"Now listen to me, you young idiot—you’re not so much gullible as idealistic. I suppose it comes from your deprived, delinquent background."
— The Doctor pwns Adric
In this, Peter Davison
's first filmed storynote
as the Doctor, the Doctor, in the first of his continuing attempts to bring Tegan back home. He gets the date and time exactly right... but is four light-days off, location-wise (so, somewhere in the Oort cloud). Oops. Instead, the Doctor and his companions land on a huge spaceship crewed by the delusional Monarch and his lackeys, the Ministers of Persuasion and Enlightenment. These three Urbankans, or frog-like aliens, travel in the company of four groups of humans:
Monarch wishes to go back in time before the Big Bang to watch himself creating the universe, take over the Earth with those groups of humans in charge... and jack the TARDIS as his own ride for personal enjoyment (shooting for the moon, this one is). Adric shows excellent character judgment
and begins sucking up to this raving mad frog alien while Nyssa is taken to be turned into an android (much like every single other human taken by the Urbankans). Adric also shows incredibly misogynistic behaviour, proclaiming that Tegan is "a woman" and wouldn't understand the complicated math behind anything, while simultaneously proclaiming Nyssa an exception because she's "a girl."
Meanwhile, Tegan, who was entrusted with the TARDIS key, ends up losing her cool and desperately attempts to hijack the TARDIS for a ride back to Earth, only to land it outside the spaceship instead.
In the end, the Doctor sets Adric straight and then goes flying around in space without a space suit, but WITH the help of a cricket ball and The Power Of Physics, and rescues the TARDIS. Then he randomly throws an incredibly deadly poison at Monarch, which doesn't kill him... but instead shrinks him
. Yeah. And the robots announce that they're going off to find their own planet and "start again."
Everyone leaves, and Nyssa conveniently collapses at literally the last second because she originally wasn't written in the next episode. note
- Affably Evil: Monarch, who carries a pleasant and civilized demeanor (which unfortunately wins over Adric for most of the last two episodes).
- Ancient Grome: Seriously, Greek gladiators? Somebody clearly did not do their research.
- A God Am I: Monarch, sans the actual godhood.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Persuasion
- Doomy Dooms of Doom
- Frogs and Toads
- Horrible Judge of Character: Contrary to popular belief, this is the only story where Adric actually sides with the villain (his ploys in "State of Decay", and "Kinda" were attempts at being a Fake Defector that wound up falling flat, and in "Castrovalva" he was being made to work for the Master against his will), but only because he thinks that Monarch's intentions are legit benevolent.
- Improvised Microgravity Maneuvering
- Kneel Before Zod
- Off with His Head!: The androids prepare to behead the Doctor at the end of Part 3.
- Pun-Based Title: Monarch's spaceship is four light-days away from Earth, there are four ethnic groups on board, and the Doctor and his companions are four people. Or maybe the truth of the matter is that when this story was filmed (1981), the Doomsday Clock was positioned at four minutes until midnight.
- Ridiculously Human Robots
- Slouch of Villainy: Monarch is content to let his ministers do all the bad stuff.
- Space Is Cold: Wearing just an air-helmet, the Doctor explains that he can survive about five minutes in open space. Vacuum is apparently not a problem for his exposed skin; the time-limiting factor is explicitly named as the intense cold.
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Good thing Tegan fluently speaks a 40,000 year old dialect of a random Indigenous Australian language! (There are thousands of such languages, most of which wouldn't have existed by Tegan's time—and meanwhile, linguists in the rest of the world are having a tough enough time reconstructing Proto-Indo-European, which is a mere 10,000 years old.)
- Surveillance Drone: The Monopticon
- The Voiceless: Princess Villagra, who took a vow of silence.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?
- What the Hell, Hero?: Adric sides with Monarch for part of the story, for which the Doctor rightly calls him out.