All these evils I have fought, while you have done nothing but observe! True, I am guilty of interference. Just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!
— The Doctor defends himself before the Time Lords.
A race known only as "The Aliens" have kidnapped a number of soldiers from Earth's history, brainwashed them and set them to fighting in a series of wargames. The survivors will be made into an army capable of conquering the galaxy. They are aided by the War Chief, whom the Doctor recognises as being one of his own race, and who has provided the Aliens with SIDRATs for transport purposes. However, the War Chief plans to double-cross the Aliens and seize power himself.
When the Aliens' commander, the War Lord, learns of the War Chief's treachery, he has him shot. Meanwhile, the Doctor and friends have managed to gather a band of human resistance fighters, shaken off the control of the Aliens and stop the wargames. However, he can't return all the surviving soldiers to their right places, so he calls on his own people, the Time Lords, for help.
They arrive and the Doctor is instantly put on trial for violating one of the Time Lords' prime directives - noninterference in other races' history. The Doctor argues that he has always done good, but to no avail. He is sentenced to exile on Earth, while Jamie and Zoe are returned to their own times, just before they met the Doctor, with their memories wiped. The Doctor is additionally informed that he must change his appearance again... and once the rules of regeneration were later established, these events can be construed as the Doctor's summery execution.
The final episode of this adventure is quite significant. As well as ushering in a new Doctor, and a new era in the show with budget-dictated Earthbound exile, this was the first time that the Doctor's race had been named, and that the reason for the Doctor's fugitive status had been explored. This is also the only time during the show's initial run that the Doctor and all of his companions changed at the same time. It wouldn't happen again for another forty years
Immediately after this episode aired, a series of official comics was releaed in TV Comic, exploring the idea of the Second Doctor spending a while longer with Jamie before regenerating. This series saw him living on Earth as well as running errands for the Time Lords with a fully functional TARDIS, before eventually being forced to regenerate. Although the canonicity of these comics (as well as later Doctor Who Expanded Universe
material based on the same idea) is still debatable, the official BBC policy
nowadays holds that "The Three Doctors"
, "The Five Doctors"
and "The Two Doctors"
would most logically take place in this "Season 6B" from Two's perspective.
With 10 parts totaling about 4 hours run time, this is the second longest serial (third if you count Season 23 as one whole) behind The Daleks' Master Plan
- The Aesthetics of Technology: This story subverts the usual Billions of Buttons control panels by having the SIDRATs controlled with oddly-shaped fridge magnets. In a way, it somewhat foreshadows the touch-screens of the iPad and smart-phones (specifically, how one can touch, drag, and manipulate the icons on a screen).
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: The Doctor kisses Zoe on the forehead in part 1.
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": It's the end of an era in many ways, and the first appearance of the Time Lords... but that's only at the end of a very long story which explores a war mystery and a conspiracy. Unfortunately, it now tends to be seen as loads of episodes of messing around before the Time Lords show up.
- American Civil War: One of the war zones.
- Army of The Ages
- As You Know: Defied in the fifth episode. The chief scientist reminds the Doctor that the recruits, one of whom the Doctor was posing as, already know what the 'great plan' of the War Chief is. The Doctor doesn't bother asking him for specifics since it would blow his cover.
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Twice. The first time is during the Doctor's execution (a member of the firing squad is shot instead), the second is when the commander of the American civil war wants to shoot a rebel (he is shot by a half-brainwashed member).
- Bandito: Arturo Villar.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: The Doctor has been convicted of espionage in wartime and has escaped from prison. He is not in uniform, or even a proper suit, and he has a gaping hole in the knee of his trousers, and yet manages to bluff the prison commander for a solid chunk of time just by knowing what to say and shouting loudly.
- Book Ends: The serial begins and ends with the Doctor's execution.
- Call Back
Doctor: Jamie, I need to pick this lock.
- During the Doctor's trial by the Time Lords, he shows them some of the most dangerous monsters he has been fighting, among them the Cybermen, Daleks, Ice Warriors and Yeti.
- Comforting Comforter: Jamie, to a sleeping Zoe.
- Dastardly Whiplash: The War Chief is a traditionalist, at least as far as his grooming habits go.
- Downer Ending
- Early-Installment Weirdness: When told he must sacrifice one regeneration, the Doctor's only concern is what he'll look like in his next life. This looks very strange to those who watched "The End of Time", where David Tennant's Doctor fears his imminent death and considers regeneration a close approximation of death. Unless he's stalling for time...
- Character Development. Coupled with the fact that at least the Time Lords and the potential for rescue still existed when Two was forced to regenerate and exiled.
- Or "vanity issues", as Matt Smith's Doctor attributes David Tennant's Doctor with in "The Time of the Doctor".
- Enemy Mine: The Resistance includes soldiers from opposing sides, starting with Jamie and the Redcoat.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: All of the aliens exert their Mind Control by using glasses
- Glasses Pull: How General Smythe exerts Mind Control over his inferiors. His German/Confederate equivalent uses a Monocle Pull.
- Grand Finale: For the Patrick Troughton era.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Put the security chief and the War Chief in one room. Watch as they argue and completely devour the scenery.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Doctor uses these exact words (almost) of the scientist whom he turns the processing machine on.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet - Lampshaded by the Time Lords.
- Kangaroo Court: During the court-martial, the Doctor is allowed to question the witnesses, but they aren't allowed to answer. When this doesn't convince the two other jury members, Smythe just MindControls them.
- Large Ham: A few characters get moments. The Security Chief would be a Ham if he ever figured out that he wasn't a Dalek. Villar is a textbook Ham.
- Mind Control
- Mistaken for Spies: systematically, by every single group of people they meet.
- The Nth Doctor
- Oh Crap
- Our Doors Are Different: The Security Chief's door is designed to evoke a guillotine blade.
- The SIDRATs' doors slide outward rather than to one side.
- Refuge in Audacity: The Doctor pretends to be a prison inspector from the ministry.
- Sdrawkcab Name: SIDRAT. The novelisation gives us a backronym: They're Sidereal Interdimensional Robot All-purpose Transporters.
- Slouch of Villainy: The War Lord. The War Chief tries to imitate it.
- The Starscream: The War Chief plans to overthrow the War Lord. He is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
- Starter Villain: Smythe acts as the main antagonist for the first few episodes before his superiors reveal themselves.
- Stay in the Kitchen:
Jamie: Lady Jennifer I don't think you should come.
Lady Jennifer: Because I'm a woman?
Jamie: Yea... No! Err... Well, in a way yes.
- Arturo refuses to listen to anything Zoe says and mocks Jamie for "listening to a woman".
- Stock Episode Titles: 14 uses.
- Summon Bigger Fish
- Tap on the Head: Zoe takes out the sergeant with a vase of flowers. Unlike most uses, however, the Doctor checks to make sure he's okay afterwards. Jamie also knocks out a few soldiers this way.
- Values Dissonance: In-story, between the soldiers from each different time zone.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Done to the occupants of a SIDRAT (including the Doctor).
- Trrrilling Rrrs: The Mexican characters do this constantly, and the War Chief does so too every now and then.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Lady Jennifer disappears about halfway through. Later, Lieutenant Carstairs says he wants to look for her, but he disappears (in a more literal sense) before he can. Word of God on the DVD commentary says that when they returned to Earth, he did find her. And married her.
- World War One: "The War Games" opens here — or so it seems.