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Recap: Doctor Who S18 E1 "The Leisure Hive"
Even when rapidly aged 500 years, the Doctor still doesn't look a day over 760.
Brock: His scarf killed Stimson!
The Doctor: Arrest the scarf then.

The Doctor and Romana are in the mood for a holiday. After trying out the English seaside — shown during a 2-minute pan across a deserted beach — during the off-season, when the weather's bad and everything's shut, and it turns out that K-9 isn't waterproof, they head for the Leisure Hive, a famous resort on the planet Argolis in the 23rd century.

After Argolis was devastated in an interplanetary nuclear war, the survivors founded the Leisure Hive as a contribution to peace: a place where different races could mingle and get to know one another in laid-back surroundings. Not every Argolin, however, agrees with the Leisure Hive's peaceful mission statement. Also, Romana doesn't take long to notice that some of the Leisure Hive's technology is more advanced than it should be. And then the Doctor gets entangled in a murder investigation. Oh, and there's some kind of green scaly critter with great big claws lurking about, that's obviously up to no good...


"The Leisure Hive" brought Doctor Who into the 1980s with a new producer, a new look, and a new title sequence (complete with a new electronic synthesizer version of the theme tune). Let's see what else is new to this era:

  • As mentioned above, it's The Eighties. That means we're taking a long trip to Synth City!
  • The Doctor wears a heavier, burgundy version of his hat-coat-scarf ensemble for the rest of the season, and his collar is now adorned with a question mark on each side.
  • Because K-9 has been deemed too overpowered by the new regime, he gets put through the wringer in every serial before his departure, with the exception of State of Decay, in which he gets one last chance to laser people.
  • The show is more firmly grounded in hard science than it was in the past. Don't know what tachyonics is? You're not alone.
  • The jokier elements of Doctor Who have been toned down, making this season much more somber in comparison to the 6 preceding it.

Looking back from post-2005, the serial's villains are also noteworthy. There's a plot twist where it turns out that the alien monsters, rather than being part of a hostile racial monolith, are a bunch of profit-motivated criminals regarded as renegades by their own society. Another plot twist is that several apparently-human characters are actually the villainous aliens in skin-tight disguises, even though undisguised (as represented by an actor in a bulky monster suit) they're clearly larger than any of the humans they impersonate. There's even a scene involving a horrified bystander and a discarded skin in a closet. Does anything remind you of this?


Tropes:

  • Actual Pacifist
  • Animal Motifs: The Foamasi, with their penchant for disguise, look rather like chameleons.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Brock, seemingly completely human up towards the end, is forcibly unmasked to reveal he's really a Foamasi imposter. Foamasi heads are ridiculously bigger than human heads, but while the other characters are shocked at the reveal that he's really an alien, none of them seem to realize that his mask is Bigger on the Inside, meaning they Failed a Spot Check.
  • Busman's Holiday
    Doctor: Anyway, there's been enough randomising on this job.
    Romana: Job? It was meant to be a holiday.
    Doctor: Well then, I'm going to be very glad to get back to work.
  • Cloning Blues
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Argolis
  • Dropped Glasses: When Stimson is fleeing for his life, he drops his glasses, which are then Trampled Underfoot by his pursuer.
  • Dying Race: the Argolians.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: K-9 literally blows his top, emitting a quite impressive fireball, the second he enters the water.
  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: The lawyer Klout never speaks a word on-screen, which turns out to be plot significant: He's one of the disguised Foamasi, and doesn't have the anatomy to speak English.
  • Latex Perfection: The Foamasi body-suits — undetectable when being worn, obvious rubber when they're taken off.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The notorious opening shot of Brighton Beach.
  • Me's a Crowd: Pangol's answer to the question "With what army?". (In the event, the Pangol-clones last only a few minutes — and most of them turn out to be clones of that meddling Doctor, anyway.)
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The script describes the Foamasi as reptiles, the director wanted insects, the final result is a mixture of both.
  • No Water Proofing In The Future: K-9
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-story example — when the suave Brock is attacked by a Foamasi, his posh demeanor cracks and he starts screaming at it to keep away from him in an accent several social rungs lower than the one he's been speaking in up to that point.
  • People in Rubber Suits: It's some kind of textured fabric, rather than rubber, but it's definitely a suit, with a great big seam down the front and visible stitches at the neckline. Nice try, though.
  • Pleasure Planet: Argolis
  • Rapid Aging: As a side-effect of the radiation, Argolins remain youthful for decades and then all their age catches up with them over the course of a few hours.
  • Royal "We": Pangol begins referring to himself in the plural when he takes over Argolis. (That's not the only reason, though.)
  • Scooby Stack: The Doctor and Romana, when they're trying to escape to the TARDIS.
  • Raise Him Right This Time
  • Shock Collar: When the Doctor and Romana are murder suspects, they're put in collars that will "become uncomfortable" if they go out of bounds or attempt to remove the collar.
  • Significant Anagram: "Foamasi" is a tweaked anagram of "mafiosi".
  • Sterility Plague: The Argolian race were rendered sterile by their twenty minute war with the Foamasi.
  • Tower of Babel
  • The Unintelligible: The Foamasi have insectoid mouthparts and speak in mixed of chirps and clicks that nobody (not even the Doctor and Romana, for some reason) can understand without a translator device.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Pangol, when things start going against him.
  • We Need a Distraction: When they're trying to get a closer look at the Hive's Tachyon Recreation Generator, Romana notes that "What we need is a diversion", and the Doctor provides it by soliciting the Generator operator's opinion on a knotty problem in warp mechanics (which is so complicated that it causes the operator to make choking noises and faint).
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: A piece of video evidence turns out to have been faked by editing together footage from two different events. The Doctor and Romana spot it straight off; he explains loftily that he'd noticed subtle interference patterns at the point of the edit, she adds that also, of course, the woman in the video was suddenly wearing a different necklace.

Doctor Who S17 E6 'Shada"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who S18 E2 'Meglos"

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