So….that’s the Sixth Doctor’s debut story? I think I see why the fans weren’t pleased.
None of which is Colin Baker’s fault.
See, the more I learn about the plans for the Sixth Doctor, the more I see something somewhat ambitious, such as how this Doctor had a dark secret that was never really decided upon behind the scenes or how this Doctor would gradually grow kinder over time. Time was one thing Baker wasn’t given. Higher-ups in the network wanted Doctor Who gone after a period, and Baker was on the receiving end of some crappy treatment, not counting the crappy treatment that started his run. Here was a man who grew up a fan of the show and was one of the few Doctors who wasn’t given any real say in his character’s wardrobe, hence the mismatched kaleidoscope of color he wears.
But that’s for later. As impressed as I was by what Baker was able to do with what he’d been given, this story is…bad.
I don’t expect good science from Doctor Who. It’s not that sort of sci-fi if it ever was. I do expect something along the lines of the show explaining things in an internally consistent manner and not going too far. Edgeworth/Azmael’s plan to somehow force two smaller planets into orbit around Jaconda, giving the two smaller worlds Jaconda’s atmosphere and climate, allowing it to become the world’s new breadbasket, is…kinda dumb. And both the Doctor and the wooden twins say as much.
But then we learn Mestor’s plan. That one might be even dumber. See, he has eggs all over the place, and they aren’t hatching. The Doctor tries to cut one open with a laser scalpel, and not only does it not crack, it starts to stir like it’s going to hatch.
See, Mestor doesn’t want to move some planets. No, that would be silly. He wants to make the sun explode so it will scatter and then hatch all those eggs all over the place, allowing his people to conquer the universe.
Um…don’t these folks have space travel? Why do they need to blow up a sun?
Well, it doesn’t much matter. Lang and Peri leads the twins back to the TARDIS, allowing Lang to do some heroic things, and the Doctor and Edgeworth go to confront Mestor. Tossing a beaker of acid at the slug-man on his throne doesn’t work because he has a forcefield, but the Doctor all but dares the guy to go into his mind. Mestor, thinking he’s clever, goes into Edgeworth’s instead, and the older Time Lord, out of regernations, contains the bad guy’s mind inside his own long enough for the Doctor to kill the creep’s body with a second acid flask.
Take that, Slug-Man!
Did they not have any salt? That’ll take care of most slugs without a problem.
Anyway, the action kills Edgeworth, and the Doctor goes back to the TARDIS to return the Twins and Lang home. Lang decides to stay and watch the bird people rebuild their society, something the Doctor thinks they’ll manage just fine, and Peri chastises him for being rude and low on manners. As such, the Doctor say he’s fine now, his mind is stable, and he’s the Doctor now, whether you like it or not.
Peri finds that line worth a smile despite how frustrating the Doctor is right now. I don’t get that.
But that last line, oh, that must have been hard on the home audience missing, well, many of the previous Doctors. Surely this Doctor was different from the most, the arrogance cranked up to 11 and none of the warmth. Well, what the BBC did next didn’t do Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor any favors.
They changed the show’s timeslot.