troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Recap: Doctor Who S23 E3 "Terror of the Vervoids"
Anything remotely Freudian you see in this picture is purely the product of your dirty mind. (beat) Doctor's coat.

The Doctor: This is a situation that requires tact and finesse. Fortunately, I am blessed with both.
— The Doctor neatly sums up how awesome he totally is and not fluffing his own ego. Or not. Or both.

Picking up from where we left off last time, the Doctor has been given some time to recover from his reaction to Peri's unfortunate demise. Still, it's nowhere near time to wrap up the trial. Instead, it's finally the Doctor's turn to present evidence in his "trial." With the reason that he will improve, The Doctor decides to present an adventure that hasn't happened yet (described as his "near future"). We resume watching the Doctor watch... the Doctor.

The Doctor's future companion Mel, who the viewers never get a chance to properly meet, will apparently spend a lot of time badgering him to exercise and trying to persuade him to drink carrot juice. This will result in Colin Baker messing around on an exercise bike, so at least it's somewhat amusing. The Doctor will be relieved when the TARDIS receives a distress call from a luxury space liner, the Hyperion III. Of course, the Doctor can't ever refuse a cry for help (if it will get him away from exercise and carrot juice), so he will decide to assist. Upon entering the Hyperion III, though, the Doctor will declare he "senses something evil" about the place, but will continue on exploring anyhow. Hobnobbing around with the crew for a while, the Doctor and Mel will discover that the distress call was completely faked. But the Doctor will be convinced that the call was real for some reason, so Mel and the Doctor stick around — deciding to enjoy the spaceship scenery for a bit before they'll part ways. The Doctor will nose around, while Mel will randomly decide to exercise.

The Doctor will flirt with the hostesses of the ship, while Mel will overhear that things are going wrong with the secret plant research going on inside the ship's bowels. In fact, some "Demeter seeds" will have been stolen, silver seeds that look like painted stones. So the plant research crew will go to investigate, while the head woman Lasky will berate her subordinates for the fools they will be. Or something.

Meanwhile, there will be a murderer on the loose, with the body being dumped in the trash compactor. The Doctor and the captain of the Hyperion III, Commodore "Tonker" Travers, will banter while Lasky will continue to berate her subordinates. Mel, for her part, will decide to tell the Doctor about Lasky's strange behavior — but the Doctor will berate her for trying to be smart, yelling at Mel to go investigate on her own. In the present, the Doctor objects to his own defense presentation — claiming that someone's altering the record of the future. The Valeyard laughs at the Doctor's apparent ineptitude, and the Doctor keeps ranting about the Matrixnote  being altered, which is apparently impossible. So, the Doctor gets depressed as we continue to watch the future.

Back in the future, Mel will arrive at the hydroponics bay of the Hyperion III and persuade a random crewman to help her investigate. Nothing good will come of this, as the poor random crewman will be electrocuted the second he tries to open it. We will be left seeing the hydroponics bay explode; Mel will scream as the whole thing explodes around her. Meanwhile, a camera surrounded by a green mist will wander around killing people. The Time Lords object to this, claiming that Mel was the one that could have died in the future rather than the hapless crewmen who will die. Why they complain about this when it's in the future is anybody's guess, but Wibbley Wobbley Timey Wimey. Mel will be questioned as to why stuff will blow up when she's around, but Mel will convince everyone that this has to be some sort of sabotage. So, the Doctor and Mel will begin to investigate the crew, and most of the passengers will have something to hide in some form from our investigating duo. In fact, several of them will not be what they seem. It will all be very Agatha Christie, if Agatha Christie had ever thrown in a twist ending in which the hero will have to battle genetically-engineered plant creatures with homemade hand grenades.

As it turns out, most everyone will have a motive for murdering someone. And, as luck would have it, most everyone will also make sure that their actions result in murder as well. The second-in-command of the Hyperion III will decide to hijack the ship for... some reason... but not before another will decide to steer it into a black hole. As you might guess, he will fail. Also, those plant creatures will decide to call themselves Vervoids, who will decide to dedicate themselves to spraying fog in people's faces and toss them onto compost piles. The amount of bodies found on the Hyperion III will rise while the Doctor will futz around, continually flipping between Jerk Ass and actually trying to figure out what's going on. Finally, everyone but Mel, the Doctor and a handful of the people on the Hyperion III will be dead, and the ship will be getting close to Earth. This is bad, as the Doctor will reveal, if a single Vervoid steps on the Earth, they will become a threat worse than the Daleks (or something like that).

The Doctor will save the day, of course, destroying all the Vervoids before they can get loose and wipe out animalkind with those lovely hand-grenades made of what will be poison to the Vervoids. Back in the courtroom (and the present), the Doctor claims the presentation as evidence that sometimes his meddling is necessary for the greater good, or will be in this case. The Valeyard counters by pointing out that he's just confessed to committing genocide, and calls for an immediate death penalty. The camera zooms in dangerously close to the Doctor's face as the episode ends...

Tropes

  • Batman Gambit: The Doctor submits this adventure as evidence supporting him, but it seems it either had been altered or altered after the fact in the Matrix because at the end of the last episode, the Valeyard changes the accusation to the Doctor to genocide, a far worse crime than he had originally been presented with.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Lasky. Despite being presented as the villain for the first two episodes, the actual villains are Doland and the Vervoids.
  • Body Horror: Ruth Baxter's infection by Vervoid pollen and transformation into a Vervoid-Human hybrid.
  • Casting Gag: Michael Craig (Commodore Travers) was known at the time for his role in Triangle as the captain of a North Sea ferry.
  • Distress Call
  • Faking the Dead: One of the early murder victims turns out to have faked it and gone into hiding. He gets murdered again, properly this time, later on.
  • Gambit Pileup: Doland wants to get the Vervoids to Earth and sell them for a huge profit. Bruchner wants to destroy the Vervoids and all the team's research. The Vervoids themselves are playing the humans off each other and killing them when the opportunity presents itself. Rudge and the Mogarians intend to hijack the Hyperion III. Hallett/Grenville is trying to expose Lasky and her team. The Commodore is covertly using the Doctor to solve the mystery of what's happening on the ship. And near the end, the Doctor tricks Doland into revealing that he has been responsible for a lot of the chaos on the ship. The only ones without some ulterior motive are Mel and, ironically enough, Lasky, who is presented as the Big Bad for the majority of the story.
  • Genocide Dilemma
  • Gone Horribly Wrong
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Had a single Vervoid reached Earth, the human race would have been eliminated!
  • Informed Attribute: The Doctor talks at length about how Hallett was a brilliant investigator with a mind quite unlike anyone else of his era. Yet all we see him do is act needlessly rude towards an old man, send a distress call to the Doctor, dress up like a Mogarian, and then die after drinking some poisoned tea.
    • The Doctor's claims about the Vervoid's ability to reproduce from a single leaf could also count as this. It's never mentioned at any other point in the story, and one could almost believe that the Doctor is making stuff up on the spot in order to head off the genocide charge that the Valeyard is trying to pin on him.
  • Kangaroo Court: Let's face it — genocide or not, when the prosecutor is allowed to throw in new charges midway through a trial at what is basically a whim, it's a sign of a fairly dodgy legal proceeding.
  • Murderer P.O.V.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Black Hole of Tartarus
  • Motifs: A very odd fixation on exercise.
  • Old Friend: Commodore "Tonker" Travers, to the Doctor. Except Travers doesn't actually appear to like the Doctor all that much.
    • Hallett is an old friend too, but unfortunately he's dead before the Doctor comes across him.
  • Plant Aliens
  • The Radio Dies First: We even get to see the Doctor himself smashing up the communications room with an axe. Maybe.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Janet. You can even see some of the background characters checking her out.
  • Screaming Woman: John Nathan-Turner asked Bonnie Langford to do a Cliff Hanger scream on an "F" note, just so her scream would segue seamlessly into the ending credits. She did.
  • Six Is Nine: There's a scene early on where a newly-embarked passenger goes into the wrong room because of reading the tag on the room key upside down.
    • Let's not ask how she managed to unlock the door to the wrong room with that key...
  • The Eighties: The two helmeted aliens are seen playing Galaga at one point.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: So... does the Doctor remember the trial when this happens, and is just going through the motions for no reason? Or does he have amnesia? Or will it happen different, rendering this entire episode pointless?
  • Too Dumb to Live: Late in the story, Lasky decides that she can talk the Vervoids into a peaceful surrender, despite the fact that they have slaughtered almost all of the crew and passengers by this point. She fails dismally, and ends up as part of the Vervoids' human compost heap.
    • The Doctor may also count in the frame story — quite apart from the dubiousness of his defense being "I'll improve in the future", he also fails to notice that it shows him committing a capital crime.
  • Turned Against Their Masters
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Matrix itself, if the Doctor is to be believed.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sure, Bruchner did try to destroy the Hyperion III and kill everyone on it, but he knew that the Vervoids were up to no good, and if you believe the Doctor, their arrival on Earth would have led to disaster.
  • Wham Line: Just when the Doctor thinks things are going his way again, this exchange happens:
    The Valeyard: Every Vervoid was destroyed by your ingenious plan?
    The Doctor: Yes.
    The Valeyard: Whether or not the Doctor has proved himself innocent of meddling is no longer the cardinal issue before this court. He has proved himself guilty of a far greater crime.
    The Inquisitor: You refer to Article Seven of Gallifreyan law?
    The Valeyard: Article Seven permits no exceptions. The Doctor has destroyed a complete species. The charge must now be genocide!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Valeyard invokes this by calling the Doctor out on exterminating the Vervoids, but only does it to swing the trial back in his favor.
  • The X of Y
Doctor Who S23 E2 'Mindwarp"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who S23 E4 'The Ultimate Foe"

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
21020
6