Recap: Doctor Who S13 E4 "The Android Invasion"

"Is that finger loaded?"
The Doctor sizes up the threat.

The TARDIS lands in a typical English village that Sarah recognises as Devesham, home of the British Space Defence Station. However, it soon becomes obvious that things are not all as they should be, and the Doctor and Sarah realise that the village is a replica populated with androids.

An alien race — the Kraals — are aided by a brainwashed human astronaut, Guy Crayford, and have built the replica to rehearse for an invasion of the Earth. Styggron, a Kraal scientist, has perfected a lethal virus and plans to use his androids to disseminate it around the world, paving the way for the Kraal fleet.

Crayford, whose rocket had been damaged and who was rescued by the Kraals, returns to a hero's welcome. But with the Brigadier off in Geneva, no-one at UNIT believes the Doctor when he tells tall stories of android replicas — which now include himself, Harry and RSM Benton. The Doctor manages to use the radio equipment at the base to jam the android control signal and stop Styggron releasing the virus. He then uses his own android replica to fight Styggron, who infects himself with the virus in the process and is killed.

Tropes

  • Arm Cannon: See quote at the top of the page.
  • Back from the Dead: One of the many clues that something is terribly, terribly wrong in town is the fact the Doctor and Sarah see Corporal Adams up and about... despite him having just run off of a cliff earlier and had no pulse when they checked him.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Styggron on at least two occasions.
  • The Bus Came Back: Harry Sullivan and Sergeant Benton make their final appearances in Doctor Who.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Doctor gets off a good one when tied to a post and left next to a bomb.
    Doctor: "Don't go. Stay, then we can all go together!"
  • Distressed Dude: Sarah busts the Doctor out of his cell.
    "This time I'm saving you!"
  • Does Not Like Spam: Sarah Jane apparently hates ginger pop. It's how the Doctor recognizes her ginger pop-drinking android impostor.
  • Evil Knockoff
  • Evil Redhead: The android Adams. The real one, though, being a dutiful UNIT soldier, is a Red-Headed Hero.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Crayford wears one. It later turns out he doesn't need it.
  • High Voltage Death: Sarah busts out of her cell by taking a cable, waiting for Android!Adams to come in, and then frying him with it. He explodes quite spectacularly.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Styggron ends up getting killed by the virus he intended to infect humanity with.
  • Large Ham: Two Tom Bakers? It's amazing any scenery was left.
    • Styggron has his moments, too.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Styggron and Chedaki, full stop.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: When Sarah Jane and the Doctor are fleeing from the androids, she ends up falling and dangling off of a cliff.
  • Noisy Robots: Generally averted, since the androids are intended to be perfect replacements. The only one who does make any of the typical mechanical whirring and clanking noises is the malfunctioning Adams (the UNIT soldier who does the really spectacular cliff dive), and that's only because there's something wrong with him.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: The Android!Doctor shoots Grierson, but it only seems to hurt him in his arm/shoulder area.
  • Not Herself: Sarah Jane apparently hates ginger pop. It's how the Doctor recognizes her ginger pop-drinking android impostor.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Crayford.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot
  • Robot Me: the android replicas include the main characters.
  • Robotic Reveal: when the Doctor works out android "Sarah" isn't the real one, she pulls a gun on him. He tackles her to the ground, and her face comes off, revealing the inner workings of the android. (See image).
  • Servile Snarker: Chedaki is an evil version.
  • Spoiler Title: One of the worst of the many examples in Doctor Who, which gives away something that is meant to be a mystery for two full episodes.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Colonel Faraday for The Brigadier.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Kraals plan to wipe the human race out with one.
  • Table Flip: Done by the Doctor when escaping from Crayford's office.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: After being interrogated, the Doctor isn't exactly lucid.
    Doctor: "Once upon a time, there were three sisters, and they lived at the bottom of a treacle well. Their names were Olga, Masha and Iraina. Are you listening, Tilly?"
    Sarah-Jane: "I'm Sarah."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see Benton again after he's knocked out by one of the duplicates. In fact, for many years some fans thought Benton had actually been killed in this story, until Mawdryn Undead revealed that he had retired from the army and become a used car salesman.
    • Or Chedaki, for that matter. He doesn't go with Styggron to Earth. What happened to him?
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pretty much said verbatim by Styggron when he kills Crayford.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go / I Lied