certain about that.
Sue: ****ing hell.
Nyssa has turned up.
Sue: Not her again. What’s she doing here?
The Master interferes with the Logopolitans’ computations, and when the Doctor tries to input the equation into his chameleon circuit, the TARDIS starts to shrink.
Nicol: That’s what happens when you don’t show your working out in the margins.
Sue: I’m really enjoying this. Let’s watch another one.
Nicol: I’ll try to stay awake but I can’t promise anything. It’s getting very late and this kind of “maths” doesn’t do anything for me.
Adric: It’s getting smaller!
Sue: It sounds like you in the bedroom, love.
Me: I’m not putting that in.
Sue: Spoilsport. You always leave out my best jokes.
Sue finally gets a good look at Anthony Ainley’s Master.
Sue: That’s more like it. They are definitely trying to mimic Roger Delgado, but it’s still better than him wandering around as a burn victim in a bin bag.
Adric and the Monitor check the equation one more time.
Me: There you go, Nicol. Some hexadecimal for you.
But it’s too late, Nicol is fast asleep.
Meanwhile, Nyssa’s continued presence on Logopolis baffles Sue.
Sue: Is she working for the Master or did she stowaway on his TARDIS without his consent? Time Lords really could do with better locks on their TARDISes.
Me: The bloke in white brought her here. Look, there he is now –
Sue: Okay, this guy is really starting to freak me out, now. Who is it?
In his shrunken TARDIS, the Doctor blames himself for the error.
Sue: He’s getting old. He needs to give it up. It’s written all over his face.
Tegan isn’t very happy about the working conditions on Logopolis, either:
Tegan: Back home in Brisbane, we call that a sweatshop.
Sue: Exactly! I really like Tegan. I’m glad our cat is named after such a nice person.
Nyssa believes that the Master is her father.
Sue: He doesn’t look anything like her dad! Unless her dad had lots of botox and he took a bath in some Grecian 2000. Is she mad?
The Doctor looks very grave indeed.
Sue: Tom looks depressed to me. He probably misses all those rows he used to have with Lalla Ward.
The Master can’t help but laugh.
Sue: Roger Delgado never laughed this much, did he? It’s like a pantomime version of the Master.
At least Peter Grimwade is given some much deserved praise.
Sue: I’m not following this story but it looks good. It’s beautifully shot and some of the camera angles are very interesting for a Doctor Who.
And still the Watcher watches.
Sue: Is it the Black Guardian in a really cunning disguise?
The Master’s interference on Logopolis is catastrophic.
Sue: Really? Am I following this? If you get your maths wrong, the universe collapses?
Me: That’s pretty much it.
Sue: It’s an interesting idea, I suppose. Mental but interesting.
The Doctor and the Master butt heads.
Sue: Just use the stun gun you were using last week! It’s probably still in your coat pocket.
The Master finally realises that he has probably gone too far.
Sue: He never thinks it through, does he? New face, same stupid plans. But I’m not worried – Adric will sort it out. He’s good at maths.
The Master attacks the Monitor via Nyssa’s controlled wrist.
Sue: What is the point of that? Just do it yourself, man! It’s less aggravation. And why is the Doctor just standing there like a lemon?
But this is just a distraction – the universe is well and truly ****ed.
Sue: It’s just like Lost. You have to keep punching in those numbers or everything goes tits up. Actually, this makes less sense than Lost.
The Monitor decides to leg it.
Sue: I’m off to get a job on Deal or No Deal!
If they really want to save the universe, the Master and the Doctor will have to work together.
Me: Are you excited?
Sue: Not really. The Doctor always has to bail the Master out when he cocks it up. I don’t know why the Doctor doesn’t just kill him!
Me: One more episode?
Sue: I’m flagging a bit. And we need to put the bairn to bed. Let’s leave it for tomorrow.
The following day, the time came for us to watch Tom’s final episode together.
Me: Come on, love, there’s only three more Tom Baker stories to go. We could be on Peter Davison in a week or two if we pull our fingers out.
Sue: Okay, okay. Let’s just get through them.
Inside, I’m chuckling like the Master.
As Logopolis collapses around them, the Doctor and the Master search for the Monitor.
Sue: He’s probably nipped off to telephone the banker.
Tegan disobeys the Doctor’s orders and she leaves the safety of the TARDIS.
Sue: Tegan is very brave.
Me: Or very stupid.
Sue: Let’s see if she gets in the way before we make our minds up, shall we?
Entropy increases – and to demonstrate this, the Monitor slowly fades away.
Sue: Is it like Back to the Future where the photograph changes? Or is the chroma really dodgy this week?
Meanwhile, the Watcher is inside the TARDIS with Adric and Nyssa.
Sue: Who is he? Tell me, Neil. Please.
Me: Don’t worry, it will all make sense in the end.
Inside, I’m cackling like the Master.
Sue: Adric just called him the Watcher. What kind of stupid name is that? The Watcher? It makes him sound like a pervert.
The Doctor and the Master arrive at the Pharos Project on Earth. The Master immediately tries to murder one of its personnel, but the Doctor pulls the poor man’s chair away at the last moment.
Sue: Why didn’t the Master’s gun shrink the desk? It would have been funny if they had to input the code into a tiny computer that was the size of a matchbox.
The Doctor: He’s unconscious.
Sue: Why? Did he get whiplash on that chair? Have I missed something?
Nyssa and Adric are taken out of space and time. They watch helplessly as the entropy field engulfs Traken.
Sue: Bloody hell. They just killed a planet.
Me: I think this story holds the record for the highest body count in Doctor Who.
Sue: Well, at least five people dead on Traken.
Nyssa is overcome with grief.
Sue: Oh no. She’s going to be a companion, isn’t she? She hasn’t got anywhere else to go and I can’t see them killing her off, so she must be staying. Is she a companion, Neil? Tell me.
Me: Yes. Yes, she is.
Sue: Three companions? How’s that going to work? If they bring K9 back it’ll be like Enid ****ing Blyton! The Fabulous ****ing Five in Space.
Me: We’ve had three companions before. Ben, Polly and Jamie, remember?
Sue: Yes, but that didn’t last very long, did it? There wasn’t enough stuff for them to do. It’s going to be a nightmare.
The Master and the Doctor plan to send the Logopolitans’ data through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment.
Sue: I’m not following this. I just want to know who the Watcher is. It’s driving me nuts.
The Doctor, Tegan and the Master head for the antenna control room.
Sue: I should like this story more than I do. We’re on location, we’re back on Earth, the direction is good, and some of the ideas are very interesting. But I just don’t care.
Our heroes are pursued by the Pharos Project’s guards.
Sue: Nice wacka-wacka Starsky and Hutch guitar, there.
Our heroes take cover behind a shed.
Sue: Nice shed. I love sheds.
Tegan provides a distraction while the Doctor and the Master race to the radio telescope.
Sue: The Master still runs like a girl. His head is too big for his body. He reminds me of Ricky Gervais a bit.
The two arch-enemies do something impressive with a computer.
Sue: How many Tom Baker stories are left?
I feel bad about this white lie, but we’ve come too far to spoil it now.
Sue: I wouldn’t trust the Master as far as I could throw him. He keeps laughing like a pantomime villain, for ****’s sake! He’s even dressed as the bad guy from Aladdin!
The Master holds the universe to ransom.
Sue: Will he have to sit next to that computer for the rest of his life? Is it really worth the aggravation?
The Doctor and the Master fight it out on the radio telescope’s gantry.
Sue: What a shit fight. Where’s Stuart Fell when you need him?
The Master actually chortles at this point.
Sue: And now he sounds like bloody Mutley!
The Doctor is the only person who can stop the Master. He heads out to the gantry, which is beginning to tilt at a very dangerous angle.
Sue: It’s all gone a bit silly, now. And the chroma has frozen behind him as well. That’s not good, is it?
The Doctor attacks the computer connection with a wrench.
Sue: If in doubt, bash it.
The Doctor falls.
Hanging onto a cable for dear life, the Doctor’s enemies flash before his eyes.
Sue: Eh? What… I…. Hang on… He’s going to regenerate! They wouldn’t be doing this if he wasn’t going to – IT’S THE BLACK GUARDIAN!
The Doctor holds onto the telescope’s girder.
Sue: Oh, it’s Okay. He can climb up from there. Or he could just sit there and wait for help to come. It’s perfectly fine.
The Doctor lets go.
Sue: Does that count as suicide?
Sue: Blimey, she looked down very quickly! What was she looking at?
Adric, Nyssa and Tegan rush over to the Doctor.
Sue: I don’t like this.
Me: Why not?
Sue: He’s going to die surrounded by strangers. He hardly knows two of them. He only met one of them a couple of hours ago! This is depressing. It should be Romana and K9 by his side.
The Doctor sees the faces of his friends and companions.
Sue: See! He has to think about people he actually knows! Oh, it’s Mary Tamm… Now I feel sad.
The Watcher appears.
Nyssa: He was the Doctor all the time.
Sue: EH? He was the WHAT?
The Watcher and the Doctor merge together.
Sue: So the Watcher was Peter Davison all the time?
Sue: ****ing hell.
The Doctor regenerates.
Sue: Yes! Peter ****ing Davison!
Me: We did it! We actually did it!
After an impromptu dance over the end credits, Sue belts me in the face with a cushion.
Sue: That’s for lying to me. Again.
Sue: What a terrible regeneration. That has to be the worst one yet. I feel cheated.
Me: You’re not sad, then? Not even a little bit?
Sue: I’m sad that he went out like that. He deserved better. He didn’t even know those people by his side.
Me: He died saving the universe.
Sue: Did he? I think he let go on purpose. He’s been in tighter scrapes than that. I think the Peter Davison Doctor told him he had to kill himself, or the ratings would never pick up.
Me: What mark are you going to give it?
Sue: I liked the first episode. The TARDIS in a TARDIS was very clever but it didn’t go anywhere. The regeneration was rubbish. I’m disappointed.