I want to start by saying that this season, the 10th Classic DW season, is the next one that the BBC is releasing on Blu-Ray. They have released Tom Baker’s first and last seasons as well as peter Davison’s first season.
I am glad that they are doing these full season box sets and I hope they end up releasing all of the seasons on Blu-Ray. I’ve bought quite a few Doctor Who DVDs but the Blu-Rays will take up less room and cost a whole lot less in the long run. Besides, some of the Doctor Who DVDs are insanely expensive, with some selling for $100 to $200.
I quite liked this story. Basically, a mysterious enemy has launched an attack against the Doctor and the Time Lords. It is such a serious threat that the Time Lords break the First Law of Time and send the first and second incarnations of the Doctor to help out the current incarnation. Hilarity ensues.
This story shines when the 2nd and 3rd Doctors are on screen together. They are as different as can be (a dandy and a clown as the 1st Doctor says) but they bounce off one another fantastically. When they are separated during the second episode and part of the third the story suffers for it.
William Hartnell was in poor health so he filmed all of his scenes separate and never actually interacts with the cast. Despite that the 1st Doctor still has a presence in the special and is the one who keeps the other two Doctors on task when they argue.
Troughton is good fun as the 2nd Doctor. I liked him in The Five Doctors but there he shared screen time with the other Doctors and various companions. Here he is practically the star and he is wonderful. I am really going to have to go and watch some of his episodes. Any suggestions about good 2nd Doctor episodes to watch would be appreciated.
The villain here is Omega, who I saw first in Arc of Infinity. In that story he didn’t make much of an impact. The story was all over the place and I didn’t have the background about who he is. He is a much better villain here. In many ways he is a tragic character. He was the solar engineer who created the power necessary to allow the Time Lords to travel in time. That caused him to be stuck in a black hole. At first he thought the other Time Lords would rescue him but they had written him off for dead. Now all he wants is revenge.
It is completely understandable that he wants to leave the black hole singularity. He has been trapped there for centuries and it is only his will that allows the small universe he has created to exist. He wants to be back in the normal universe. The twist that his body was basically eaten away by the singularity was shocking and tragic. Omega only exists because he wills himself to exist. He can’t leave the black hole.
Jo is in fine form here. She keeps the Doctors on task and puts an end to their arguing whenever it gets too bad. She is the one who comes up with the idea that the Doctors can manipulate the pocket universe just like Omega which is the key to freeing everyone and to defeating Omega in the end.
Benton gets a larger role here than what he normally see. With no Yates around he really steps up. He takes everything in stride and keeps his wits about him.
The same can’t be said for the Brigadier. It is like he is being purposefully obstinate and ignorant here. The Brig has now dealt with the Doctor in two incarnations for quite some time. He knows the Doctor’s modus operandi and yet he doesn’t believe that the 2nd Doctor has time traveled, he believes that the Doctor built the TARDIS using UNIT material, refuses to believe that they have traveled in the TARDIS to another planet, etc. It just isn’t a good showing for the Brig.
Omega’s giant walking jelly creatures don’t look good, even by the standards of the day. It just isn’t a very good design.
I really thought we had lost Bessie for a minute. That car is just as much a character as any of the UNIT family.
The story did a good job of showing just how big of a threat the Doctor was facing by having him call the Time Lords for help and then by having the Time Lords break their own laws to help the Doctor stop Omega.
The 2nd Doctor’s reaction to being introduced as the 3rd Doctor’s assistant was priceless.
The Time Lords end the Doctor’s exile at the end of the story by giving him the dematerialization circuit he needed.
A rather good anniversary special that really crackles when the 2nd and 3rd Doctors share the screen. It isn’t perfect but it is a lot of fun.