It’s the end of the line for Nyssa…
Sue: Terminus? I hope this story doesn’t take place in a bus station.
Sue loathes bus stations. And burnt toast. And pointless arguments concerning UNIT dating. But I digress.
The story begins with Turlough fiddling with the TARDIS.
Sue: It can’t be a good idea to put important electronics in a corridor, can it? What happens if the Doctor jettisons that corridor by accident one day? Shouldn’t anything important be in the control room? You don’t want to be running down a corridor to change a fuse when everything goes tits up, do you?
Tegan and Turlough end up bickering with one another.
Sue: Oh, just get a room.
When Turlough scowls at Tegan behind her back, Sue picks up on the soapy vibe.
Sue: I’m just waiting for the EastEnders drums to kick in.
Tegan leads Turlough to a bedroom. No, not like that.
Turlough: Looks like a kid’s room.
Tegan: It was Adric’s.
Sue: Oh just some boy who got killed. You should probably clean the sheets before you get into bed.
Turlough wants to throw Adric’s belongings out.
Turlough: All this can go for a start.
Sue: (as Turlough) But I’ll keep his porno mags under the mattress. Just in case.
Tegan leaves Turlough to it, and Sue asks a very good question:
Sue: Why has the TARDIS only got two bedrooms? I thought it was supposed to be huge. Why can’t Turlough have his own room? It doesn’t make any sense.
The Black Guardian instructs Turlough to remove the space-time element from the TARDIS console (having retrieved it from Longleat first). And then Sue becomes acquainted with Mary Ridge’s unmistakable directing style.
Sue: …and cut! They left that shot on-screen for ages. Did I miss something important or was it sloppy editing?
Turlough’s tinkering results in the TARDIS interfacing with another structure, and this results in Nyssa staring blankly at a pixelated wall.
Sue: Oh no, not hypnotism again!
Me: That’s Sarah Sutton acting, love.
The Doctor uses the scanner to monitor Nyssa’s predicament.
Sue: So the Doctor can look into Nyssa’s bedroom whenever he likes, eh? That’s interesting. And a bit sick.
A skull appears on the wall behind Nyssa.
Sue: Have they landed on a pirate ship? Or is it a tattoo parlour?
A door opens. The Doctor tells Nyssa to walk though it. He races to her bedroom just as the door is closing, but he manages to wedge it open by throwing a chair at it.
Sue: That was impressive.
The Doctor follows Nyssa into a spacecraft’s corridor. Back on the TARDIS, Tegan tells Turlough that she can hear her friend screaming.
Sue: That didn’t sound anything like Nyssa. Unless she’s turned into a werewolf.
The Doctor finds his companion cowering on the floor. She is very happy to see him.
Sue: That was sweet. Companions should cuddle the Doctor more often.
Me: Even Turlough?
Sue: Is Turlough a companion? Can you be a companion if you want to kill the Doctor all the time? He’s more like a squatter.
Suddenly, a massive explosion takes out half a corridor. And when I say massive, I mean massive.
Sue: Nice explosion.
Me: I should hope so. It was so big, the bang was heard on the Six O’Clock news. They were recording it live in the studio next door.
Sue is too distracted by what is emerging from the billowing smoke to care about that.
Sue: Is that Barbarella?
It takes her a while, but she eventually realises that Liza Goddard is playing Kari the space pirate.
Sue: I remember her from that comedy. What was it called? Yes, Dear. Something like that.
Me: You’re mixing Yes, Honestly with Yus, My Dear. A horrific combination.
Sue: I remember her on Give Us A Clue, too.
Me: She’s also Colin Baker’s first wife.
Me: And that’s all the Goddard facts we have.
Sue: One last thing – is that her hair or is it a hat?
The Doctor identifies the spacecraft as an old passenger liner.
Sue: What kind of passenger liner stencils skulls on the wall? Are you sure this isn’t a tour bus for a Heavy Metal band? Maybe these two are the roadies…
She’s pointing at Kari and her partner Olvir (who, according to Sue, is played by “the member of Duran Duran who no one ever remembers”).
Turlough tries to contact the Black Guardian but he isn’t picking up.
Sue: Is that a crystal in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? No wonder Tegan has the hots for Turlough. Look at the bulge in his trousers!
Tegan attempts to open a locked door, but when she does, she is attacked by grabbing hands that grab all they can.
Sue: She’s doing her best to stop that hand from going any lower. This is a very uncomfortable scene to watch.
A crowd of cloaked people shuffle into the corridor, groaning. Sue tries to figure it out.
Sue: Is it a prison ship? A zombie ship? What is it?
Olvir has the answer she seeks:
Olvir: This is Terminus, where all the lazars come to die!
Sue: Lezzers? What’s he talking about?
Olvir: We’re on a leper ship! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!
Sue: Anyone fancy a retake? No? Are we happy with that? Oh, OK.top
Tegan and Turlough have taken cover under the flooring.
Sue: If they were real lepers, flakes of skin would be raining down on them through the grating. Just saying.
The switch from video to film resurrects an old bugbear of Sue’s:
Sue: Can’t they do something to the video to make it look as if it was all shot on film? **** VIDFire, work on something that makes it look less like video.
Tegan and Turlough are trapped under the flooring, so they search for another way out.
Sue: (as Turlough) Yeah, you go first, love. No particular reason.
As Turlough is left to stare at Tegan’s arse, Kari admits to the Doctor that she is a space pirate.
Sue: (singing) I lost my heart to a starship trooper. Something-something-hyperspace.
The day after we watched this episode, Sarah Brightman booked a flight to the International Space Station. You couldn’t make this shit up.
Tegan finds a ladder…
Sue: (as Turlough) You go first again. No reason at all.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Nyssa is revealing a lot more than usual, too.
Sue: Don’t they have bras in outer space?
Me: Nyssa isn’t wearing a bra? I hadn’t noticed.
A cushion in the face. I haven’t had one of those for a while.
Sue: Laura Mulvey would have a field day with Terminus.
Sue isn’t very impressed with Dominic Guard’s performance as Olvir. Actually, that’s an understatement.
Sue: He makes Adric look like Daniel Craig.
The Doctor realises that Terminus is slap bang in the centre of the known universe.
Sue: Either that or the ship is using Apple Maps.
Meanwhile, Turlough and Tegan are STILL trapped.
Sue: It’s a bit like Alien, only Turlough is the alien, and that’s not that scary. Apart from that, it’s very similar.
We meet the Vanir, the slaves who run Terminus.
Sue: Are they infected, too? They look like shit. In fact, everybody looks like shit in this episode. Even the ones who aren’t supposed to look like shit look like shit. It’s shit!
On the bridge of the space liner, the power suddenly goes off. The scene ends with Nyssa kneeling in front of a giant glowing phallus while her breasts threaten to spill out.
Sue: And this was directed by a woman?
A little later, Nyssa decides to remove her skirt.
Sue: I can’t believe she’s gone from buttoned-up scientist to shameless floozy in two episodes. It makes no sense. Does Lezzer disease…
Sue: Does it make you lose all your inhibitions and strip down to your pants?
Me: She took her skirt off because she was hot.
Sue: Well, she’s certainly hot now.
Me: Are you sure you haven’t come down with a bad case of the Lezzers as well?
Sue: That was borderline offensive, Neil. Stop it.
When a Vanir named Valgard straddles a stairway, Sue makes appreciative noises.
Me: What’s wrong?
Sue: I’m just staring at his sports cup. It’s massive. … See, now you know how it feels.
A Vanir named Sigurd injects himself with hydromel.
Sue: Ah, I get it now. This lot are living off the life force of the lezzers, I mean lazars. Like bad Iron Men.
Nyssa is transported to the heart of Terminus.
Nyssa: What is this horrendous place?
Sue: If I’m not mistaken, it’s the Metro Centre car park in Gateshead.
And then we meet the Garm…
Sue: What the hell is that supposed to be? Is is fancy dress night on Terminus or what?
The Garm seems amicable enough.
Sue: He has a very cute waddle going on there.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Kari have reached -
The Doctor: The centre of the universe.
Sue: It’s a teeny-weeny bit underwhelming, don’t you think? It looks like some shelving. I’m not sure if that’s funny or crap.
Turlough and Tegan are, yes you guessed it, still trapped under the floorboards.
Turlough: We’re going to get out of here even if we have to smash our way out!
Sue: You bloody love it. Any excuse to stare at Tegan’s bum. You could have escaped hours ago if you really wanted to. Look how easy that bar came off. Trapped, my arse.
The episode concludes with a badly staged fight between Valgard and the Doctor.
Sue: That was very shabby. The direction is all over the place. It’s not very good, is it?top
Kari rescues the Doctor by deflecting a laser beam into the Valgard’s head.
Sue: Why go to that much effort? Why not just walk up behind him and then shoot him? It would have been so much easier. Mind you, she’d be a great billiards player.
Tegan and Turlough finally escape from the underfloor grating of doom.
Nyssa isn’t so lucky – she has been thrown into a Lazar pen. She is befriended by a fellow Lazar sufferer named Inga. She tells Nyssa that escape from the Vanir is impossible.
Inga: You can’t even bribe them.
Sue: (as Inga) I offered them sexual favours once but they turned me down. I can’t imagine why…
When the Vanir strut their stuff, Roger Limb ramps the incidental music up to 11.
Sue: The music has to be this loud to cover the sound of their uniforms clattering around. They look great, but they aren’t very practical. The sound people must have torn their hair out.
Sue gets a good look at the Vanir’s leader, Eirak.
Sue: He’s a cross between Dracula and Steve Harley from Cockney Rebel.
Valgard tells Eirak about the Doctor. Eirak agrees to step down as their leader if Valgard can capture him. Valgard is suspicious of Eirak’s offer.
Eirak: You have the Vanir as your witness.
Sue: He has a slice of wood for a witness? How does that work?
The Doctor and Kari encounter a badly disfigured Vanir. Sue is blown away by the horrific make-up, if nothing else.
Bor: My name is Bor.
Sue: I’m saying nothing.
Peter Benson’s Liverpudlian twang makes him sound like the second best drummer in The Beatles.
Sue: It’s Ringo Starr!
Bor tells the Doctor that the engines on Terminus are unstable. The poor man has tried to wall in the radiation, in spite of the danger to himself.
Me: It’s quite bleak this, don’t you think?
Sue: I’m sorry, you’ll have to pause it. I’m laughing too much. Maybe he should ask the Fat Controller look his engines. I’m sorry, I’ll stop it.
Ding! Ding! It’s the Doctor and Valgard Round 2.
Sue: That wasn’t a fight scene. That was bad performance art.
The Garm reappears…
Sue: He’s so cute. I just want to tickle him under his chin.
The giant dog approaches Nyssa, who has been chained to a pole.
Sue: What’s he going to do? Lick her to death?
As the Garm carries Nyssa into the Forbidden Zone, Sue has some pet care advice for the Vanir:
Sue: That dog needs to go on a diet. And they should take him for walkies a bit more. He’s obese.
The Black Guardian chastises Turlough for his continued incompetence.
Sue: Turlough will be on his last written warning if he’s not careful.
The Doctor comes to the conclusion that Terminus travelled back in time, dumped some fuel, and accidentally kick-started Event One. Kari and Sue ask, in unison:
Sue and Kari: The Big Bang?
Castrovalva must have made a lasting impression on her. Which is nice.
Sue: Let me get this straight: pilot error created the universe? You know, I actually like that idea. It’s mental.
The episode concludes with the Doctor underplaying the threat as usual:
The Doctor: If we don’t do something quickly, the whole universe will be destroyed!
Sue: If you don’t do something quickly, the audience will fall asleep.top
Valgard and Olvir duke it out in the engine room.
Sue: That scene was atrocious. The direction was shockingly bad. It looks like a rehearsal.
Valgard recognises Olvir as someone who has been combat trained by Colonel Pereira, the same man who trained him.
Sue: So that’s why they fight like sissies? They were both trained by a moron.
Meanwhile, Tegan is trying to stop the space liner from leaving Terminus. She bangs the console with her fist.
Sue: That was a pathetic thump. She must have been worried about punching her way through the set.
Sue: Oh look, Nyssa is lying half-naked on the floor. I bet you love Terminus.
The Doctor can’t stop Terminus from firing its engines.
The Doctor: The technology here is phenomenal.
Sue: And yet it’s controlled by a big red lever. Not a computer or anything like high-tech that. Believable?
Bor resigns himself to his fate.
Bor: It doesn’t matter. In a couple of hours there won’t even be a Terminus or a Company or anything.
Sue: (as Ringo/Bor) And where will poor Thomas the Tank Engine go then?
And then her patience snaps.
Sue: There are too many ****ing corridors in this story. Really drab corridors, too. It’s relentless.
The Doctor realises that the Garm could be the answer to their prayers. Kari isn’t convinced.
Kari: And if he won’t cooperate?
Sue: (as the Doctor) We’ll take away his Jumbones.
Nyssa overpowers Olvir “by mistake”.
Sue: She climbed on top of him after she knew it was him. His cloak was supposed to come off later, I think. Why on earth didn’t the director ask for a re-take?
Nyssa tells Olvir that the cure to Lazars disease would work, if only somebody could be bothered to perfect it.
Sue: Nyssa is going to stay behind at the end. It’s obvious. She’ll probably end up marrying this joker while she’s at it.
The Doctor politely asks the Garm to pull the lever.
Garm: And if I fail?
Sue: (as the Doctor) No more Jumbones. Ever.
The Garm complies…
Sue: I hope he doesn’t break a nail.
Bor doesn’t fancy their chances:
Bor: Beginning of the end, boys.
Sue: (as Bor) Just enough time for one last song. I know, what about ‘Octopus’s Garden’ for the encore?
But the Garm is successful.
Sue: Yay! A dog saved the universe. You don’t see that very often.
Me: Dog is god spelt backwards.
Sue: Either this is really deep and clever or, well, let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.
Garm: Have I served you well?
Sue: You are a very good boy. He should replace Nyssa. He could be the next K9.
Another badly choreographed fight breaks out between Olvir and Valgard.
Sue: Why hasn’t this finished yet?
Bor: It’s all I can do to keep awake for more than a minute.
Sue: Tell me about it! Just finish!
The Doctor tells Olvir to cut the lines to the engines.
The Doctor: I’d hate anyone to start the sequence manually.
Sue: Yeah, the last thing we need is a sequel to this story.
And then Nyssa drops the bombshell: she has decided to stay on Terminus.
Sue: She should go back to the TARDIS for a change of clothes, first. She won’t last five minutes dressed like that.
Nyssa gives the Doctor a quick peck on the cheek before collapsing into Tegan’s arms.
Sue: I’m sort of sad. But I’m glad at the same time. I bet Peter Davison’s wife was pleased as well.
The episode concludes with the Black Guardian giving Turlough one last chance to kill the Doctor.
The Black Guardian: This is your last chance. I shall not say that again.
Sue: Yes you will. You know you will.top
The Final Score
Sue: Hmm. I really liked some of the ideas – I bet it looked great on paper – but the execution was a shambles. The design was bland one minute and unintentionally hilarious the next, the acting was all over the place, and the music is still too medieval. But it was the direction that killed Terminus. It had “that’ll do” stamped all over it. Ringo Starr was brilliant, though.
The experiment continues…
Next update due: Sunday 14th October.
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