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Recap: Doctor Who S10 E2 "Carnival of Monsters"
"Vorg, I think we're being watched..."

Pletrac: The function of this tribunal is to keep this planet clean. This Tellurian creature comes from outside our solar system and is a possible carrier of contagion. Furthermore the creature may be hostile.
The Doctor: Would you kindly stop referring to me as "the creature", sir. Or I may well become exceedingly hostile!

With the TARDIS again apparently fixed, the Doctor takes Jo on a test flight and they land on the S.S. Bernice, a cargo ship with a small complement of passengers crossing the Indian Ocean in 1926.

... Except that they quickly realise that the ship is trapped in a time loop, and the Doctor discovers that they are in fact trapped in a miniaturised form inside a Miniscope: a banned device which miniaturises and traps life-forms to be used as a peep-show. A giant hand appears and removes the TARDIS from the machine.

The Doctor and Jo escape into a different part of the scope, to be menaced by fearsome Drashigs. Eventually, the Doctor manages to break out entirely, and is restored to full size, but Jo is still trapped inside.

The scope is being shown around by two entertainers, Vorg and Shirna, Lurmans visiting the reclusive planet of Inter Minor and hoping to make money from the curious natives. However, they have fallen afoul of the planet's bureaucracy as they do not have a permit for the Miniscope. To top it all, the scope is on the point of breaking down.

The Doctor attempts to rescue Jo, but his efforts are hampered by the internal politics of Inter Minor, where two locals plan to overthrow the government by allowing the Drashigs to escape. Vorg uses a disintegrator gun to destroy the Drashigs, and the Doctor links the Miniscope to the TARDIS to send all the captive creatures back where they came from and rescue Jo.

As the Doctor and Jo depart, Vorg and Shirna are busy setting up a variant of the old three-card trick to try and earn enough credit bars to leave Inter Minor...

Tropes:

  • Camp: The 70s-BBC-does-Vegas outfits seen in the picture. Vorg and Shirna's clothes could give the Sixth Doctor's garb a run for its money. He'd look right at home standing beside them, too.
  • Continuity Nod: The list of monsters inside the Miniscope includes several varieties the Doctor had encountered in other adventures.
  • Dirt Forcefield: In the location footage Jo sinks to her waist in a swamp. Her clothes are clean and dry in the studio scenes set less than a minute later.
  • Deadpan Snarker: For a such a strait-laced race, one of the Tribunal gets in a good dig when Vorg points out that the Lurmans and Tellurians (humans) look similar:
    "The resemblance is unpleasant..."
  • Development Gag: Who would want to see the Cybermen? A reference to the fact that series script editor Terrance Dicks didn't like them at all.
  • Expospeak Gag
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In a very subtle manner. The "polari" patois that Vorg speaks is a real language, and was used by showmen/theatrical people. Emphasis on was. By the time the serial was written and filmed, however, the language was spoken almost exclusively by the gay subculture in London.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The Doctor is challenged to a fight by Lieutenant Andrews, and lets on that he studied boxing at the feet of John L. Sullivan himself. He wins, naturally.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The people on the ship repeat the same few minutes over and over. Their minds remain conditioned until they get sent back to where they came from.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man
  • Karma Houdini: Vorg doesn't seem to be a cruel man, but he is rather blasť about keeping sentient beings in captivity, and doesn't show much concern for their well being. He does help the Doctor, though, even though he was threatening to turn him in for his deeds. YMMV on whether that's enough for him to escape punishment.
  • Mass Teleportation: The S.S. Bernice.
  • Planet of Hats: Planet of balding gray jerkass bureaucrats with an entirely unjustified superiority complex. Of course, we only meet three of them, but everything said about their cultures suggests they are perfectly typical of their species.
  • Red Herring: Jo tries to make the people on the ship see that they are in a time loop, and Claire seems to realise she's right. But at the end of the serial, Claire just brushes it off.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: The Doctor and Jo are able to remember all of the time they spent on the ship, but the ship's crew and passengers don't.
  • Rogues Gallery: The BBC has taken to borrowing this episode's title as a name for the Doctor's gallery, despite there being no connection in the original story.
  • Shell Game: What Vorg resorts to at the end of the story. Also the way he won the Miniscope.
  • Skeleton Key: The Doctor complains that he can't open a non-electronic lock with the sonic screwdriver. Jo Grant responds by producing an impressive collection of skeleton keys.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Just when they need somebody who can repair and operate a disintegrator gun, it turns out that Vorg is such a person, having done a stint in the army at some point.
  • The X of Y
  • Third Person People: The people of Inter Minor always refer to themselves as 'one'.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Michael Wisher (Kalik); far from his first in the series, or his last.
    • Ian Marter (Lieutenant Andrews) doesn't look familiar yet, but will later return as the Doctor's companion Harry Sullivan.

Doctor Who S10 E1 'The Three Doctors"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who S10 E3 'Frontier in Space"

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