Recap / Doctor Who S21 E7 "The Twin Dilemma"
"Hey! I know my behavior's been erratic lately, but please don't take away my sexy rainbow coat!"
"I am the Doctor, whether you like it or not."
The Doctor

"We Didn't!"

The story where Colin Baker made his explosive debut as the Sixth Doctor, ratcheting wildly from one emotion to another, showing the range of Colin's acting talent in a very upfront manner.

The Doctor isn't recovering well from his regeneration, suffering mood swings, arrogance, bad temper, and terrible dress sense. He suddenly decides Peri is evil and tries to kill her, then one mood swing later is full of remorse and declares his intention to find a deserted asteroid and become a hermit. Peri is not much impressed, particularly since he seems to have decided she has to go and be a hermit too.

As luck would have it, however, the deserted asteroid is also a stopping-off point for a group of kidnappers who have just abducted a pair of identical twin geniuses to assist with a sinister plot. It isn't long before the Doctor's rediscovering his enthusiasm for saving the universe from evil telepathic giant slugs.

His dress sense seems to be altered permanently, though.

You can watch it here.


  • Artistic License Astronomy: This story butchers basic astronomic facts so badly — specifically, when the Doctor implies that planets have to be ordered from largest-to-smallest, and that small planets can't be placed near the sun because they'd instantly get sucked into it due to the "gravitational pressure" being too high — that many fans find it easier to believe that the Doctor's scientific knowledge is still messed up from his regeneration, and that Azmael's just going along with him to avoid being strangled again.
  • Broken Pedestal: Edgeworth/Azmael, due to his willingness to kidnap children and do other nasty things in order to rid his world of the Gastropods.
  • Contrived Coincidence: This deserted asteroid suddenly has an awful lot of people on it, doesn't it?
  • Deconstruction: If this serial aired today, people would interpret it as a high-profile trolling effort. The Doctor regenerates back into William Hartnell, undoing all of his character development thus far, and what's more, the new costume is eye-searingly ugly? By all indications, this was not Nathan-Turner's intention; Colin Baker was interested in returning to a darker, less trustworthy Doctor, and Nathan-Turner cast someone who was the polar opposite of Peter Davison. It's hard to explain the outfit, though... except as a deliberate subversion of the hallowed regeneration makeover.
    • Six and Peri Brown are assuredly the most controversial portrayal of the Doctor-Companion relationship yet, with the Doctor threatening to abduct Peri against her will and make her into his au pair.
  • Dirty Coward: The Doctor, of all people. He does a Security Cling to Peri on facing his first Cliffhanger. He gets better though.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: More than one viewer has noted that, even beyond the obvious strangling, the Doctor's treatment of Peri in this episode and the way she responds to it is uncomfortably similar to an abusive relationship. Which is often cited as yet another reason why this episode and the Sixth Doctor were and are far from popular.
  • Double Meaning Title: Anyone who has watched it will think of Romulus and Remus when hearing the title, but anyone who knows it as "the first Sixth Doctor episode" will think of regeneration and his moodswings. Of course, that sentence doesn't apply to most people - any episode with Peri in it is Best Known for the Fanservice.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The twins both have this... which wouldn't be such a problem if their names didn't both start with "R".
  • Establishing Character Moment: The Sixth Doctor strangling Peri makes it clear how unstable this regeneration is starting off. Fortunately, the Doctor gets better.
    • Mestor has one when he sentences someone to death by embolism for the first time.
  • Grand Theft Me: One of Mestor's powers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Azmael deliberately triggers a regeneration at the story's end in order to destroy Mestor's consciousness. But since he doesn't have any actual regenerations left, doing so kills him in the process.
  • I Hate Past Me:
    (The Doctor is checking his new appearance in a mirror)
    Doctor: Ah. A noble brow. Clear gaze. At least it will be, given a few hours sleep. A firm mouth. A face beaming with a vast intelligence. My dear child, what on Earth are you complaining about? It's the most extraordinary improvement.
    Peri: On what?!
    Doctor: My last incarnation... Oh, I was never happy with that one.
    Peri: Why ever not?
    Doctor: It had a sort of feckless "charm", which simply wasn't me!
    • It's worth noting that while he didn't like it, Ten certainly did.
    • It's also worth noting that this is nothing new to Doctor Who- Multi-Doctor Episodes (The Five Doctors and the Three Doctors, especially) had the vast majority of their interactions be vast amounts of bickering between the Doctors.
  • Insufferable Genius: Imagine if there were two Wesley Crushers, and you've pretty much got Romulus and Remus.
    • And if you shove them into one body you'd get the Sixth Doctor!
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: A Running Gag in this episode is the different ways in which "Lieutenant" is pronounced, with Peri saying "Loo-ten-ant" (the American pronunciation) and the Doctor and Lang saying "Leff-ten-ant" (the British pronunciation).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Doctor's speech to Peri near the end is no doubt meant for the audience, as well as her. The Doctor even makes a few good points, shame that didn't save him in the end...
    Doctor: And I suggest Peri that you wait a little before criticizing my new persona. You may well find it isn't quite as disagreeable as you think.
  • Mood-Swinger: The Doctor's moods are completely out of control in this story, as a result of his regeneration.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Doctor regains his senses just in time to stop his attempt to kill Peri.
  • The Nth Doctor: Colin Baker makes his debut as the Doctor.
  • Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future: Perhaps the best example is the symphony in higher mathematics which is composed of large pixels.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Jacondans look distinctly avian, with a helping of Big Ol' Eyebrows and mustaches.
  • Planetary Parasite: The episode featured the Gastropods, a race of nearly indestructible creatures who devastated entire planets, but whose eggs couldn't hatch unless seared by a supernova first, limiting their spread.
  • Shout-Out: The Doctor quotes from the epic poem "Excelsior." Also, Mestor is a gastropod version of Jabba the Hutt.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Romulus and Remus
  • Space Clothes
  • Teleporters and Transporters
  • Theme Twin Naming: Romulus and Remus.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: The Doctor's short-lived career as a hermit.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Had Mestor just taken over the Doctor at the end of the story like he claimed he could, he would have won. Instead, he screws around and decides to possess Azmael, a more experienced Time Lord who isn't in the throes of post-regenerative trauma, which leads directly to his defeat.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Peri's dismay at what the Doctor has become sums it up:
    Peri: You were almost young! I really liked you! And you were sweet, and—
    Doctor: Sweet? Effete! Sweet? Sweet? Sweet? Huh, that says it all!
    • The Doctor has a similar moment with Azmael later on.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Peri does not take the Doctor's attempt at strangling her well, not to mention all his mood swings and unpredictable behavior.