Season 20 of Doctor Who was probably meant to be something of a retrospective for the show, ending with the big anniversary special The Five Doctors. Oddly enough, though no one knew that at the time, the first serial opens with a look to the show’s future, as an actor who will be the new Doctor by the end of season 21 makes his first appearance on the show as a very over-the-top captain of the guard, a role he overplayed against the show’s producers wishes under the assumption that everyone is the star of their own story (and that’s actually not stupid).
Yes, future Sixth Doctor Colin Baker appears here as Commander Maxil, the head of the guard on Gallifrey for the Time Lords. Yes, we’re going back to Gallifrey because those people are helpless without recalling the Doctor every so many serials. And no, I don’t think either Leela or the original K9 will be appearing in this story, so you can forget that.
However, there are some general problems in three locations. On Earth, two young men break into an old house to spend the night in Amsterdam when they can’t get a room, but one of them seems to disappear only to reappear as a mindless husk later when he spots some guy in a bird outfit or something in what sounds like another TARDIS.
On Gallifrey, an unknown Time Lord is making a deal with an unknown something else that involves the murder of a technician, and that would be what has the Time Lords concerned enough to order the Doctor’s recall to Gallifrey.
And on the TARDIS, the Doctor and Nyssa see something try to get in. The spiral whatever it is does something to the Doctor but then leaves. Some quick calculations show it was maybe made of antimatter from another part of the universe, one where only something called the “Arc of Infinity” prevents that thing from destroying all of creation. That would merit some investigation, but then the TARDIS gets recalled to Gallifrey and some guards look ready to arrest the Doctor. The Doctor and Nyssa try to make a run for it, but then they encounter Maxil-the-guy-who-isn’t-the-Doctor-yet, and that guy just shoots the current Doctor.
Well, that’s one way to make an impression.