Me: It’s pronounced Kinda, actually.
Sue: As in Kinder Surprise?
Sue: So 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 have congregated outside the TARDIS.
Sue: I thought Nyssa was supposed to be dead or something?
Me: No, she’s just got 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 the Doctor will be lost without it, but he’s adamant he 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 had it 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 lifeforms on the planet don’t pose a threat to them.
Sue: Oh look, it’s a Liver Bird. And she’s looking pretty hot, too. Just 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 face for that, I’ll never know. Anyway, as 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 finds an empty armoured suit standing in a clearing. The Doctor drags him away from it, but when the teen slams the door shut, the vehicle suddenly springs into life.
Sue: What is wrong with Adric all of a sudden? 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 in a cell before his feet touched the ground.
When Tegan falls 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 indeed…
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. “Arfur! Arfur!”
They seem determined to drive Tegan mad.
Sue: I’m sorry, Neil, but this has turned into a bad student film. It’s a bit pretentious.
At least the dome meets 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 that.
Sue: It means it’s prefabricated. And 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.
Me: If you can tell me where you’ve seen this actor before, I’ll do the washing-up for a week.
Sue: He is very familiar. It would help if he spoke. I’m sure it’ll come to me later.
Back at the dome, Hindle destroys Todd’s lab in a fit of pique.
Sue: The prop guys are probably having kittens and praying 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 an interesting face, so he’s just about getting away with it.
A laughing man joins Tegan in her head.
Sue: (Singing) Ashes to Ashes, Funk to Funky… Actually, he reminds me of Joffrey from Game of Thrones; I definitely want to punch him in the face. 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 and very well directed.
The episode concludes with Hindle proclaiming 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, too. He feels like a proper Doctor now.
We meet Mary Morris as Panna.
Sue: Proof they didn’t have Botox in the 1980s. I bet she was a looker back in her day, though.
When we finished the episode, I showed 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’ll never get it. Never in a million years.
Sue: The not-we… You call me a not-we on the front page of the blog, don’t you?
Me: It’s 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 so-called fans.
Sue: I am definitely not a we.
Me: You answered three Doctor Who questions on Mastermind yesterday.
If you’re interested, 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’re more of a wee-we.
Sue: Don’t push it, Neil.
Todd and the Doctor decide to escape from the dome.
Sue: Nerys Hughes is brilliant in this. She’s showing Tegan up. This is how you play the companion role, love. With a bit of decorum.
Hindle, meanwhile, 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 confused…
Me: Hindle is just insane. He’s having a nervous breakdown.
Sue: Right. So he isn’t possessed by anything?
Sue: Well, it isn’t very clear. That’s my only problem with this story – 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 so crazy, he’s convinced the plants are out to get him.
Sue: I’m surprised he hasn’t confiscated the Doctor’s celery.
Adric has heard enough and decides to switch sides.
Sue: Oh no, not again! What are you doing, Adric?
Me: I think he’s just pretending this time.
Sue: After last week’s fiasco? Not bleeding likely. I’ve gone right off him. I gave him every chance and now I feel like he’s chucking it back in my face.
Meanwhile, Tegan is still talking to herself.
Sue: This is 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 any lumbering monsters.
Me: Imagine coming out of this story 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 allows her body to be used by laughing boy (aka Keith from The Prodigy).
Sue: This is very intense. Confusing but intense. Ooh, he’s putting his snake into her now. And he didn’t buy her dinner first.
By now it’s patently obvious Hindle is several coupons short of a toaster.
Sue: Mad bastards always make the best villains. It feels more real to me. I definitely won’t forget this performance in a hurry. I can’t take my eyes off him, even when Peter Davison is on 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 whole week? Oh well, that’s life, I suppose.
Sue: Just 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 Esther’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 him.
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.
Sanders returns to the dome with a present for Hindle.
Sue: It’s a Kinder Surprise.
Me: Well done, Sue.
Sue: I’ve been dying to say that ever since we started this.
The Doctor, Sanders and Todd are locked in a cell with only the Kinda box for company.
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 the box. Todd screams the place down.
Sue: Bloody hell. I can’t go to bed on that cliffhanger. Stick the next one on.
Sue: Why isn’t Adric doing anything to stop the mad ****er? You said he was only pretending, so why is 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, and she isn’t too hysterical. She’d be perfect for him. Take her with you, 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, then? 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 awful, but it works, somehow. I love his catchphrase.
And then Sue doesn’t comment for a while. I don’t know 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 to him.
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 could have saved a bomb on muppets if they’d hired her instead.
Panna and the Doctor discuss the legend of the Mara.
Me: Are you following this, Sue?
And then the Doctor and Todd share a vision.
Sue: David Bowie would have loved this story.
At which point, Sue is 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 was there a modern clock on the plinth? And why the hot coals?
Me That wasn’t hot coals. That was a video effect.
Sue: Oh, my head hurts.
We decide to save the final part of Kinda until Sue’s brain cooled down a bit. 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 transferred to a girl named Karuna.
Sue: Now I’m really confused.
It’s so confusing, Peter Davison almost falls over.
Sue: Peter was such a pro there. He just kept going. It really is an acting masterclass.
Hindle’s psychosis suddenly plumbs new depths.
Sue: Did the kids actually enjoy this? Wouldn’t they have preferred a big monster to a mental illness?
Aris wants the Kinda to build their own crude version of a TSS machine.
Sue: Are they making an outside toilet?
Sue: His teeth remind me of that red stuff the dentists used to give you so they could check for tooth decay.
The Doctor wants to know what Tegan did to Aris, but she doesn’t want to tell him.
Sue: (As Tegan) Okay, I got all sexy on his ass! Are you happy, now?
Adric gets into the TSS machine and blasts Aris.
Sue: (As Aris) I’m on fire! I’m on fire! Seriously, I am on ****ing fire!
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, and the next he can’t even drive a tank. It makes no sense!
As Adric and Tegan bicker, Sue delivers the final blow:
Sue: What is Adric looking at? Is it the director? He really can’t act, can he? I think the problem is the guest cast are showing the companions up. Adric is out of his depth.
Hindle finally snaps. “You can’t mend people!” he screams.
Sue: That’s very profound. Because he’s broken, you see.
Hindle opens the Kinda box as the Doctor disables the explosives.
Sue: That was a bit of an anticlimax.
The Doctor tells the Kinda to surround Aris with mirrored solar panels.
Sue: He could easily escape through that gap, so what’s he waiting for?
And then the snake turns up.
Sue: Oh well. They’re trying, I suppose…
The snake grows bigger…
Sue: They are really trying.
Sue: Oh dear. What a shame.
Once the Mara has been defeated, Sue delivers her final verdict on the reptilian menace.
Sue: It wasn’t that bad. The jester was more annoying than the snake. But if I was making that back then, I would have stuck to the small one. That was scarier. It isn’t the size of the snake that’s important, Neil, it’s what you do with it.
Hindle and Sanders take a stroll in the jungle.
Sue: Hang on… Isn’t Sanders still mad?
Sue: He is, you know. He lost his mind when he opened the box, didn’t he? I bet he’ll be wearing a grass skirt by the end of next week.
Todd and the Doctor say their goodbyes.
Sue: Oh, just take her with you! She’s practically begging you!
The Doctor returns to his stinky companions instead.
Sue: **** Nyssa!
Sue: I liked it, but I didn’t understand it. The main problem I have with it is that the Doctor was sidelined too much. I wouldn’t mind usually, but it’s too early to be doing it 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 all night, haven’t you?
I am bitterly disappointed. Kinda is a nine 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, love.