Saturday, December 4, 2010

200 Moments: The Fourth Doctor!


THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor leaves a message to Sarah about how he's in mortal danger.
WHY: You'd think that having your oldest teacher call you an arrogant overbearing egomaniac deserving everything you get - followed by literally dying for your sins - could possibly put a dent in the Doctor's confidence to meddle in the affairs of others. Not a bit of it. "Sarah - Professor Kettlewell tells me he has the Robot hidden at his house. Gone to meet him. PS. If is of course possible that this message is a trap. If it, I can deal with it. PPS. I am leaving this note in case I can’t." He may have a new body, and a new consciousness, but sometimes not even that's enough...

The Ark in Space
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Noah destroys the Wirrn.
WHY: In part one the Doctor gives a big speech about the indomitability of the human spirit - after all, how can a race of puny defenseless bipeds conquer the universe? Answer: we take shit from no one. Hell, we nailed the son of god to a tree for daring to tell us what to do. You'd think the sun exploding might get the message across that we are not in charge, but no, we'll "outsit eternity" waiting for a scorched bit of stone to get better because god damn it it's OUR bit of scorched stone and no one else gets it. And even the quasi-supernatural hive mind of the Wirrn can't stop that brutal stubbornness that got us so far. The Doctor muses lyrically that maybe "a vestige of the human spirit" allowed Noah the mutated Wirrn to trick his brothers aboard an out-of-control shuttle hurtling into space, thus saving the last known humans from absorbsion... and then the shuttle blows up. Noah doesn't just save his people, he wipes out an entire species that dared to try and threaten it, killing himself in the process. It didn't have to end that way. But no, xenophobia and hatred defeated the Wirrn. "More than just a vestige," the Doctor sighs, reminded his favorite species aren't perfect once again.

The Sontaran Experiment
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Scavenger ambushes the Galsec trio.
WHY: It's the oldest gag in a non-existent book. If someone says "Look behind you!", you won't fall for it and guess what? You should have. Here, the Doctor is finally climbing out of the chasm when he finds the Galsec colonists aiming their guns at his head, once again convinced that our scarfed loon is the one slaughtering them at night. The Doctor's protests are ignored... but he gets some instant karma as the Sontaran robot arrives to round up Vural and his pals. Not only is the Doctor proved innocent, those who didn't listen to him suffer the fate they were desperate to avoid. The Doctor is the only one to escape the Scavenger, too. Clever sod.

The Genesis of the Daleks
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Davros purges the last of the Kaleds.
WHY: What harm could it do to let a once-honored leader save his face? think the Kaleds when Davros suggests that instead of an armed uprising they simply vote on whether to go his way or the highway. Davros' attempts to sway the majority are little more crude emotional blackmail. Could you turn your back on the man who built your pacemaker? The man who taught you all you know? A man who suffered more than any other for his dream? A colleague? Perhaps even a friend? The Kaleds shift uncomfortably, moving from pity to irritation. You could even feel sympathy for the poor old blind, one-armed cripple. And you'd be wrong. Davros summons his Daleks to slaughter all those who didn't succumb to his passive aggressive approach, and they do so without mercy. And when Kravos, that young lad whose life Davros saved as a boy? He'll get thrown into the firing line without so much as a word. Davros may not possess such emotional weaknesses, but he's still terribly good at exploiting them...

The Revenge of the Cybermen
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor throws insults at the triumphant Cybermen.

Terror of the Zygons
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: A UNIT soldier is killed by a nurse, not realizing the nurse is a Zygon in disguise.

The Planet of Evil
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Vishinsky performs Morelli's funeral as the Doctor and Sarah watch on.

The Pyramids of Mars
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor solves the riddle of the Osirians.

The Android Invasion
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Hiding from their pursuers, the Doctor and Sarah wonder what has happened to Earth while they were away.
WHY: The countryside is deserted. It hasn't rained for weeks. Radiation is in the air. Silver suited figures hunt down UNIT soldiers gripped by suicidal insanity. The big twist, of course, is that while it APPEARS to be some Season 13 take on The Crazies, it's just a ridiculous set-up wholesale pinched from The Avengers where Julian Glover has an underground city and a huge amount of fake tan. Other have gone on about the terrible plot flaws of this... this ONION of a story... but what really rubs it in is we get a glimpse of a much more interesting tale. "All our friends... Lead by a dead man. Fascinating. I don't think Crayford died in space. And when he finally got back here, something returned with him. Something that's controlling every human being for miles around..." Oh, if only.

The Brain of Morbius

The Seeds of Doom
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Keeler, fully transformed into a Krynoid, breaks loose from his bonds.
WHY: No doubt today the transformation from human being into obscene vegetable matter would be a simple bit of twisty-morphy-wibbily-wobbly CGI. It wouldn't be as disturbing as what we see, Keeler going into shock, his skin glistening with green and brown sap as though he's had an allergic reaction to having vegemite rubbed onto his flesh. Unlike Winslett, who remained mute and comatose, Keeler is horrifically aware of what's happening. Of all the talk of compost machine and callous murder, the nastiest bit is when Keeler is denied his request of going to the hospital. And then we get the transformation occuring to Keeler's mind, as he moves from philosophical to misery to cunning to anger and finally psychotic hatred. It's not little Arnold screaming "YOU WANT ME TO DIE!", it's the Krynoid. And the last thing he says before the distinct rattle-snake type breathing sound begins. When Hargreaves returns, even Keeler's face is gone, a moss-lichen-encrusted skull with huge tendrils sprouting from the sides, its tentacles flailing with a horrible noise like a drowning cat. Hargreaves runs for it as the Krynoid effortlessly breaks its bonds and claws at the air. Now it is free, everyone is in danger...

The Masque of Mandragora
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Despite the warnings of the Doctor, Count Frederico confronts Heironymous...

The Hand of Fear
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Professor Watson calls home and speaks to his family as he awaits death.

The Deadly Assassin
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor tries to talk sense into the Master before Gallifrey is destroyed.

The Face of Evil
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Neeva taunts the unimpressed Doctor before the Sevateem.
WHY: As Leela continually demonstrates, the Sevateem may have reverted to a primitive level of technology but they aren't stupid. If they are convinced the Doctor is a cross between the Antichrist and Kyle Sandilands, then they have a damn good reason. But as we and the Doctor expect some intense explanations, Neeva starts to do a dance around the Time Lord making noises like a labrador having sex. In a neat little summary of the story's theme, everything the Doctor says is twisted for political reasons: when he asks to be untied, he is "squirming for release"; when he fears getting his face blown off by an engine piece, he is "fearing the relics of Xoanaon"; when he points out said piece could go off like an atom bomb, he is "threatening" the tribe. "IT CANNOT DECIEVE US!" screams the bald, naked old man dry-humping thin air. "No," the Doctor says bluntly. "I can see you're a man of quite superior intelligence. Are you the leader of this tribe - or is he?" he asks, and suddenly High Preist is forced to back down to the Military. The Doctor's not the only one that can use political spin...

The Robots of Death
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: A helpless Voc robot is operated on by Taren Capel.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Horror of Fang Rock
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor realizes his attempts to keep everyone in the lighthouse safe have failed, and he has unwittingly trapped them with a killer.
WHY: It's a tiny moment that could easily be missed, but at the start of part four, Leela is cheerfully stoking the boiler and planning to attack a shape-shifting villain while the Doctor is crouched over Ruben's body, his face in his hands, as if in tears. In moments he's up and arguing tactics with Leela, but we get a glimpse that the alien and aloof Fourth Doctor really does mourn all the people he has failed to save that night.

The Invisible Enemy
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Leela discovers a vulnerability to the Swarm - knives.
WHY: In a way, this story is Leela fighting the Swarm in its various forms. As a strange organic computer virus, it barely gives her a headache. Its infected victims are merely moving targets. The Doctor and K9's number one task is to try and stop her and both fail miserably. She even works out a way to disguise herself as an infectee and the Swarm doesn't twig. Finally its victims mutate so much radiation guns can't stop them. So Leela drops the gun and discovers that the old fashioned blade will still work. As the Doctor's wimpy attempts at antibodies fail, Leela is exhuberant "I've found the answer — knife them in the neck!" The Doctor can only glower at her. "Can you do that to a thousand? A thousand thousand?" he challenges the warrior. You know what? She probably could.

Image of the Fendahl
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Fendleman suddenly realizes what is happening.
WHY: If one delves into the world of the conspiracy theorist, one soon finds the octopus effect - every conspiracy is just a tiny part, a tentacle, of a much larger one. If JFK was killed by the CIA, the CIA were controlled by the Nazis and the Nazis controlled by aliens. Yet prior to all this sub-X-Files bollocks, Dr. Nofirstname Fendleman realizes the biggest octopus ever - all life on Earth, and everything that life has done. "Man of the Fendahl!" he screams, eyes wide at the shit HP Lovecraft wrote about. "Only for this moment have the generations of my fathers lived! I have been used - you are being used. Mankind has been used!" Everything we know, everything we understand, is just a necessary evil for a higher power. Nothing, ergo, has ever mattered in any way shape or form. It's no wonder Stael shoots Fendleman through the head before he depressed us any further.

The Sun Makers
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Gatherer is executed by a mob of work units.
WHY: Some villains merit death for their unspeakable crimes, moments when it becomes clear they are irredeemable evil. The Gatherer doesn't. He's mean, miserly and sadistic but no more than the common man who'll pay to see a teenage girl get steam-roasted if they've got the cash. The Gatherer is one of at least six other notorious bastards who are as much slaves of the Usurians as anyone else. But he crosses the line of his own stupidity overriding his survival instincts. Having managed to imagine a completely false conspiracy after seeing the TARDIS on the roof, he fails to register the widespread revolution across the whole city. Work units are so rebellious they are going to the rooves to see the suns overhead, something Cordo had to be suicidal to even consider. But old Hade seems to think people that far gone will still listen to him. When he's unarmed. Calling them scum. He's actually surprised when they turn on him. He makes absolutely no attempt to resist their fatal moshing. Right to the end he acts like a deluded member of a different species - and thus no one feels any guilt as they kill him.

THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Minyans argue over the Time Lords' actions.
WHY: It's a genuinely disconcerting cut from the Doctor idly chatting about Time Lord history as an after dinner anecdote ("they invented the toothbrush and split the atom") to Herrick screaming that his people were used for sport by the "Gods" and vows to "dematerialize" any Time Lords he sees. There aren't many people who can make "pacifist!" sound like the nastiest word in the English language, but Alan Lake manages it, proving the scariest thing the story - an angry, wronged bezerker that not even Leela can stop.

The Invasion of Time
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Castellan Kelner stares in shock as the Vardans show their true forms.
WHY: "They're just humans," the Castellated creep gasps as the shimmering ghost shapes turn into three short blokes in space helmets and green uniforms. These wierd energy monsters that can read minds, appear and disappear at will, and blast people with lethal beams of light... are just ordinary dudes. In rather stupid looking suits. These gits are the ones that brought down Gallifrey and the Time Lords? Of course - the Doctor has been helping them in one massive demonstration of what utter losers the Time Lords are, and how much better HE is at dealing with life in the big wide universe. He sets both sides up and knocks them down, demonstrating Gallifrey's vulnerability to an enemy he himself describes as "Dissapointing, aren't they?"

The Ribos Operation
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Garron talks for his life when captured by the Graff Vynda Kay...
WHY: It takes a lot of skill to make con-men and crooks likeable, especially given the fact their lifestyle depends on making YOU suffer misery. Robert Holmes manages it easily enough - Garron and Unstuffe don't want to hurt anyone, even the Shrivenzale, and even the Graff can survive financially minus his deposit. The most violent they get with anyone is each other. And when the duo see Binro casually cut down by the Graff for the sheer hell of it, it's an act of revulsion not even a backstabbing hustler like Garron can manage. Despite knowing they have but moments left to live, Garron has one last yarn to spin to ensure the Graff has as bad a day as they have. He reminds the Levithian prince that the Doctor and Romana are still free - and they're not fellow tricksters. "Security agents! Yeah, that's the irony of it. They just arrested us for landing on a Class-3 planet and didn't even know of your presence until you made it felt!!" "YOU LIE!!!" the Graff screams in terror, but Garron grins at him. "Why should I bother? No Graff, their report will be with the Alliance shortly, and you'll no longer be a nobleman of the Cyrrenic Empire and an honoured war veteran. You'll just be a common criminal - like us!" Garron wasn't able to save his accomplice's new friend, but made damn well sure that Binro was avenged.

The Pirate Planet
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor convinces the Pirate Captain to release him.
WHY: Oh, everyone thinks of the "What's it FOR?!?" scene, but the one directly prior to it is always the most intense. The delirious Doctor is strung up, helpless, his new companion unconscious, and completely helpless. "You won't kill me," he tells the Captain confidently. "You're a warrior, and it's against the warrior's code to kill someone tied up." The Captain smiles. "Release him," he says sinisterly. But the Doctor, just as sinisterly, snaps at the guard, "He said 'release me'!" After shouting like loonies at each other all story, there's a sudden intensity between the enemies. Suddenly there's more than meets the eye.

The Stones of Blood
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor and de Vries discuss the history of druidism.
WHY: From the moment the Doctor reaches de Vries' manor house, he's on a mission to wind the guy up, singing "Nobody here but us druids" in the hall, mocking the evil crow as a "pet", and then going into detail about why druids are crap. See, the Doctor's had a warning from the White Guardian and the head druid in a stone circle where blood has been spilt is clearly on his radar. When de Vries explains he is merely a "student of Druidic lore", the Doctor muses he must be terribly bored: "There’s so little that’s historically reliable, I mean. Oh, there’s the odd mention in Julius Caesar’s memoirs, a line or two in Tacitus... You know, I always thought Druidism was invented as joke by old John Aubrey back in the seventeenth century. He loved a joke, old John!" But de Vries doesn't bite. "This is no laughing matter, Doctor," he retorts, before blabbing all about the Cailleach... just what the Doctor wanted him to.

The Androids of Tara
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Grendel unleashes more than one trap on the Doctor. They all fail.
WHY: Grendel wants to defeat the Doctor - a noble enough aim. So, he sends Madam Lamia to go to the Doctor, claiming that Grendel is beaten and wants a chance to run for it in return for the real King and Romana, an exchange to be taken place in an indefensible summer house in the middle of the open with the Doctor on his own. One problem, the Doctor sees its a trap right away and only attends because he's a reckless adrenaline junkie and gets there before Grendel can set the trap. Second problem, the Doctor's pardon is genuine, meaning Madam Lamia is strongly tempted to run off with Grendel and isn't concentrating. Third problem, K9 spots that "Romana" is a killer android before it can detect the Doctor. Fourth problem, the killer android is more rubbish than Kamelion as Lamia drags it around the summer house shouting at it to fire at the Doctor, who simply steps out of the way. Fifth problem, the killer android is not K9-proof and is shot down. Sixth problem, the trigger-happy soldiers accidentally shoot Lamia as she leaves the summer house, warning the Doctor in advance of the danger. Desperately, Grendel offers the Doctor a pardon on his family's name... but K9 has warned the Doctor, so the Time Lord only sticks his head out the door to call Grendal out on his lies. Then, since Grendel has emphasized that the summer house has only one exit and all the guns are aimed at it, K9 cuts a new doorway in the back and the Doctor and K9 escape without being spotted. Then they get rescued by Romana, who everyone mistakes for the princess, so they daren't shoot her. Not many villains have THIS bad a day without being defeated outright...

The Power of Kroll
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor rescues Romana from "Kroll"...
WHY: Having been tied up next to a sewer outlet by a bunch of gullible green men, Romana refuses to believe her King-Kong-style sacrifice will summon up a giant squid. She's bored. Unimpressed. And then suddenly she's attacked by a hideous black humanoid with snapping claws and a circular, disc-like head. Bound hand and foot she can only scream... until the Doctor steps out of the shadows and rips the disc-like head free to reveal a startled Swampie. Who the Doctor then punches in the kidneys, falling down to reveal the wacking great zip in the back. Romana boggles at the fact the monster was actually a man in a rubber suit. "How did you know?" she gasps. The Doctor shrugs. "He was probably more convincing from the front." You just bet that Robert Holmes had been waiting years for this gag...

The Armageddon Factor
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: In the Valley of the Shadow, the Doctor is confronted by countless illusions.
WHY: An overlooked but very powerful sequence. Lagging behind to check a distress signal from the TARDIS, the Doctor emerges to find that Romana and Astra are mirages who vanish when he looks away. Then five separate Romanas emerge from cave mouths, glare at him aloofly, then vanish. The Doctor boggles and counts to five on his fingers, unable to believe what he sees. As he turns back, he has to politely step past another Doctor going another way. The other Doctor waves and vanishes. Then the Doctor notices a pulsing, blood-red pair of eyes in the cave wall. "All this penny arcade, ghost train rubbish is pretty crude too. Romana can look after herself you know. You won't scare her or me either!" he mocks, telling the Shadow that he's playing out of his league now Time Lords are involved. "I know who you are, Doctor," whispers a voice behind him and the Doctor turns to see a giant skull face filling the tunnel mouth. The Shadow knows all about the Time Lords - he is working on behalf of the Black Guardian, and a whirlpool forms beneath the no-longer-so-confident Doctor, sucking him into oblivion. The Shadow has won...

Destiny of the Daleks
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Daleks begin to execute their slaves, one by one, until the Doctor surrenders Davros.
WHY: It beggars belief that people remember one second of the Doctor challenging the Daleks to climb a rope but not the sequence when the Daleks blow down a barricade with their massive firepower, line up all their helpless and drugged slaves and begin to shoot them down one by one. "THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!" the Daleks squawk, trying to guilt-trip our hero. But it doesn't work. The Doctor holds up some explosives and vows to kill himself and Davros if one more innocent life is lost. And the Daleks are left speechless.

City of Death
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor and Romana say goodbye to Duggan.
WHY: Yes, there are probably a million and three other moments in the story that could be counted as golden, but this is the one for me. Despite having only been in four episodes, Duggan feels much more of a companion than Captain Jack ever will. There's a genuine sadness that this team shall have to split up, that their adventure is over and there aren't more whacky going-ons in Paris for them to get involved in. Having made one final point about art and artists, the Doctor and Romana leave with barely a glance back. Duggan's left to his own affairs at the top of the Eiffel tower. And then, impossibly, he sees in the fields below, a familiar pair of figures. Who, amazingly, seem to spot him. "BYE BYE DUGGAN!" one shouts, with all the affection and warmth the earlier departure lacked. And Duggan just smiles and waves back, no longer grumpy or impatient, but saying a fond farewell to his new best friends. And our heroes skip away into the Paris sunshine... oh, sod it, rewind the tape and watch it all over again. You won't regret it.

The Creature from the Pit
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: K9 casually destroys the stockpile of metal in the bandit's camp.
WHY: "Are you prepared to risk your life and the lives of everyone on this planet for wealth?" the Doctor screams at Karella. "Yes," the old bat sneers, completely unrepentant. The kitchen cupboard's worth of tin plates and cultery is effectively the crown jewels of Chloris and if, say, metal became abundant they'd be the worthless knicknacks they actually are. Does the Doctor try to speak reason with the knife-wielding pensioner and her gang of Jewish stereotypes? Nope. He orders K9 to blast the heap at full power. "You're destroying our metal!" sobs Karella, seeing the entire available mineral wealth of a planet reduced to dust. The Doctor just vaporized their entire economy - and now the only thing Karella has is her life. Once again, she is asked if she is willing to risk it. We don't see the answer, but it's clear she reconsidered her opinion. After all, you can't take it with you...

The Nightmare of Eden
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Stott tells the Doctor and Romana about his life on Eden.
WHY: There's a disconcertingly adult story beneath the production that cast and crew thought was purile. It's a story of drug smuggling, murder, addiction, a cliffhanger where the Doctor is busted for possession, and junkies are shown as giggling loons who are more dangerous than any Mandrel when they need their fix. In The Armageddon Factor, Merak's unhealthy obsession with a cute blonde is immediately fobbed off with a blunt "I love her". Here, when Stott and Della were "together", Romana assumes they were just friends, is bluntly told that "it was more than that". Discovering that Stott wasn't ripped apart by wild monsters but magically turned into a living download, this fantasty bit is brought back to Earth with a thump as our dashing hero is not only with the drugs squad, but has also contemplated suicide on numerous occasions. As he casually tells the Doctor and Romana while toying his pistol, "Sometimes I felt like just blowing my brains out." This and countless other moments show a far harsher story than we care to think...

The Horns of Nimon
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Teka discovers the co-pilot's corpse has been laid out for the Nimon to feed on...
WHY: Even haters of the story applaud that bit where the Anethans find the mummified corpse, touch it and it collapses to dust before their eyes - a special effect that was beyond awesome at the time and pretty impressive today. But for me the true genius was to be shown the "before" following the "after". Sador's flabby body has been placed on the table beneath a rack of (thankfully-unused) blades and saws. We know what's going to happen to him, because we saw the fate of the last poor schmuck on the table. And we know that the co-pilot didn't come back to life, climb onto the table and then die. He was put there. The Nimon is in the area, and he plans to feed. But all this goes over poor Teka's head. With the pulsing red lights, she's confronted by probably the first dead body she's ever seen, and with a lost expression reaches out to touch him... but can't. Unable to bear seeing even a fuckwit like Sardor dust before her eyes. And worst of all we now know that this isn't the first place the Nimon have been. This is just the start...

THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Skagra reveals he is no run-of-the-mill megalomaniac.
WHY: Skagra is an effecient villain. He conned six of the cleverest men in the universe circa 1979 to have their brains sucked out. He builds invisible spaceships. He grows whole armies of monsters whose name is an anagram of his own name (Skagra - Kraags). He can pilot TARDISes. He has battlefleets at his beck and call. Unlike the rest of the villains that year, he's not remotely interested in the Doctor, genuinely believing him not to be a threat. "If you have come here in the hope of interfering with my great purpose, I am afraid you will be..." The Doctor loudly laughs in Skagra's face. "I know what you want to do, you old slyboots," he sneers. "You want to take over the Universe, don’t you? I’ve met your sort before. Any moment now a mad gleam will come into your eye and you’ll start shouting: 'the Universe shall be mine!'" Skagra stares at him. "How naive, Doctor," he says dryly of the Time Lord's 'pathetically-limited vision'. "Who could possibly want to take over the Universe?" "Exactly! That’s what I keep on trying to tell people. It’s a troublesome place, difficult to administer, and as a piece of real estate it’s virtually worthless because by definition there’d be no one to sell it to!" the Doctor agrees. Skagra nods. "Such visions are for infants - my purpose is to fulfill the natural evolutionary goal of all life. With the aid of this sphere I shall make the whole of creation merge into one single mind, one god-like entity. The Universe, Doctor, shall not, as you so crudely put it, be mine. The Universe shall be me!" After all his loftier-than-thou act, the Drornid anarchist's true colours are revealed. No longer the sophisiticated nihilist, Skagra finally becomes the madman he's insisting he's not, and it's proved when he is left speechless by the Doctor's blunt "Have you discussed this with anyone?"

The Liesure Hive
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The aged Doctor broods over old age.
WHY: Rendered Leonardo da Vinci in a scarf by the Tachyon generator, the wizened Doctor sits around like a raddled pensioner, an extra from Waiting for God. "I hate being old," he grumbles to himself. "Pangol's very young," he notes in what could be interest or envy. "And he runs the generator." Despite being reduced to a raddled old hasbeen struggling with rapid-onset-senility, the Doctor is still on the case, and is closer to the truth than he expects.

THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Gaztaks listen in disbelief to Meglos' scheme to capture the Dodecahedron.
WHY: It's interesting that, despite being a giant cactus, Meglos is impersonating the Fourth Doctor from the moment we meet him. The way he speaks, the words he says, the gentle patronizing of military figures - does Meglos treat Grugger any differently to the way the Doctor treats the Brigadier in Robot? "Arrival noted! Welcome, gentlemen... Don't be afraid!" Meglos booms, stopping short of offering jelly babies. "Forgive me, most remiss of me," he adds when the Gaztaks note they haven't been introduced. "Gaztaks! Pillagers of the galaxy! Thousands of little marauding bands like yours. And what's it all for?" he asks, just as the Doctor will do to him four episodes later. "The motley collection of useless trophies! How long have you been accumulating them?" Brotodac proudly notes its a life-long obsession. "And you accuse me of wasting your time?" Meglos retorts. "I know you and your kind so well," he says with contempt the Doctor shows the Daleks, before immediately becoming cheerful: "Well, gentlemen,shall we all descend into the earth together for another thousand years?" Frankly, the performance becomes a lot easier to stomach when Tom Baker starts playing the character instead of simply being impersonated...

Full Circle
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: The Doctor is brought before the Deciders.
WHY: As Romana notes, the Starliner society isn't actually the nicest of places, being a strict if benevolent dictatorship using lies and propaganda to control the people without ever letting them realize the truth. We have seen the Deciders in the Great Book Room, a giant dimly-lit void of impressive echoes, brow-beat Login into leave his daughter to her death and dismiss her entire life as "disruptive", and crush the spirit of the seemingly indomitable Outsiders. Even the Marshchild ends up terrfied and beaten before the three old men. But not a certain Time Lord. As lights snap on and the three Deciders rise out of the darkness, music swelling terrifyingly and impressively, they introduce themselves: Nefred, Garrif and Login. "And I'm the Doctor!" the Doctor replies with a truly dazzling grin, not intimidated in the least. As the novelization notes, "It is usually a very effective psychological ploy to leave someone you wish to feel inferior standing in total darkness for a period of time. It instils in most people a sense of vulnerability and paranoia. The Doctor was not 'most people'." His refusal to kowtow to the Deciders ultimately shows them for what they are: terrified, powerless old men with next to no idea what they are doing and no maturity to take responsibility for their actions.

State of Decay
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: In a cell, the Doctor and Romana contemplate their next move.
WHY: It has to be one of the most heartwarming bits in Doctor Who. Our heroes are trapped in a castle of vampires with the conquest of the universe threatened and no way of stopping them. The Doctor glumly notes that his old mate K'Anpo told him about vampires, but skipped a few bits. Romana casually notes that the wiki-entry in the TARDIS would fill out the gaps. The two Time Lords note that the other is incredible - the Doctor for his indefatigableness, Romana for just being so damn clever. It's a nice moment, but what makes it is when the Doctor turns to look to the guard standing over them. And the guard smiles too, as though in agreement that the lovers really ARE that awesome. Aww.

Warrior's Gate
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Aldo and Royce have one last tea break before they die.
WHY: How can you not love Aldo and Royce? The two slacker clowns, cheerfully lazy and dishonest, cheating at their card games, tossing coins and showing that some of the people in this story are as bewildered as the audience as to what the hell's happening. At times it seems like they're guest-starring from some sitcom also being filmed in the same studio, With Aldo as the idiot who knows nothing and Royce as the idiot who knows everything, they could be Mel Smith and Gryff Rhys Jones. Aldo and Royce are the sort of characters you expect the Doctor to side with, bamboozle and recruit but he never shares a scene with their funny antics. When Rorvik actually talks to them it feels rather odd that they be acknowledged directly. But their comedy is particularly nasty - they decide to start reviving Tharils on the grounds they won't get pay docked, and while they lark about with "Not that button!" type gags, poor Lazlo gets fried beyond recognition. They trade bon mots while Romana is tortured. These are not nice people, despite their good natured ways. As Sagan char-grills another poor slave, Aldo and Royce sneak away for some tea, waffle on about their careers and the good old days, grimly prophesizing that it will all end in tears. Minutes later, they're vaporized. And even though they deserve it, even though they are a testament to evil thriving when good people do nothing, it's sad to see them go...

The Keeper of Traken
THE GOLDEN MOMENT: Melkur takes over Tremas' body to prove a point.
WHY: Tremas, one of the only Trakenites we've seen that isn't a weak-no-fist-loser or outright corrupt, stands up against the evil statue that killed his wife and threatened his world. Melkur agrees that it's unlikely anyone on Traken will accept him as the new Keeper, but is confident they will obey. "I'd rather die," Tremas sneers, an impressive performance that makes it quite clear he isn't exaggerating. We wait for the evil statue to zap him. But it doesn't. Apparently, death "really isn’t necessary" and suddenly Tremas is forced to his knees and painfully announces his fealty, before Melkur has it proved by having Tremas shoot Neman dead, then aim the gun at his own head. The Doctor is frozen, able to watch but not interfere. It's a hideous, cruel moment of the new Keeper revelling in powers his predecessors would never have thought of using in such a way. The Master's little display shows the world the way he wants it, happy to have any number of people hate him and want him dead, simply so he could humiliate them, the same way as he keeps the Joneses as domestics aboard the Valiant...

THE GOLDEN MOMENT: As the Doctor heads off to face his destiny, the Watcher waits in the TARDIS doorway.
WHY: Perhaps it's just down to him being my first (and thus TrueTM) Doctor, but I to this day find it hard to come to terms with the Fourth Doctor facing his demise, and a similar bewilderment gripped me seeing the Tenth. Surely this can't be the end? Not really? It just didn't compute. And in this last episode, the Doctor's cheerfully bantering with the Master, finding delight in their failure ("We start again!" he exclaims to rhyme with 'eureka'). For a moment, it's possible to forget all this encroaching fate and destruction - Nyssa certainly manages it - and things are looking up. Our heroes prepare for a dawn run across the compound, and the Doctor lingers by a venetian blind to peer out at the scenery, like a bored schoolkid looking for something to interest him, like he has done at Harrison Chase's mansion or the Starliner corridors. But he sees out the window the TARDIS standing in the grass, and in the doorway, the white-clad shape of the New Doctor. Staring right at him. A blunt reminder that time has run out. Wordlessly, the Doctor joins the others, not saying what he's seen. Sic Transit Gloria Mundis - and for the Doctor, the last of the glory had fled. The only way from here is down...

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