As Doctor Who approaches it’s 18th season, and the seventh year of star Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, change is afoot. The show debuts a revamped title sequence and theme tune, the show’s budget is slightly increased allowing for better special effects, and the silly nature of the last couple of seasons is toned down for more science-fiction based scripts. John Nathan Turner takes over as producer, a position he would hold until the original show’s cancellation in 1989.
Vacationing in Brighton
In the season opener the Leisure Hive, the Doctor and co. travel to Brighton Beach, but unfortunately K-9 who isn’t waterproofed is damaged. The Doctor and Romana, bypassing the randomizer, decide to head to the Leisure Hive, a formerly war-torn planet that has become a resort with cutting edge technology. Unfortunately, certain people on the planet wish to reignite the war using that technology. The Doctor and Romana unravel the plot and stop the war from breaking out again, although doing so requires the Doctor to sacrifice the randomizer, meaning that he can now be tracked by the Black Guardian again.
After thwarting the space criminal Meglos-who briefly impersonates the Doctor-the TARDIS accidentally slips through a dimensional void into another universe, “E-space”. The strange universe is where they meet a new companion, Adric, during a case of circular evolution where men become marsh monsters and so on on a colony planet.
The somewhat angsty although brilliant teen is initially a stowaway on the ship, and reveals himself when the Doctor and Romana face a trio of vampires- created by an old enemy of the time lords who fled to E-space-on a medieval planet. Helping to defeat the Vampires, Adric formerly joins the crew.
Their next adventure takes them to the gateway between Earth and E-space, a bizarre void where physics, time and space are kind of messed up, and a group of cat people-the tharils-are being used by a crew to escape E-space. Ultimately, Romana and K-9 mark II elect to stay behind to help the Tharils fight against their oppressors in E-space, while the Doctor and Adric are able to return to normal space.
” And you and I, K9, are going to help Biroc free them. That’s something we’ve got to do, don’t you think?
” Affirmative, mistress.”
The Doctor and Adric come across the planet Traaken, part of a tranquil empire help in place by the power of an ancient being known as the “Keeper”. However, things are starting to fracture, as a mysterious garden statue-the Melkur-has started to bewitch the wife of the Keeper candidate, Tremas. Following the statue’s instructions, she is poised to become keeper herself when the current keeper passes. The Doctor, suspecting something’s not quite right, teams up with Tremas and his daughter, Nyssa, to investigate the energy readings of the statue, which are somewhat familiar….
The Doctor, Tremas, and the “Melkur”
However, the Doctor and Tremas are unable to stop Tremas’s wife from becoming Keeper. However, just as she is about to gain the Keeper’s power, the statue dematerializes from the garden and transports in her place, killing her and gaining the power of the keeper.
However, the Keeper’s powers aren’t stable quite yet, and the Doctor and Tremas are able to short circuit things, allowing the Doctor to get close and figure out that the statue isn’t a statue at all. It’s a TARDIS using its chameleon circuit to hide as one, and inside, controlling it, is the Master, still in his decrepit, decayed state, hoping to gain the powers of the Keeper to heal himself and of course use the power for other devious means.
Defeating the Master once again, and destroying the Melkur TARDIS, the Doctor and Adric depart Traaken peacefully. But it’s not over yet. The Master flees to a spare TARDIS (disguised as an old clock), and is able to capture and possess Tremas. The merged Master/Tremas-now sporting an appearance somewhat similar to the incarnation that fought the Third Doctor-flees Traaken.
The New Master (Anthony Ainley)
The Traaken adventure has unnerved the Doctor somewhat. Given the Master’s clever use of the chameleon circuit disguise to create the Melkur and fool everyone on Traaken, the Doctor decides it’s time to fix his. However, the Master has figured out what he’s planning to do. In the meantime, the Doctor is further unnerved by foreboding-a strange, white-clad figure watching over him-and the cloister bell-the TARDIS’s “red alert”-is ringing. Also, an Australian air stewardess-Tegan Jovanka-accidentally stumbles into the TARDIS after her aunt is killed by the Master. Nyssa also returns, concerned about her father’s fate.
Despite all this, the Doctor continues to head to the planet of Logopolis, a planet of mathematicians who have the knowledge to help him repair the circuit. However, he’s followed by the Master, who not only messes up the calculations-shrinking the TARDIS and temporarily immobilizing the Doctor-but also damages Logopolis’s system itself.
Turns out Logopolis was the glue holding the universe together, creating the voids into E-space so the universe could ‘vent’ extra heat and entropy. With Logopolis’s system disrupted, the voids have closed and a wave of destruction is unleashed, striking Logopolis first. Realizing what he’s done, the Master teams up with the Doctor. Their only hope-head to Earth to a large satellite transmitter that can reopen the voids. As they head to Earth, unfortunately Nyssa’s homeworld Traaken is destroyed by the entropy wave.
Arriving on Earth, the Doctor and Master-evading the facility security-are able to fix the problem. However, the Master then issues an ultimateum to the universe-serve him or he’ll reclose the voids. The Doctor realizes the only way to stop him is to decouple a cable on the side of the tower. He’s successful and foils the Master’s plans, but the Master manipulates the gantry controls, causing the Doctor to hold onto the very slippery cable-but unfortunately he slips, falling hundreds of feet to the ground.
The broken Doctor, surrounded by his companions, flashes one last toothy grin as he merges with the mysterious white being from earlier-“The Watcher” (A sort of regeneration aid type of thing-it’s never really explained 100%). He then regenerates once again-into a younger man, visually in his late 20s, with blond, fair hair. The Fifth Doctor has arrived.
Next: Crickets and celery