July 15, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Doctor Who “The Two Doctors Part 1”

The Sixth Doctor. "The Two Doctors," Episode One.

Here we go:  The Two Doctors.  The return of my still-favorite Doctor to the series for the last time with his best companion in tow for once.  A story that had the fans create an excuse for the continuity as if that ever mattered on Doctor Who, but the BBC embraced the theory anyway.  The only time two Doctors met when it wasn’t an anniversary or a charity special.  All this, and a script by longtime Doctor Who great Robert Holmes.

It’s kinda weird to start.

Apparently, Patrick Troughton had such a good time reprising the Second Doctor during The Five Doctors that the man who the Troughton Rule was named for decided he wanted to do some more.  It’s the only three parter of the season, and this time, Frazer Hines was free to reprise the role of companion Jamie McCrimmon.  Now, it had been about 20 years since the pair had worked together (I am not counting Hines’s cameo in The Five Doctors in part because the character wasn’t really Jamie but a holographic trap), but seeing the two onscreen again, with a throwaway comment that another former companion Victoria being temporarily away, the chemistry and fun of the pair still works.

On the other hand, the two actors are obviously and visibly older, plus the Second Doctor talks about being an agent of the Time Lords, something that doesn’t really fit into the Second Doctor’s timeline.  Really, the Second Doctor didn’t even name the Time Lords until his final serial, long after Victoria had left the TARDIS.

So, here’s the theory:  it’s called Season 6B, and it works off the idea that the show never depicted the Second Doctor’s regeneration into the Third.  As such, he became an agent for the Time Lords for a period, and he even got a partially memory-wiped Jamie back to assist him.   They did that for a while, and that’s why the two look older here.  It mostly works, and the BBC even lists it as an official “season,” though that may be due to the fact that, unlike other franchises, everything that is Doctor Who, be it the show, comics, novels, or audio plays, is somehow canon.

Do I care much?  I am mostly glad to see the two again.  Sure, it seems odd for this Doctor to go see a scientist friend on a space station and tell the man his experiments will cause problems and the Time Lords want said experiment to stop.

But the episode even briefly opens in black and white before the color fades in.  That was nice.

So, what happens?  Truth be told, not much.  Holmes’s scripts often were about whatever was bothering him, and he’d just become a vegetarian, so one of the aliens, an Androgum, wants to make literal meals out of humans.  He doesn’t quite catch Jamie here, but when the baddies here, with the Second Doctor in tow, go to Earth, it’s…Spain?  It was originally meant to be New Orleans, a city known for food, but that wasn’t in the budget, so the last location episode went to Spain instead.

Oh, the Sontarans are involved for some reason.

So, what does the Sixth Doctor do?  Not a whole lot.  I heard warnings of an episode where the first part had the Doctor and Peri spending most of their time on screen walking through some tunnels, not involved in much of anything, bickering the whole time, and this one was it.  After he gets a flash that one of his previous incarnations is in danger, and after cycling through celery and jellybabies, he remembers the recorder and figures he should consult a scientist friend, the same one the Second Doctor went to see, because it would be bad if the Second Doctor died before other Doctors could appear.  And the two go to the space station and wander around some tunnels until they find some hooded figure and that’s the end of the episode.

So, my favorite Doctor-companion pairing return and…not much else happens.  Bummer.

Then again, you’d think the Sixth Doctor would just remember this incident if it happened to a previous version of himself.  Maybe it would have worked better if the Second had to save the Sixth…