You know, if you need another reason not to go to the circus, this serial probably provides another one: you might be asked to entertain ancient deities who cannot be allowed to get bored. Ever.
Now, at the start of this episode, that seems to be working out for the Doctor in that, well, that bland family sure is entertained. True, it’s because he’s dodging Mags, and that’s because she’s apparently an alien werewolf. That mostly means wild hair and bad teeth, but the Doctor does a lot of dodging while Cook literally cracks a whip and talks about how awesome he is and how much the Doctor is a sucker.
That works out fine for Cook until Mags finally kills him instead. When she comes back to herself, the Doctor grabs her and they make a run for it. By then, the bland family wants another act, and since there isn’t one, they kill the ringmaster and the fortune teller instead. So, we’re at the stage where all the lesser dicks in a story get their comeuppance.
At this point, the Doctor has a plan. Ace will get Dead Beat’s memory back by finding the missing parts of some amulet from the circus bus and then drop a vital piece of something into the bottomless pit with a big eyeball at the bottom while the Doctor keeps the bland family distracted. That involves Ace and Dead Beat defeating first the robo-bus driver that has a ridiculously easy-to-find self destruct switch and then with Mags getting a defense robot up and running long enough to take out the robo clowns and the evil organic Chief Clown because no one really likes clowns.
By then, the Doctor got to the alternate dimension where the bland family is really…the Gods of Ragnarok!
No, not connected to Norse mythology in any way, these are cosmic-powered beings who demand to be constantly entertained…or else. And while the Doctor improvises some stage magic, Ace and the others trick a revived Cook into falling into the pit with the right trinkets while the Doctor deflects the Gods’ attack on him with a shiny trinket of his own.
So, Mags and Dead Beat can rebuild the circus and all will be well again. You know, if you like circuses.
Meanwhile, I only have one final season of classic Doctor Who left. How did that happen?