And so begins the first Fifth Doctor serial. I believe I’ve seen every serial of Peter Davison’s run.

 

Episode 1:

 

We open with the companions gathered around The Doctor. He tells them the moment has been prepared for. The ghostly Watcher approaches, merges with The Doctor and he regenerates into the Fifth Doctor.

 

Then, the opening sequence hits, with the new Doctor’s face in the star field.

 

The companions help The Doctor run to the TARDIS as guards give chase and an alarm sounds. The Doctor’s hair is now blonde, though in the end of the last serial (from the previous season), it was definitely brown.

 

He collapses in the grass and the companions and he are taken prisoner by the guards. An ambulance arrives and the companions are thrust against it, to be searched and patted down.

 

Adric tries to tell the guards that he’s an alien; while they’re distracted with him, Tegan and Nyssa hop in the ambulance (that The Doctor has already been loaded into by the crew) and steal it. Adric tries to catch up but is caught.

 

Tegan drives the ambulance to the TARDIS which isn’t far away and they hustle The Doctor into the police box just as the guards reach the door. Inside, Nyssa closes the door, but Tegan says they can’t leave without Adric.

 

The Doctor rushes off while the companions talk. Nyssa opens the scanner, checking on Adric, who is still a prisoner. As Adric argues, The Master’s TARDIS appears (still in the form of a column) and blasts the guards. Tegan and Nyssa come running out as the MTARDIS dematerialises and Adric is kneeling next to where it was.

 

As the three companions return to the TARDIS, the MTARDIS materialises, floating in the air nearby – seemingly unbeknownst to them.

 

Once inside, Adric begins working the controls. The lady companions discuss whether he knows what he’s doing or not. The TARDIS dematerialises and the MTARDIS does, too, as we hear the evil laugh of The Master.

 

Tegan reports that The Doctor is looking for “Zero Room”; Adric, who is acting rather strangely, says he will go attend to The Doctor. He goes into the corridors, following a string – The Doctor is unraveling his scarf!!!

 

The Doctor doesn’t seem to recognise Adric and introduces himself, “I’m The Doctor… or I will be, if this regeneration works out.”

 

Nyssa examines the console controls, trying to identify the panels. Tegan wonders what a Zero Room is; Nyssa says it must be a neutral zone, cut off from all reality. Tegan makes a crack about taking The Doctor to Brisbane.

 

The Doctor blabbers on about a Zero Room on Gallifrey and then mentions Romana; when Adric tells him that she’s gone, this comes as a shock to The Doctor. We see a wounded, almost childlike side to The Doctor – one that we see much of with this incarnation.

 

The Doctor tells Adric that he can tell that this regeneration isn’t going to be as smooth as previous ones.

 

Tegan frets, worrying about The Doctor and their being trapped on the TARDIS. Nyssa says that she’s going to try to find them. Tegan tries to warn her about the maze-like corridors. Just as they’re about to leave, Tegan finds a TARDIS Information System.

 

As Adric and The Doctor wander, looking for the Zero Room, The Doctor sheds pieces of his clothing. He acts a bit like the First Doctor at this point. With characteristic holding his suspenders and giggle.

 

Tegan, still trying not to panic, says if they had an index file for the databank, they could use it to find the index file, which Nyssa is currently searching for. She says she’s talking nonsense, but Nyssa corrects her, saying that’s recursion, “When procedures fold back on themselves.” This is important to the serial, so take note.

 

The Doctor has cycled into the Second Doctor, referring to Adric as Jamie. He tells him the regeneration is failing.

 

Tegan and Nyssa find the Information File; they use it to find their programmed destination – “Hydrogen in rush, Event One”.

 

Adric walks off from The Doctor, who calls out to him, saying not that way, using his proper name!

 

Tegan and Nyssa follow the unraveled scarf.

 

The Doctor, looking for Adric, finds a mirror and stops to inspect himself. “That’s the trouble with regeneration… you never quite know what you’re going to get.” He finds a recorder and starts playing it, deciding it’s not for him. Instead, he picks up a cricket bat. Opening a nearby door, he finds some sort of sports locker.

 

Adric wanders the corridors, a bit frantic.

 

Nyssa and Tegan wander, searching for the others.

 

The Master watches Adric wander aimlessly. He gloats that Adric is his, “Until we have completed our final task.”

 

The Doctor exits the room, dressed in striped pants, a sweater – I gather a cricket uniform. There’s a coat and hat hanging on a rack, and he dons them, then declares that he’ll get used to it in time as he regards his reflection in the mirror again.

 

The cloisterbell rings and he runs off, saying it’s the door. He runs into Tegan and Nyssa and tells them he heard the Zero Room door slam. He calls Tegan “Vicki”. They set off in one direction, looking for the Zero Room.

 

As he begins to lose himself again, Nyssa finds the Zero Room, and once he’s in there, he becomes more rooted in himself. He says he’ll have to stay in there until his synapses are healed. He suddenly declares himself to be tired and using his mind, he levitates into a sleeping position in mid air, drifting off to sleep.

 

As he falls asleep, he tells them that this regeneration is going to be a difficult one and he’s going to need them all – Tegan to coordinate, Nyssa for her skill and understanding, and Adric is the navigator, since he knew the old Doctor. As he says this, Nyssa and Tegan exchange a worried look, and The Doctor fades to sleep.

 

Suddenly, Tegan gasps – a projection of Adric is on the wall; he tells them it’s a trap, that The Master used him to set the coordinates. But before he can tell them much more, it fades.

 

Adric is trapped in The Master’s TARDIS. The Master gloats and renders him unconscious.

 

Nyssa and Tegan argue about waking and telling The Doctor about Adric. Nyssa says he’s too unstable, it could cause him damage. She tells Tegan to say with The Doctor while she goes to the console room. On the way, Nyssa sees Tegan’s lipstick (which was used to mark the way) is melting.

 

Tegan worries (out loud) about Adric, waking The Doctor. He says he can feel something is wrong.

 

Nyssa wanders through the TARDIS; at one point she touches a wall and draws her hand back. The cloister bell beings to sound again.

 

In the Zero Room, The Doctor hears the cloister bell – guess it’s not completely cut off, eh? Tegan tries to avoid telling The Doctor about Adric, but he rushes out of the room and collapses. She drags him back in and then sets off to the console room.

 

Nyssa sees an alert from the TARDIS. The air is getting smoky, the environment is getting too hot. She’s reading up on hydrogen. Tegan arrives and they realise they’re heading back in time to a massive explosion, the first event. The big bang!

 

Suddenly, the TARDIS is rocked and there’s a roar.

 

The Doctor, who has left the Zero Room is knocked down.

 

In the console room, the scanner opens and The Master, with Adric behind him, waves, “Farewell, my friends… farewell, forever,”… and the credits roll.

 

Pretty melodramatic, but effective cliffhanger!

 

 

Episode 2:

 

Nyssa, horrified at the face of The Master – for it still reminds her of her father – says she hates that face. She closes the scanner ‘window’ as The Master laughs.

 

Another jolt rocks the TARDIS. The Doctor is knocked down and a first aid compartment opens above him, medicines and such falling down on him. A wheelchair rolls over to him and he crawls into it.

 

The Master struggles with Adric’s will, using the boy’s mind to see what’s happening to his enemy.

 

The Doctor rides the automatic wheelchair. I guess that’s supposed to be cute or funny or something?

 

Nyssa explains to Tegan they’re already caught in the field of Event One (the Big Bang) and are being pulled in. Tegan argues they need some sort of thrust to break the gravity pull. As they argue, The Doctor rolls in to the control room on his wheelchair, shouting about smoke, heat helping his brain.

 

Nyssa and Tegan argue; Tegan wants to take him back to the Zero Room, but Nyssa says he’s their only hope. The Doctor puts on his specs (the ones that Ten admitted they only put on because they thought it made them look smarter) and starts writing down instructions for Nyssa to do a manual override.

 

The Master gloats to Adric as they watch.

 

Nyssa follows the instructions, opening a panel, putting the system on manual. The Doctor says the temperature should return to normal, but as a result his brain will return to its previous state of incoherence.

 

The Doctor tells Tegan how to delete rooms to give them thrust to escape.

 

The Master and Adric clash wills again.

 

The Doctor suddenly realises that Adric isn’t there; he asks about him and the girls waffle on telling him and he gets distracted by the impending Event One. He begins to start having difficulties an hurries to explain how much to jettison, but before he can answer all their questions, he slips into difficulties, telling them to ask K-9 for answers.

 

Adric seems to agree to The Master’s offer to work together as allies, in exchange for not being tortured to do The Master’s bidding.

 

The girls get ready to jettison, not sure they won’t jettison the console room when they do so. They’re down to five seconds… four… three… two… one… Tegan presses the button and the Big Bang happens.

 

The Master gloats that his feud with The Doctor is over. Adric says The Master needs to keep his side of the bargain, but the Time Lord doubts his sincerity. The Master goes on about another trap behind the in-rush trap, had The Doctor escaped.

 

Adric enquires about another trap. The Master realises that Adric is receiving some image and forces the boy to show him – on the screen, we see the TARDIS spinning in space.

 

Tegan reads the databank entry on regeneration. She finds a bit about using a location similar to a Zero room, as they can be more effective. They find something about “Dwellings of Simplicity,” better known as “Castrovalva”.

 

The Master tries to get Adric to show him within the TARDIS, but he resists… but for how long?

 

Nyssa wheels The Doctor to the Zero Room, telling him about Castrovalva. He doubts that Tegan can fly the TARDIS, suggesting someone else is controlling it. When Nyssa asks who could possibly be doing such a thing, he says he doesn’t know, and Nyssa insists Tegan is in control.

 

When they get to the Zero Room, they find that it was part of the 25% of the rooms that were jettisoned.

 

Nyssa takes the sonic screwdriver and begins to unscrew the hinges on the doors of the Zero Room.

 

Tegan finds herself in a dilemma – the TARDIS is in orbit around Castrovalva.

 

Nyssa tries to get The Doctor to tell her what to do, but he’s comatose again. Tegan tries to land on the planet, causing another sudden shift; Nyssa is thrown to the floor and the door she loosened lands above where The Doctor sits, propped against the wall. He revives enough to praise her, saying they need to build a new Zero Room with what’s left.

 

The TARDIS lays at a forty-five degree angle in some grass. Tegan exits and starts looking about for Castrovalva.

 

Nyssa puts together a coffin-like (the Zero Cabinet) structure to house The Doctor. They take him out, using the wheelchair to move the cabinet with ease. They move through lush forest, some really pretty scenery.

 

At one point, the wheelchair (minus the cabinet) tumbles into the water. Nyssa, trying to recover it, falls in. This is comedy gold, let me tell you. Or something. After they get it out, Nyssa tries to repair it, to no avail. Someone or something watches them from behind some bushes.

 

Forced to carry the cabinet by hand, the women trudge on. Nyssa keeps asking if Tegan is sure they’re going the right way.

 

Eventually, they find a fortress atop a rocky area – which Tegan declares to be Castrovalva. They put some brush over the cabinet as camouflage, but an armoured figure is watching from the brush.

 

The girls try to get in, but they can’t seem to find an entrance.

 

Several figures in… well, it’s not armour, per se – they’ve got helmets/headdresses, and wear… it almost looks like feathered costumes. They discuss the girls and say Megrave must be informed.

 

The girls give up on trying to find an entrance and head back to The Doctor’s cabinet, but discover it is open and there is blood on the ground nearby… and the credits roll.

 

A decent cliffhanger and one we’ll leave you with until Thursday.

 

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