Monday, May 24, 2010

Serial 123: Arc of Infinity

Doctor: Peter Davison (5th Doctor)
Companions: Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka

Written by: Johnny Byrne
Directed by: Ron Jones

Background & Significance: Peter Davison's second season marked Doctor Who's twentieth anniversary. The season was punctuated by the continuity porn/cluster-frak The Five Doctors. But that's just one thing. This is TWENTY YEARS. The celebration of Doctor Who needed to be a year long and it needed to be epic and noticeable and memorable.

Or, at least, a little bit gimmicky.

The celebration came in the form of returns of old villains as the main foes in each serial. Does this mean Daleks, Cybermen, and The Master? Not.... really? Oh, then you must mean Sontarans and The Monk and stuff, right?

Well... yeah no not at all.

No. Their focus are on what can only be called the important but forgotten villains. Rather seemingly haphazardly selected, "Arc of Infinity" stars the evil villain from the seminal classic story "The Three Doctors". In case you don't remember (or didn't read it or see it, which you should because it was awesome) Omega was a good villain, and one who dated back to the creation of Time Lord society as one of its creators. Crazy memorable, super fun, for many many reasons.

What we end up having is a ridiculous mess of an episode (as we'll soon see) that isn't so much bad as it is textbook "not good". Most of these are story and writing problems, which is none too inspiring for writer Johnny Byrne's other stories: Tom Baker's penultimate "The Keeper of Traken" (starring the return of The Master) and the kick off to Davison's final season "Warriors of the Deep" (featuring the return of the Silurians).

That said? This story is ridiculous fun. So much of it makes absolutely no sense, but they go with it anyways and commit full on, and for that, this serial is amazing. From shooting in Amsterdam (as in the actual place), a trigger-happy Mutant Bird Slave, and some insane Time Lord blood lust, it's a bucket o' fun, and while at the end of it all I'm fully aware that it's not very good, it's still wonderfully awful in the way a lot of old Star Trek is wonderfully awful, and I tend to love these sorts of episodes.

We open after Tegan's departure at the end of the previous season's closer "Time-Flight", and Nyssa of Traken and The Doctor are flying around the universe having a grand old time with Tegan's nowhere to be found.

That's called "Life is good".

Also, because of the disjointed nature of two very different parts of this story, I'm going to split the commentary into "The Omega Storyline" and "The Amsterdam Storyline"

So let's get to it!


Part 1:

In the real story....

We open on Gallifrey, where mysterious secretive Time Lord is talking to mysterious secretive hologram (who is Omega, but we won't find that out for another almost three episodes) about selecting a particular Time Lord for some purpose.

The Mysterious Secretive Time Lord says that he has chosen The Doctor for this particular scheme. The hologram (who, from here on out I'm just going to call Omega) heartily agrees, saying The Doctor is a most perfect choice for what they have planned.

Elsewhere, I guess in Gallifrey, two Time Lords stand in a room looking at consoles (super cinematic) when one of the two realizes that someone is stealing the bio data extract of one of the Time Lords. The one who didn't find out (Taylor, great Time Lord name) about it calls it treason (heavy words for two minutes in) and runs out to report the theft.

In the TARDIS, The Doctor finishes fixing the audio component of his ship's scanner while Nyssa looks on. They go to check out how it worked and it does.

Content, The Doctor refuses to do anymore repairs despite Nyssa's heavy protestations. He leaves, but is called back by Nyssa's yells that something's wrong.

There's a flashing light on The TARDIS console, which The Doctor says is caused by a massive source of magnetic radiation. Frantically, he tries to move The TARDIS away.

Back on Gallifrey, the two Time Lords discover that it was The Doctor's biodata that was stolen. They inform The Castellan, but he refuses to answer until morning (even Castellans need their sleep), so the nameless Time Lord goes home, and Time Lord Taylor stays behind to wrap up some things before he can leave. Unfortunately for Time Lord Taylor...

This Mysterious Time Lord's Shadow has other ideas....

It enters the room and, in a POV shot, points his weapon at Time Lord Taylor, who can only say...

"Impulse Laser?"

He gets shot. And then he dies. Which is weird cuz he has a name.

Still though, poor poor Time Lord Taylor. His fine taste for Time Lord lasers and his insatiable curiosity didn't give him the opportunity to duck or make a break for it. Once he's dead The Mysterious Time Lord fries the computer terminals, which makes it a clean get away, something that isn't suspicious at all.

The Mysterious Time Lord gives Omega the go ahead on his plan to bond with The Doctor, saying all problems are taken care of. (Seems kinda sloppy, but I guess they know what they're doing).

In The TARDIS, The Doctor's still trying to move the ship, not knowing Omega has taken it over (no really! This happened. But you weren't looking, so you missed it) when Nyssa spots an extradimensional something. It bursts through the fabric of the TARDIS and comes straight for them, warping reality and making everything go in slow motion (yeah. Slow motion. It's awesome).

And then the thing, Omega, catches up with The Doctor and bonds with him.

And at this point in the story is when something major happens. Omega hops into The Doctor's body. The Doctor's body starts to dissipate and transfer to Omega. But what ends up happening out of this?... Nothing. The Doctor faints and is up again a few minutes later.

This bonding thing takes another three episodes to finish working. Man, that's a long time. Omega needs to upgrade his systems. I wonder if there's a status bar in his TARDIS somewhere that says "10 minutes left remaining" and then it bounces all over the place as the system tries unsuccessfully to guess how much time is left. It probably aggravates the hell out of him, making him wonder why they even have the time remaining thing if it's not important. I'd just rather have a bar.

Anyways, The Doctor awakens to reveal that Omega (he doesn't yet know it's Omega, but it is Omega) was trying to bond with him and Nyssa explains that an analysis told her it was made of anti-matter.

Which should be an instant tip off. Come now.

Nyssa also explains that they are currently in a region of space, which The Doctor says is known as The Arc of Infinity (episode title), that is devoid of stellar activity and which Omega used to gain access to this dimension. The Doctor also realizes that his foe is attempting to move from an anti-matter universe to our real matter one, meaning Omega is looking to take a matter-based form. This can only be done with bio data, which The Doctor deduces must have been stolen from Gallifrey.

We go to Gallifrey, where a haughty room of Time Lords sit with Time Lord President Borusa, trying to figure out what's going on. They talk about this unseen force who is big and strong and powerful and from another dimension.

But really, it's basically a scene of techno-babble, with no real importance... All that matters is they can't track down Omega (whom they don't know is Omega) and that The Doctor is not only in danger (but even we knew that), but also a threat to the universe's existence.

And that's when Commander Maxil shows up.

You say Commander Maxil. I say Sixth Doctor.

Enter Colin Baker, who, based on his role here as Security Commander Maxil, got his gig as the Sixth Doctor some twoish years later. And this is just funny, watching the Sixth Doctor run around like this. I like to pretend that it's not even Maxil at all, but a later version of The Doctor who's hanging out covertly on Gallifrey.

The Sixth Doctor conveys his orders to recall The Doctor's TARDIS and bring it back to Gallifrey.

The Doctor's TARDIS lands and he and Nyssa try to break out of the security docking bay they landed in. The Doctor tells her they're here because it would probably be easier for the Time Lords to kill him than to find Omega (whom they call "The Creature"), which... that's just funny. But we'll touch on that more later.

The Doctor and Nyssa escape the docking bay and start running through these corridors, trying to get to the computer room. And I find this sequence just delightful. So much fun to watch Davison in action. And there's laser fighting and shoving and hair pulling.

And then there's the inevitable cliffhanger, which is essentially the Sixth Doctor catching up to them and doing this.

And that's how part one ends. With the Sixth Doctor shooting the Fifth Doctor. Good cliffhanger, solid ending, and in no way like the cliffhanger to the next episode.

Sigh. This serial's such a mess...

And now let's talk about Amsterdam...

The Amsterdamn story.

As stated previously, Doctor Who got financial permission to shoot in Amsterdam for this serial. As such, they probably thought to themselves, "We need to shoot in Amsterdam as much as possible. But Doctor Who takes place in space and in exotic worlds, not Earth."

(And that's their problem. Amsterdam IS an exotic place.)

And I don't see what this has to do with the story at all. I mean, it comes into play later, but these two guys are so random it just doesn't really make any much sense until the end of the episode (sorta) and then at the beginning of the next is the real explanation of it (and all that).

But yeah. This story. Basically, for this first episode we follow these two chaps, Robin and Colin, who are backpacking for some reason or another. Colin is on the left and Robin is on the right.

Sigh. So they walk through Amsterdam, worried about where to sleep. Robin's worried about running into ANY police cuz he lost his passport, but he knows where they can get a good night's shut eye, so they go there.

They arrive at Robin's ideal sleeping place: a crypt on the grounds of some historic house. Robin makes sure to talk about this house and how it's a forgotten historic national landmark and no one is ever around, which makes it okay to break in and be squatters there for the night.

They start to set up camp, but Colin is not so convinced that staying in this place is a good idea (I don't think it's a good idea to have this storyline, but whatever), but Robin's already pulled out his sleeping bag and started to strip off his clothes to get ready for bed.

Which is funny because out in the real world, it's like midday?

Robin's taken off all his clothes (cept his red red shirt) and snuggled into his comfortableish sleeping bag. Colin is about to crawl into his sleeping bag (IN MID DAY) when Robin asks him why he hasn't taken his clothes off (perhaps some sexual tension here?); Colin says it's cuz he wants to be ready to leave in a hurry should any cops show up (which, given Robin's introduction should apply to him too...)

And then Robin very nicely asks Colin if he will at least take off his shoes.


And that brings us to the first youtube. While in the Crypt, Colin hears the landing of a TARDIS, although he doesn't know what it is, so he gets up to investigate. Watch what happens here. Watch how unapologetically ridiculous it is and how much it seems to have nothing to do with anything.

Isn't that fantastic? I love how there's a GIANT ALIEN BIRD and it just walks out, SHOOTS HIM and then it leaves. With no explanation. No word. No anything. Just vaporizes dude we never cared about.

I laughed when I saw that the first time.

A bit later, Robin wakes up to find Colin not sleeping next to him. So sad. Boo hoo. (Maybe if you didn't creep him out with that boots comment and that creeper smile he wouldn't have run off like that). He gets out of bed and goes 'splorin.

He sees the column TARDIS and the bird emerges and again shoots at him with no explanation or provocation at all. Fortunately for him, he is spry and ducks and dodges and gets the hell out of there before the bird can finish shooting him.

And then we get this shot of loneliness. Loneliness in Amsterdam. (Which, in the show comes about four minutes after he runs out and functions as a bridge between The Doctor and Gallifrey. It is literally just this shot. No other movement.)

Shoulda left your boots on.

A bit later (perhaps in the morning), Robin, realizing that Colin is with the Alien Bird thing and they are very happy together, comes back to retrieve his stuff and make a run for it. He puts on his shoes and rolls up his sleeping bag just as a door creeps open and Colin walks in, moving furniture.

Robin begs Colin to leave the Alien Bird and run off with him, but when Colin turns around, all Robin sees is this.

Me as I watch this whole storyline.

And Robin runs for it, sleeping bag trailing behind him. He runs out (and it's daytime now... probably the next day? Which is weird... There's some discontinuity in this) and heads for the hotel they were supposed to be staying at, but they had their reservations booked for a day after they were supposed to arrive, which is an odd choice. It's like Robin wanted them to have their special candlelit night in the crypt together.

He checks in. The Concierge asks him where the dude he booked with is, but Robin just acts heartbroken that Colin ditched him. Which I find funny. Doesn't he care that his friend got all bored at the storyline? Apparently not.

The concierge tells him a message arrived for Colin, which said his cousin will arrive at the airport tomorrow morning.

And really, as if this story was making no sense before, now it's completely off the rails. Maybe the Bird thing has something to do with Omega (it does, but how are we supposed to know that), but now the big question we're left wondering (if we even care that much) is what's up with random clown face's cousin?

That's just stupid and boring. GET US OUT OF AMSTERDAM.

Part 2:

With The Doctor:

So in case you missed it in the mire of Amsterdam, The Doctor got shot and collapsed (from the shooting). Nyssa and a weakened (he was only stunned) Doctor are carted back to the TARDIS. Once there, the Sixth Doctor removes The TARDIS's time space element, shutting it down, and keeping it grounded until it is replaced.

He leaves, warning them not to attempt to escape or they will be shot.

Once outside, some decidedly filler things happen, including the Castellan (same Castellan in "The Five Doctors") seeing the Time Lord President and ordering The Sixth Doctor to bring The Doctor before the Time Lords once he has recovered.

And meet with him they do. There's some discussion about The Doctor politely returning to Gallifrey if they had just asked nicely, and some discussions from the Time Lords about old school continuity that disproves that (like what happened with Romana).

The Doctor asks them if they've checked to see if his bio data was stolen from the Matrix. The Time Lords are shocked to think that The Doctor would assume there's a traitor in their midst (because that has never happened before) and refuse to accept it.

President Borusa appears, making fast reference to a regeneration he has gone through since the last time The Doctor saw him. He orders the Time Lords to take their seats. There's some more exposition, in which people again REFUSE to believe that there is a traitor in their mist.

The Doctor asks if he can head a full investigation (which worked the last time he did it), but President Borusa refuses, they must act now and kill The Doctor, thereby disrupting The Doctor's biological profile and stopping Omega from using The Doctor's bioscan to hop into this universe. They haul him away.

So yeah. In order to stop Omega's rise the Time Lords are going to KILL The Doctor. What?

Nyssa thinks this whole thing is bogus and makes an appeal to The Time Lords to let The Doctor go because it isn't his fault. Also, she says again that there's a treasonous Time Lord hanging out on the High Council.

Again, they refuse to believe it, and Nyssa just stares out with this face.

I call it "Nyssa says what face."

As he's hauled away, The Doctor meets a friend in Damon, the other technician who was working with Time Lord Taylor. They shake hands, but Time Lord Damon is pulled back before they can do more than that. The Sixth Doctor doesn't like letting the Fifth Doctor touch anyone.

The Doctor is escorted back to the TARDIS, where he subtly slides an emerald green scroll into his pocket, which Time Lord Damon slipped into his hand during the handshake.

Back in the High Council Chambers, Nyssa's What-Face doesn't manage to convince the Time Lords of her being right. Despite Time Lord Hedin's remarks asking them to at least delay the execution, they stand firm and Nyssa marches out, angry. As she leaves (and is free to walk about Gallifrey at her leisure. This seems like a security issue. What's going on?) Time Lord Damon intercepts her, telling her he needs her help.

As the Time Lord High Council adjourns, Time Lord Hedin pulls aside the Castellan, asking if he's going to investigate the possibility of a Time Lord traitor. The Castellan reaffirms that he is in charge of security and he would know if anything was wrong.

When he affirms, his hands are on his hips.

Time Lord Damon tells Nyssa that The Doctor's biodata was, in fact, stolen, and that he gave The Doctor the proof. Nyssa wants to take this information to the High Council, but Time Lord Damon says there's no one they can trust. They meet with Time Lord Hedin and ask if they can see The Doctor. Time Lord Hedin says he will do his best.

Omega meets with the Mysterious Time Lord again (hint: The Mysterious Time Lord is not The Doctor) and Omega seems delighted when the Mysterious Time Lord tells him that the Doctor is to be terminated.

The Doctor asks to be alone to prepare himself for his execution. The Sixth Doctor allows it, and The Doctor is allowed to be alone in his Companion's Room. He withdraws the green scroll and realizes it's his bioscan.

Without putting up a fight (which is strange for him) The Castellan allows Nyssa and Time Lord Damon to meet with The Doctor in the Control Room. Fast in the eyes, The Doctor watches the Sixth Doctor put a recording device in the room and instantly asks that they be given privacy in one of the TARDIS's alternate rooms.

The Sixth Doctor demands that they stay in the room, but when they challenge him, he just goes ".....Alright."

Angst face Colin Baker.

So awkward. Comedy gold.

Once in their private room, The Doctor pulls out the scroll that proves his biodata was stolen and tells Time Lord Damon, Nyssa, and us what we already know: His biodata was stolen! Not only that, he's worried that the Time Lord's Space-Time Matrix will fall out of Time Lord hands and into the hands of someone else.

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch, but okay...

He asks Time Lord Damon to get him another Time-Space element for the TARDIS, one without a recall circuit.

The Sixth Doctor bursts in. The Doctor wraps up the conversation they were "supposed" to be having, and then Nyssa gets some new what face.


The two of them leave and start attempting to construct a new Time-Space element.

The Sixth Doctor meets with the Castellan, who calls The Sixth Doctor "lucky" that he gets to oversee a Time Lord execution. There has only ever been one other Time Lord execution, so he should feel privileged now that the warrant for The Doctor's execution has been approved.

That's some cold blooded sh*t right there.

Also, who on Gallifrey approved the execution? Was it a panel of judges? A tribunal perhaps? What about the paperwork? Offing a Time Lord and destroying the rest of his lives can't be as easy as going to a judge and asking and then getting it approved. I want some people liable! WHERE'S THE BUREAUCRACY?!

The Mysterious Time Lord informs Omega that the termination is going forward. Omega praises it and then, once he's off the holo-thing, tells Colin and the Bird Alien to prepare themselves.

Colin's socks are made of win.

Okay NOW the stories start to coalesce a bit. That only took two episodes. We're halfway done and now it comes into play? That's sloppy.

Construction almost finished, Time Lord Damon and Nyssa hear a bell start to toll. It's time for the Doctor's termination. Nyssa grabs a gun, tells Time Lord Damon to install the circuit, and runs to go stop the execution.

In the termination room, The Doctor asks The Time Lords if they've thought about what they're doing. President Borusa says they're duty is clear even if their consciences are not...

Yeah okay whatever. Look, if you're going to execute The Doctor, fine. But really? This is the second execution in Time Lord history and they just shrug it off like it's no deal. They jump right to executing him with little to no debate, saying "There's no time to come up with an alternative."

This is... this is just insane. Kinda like Colin Baker's helmet.

The Doctor is brought to the termination platform and Nyssa bursts in, gun drawn! She tells them to stop, but The Doctor orders her to put the laser away. She protests, but he has a very Zen-like approach to his death, which is very cool of him. He disarms her, gets her pardoned, and steps onto the platform.

The termination starts.

Omega, elsewhere, does some fancy dances. There's a bright light. Everyone averts their eyes.

Omega randomly switches places with The Doctor (I honestly don't remember what this means. It was so superfluous at this point that it was whatever). And then there is nothing.

The Doctor is gone.

And so episode two ends. Cheap ending. Basically the same ending as episode one, but with more stakes. Was anything accomplished? No not really. Oh! Wait! The Amsterdam story! Let's see if we accomplished anything there...

In Amsterdamn:

Robin arrives at the airport to meet Colin's cousin who turns out to be...

Tegan Jovanka

God dammit. Seriously. What the frak.

Robin introduces himself and relays the story about Colin. She's disappointed that he ran off like that, but follows him into town anyways, where they get coffee and decide what to do next.

Over coffee, they decide to go to the Police (which Robin did in the last episode to no effect) and Robin complains and moans about not having his passport. They decide to go to the Crypt. They walk to the Crypt.

Basically, I can sum up the tone by showing you this.

Yawn. That was boring. AGAIN. It's like nothing got accomplished.

Part 3:

We come back right where we left off. The Time Lord President declares that Omega has been vanquished. It worked. Nyssa runs off crying, yelling at them that she hopes they're happy.

I sympathize with her, but really, all I want her to do is shut up.

After the Termination Party, The Castellan and The Sixth Doctor discuss what happened. Both seem perturbed about the whole thing. It didn't feel right. That's not how they're supposed to feel after an execution. The Castellan tells the Sixth Doctor to investigate it discreetly, because if they don't, they won't be able to go out after this execution, unwind, maybe knock back some brews with the buds.

You could probably cut through this sexual tension like a hot knife through buttah.

The Doctor awakens in The Matrix, his mind floating along like... something or another (I personally wish we got some Peter Davison: Shirtless Time Lord Wilderness Survivor, but that's just me) when he's met by Omega.

The Doctor reveals he knew Omega couldn't kill him, because he still needs The Doctor's bioprint as a teather to the real world, leaving his body shielded by an energy barrier in the termination chamber (so why doesn't he kill The Doctor? He has The Doctor's biodata. Isn't that all he needs? That's just raw data/information. Why is The Doctor alive so necessary?).

I would also like to point out that we still have no idea who this guy is. If you make it not about the mystery (as they're making it a big who's-this-guy) and make it more about Omega and what that means to The Doctor and Time Lord society you'd have a much more compelling story. At this point, the mystery's been dragged out so long I just don't care.

Omega asks The Doctor to join him. The Doctor refuses and Omega leaves.

In the security room, The Sixth Doctor has discovered that The Doctor was not killed (he was just pretending) and that the Doctor's biodata was, indeed, transmitted from Gallifrey.

Yes! We know all this! We learned it two episodes ago! Keep up!

The Castellan opts to act under complete secrecy, deciding not to tell The High Council as there is now no one you can trust (which is where we were last episode). He sends out The Sixth Doctor to retrieve Nyssa and Time Lord Damon, as they can help him.

While this is going on (because we apparently have to talk about it or something), Tegan and Robin break into the crypt and go to the place where Colin disappeared. They find his sleeping bag and roll it up. (Why? Who cares.) Then go into the main room. Longer-story-than-it-needs-to-be short, the bird walks out. Shoots them. They vaporize. The Bird leaves.


The Castellan interrogates a flustered Time Lord Damon, tries desperately to cover up the plot holes left by someone NOT reporting a crime committed by the High Council (Time Lord Damon explains that if he went to The Castellan with the information, it would implicate the Castellan among other High Council members...)

He then reveals that The Doctor is alive.

Also, they're telling us stuff we've not only been shown, but have been told several times.

Omega confronts his now captives Tegan and Colin. He discovers Tegan has ties to The Doctor. It makes him laugh. (Can you tell I have zero patience for this storyline).

The Mysterious Time Lord tells Omega to release The Doctor from The Matrix, saying he's about to be discovered and should focus on the bio-transfer whatever it is in the mean time... Which is really boring. I've said it before, but this bio-transfer is just excuse for things not happening and that's stupid.

Omega tells The Doctor he shall release him so long as The Doctor does not interfere. The Doctor refuses, and when he does Omega shows him Tegan and tortures her in front of him.

And Tegan begs The Doctor to stop. Fail. Companions (especially annoying ones) must show self-sacrifice, lest it's all for nothing (I'm reminded of Sarah Jane in "Genesis of the Daleks"; good stuff that... All this is is Tegan being whiny).

Omega releases The Doctor, and he appears in the Termination Chamber. He runs off, joining up with a locked-in-room Nyssa and Time Lord Damon.

The Castellan brings the High Council together, telling them there's a traitor in their midst and he/she is one of them (glad you're finally catching on, Castellan).Unfortunately, he blames the whole thing on The Doctor and The Time Lord President, as those are the two linked to The Matrix.

The Mysterious Time Lord contacts Omega, and they talk about what it is they want to do exactly. Omega explains that he's been procrastinating on doing the biodata transfer, trying to save up energy enough to do it (see? Omega. Knowing when to be fiscally conservative. He should run on that).

Oh, and then they reveal the Mysterious Time Lord to be Hedin.

And now we get our second youtube. Thrilling corridor running and a plumed hat. It's a bit cut up, but all you have to know is actually in here. And it's thrilling, and I'm not just talking about Colin Baker's helmet.

Also, I love Companions with Guns.

So we get the reveal of Hedin as the evil baddie bad. He's proud to be the one to bring back Omega, co-founder of the Time Lord race.

And now we have the reveal of Omega? Sigh.... Better late than never, I suppose.

Whoop dee la. And then the Castellan and The Sixth Doctor come in and attempt to arrest the Lord President. Being trigger happy, the Castellan fires at The Doctor for his treason, but Hedin leaps in the way, sacrificing himself.

The Doctor explains everything about everything, saying it's Omega who's the enemy and Hedin was the traitor. He implores the Lord President to shut down the Matrix in the hopes that it'll perhaps slow Omega down, but it's too late.

Omega's already infiltrated it. But we already knew that.

And really, this serial's already lost me. There's a lot of story dynamics that are just getting lost. I mean... I guess Omega wants to plant the Arc of Infinity on The Matrix and that's why he needs the latter, so he can return to this universe and claim a throne on Gallifrey....

But that's not what this story's about when told most effectively. At its most effective, it's a story about Omega and his return and revenge on The Doctor and power hungry mad grab at returning to normalcy, but instead we get a bunch of odd structure that does this serial a disservice.


Part 4:

Where we left off... The Doctor tells Omega that "we now know who you are", but Omega insists "that changes nothing". (Which is just insane. The bad guy went from "a Creature" to "Return of Big Bad Time Lord Bad Guy". Come on.)

Omega gloats in victory, but they tell him Hedin, his man on the inside, is dead. Omega throws a temper tantrum and shuts off the screen (that's the Omega I remember).

The Doctor explains that he has to go find Omega, whom he knows is on Earth, and he plans to use Tegan to do it by going into the Matrix and talking to her. Nyssa says that's ridiculous and he shouldn't even try, to which The Doctor responds by sending her to the TARDIS without any supper.

The Doctor goes into the Matrix and talks to Omega, who brings in Tegan, who instantly starts gabbing away at their location. Omega tells her to shut up multiple times, but she doesn't (which is funny) so he sends her away, but not before she can tell The Doctor a good deal about where they are. He leaves her unharmed though, so The Doctor can know that he's serious.

Which is just funny. It's like there's no movies about kidnappings and hostage situations in Omega's anti-matter universe. You let the captor say four or five words. Max. And then you cut off a thumb or something. Just so they know you're serious.

But that's okay. Omega probably works and kidnaps and tortures on some sort of honor code, which is.... Fine. Whatever. If it works for him, that's great. All I know is when I hold ransoms, I gotta see some blood. That's just fact.

Time Lord Damon manages to distract Omega so Nyssa and The Doctor can fly the TARDIS off Gallifrey and to Amsterdam. En route, The Doctor constructs a [science doohickey that doesn't really have a name] to stop Omega from amassing the quantity of energy required to do whatever it is he's going to do. He also hands Nyssa an anti-matter tracking unit so the two of them can track the nefarious Time Lord.

Nyssa and The Doctor arrive in Amsterdam and start to look for "JHC", which is one of the clues Tegan left about where to find her. They hop into a phone booth and start calling around to see which one they need.

Ah the low techness of the early 80's.... Nowadays they coulda just google maps'd you on the way...

Oh wait, they don't have any coins on them. So they have to do it the way an 80's hobo would: by foot, checking each hostel individually.

Finally, after three episodes, Omega begins the transference. But what transference? I don't understand. I guess he's... doing something and The Doctor has to be alive? I guess the bio-data finished downloading? I don't know. I honestly don't.

And then we get a bunch of shots of Nyssa and The Doctor walking around Amsterdam trying to find the Hostel. Yes, you can shoot in Amsterdam, we get it.

They arrive at one of the last hostels when they catch a break, the man behind the counter is remarkably unhelpful and then turncoatedly the opposite when he remembers "That Australian Girl" (it's cute that everyone knows Tegan's nicknames) and a letter left for her (I'd question it, but I'm over the semantics of it).

The Doctor, through this letter, finds Tegan's whereabouts and races for it with Nyssa, time almost running out. They walk briskly through the streets and knock down a man and his groceries; after trying to help him for two seconds, they give up and keep moving.

I only say that because it's awkward and funny. The Doctor doesn't want to stay but Nyssa feels compelled to and then they both leave.

I'd much rather this was an image of a smash and grab.

They find and break into the crypt and The Doctor locates the fusion booster Omega's using to power his transference. Once he starts tinkering with it, though, the Alien Bird emerges from Omega's TARDIS.

It attempts to shoot The Doctor, but he ducks in time. Nyssa screams and the Alien Bird turns on her... And then...

He starts wrestling with the Alien Bird. In a moment of breaking free, Nyssa picks up the Alien Bird's weapon and fires at it. Vaporizing it in an instant.

The two enter Omega's TARDIS, but find Tegan trapped in a kill-o-beam (or something), so they stand down and wait for Omega to finish transferencing.

But The Doctor has a trick up his sleeve. He set the fusion disruptor whatevermabob on Omega's machine and manages to explode Omega's computers and equipment and such. Unfortunately, it was too late for The Doctor to stop at least a partial transference, meaning Omega now looks like this.

Trippy. Anyways. Omega (who is played by Peter Davison but dubbed over so it's hilarious) runs out of the TARDIS and onto the streets of Amsterdam. The Doctor scrambles hastily for his matter converter so he can stop Omega.

And this is the last youtube. And it's epic. Basically, they have a lot of budget to shoot in Amsterdam, and they're going to get their money's worth, dammit. So what does that mean? Excessive running through Amsterdam. That's right. Gratuitous that. Just watch. It's so unnecessarily long. There's even a mugging.

Oh, and Omega degenerates into gross dude.

That last shot rules.

The Time Lords report that Omega has been destroyed. So yeah. There's that entire Gallifrey story wrapped.

And then there's the wrap up with Tegan, who says her cousin Colin will be fine (like anyone cared... oh, wait. Didn't I mention that? Colin got deathly ill randomly, but it didn't matter and he was stupid so whatever). The Doctor says it's good to have seen her again. And Nyssa wishes she could still hang out with them.

And then Tegan says she got the sack, and Nyssa gives her a giant hug and says "Congratulations!"

Which, by the way, is a total bitch move. If I got sacked I wouldn't want a friend of mine getting all cheery and giving me a giant hug. That's mean spirited and stupid.

Also, that means that Tegan's joining the TARDIS again. Bloody hell. Fortunately for me, The Doctor agrees.

What about the Doctor?: Peter Davison is easily one of my favoritist and strongest Doctors. On his own, he delivers an exuberant, energetic performance that makes me grin. He's just so good...

The problem with Davison at this point (and really, I guess you could call this a problem) is I've only seen him in good to awful serials. That said, his performance always brings the show up a notch. He never feels like he's phoning it in, and he's dialing into a wisdom that goes beyond his years. When he's in action, he's great. When he's in techno-babble land, even better.

Truthfully, it's a solid story for Davison, especially because he's riding on it. The story leaves a lot to be desired, but The Doctor is Davison as strong as ever.

Next time!: 4th Doctor! Romana! The Fall of K-9! Sterile Species! A bit of a Vacation! A really really old lookin Doctor! And it's the first Guest Blog! "The Leisure Hive"! Coming Next Tuesday!


  1. Maybe the Time Lord isn't Taylor... maybe, just as you have the Doctor and the Master, you have 'The Tailor!' :-)

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  3. So, how was the story resolved? What did that gun The Doctor used to shoot Omega actually do? Zap him back to the antimatter universe or something? The Time Lords said that Omega was destroyed, so does that mean The Doctor just plain killed him - with a gun?!!!! So is Omega dead, or is he still alive in the antimatter universe? To quote Davros in Revelation of the Daleks, WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!!!

    I hate this stupid serial. It ruined Omega, my career, my life and even the world economy. It just plain blows chunks.