The Seventh Doctor really went out with a bang and not a whimper in the TV Movie. Of course, with that tangled nightmare of rights, no one has been able to remedy this in either the books or audios (indeed Master was rewritten so as NOT to lead directly into the film) leaving people to try and point out the karma and irony of the master chessplayer dying in a total fluke accident. Ba-dum-tish! I do, however, think that if someone comes to life on an operating table and very clearly orders you not to perform major heart surgery on him you don't simply gass the mutha unconscious and do it anyway. Americans...
But in these other realms of fan fic, he's not exactly gone out at his hieght either, has he? 27 Up says he goes mad and eventually regenerates while locked in a padded cell, straightjacketed and gagged, having somehow lost some kind of mental battle with evil. Bullseye Books went one further and had the Seventh Doctor reveal everything remotely interesting about himself was an evil from the dawn of time called Belphegor and spend his last story talking evilly over communicators ala Omega in Arc of Infinity... before the Watcher beats his head in with a spanner. Python Lord's charming reboot Season 31 begins with him dead in a Milwaukee gutter for no apparent reason, and we never DID find out why. Trenchcoat humiliated him in life and death, and ultimately he hung around the show for the next five years like the ghost of Rose Tyler.
So what did TDWP do?
Let's find out.
With the title quote from The Five Doctors (odd really as the Doctor always treats Davros and the Daleks with more respect than the Master) and the image of disembodied cat eyes watching the Seventh Doctor from a waterfall, we can be fairly confident that the bearded bastard is back and our Scottish mix of Ghandi and God is on the way out. The story's ten pages longer than The Final Sunset (actually, what the hell WAS that referring to?) and split into episodes.
As befits the final story of the Seventh Doctor, it begins in a fashion that could only fit McCoy's Doctor - hanging around UNIT HQ getting yelled at by Liz about finding the Master's TARDIS. Hmm. Maybe not. Liz is as vile as in the last story, and indeed I must wonder what the hell she's actually doing in this story - she doesn't give a rat's arse about UNIT, the Doctor or the Master so why hasn't she pissed off to Cambridge again? Does she get some kind of thrill about mocking the Doctor behind his back and accusing him of hypnosis - just because he can change his clothes faster than her? You wish he cared enough to hypnotize you, bitch!
In a token attempt to disguise this crude Sparacassian UNIT era homage, we move to UNIT Vancouver - the time-honored death place of the Seventh Doctor - where a quick trip by police box leaves the Doctor and Liz heading for an inconspicious metropoliton tree trunk. UNIT have found the damned thing by using a TARDIS detector but, for some accountable reason, have given this vital task to soldiers who have absolutely no idea what is going on or why capturing a tree trunk could help. As the Doctor is forced to explain this, a non-descript private sneaks into the tree trunk! Gazooks, it's the Master in disguise! Luckily he happened to do this at the exact same moment his enemy was there to identify him, huh?
Although Captain Spring... er... springs into action to stop the renegade Time Lord, the Master has a water pistol and not afraid to use it! Lacking David Tennant's charisma to pull this off, even the baffling claim it's full of Varga acid doesn't save this scene (as a fan pedant I note that Vargas don't produce any acids or poisons, just inject seeds into their victims. Why bother with fan references if you don't get them right? If he'd called it 'Gedrus acid' I wouldn't have had anything to argue over... especially as this whole water pistol shtick is pointless. The one victim's saved at the last second and the Master is still arrested.
But what's this? His TARDIS is acting like a disco and it's time for a very long and rather uninteresting explanation from the Prince of Darkness. In fact, why the hell should I waste time summarizing it?
"Yes, Doctor. After your Trial, I was imprisoned on Gallifrey, but my TARDIS was sent to Nlaka. I suppose the Time Lords were worried that I could regain control over it if they kept it on Gallifrey. I, of course, found another way to escape my prison, with the help of the Cheetah-people. When I finally found my way back to Nlaka, I discovered that the Time Lords had taken the dematerialization circuit of my TARDIS. They had also fastened my TARDIS to the ground in such a way that I cannot extricate it without the ability to dematerialize."
So... he was imprisoned on Gallifrey and Gallifrey's the Cheetah Planet? Is this some Killer Cat of Geng-Singh fanwank? How did the Master get to and from Nlaka? Why is the planet disturbingly anagrammatic of "Alan K", as in Allan Key?
"So you did the next best thing," said the Doctor. "You split off a SARDIS."
"What's a SARDIS?" asked Liz.
"It's a splinter TARDIS. Each TARDIS has a secondary control room. What the Master did was shear off a shell of another TARDIS, like peeling the outer layer from and onion. And with it, he took the secondary control room and is using it as the SARDIS' primary control console. Of course, the dematerialization circuit is always linked directly into the primary console, so without a dematerialization circuit, the Master's SARDIS can't enter the time vortex. That is to say, he can only fly through normal space."
"Yes, Doctor. It took what seemed an eternity to get here to Earth without the ability to travel through time, or even to side-step normal space. Naturally I assumed that after my scheme with the Silurians succeeded, I could simply take your TARDIS."
"Always planning ahead," said the Doctor. "Well, where you're going you won't have to worry about having a TARDIS for a long time."
You know what I would have done if I was writing this? Just have the Master escape Gallifrey by nicking another TARDIS. What, pray tell, does all this wankery about detaching console rooms have to do with anything? Anyway, suddenly the SARDIS vanishes in a puff of logic and... it turns out the Master who was telling us all this was really a nondescript private all along! HAHAHAH! Oh, wait, that doesn't actually make much sense. The Master used his SARDIS, which he didn't have access to, to disguise a private, and also hypnotized him and told him all this back story? There has got to be an easier way of doing things! Oh wait, it wasn't an actual longterm plan, he managed to somehow do all this AFTER he was captured and AFTER he explained the TARDIS stuff... somehow. Nope. Still confused.
Unaware of the Master's bewildering scheme, the Doctor and Liz (whose intellect has dwindled to the point that, even when she's standing inside the TARDIS she can't imagine a way of possibly travelling through time and space) decide to head to Nlaka to make sure the Master's time machine is still grounded, and maybe even why the Time Lords left it on a primitive planet instead of say... destroying it? Locking it up on Gallifrey? Sending it to the TARDIS Graveyard? Turning it into a rather attractive art project?
Just in case everyone wasn't reminded of the TV movie enough the Doctor decides to play some Bing Crosby while Liz bafflingly starts calling him "Dr Smith" (but she has suddenly started liking him because, and I quote, "this Doctor is pretty cool"). And, just to emphasize things, the moment the Doctor steps from the TARDIS he's surrounded by armed thugs. For Nlaka is, apparently, so funky it has its own Gallifreyan embassy and can detect time machines coming miles off, and ready to capture any rogue Time Lords that turn up. While Ogrons go through customs. Yes. That makes total sense, I'm sure. The Doctor is then frogmarched to customs and has to hand over his social security number...
That's just what he needed, half the Spaceport to hear his IIN. Next thing he knew he'd be receiving junk mail in the TARDIS informing him that he had already been pre-approved for an American Express card with a $5000 limit. He was now extremely uncomfortable. This person was looking at information supplied to him by Gallifrey's master computer. Who knew what was in there? No one else in the Universe knew this much about him all at once. And they wondered why he hated bureaucracy so much...
So the Time Lords - the same dudes who destroyed whole civilizations when their firewall was breached - allow just about anyone at airport security to check out their data? Maybe Charles Daniels could make something this ridiculous premise but... anyway. The real Master (who swears like a trooper, he says "Vok!" and stuff like that, unless those shitting fucking soldiers from the last story) smuggled himself aboard the TARDIS and crippled it when he realized the Doctor cunningly nicked the dematerialization circuit before the Master could.
Liz, who is still much more interested in telling everyone how freaky it is to go through the TARDIS doors (and also how come the TARDIS can take off the moment the door closes in countless episodes - sweet baby Jesus, that'd be a waste of oxygen at the best of times) to do anything helpful, hangs around like a bad smell. Indeed, the Doctor might have been able to sweettalk his way out of being arrested for violating Nlaka territory but it now appears he has legally abducted Liz from Earth, and that's a really big crime. Jeez, I wonder why no other stories have featured the Doctor stuck at customs and accused of kidnapping? Maybe because him travelling to new times and places is more interesting when he doesn't have to declare everything to border security?
The Doctor is dragged off to the cells to suffer traditional Nlakan justice and this is allowed by the Federation... which Federation? How the hell should I know... and, as is rather lamely, explained to Liz by the customs people. If someone commits a crime on Nlaka, they have all their evil downloaded into a clone (think the Lows from Red Dwarf: Demons and Angels) who is then publically executed. A brilliant idea, and one I suspect nicked from that Lost in Space episode where another Dr Smith suffers the exact same fate, but manages to outwit his "good twin" and maintain the status quo. And no customs men in sight. Man, the camp dude who goes "The pain! The pain!" like Kenneth Williams on cocaine just gave this story its ass... (but, to be fair, the bit where the executioner gives Liz a pamphlet on why this is morally acceptable is clever.)
Oh and these Nlakans who are so up to date with Time Lord gossip and can sense evil a mile off let the Master wander through without a word. Go, as they say, figure.
Well, with the main character once again written out of the plot - in his last story too! - it's up to Liz "Never Missed" Shaw to save the day by... um... just finding the Master's TARDIS and leaving the Doctor to face his fate. Even though the Master's TARDIS is, as has already been established, is as useful as the proverbial fish-ridden bicycle. Thus, Liz decides to not even bother and instead try and score with the customs man who sentenced the Doctor to his horrible fate. Until she realizes the food on Nlaka is shithouse and then she comes crawling back to the wee lil Scotsman.
In one of life's more... spectacularly unbelievable coincidences... it turns out the bloke Liz is flirting with is actually part of a resistance movement who believe in rehabilitating the clones of pure evil. After all, what could possibly go wrong with that idea? Liz finds this idea boring and decides to go and find the Master's TARDIS - which is superglued to the floor of the deserted Gallifreyan embassy (open from 4 tomorrow to 8.50 last night) and it is only now her pal reveals that everyone knows the Master on Nlaka and he's more popular than the offspring of the Dalai Lama and Cate Blanchett, and since he's not gone on any homicidal rampages on THIS planet, no one's interested with the billions of people he's slaughtered elsewhere. It's not like its their problem, is it? Oh, this is either brutal satire or very poor plotting, and I simply can't tell which...
"What's The Master done?"
"What hasn't he done? He's enslaved and killed millions of people. He's destroyed planets. His main goal in life is to become Master of the Galaxy. He is pure evil!"
"He's never given us any trouble at all."
While Liz uses her mighty physicist brain to... knock over some tin cans so the Master can't get past them into his TARDIS (disguised as that black lift thing from Orac), the Doctor is boring his captors rigid with the events of Logopolis. When they finally can take no more, he runs for it and... is immediately recaptured and this time sentences to evil-clone-soul-extraction. With all the dignity and nobility of his final TV appearance, the Seventh Doctor is stripped naked and shoved, kicking and screaming onto an operating table with absolutely no respite in any way shape or form. Not even decent dialogue. How, as Yana would say, inappropriate.
On a brighter note the Master finds Liz and goes Cheetah Person on her lilly-white backside.
So it's not all bad.
In the best Republican tradition we discover that there was more material to the cliffhanger that they forgot to reveal the last time and the reprise - yes. reprise - of the previous episode has even MORE material for the outgoing Doctor as he babbles about being released so he can find the Master and stop him. Damn but this gets familiar, huh? But the Doctor makes his last and, I thought, somewhat curious request - he asked that the Master, a rival Time Lord, be present to witness the extraction execution dig. Methinks I might have stumbled across a slight similarity in this story.
But where's the Master? He's slapping the bitch Liz Shaw down in a Cat Person Cheetah Fight, that's where he is! No wonder the locals adore him and he can take one of Liz's kicks to the groins without flinching! Full fist, Master, full fist! Unfortunately, one of his groupies turns up to invite him to the execution so the Master can't go through recreating the end of Cannibal Holocaust with Liz's throat and a wooden pole. Using his mighty Jedi mind powers, he tells Liz to stay the fuck down and... guess what? She does! But the thought of finally defeating his enemy causes the Cheetah-addled Master to temporarily turn into Basil Fawlty!
"Oh, how wonderful," said the Master. "I would be delighted to witness the Doctor's execution. I mean Extraction. Absolutely delighted." The Master laughed throatily and accompanied Morgan to the vehicle waiting on the street.
He still hasn't put that picture up either... I digress. Frequently. Anyway, due to time-warping mechanics (or dodgy plotting) Liz has already been rescued from the junkyard she was doing her Kill Bill fight with the Master after she's lain, hyno-paralyzed, for about fifteen hours before she's rescued by her fancy man. And it's only NOW that the Doctor is stripped and thrown into a cloning booth this time by the Master and not some anonymous git. That stuffs up the chronology of the previous cliffhanger, but if Planet of Spiders can get away with it...
As all the Doctor's puny mental blocks are defeated by some shitty Jekyll-and-Hyde machine from some craphole we've never heard of, the Master decides to take everyone to dinner as it will take four hours to clone the Doctor (it's just struck me I was visualizing the clone as forming complete with panama hat - odd how I can imagine a stark naked Seventh Doctor as long as he's got his hat on...) and no one can be arsed hanging around to watch it happen. Not even the Master, who is happily washing dishes with housewives. That is just fucking demented - he wants to rule the universe! And he doesn't want that out of a desire to gossip with housewives! I don't care if it's a ploy for him to hypnotize people and go chasing mice or whatever, I defy anyone to say the idea of the Master doing the washing up doesn't demean him far more than lip-synching to the Scissor Sisters! Mind you, this story seems far suited to JS's Master than Ainley's...
"Yes, Master," said Morgan. He loved it when people said that.
See, with any other Master it just sounds dirty.
Well, there's a psychopathic killer on the loose, the Doctor's being executed any hour and she's been paralyzed by the Master. What does trusty Liz Shaw do under these circumstances, I ask you? Yes, that's right, she goes and has dinner with the family of a custom's guard and then puts out on the first date. Mighty Zarquon, Ben Chatham in drag near a decade before he was born by fishperson - that is what I call wibbywobblytimywimy!
The Master meanwhile breaks into the cloning chamber, pausing for an LSD flashback where he reveals he escaped the exploding Cheetah World by teleporting to his TARDIS (a far more credible and believable option, that he'd accidentally teleport to the ruins of Traken, is sadly considered but ignore). Once he's alone with the naked "Malreplicant" Doctor, he swaps the good and evil Doctors so the good one will be killed and the Master will be left with the Seventh Doctor completely devoid of any compassion or mortality whatsoever.
That is, without any doubt, the dumbest plan I have ever witnessed in any medium. The Master decides to put himself in the line of fire with his worst enemy but now with added evil? Rather than, say, set fire to the cloning factory and say it was all a terrible accident? Or just put a bullet through both of them and damn the consequences? And unless this clone is a really brilliant copy, isn't the Master losing the opportunity to steal a Time Lord body with a good six bodies left in it? Idiot. Total bloody idiot. King of morons. All lesser cretins shall bow before the king! And then he runs away and... DOES THE WASHING UP! FOR REAL! GAAAAAHHH!
The next day Liz finally deigns to turn up as the naked EvilDoc is allowed his clothes and the GoodDoc is shoved in orange pyjamas like all doomed inmates. The Master drops by, gets bored, and then wanders off while the GoodDoc points out that there is a perfectly simple way of proving he is who he says he is... but it seems that all Nlakans are banjo-plucking morons and he is lead to his fate. The Master's just about to sneak into his TARDIS with the Doctor's stolen dematerialization circuit but - bollocks! - someone finally checked the Master's youtube vids and seen the one where he tries to blackmail the universe with a CVE! Damn it! After forty-five years, the Nlakans finally bother to check the credentials of the infamously-evil Time Lord they let wander around the place! Five seconds later and the Master would be long gone.
More fake curses are exchanged as the episode comes to a rather lame end.
I know. Lame.
Hope you've got your things together, hope you're quite prepared to die, looks like we're in for nasty weather, one ey is taken for an eye, don't go out tonight, cause it's bound to take your life, there's a bad moon on the rise... Forgive me, but I'm certain I see bad things ahead for the Doctor. For example, he is now being referred to as "the Seventh Doctor" all of a sudden, as Liz's stud muffin pal makes a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to rescue the Doctor from his execution. How unsuccessfuly? The good guys are already arrested before they can finish shouting "Now!", that's how unsuccessful.
But, between paragraphs, this is enough to buy the Seventh Doctor two more hours of life where absolutely nothing at all of any kind happens whatsoever, and, to be honest, it's a complete waste of three sentences before our hero ends up on the slab anyway. But, what's this? At the last second there's a phone call from the Warden - the Master is to undergo evil-enema instead! And the only person who can possibly help him is EvilDoc! OH THE IRONY! I JUST BURST A BLOOD VESSEL HERE, PEOPLE!!
While the Doctor's cloning took around five hours, the Master's takes twenty seconds and - would you Adam and Eve it? - GoodMaster is actually Tremas who wanders around looking like the It's... Bloke from Monty Python and reveals the good/evil Doctorswap! Well, someone had to, as absolutely no one else in the story seemed intelligent enough to work it out for themselves. At this point dialogue and incident gets incredibly thin on the ground as we are related with as much detail as a synopsis that the Master and EvilDoc team up, Bonnie and Clyde style and flee the prison while the Doctor gives everyone a stern talking to. Apparently. I'm getting all this second hand. Couldn't the author think of something interesting to go into those bits? Did all the characterization run out when Liz got her end away and stopped bitching?
Suddenly, they start talking and bloody hell I wish they hadn't as everyone starts chatting about stuff we already know - Tremas waffles on about what the hell the Master was doing with his pointless "SARDIS", the Seventh Doctor reveals he was able to steal back the dematerialization circuit somehow, and everyone sits in a circle as the exposition is hurled around like brown matter in a mud-wrestling contest. Somehow everyone concludes that the Master is now determined to kill the President of Nlaka, who he apparently saved years previously which is why the whole planet love him. But President Flavia is also involved because she needs to cut the ribbon and declare a bridge open or something. I can't make this shit up!
"Trouble is, we're severely short-staffed today. With the President dedicating the new bridge all of our security people are working crowd control at the river. In fact, the Gallifreyan president is due to attend. Hopefully they've got enough security people to keep the TARDIS and President Flavia properly guarded."
Everyone rushes off to stop this unspecified and hitherto unmention threat, with the GoodDoc distinctive in his orange prison outfit. I wonder if that might be significant? Oh, sad that he'll never wear his hat or jumper again... Seriously. It's unfair. Meanwhile, Tremas demands to know where the hell Nyssa is, and the answer she's on a lepper colony doesn't please him (for some reason the author thinks Nyssa will die of a disease she is now immune to in a place she rebuilt as a proper hospital... seemingly all for a single line of angst from the Doctor "He had never had to tell one of his companions fathers that he had left her to her certain doom before" - er, you didn't! Apart from anything else she CHOSE to STAY...)
But what's this? Tremas still has the Cheetah Virus and our long-bearded white-haired old man starts howling at the moon and running around the place in a highly embarrassing manner. Liz and her man are too busy holding hands and working out how difficult it would be to drown in Nlaka's smaller gravity (gosh, these love birds say the darnedest things, don't they) to notice the most ridiculous superhero ever - Were-Cheetah-Pensioner-Man - as he climbs a tree and tries to eat the Master who's hiding there. In an amazing feat of hypnosis, the Master hypnotizes his own body and effortlessly defeats Tremas (really begging the question of why, like Liz, he is in this story at all when he's so surplus to requirements.
The Doctor finds this truly pathetic display and the Master pauses to mock that the Doctor is a no-fist loser now all his evil has been extracted, and what's more, the Master reveals the Time Lord gave him a new life cycle after the events in The Five Doctors (funny, I remember him being banished by Rassilon for his sins - but then the author seems to have watched a completely different series of Doctor Who to me, so maybe complaining about shoddy continuity is a waste of time - in any case, odd the Doctor never noticed his enemy was regeneratively rebooted before now, huh?) and a wierd girl fight begins between the two enemies at the edge of a waterfall - like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty in The Final Problem, only more camp and less emotionally envolving! But whereas Sherlock took a dive over the Falls in noble self-sacrifice, the Master does it for the sheer hell of the ride.
The Time Lord was falling. A few feet to his left he could see his best enemy falling also. He could see the rocks rushing closer. The rocks that would smash his body to a pulp. And then he would regenerate. And then he would drown. And then he would regenerate again. This was a possibility. Usually the regenerative energy would act as a protective shield around the body for a short time, but under water he might well drown when the shielding ceased to protect him. There was a way to reduce the trauma of the regeneration, to give him some semblance of control when his new body found itself being dragged along the bottom of a raging river. He could induce the regeneration himself, just before he hit the rocks.
The cells in his body would be bathed in a critical amount of energy and then they would change: mutate from their current physical form into a sort of plasma. Half matter, half energy. This form would bend with the force of the impact. Bread dough. He would also have some choice regarding his new form if he triggered it himself, without the trauma that had accompanied some of his regenerations. Not to mention the pain. He had taken a massive fall once or twice before and the pain had been indescribable.
He flipped over onto his back to try to protect the device in his breast pocket from destruction.
Now what kind of a body should he choose? There was only a quarter of a second or so left. He began to trigger his regeneration. The last thing he thought about before he lost consciousness was Korbal. Now why would he do a thing like that?
Don't ask me, ducky. And what a miserable end, eh? Chucked from a great height by the Master. Wow, haven't seen that particular death before, have you? It cheapens the whole thing, in my opinion, with the Doctor spending his last few seconds not making peace with himself or reflecting on his life, but worrying about what the next him will look like! And they called the Sixth Doctor vain, can you believe? It adds to the "get rid of McCoy already" vibe the story is steeped in, but without even the Greek tragedy of the TV Movie. No great misunderstanding, no irony, just a stupid and very avoidable cliffhanger that doesn't give the Seventh Doctor a modicum of respect or farewell. And we're presumably saying goodbye to Ainley's Master as well, so our dear departed demented Doc doesn't even get a proper share of the limelight!
Everyone makes their very casual way down the hill to the bottom of the waterfall where they see the Seventh Doctor - unregenerated - hauling a bearded man to shore, who resembles Korbal only with a beard. Who's Korbal, you ask? Um... I dunno. One of the Nlakans. I don't care, do I? But odd how the Seventh Doctor isn't particularly wet coming down a waterfall, isn't it? Announcing his fellow the regenerated Master, the Doctor leads everyone back to his TARDIS where the "Master" wakes up, begs for Liz's sunglasses, and reveals he's actually a regenerated Doctor - the real Master deliberately regenerated into a copy of Sylvester McCoy! The "Doctor" laughs evilly and tells everyone to ignore the "Master"...
...when suddenly a brunette woman in soaking orange prison uniforms and, seemingly thinking she's caught in that French Bitch episode of Coupling, that SHE is really the Doctor!
It's a brilliant cliffhanger.
For Red Dwarf.
But not for anything else.
Well, let's see - we have three people claiming to be the Doctor, can you, the discerning reader of this review, discover which one is which?
Pros - looks like Sylvester McCoy, has dematerialization circuit, not acting suspicious
Cons - not wet enough after falling down water fall, clearly nicked dematerialization circuit, too smug
Judgement: Not the real McCoy
Pros - looks like the last person the Doctor thought of before regenerating, also resembles the Eighth Doctor of the DWP, acting convincingly desperate and pathetic
Cons - doesn't look like Sylvester McCoy, has a beard, no evidence to disprove any claims
Judgement: invalid as contempt of court was declared and went for a mistrial
Pros - convincingly wet, convincingly dressed, acting remarkably calm
Cons - dude, she's a woman!
Judgement: dear god, if she turns out to be the Rani...
Liz and her pals conclude that the "Doctor" is EvilDoc who was fishing out "the Master" in the belief it was his partner in crime - but is "the Master" the Master or "the Woman" the Master? Who knows? Who cares? The EvilDoc does EvilDoc stuff to the console and the floor turns to quicksand for some reason I cannot fathom and everyone ends up isolated in darkness, kind of like Last Man Running. Or something. But if that wasn't confusing and annoying enough, the Third Doctor makes a totally random and gratuitous appearance - those damn exploding TARDIS consoles leave you in the wierdest places huh?
Things get even more confusing and at some point everyone agrees that the Third Doctor is really the Seventh Doctor is really the Evil Doc, the Master is really the Eighth Doctor and the Woman really the Master. The Doctor and the Master do a telepathic linkup jism thing to mindfuck the EvilDoc, who kidnaps Tremas, wires him up to the Edwardian control room, creates his own "SARDIS" and gets the hell out there, leaving everyone else behind looking rather stupid. But apparently the EvilDoc and Tremas are doomed anyway. Or something. And the Doctor and the Master argue about sex changes for five minutes, casting aspersions on each other's identities or... something. I've totally lost the plot, and it doesn't help I don't give a crap about any of the characters contained within. They then try to outthink each other before going off on tangents - the Doctor idly hopes he can dump Liz here for good, the Master thinks nostalgically of creating Mad Cow Disease for a laugh, that sort of totally random crap.
Just before anything can get remotely sensible, the Master reveals he still looks like Anthony Ainley and actually used his own hologram disguise, but the Doctor reveals he knew that and the Master gets arrested, so the Doctor and Liz leave in the TARDIS and the Doctor strips naked (bar his sunglasses) and admires himself in a mirror. What a satsifying ending, huh, folks?
Dear God that ended bad. My hope weren't high, but come on. I was expecting a nice little story about a world with wierd capital punishment where the Master was a hero. What did I get? Tedium! Mind-numbing tedium with fanwank but no rhyme or reason. There was ultimately no justification for the EvilDoc, Tremas, Liz, Liz's lover, the SARDISes, killing off the Seventh Doctor (I dare say McCoy would be quite pissed off his last scene as the Doctor has him an evil bastard torturing little old men), especially not the morally dodgy Eighth Doctor. I don't care how much he looks like Marcus Cole from Babylon 5, snogging the male Master and then prancing naked around in front of Liz needs to be done better than it is here to stop the new bloke coming across as a seedy, perverted bastard.
It's as if the story was built, lego-style, out of the worst possible elements - running around nondescript TARDIS corridors, swapping console parts, constant mentions of The Five Doctors and The Trial of a Time Lord, Cheetah Viruses, random returning characters. What was the point of Liz's love affair if she doesn't mention it ever again? She doesn't even say goodbye to the bloke! Why?! Why bring Tremas back? How could the Master achieve such fame and prestige if it could so easily be sabotaged? Why would the president of the fucking Time Lords leave Gallifrey to OPEN A FUCKING BRIDGE?!? Why didn't the Master regenerate from his fall? Why didn't he disguise himself as the Seventh Doctor? Why didn't he disguise himself as a man? What did the final episode have to do with the previous three? And all the random "hours passed as they made plans" mixed with huge, painful transcribed conversations of stuff WE ALREADY KNOW sure didn't help!
The Seventh Doctor doesn't get a heroic exit. He doesn't even get an exit. The transformation is used as a plot device to leave you guessing (which is novel, I suppose, but needs to be done a lot better than this which consists of a Blind Date episode with the contestants all claiming to be the same person), and we niether see or mourn the Old Doctor's passing or greet the new one's. The Eighth Doctor doesn't even get his own face! And we're also told that from now on he's a perfectly sweet and innocent man incapable of evil - well, forgive me but I find that concept as boring as fuck and childishly niave! And so did Lost in Space when they did this plot!
I can't lie. This could have been brilliant. Lose the SARDIS stuff, Tremas, Liz, the Gallifreyan social security and Flavia being recast as Princess bloody Diana and focus on the battle between the Doctor and the Master, the Master being famous and loved, maybe even meet the guy who's life he saved...
Basically, give it to RTD and it could have been bigger than Blink.
Oh, and I'd review the next story - the oh-so-wittily-entitled The Doctor's New Clothes - but the link isn't working. Luckily... or maybe not... I'd read it back in High School when it was briefly available. Basically, while Liz lies asleep on a couch, the Doctor wanders around naked, compares himself to Bruce Boxlitener from Babylon 5 (not only this bit sickening because the Doctor is more interested in contemporary science fiction and doesn't recgonize him from The Scarecrow and Mrs King, but because the author couldn't remember who played Marcus) and decides to round off this morally-questionable Children In Need skit by dressing up in women's clothing. Don't worry though, it's just Romana's purple outfit from The Androids of Tara. That's like having the Fifth Doctor dressed as Romana from Horns of Nimon. It's arguably better than the genuine article.
But, ahahahahahaha, this is funny, yes? He dress as woman, dirty filthy poofter, he so ashamed! How absolutely lampshade! So the Eighth Doctor puts on a big coat and a waistcoat of continually-changing patterns (oh, that's an effect that really comes across in print, and is totally practical for TV or audio) and then does a few cat walks in front of the mirror.
Frankly, I wasn't busting with desire to read the next story of the Jeremy Stewart-Walker incarnation. If that's his name, I've honestly forgotten.