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Recap / Big Finish Doctor Who 208 The Waters Of Amsterdam

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Reunited with the Doctor and Nyssa, Tegan joins them on a trip to Amsterdam's Rijkmuseum to see a new exhibition of the work of Rembrandt van Rijn, featuring his drawings of “Vessels of the Stars”. The Doctor is astonished to discover that they are designs for spaceships that would actually work, and decides to pop back to the Dutch Golden Age for a quiet word with Rembrandt – but the world-weary artist is in no mood to help.


Meanwhile, strange forces are swirling in the canals, creatures from ancient myth, the watery, goblin-like Nix. What is their connection to the mysterious Countess Mach-Teldak – and to the events of Tegan’s life during her year away from the Doctor?


  • Androids Are People, Too: Discussed and eventually proven by Tegan's ex Kyle, but it takes some time.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Kyle makes several to Tegan throughout the story, and eventually she gives him one back. Unfortunately for him, she was just distracting him.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Suspicious that Kyle is just a little too good and helpful, The Doctor decides to scan him to prove he's an android, then announces he's 100% human. This turns out to be a lie he told Nyssa so she wouldn't have to lie to her best friend.
  • Belated Backstory: For Tegan, specifically for the time between seasons 19 and 20 that she wasn't travelling in the TARDIS.
  • Call-Back:
    • Several to "Arc of Infinity", since this story takes place directly after that one.
    • Tegan mentions having been a stewardess for "Air Australia", the same fictional airline mentioned over the airport PA system in "Time-Flight".
    • She also tells Kyle that she doesn't really dance, though she can do a mean Charleston.
    • The Doctor wonders why he still hasn't gotten around to building another sonic screwdriver.
    • Tegan tells Kyle about places she's been in the TARDIS, including visiting spaceships, Ireland and The Great Fire of London.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Rembrandt versus Kyle.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Tegan.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Kyle to Tegan, with extra emphasis on the dogged. It's why she broke up with him, but love wasn't the only reason he was pursuing her.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Nix are beings of living water.
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  • Evil All Along: The Countess.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Neither the Nix nor the Countess come off as saints in their long battle with one another, though the former do get a bit of redemption by the end.
  • Extreme Doormat: Kyle, one of the reasons Tegan broke up with him. As she says, she needs someone to fight back and tell her when she's wrong, but Kyle just went along with everything she said.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole story takes place on the same day (or at least in the same 24 hours for the characters) as "Arc of Infinity", and for The Doctor, "Omega" and "The Burning Prince" happen right at the end, too. That is a long day for Five.
  • Foil: Rembrandt for Vincent van Gogh, at least in terms of their characters in Doctor Who. When Vincent is shown the legacy his work will carry in the future, he is overcome with emotion. When Rembrandt is similarly clued into his later fame, he is bemused, pointing out that posterity doesn't exactly put food on the table here and now.
  • Friendship Moment: In the midst of the usual insanity, Tegan and Nyssa take time to reaffirm that they each still consider the other to be their best friend. Especially touching since Tegan had been away from the TARDIS for a year at this point with no reason to think she'd see Nyssa again, and given all the adventures Big Finish have packed in for Nyssa and The Doctor in the same period, it's been even longer for her.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Doctor tells Tegan that Kyle knew she was a time traveler because of trace alien particles she'd picked up on her travels with him, and dismisses this as "nothing to worry about". Though this is technically true for most of his companions, by the time of The Gathering, Tegan has developed a brain tumor, specifically thanks to alien particles she'd picked up by travelling with The Doctor.
  • Historical Domain Character: Rembrandt.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In a meta-sense. Tegan rants about what a Contrived Coincidence it is that Kyle just happens to be in Amsterdam at the same time as she is, when the exact same point can be made about her being there during "Arc of Infinity".
  • Identical Grandson: Polsbroek and his descendant are both played by the same actor, though it isn't actually mentioned if they are alike physically.
  • Immediate Sequel: To "Arc of Infinity". The story begins with Nyssa asking Tegan about exactly how she got "the sack" from her job, which was mentioned at the very end of the television story. In the final seconds, The Doctor disappears in the TARDIS before coming back moments later, having gone on a mission for the Time Lords in that time, retroactively making "Omega" and "The Burning Prince" Immediate Sequels to this episode.
  • In Love with the Mark: Kyle falls in love with Tegan, despite his programming.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Doctor doesn't even seem to know who Tegan's talking about when she mentions "da Vinci", as everyone just called him Leonardo. After a very long day, Tegan is not in the mood.
    Tegan: Doctor, in the last 24 hours, I've seen my cousin turned into a zombie, been held hostage by an alien with a henchman that looks suspiciously like a plucked chicken, been on a wild goose chase through Amsterdam and had my ex-boyfriend turn up out of the blue. The last thing I need is you having a go at me for getting da Vinci's name wrong.
    The Doctor: Leonardo's.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Tegan's reason for breaking up with Kyle, though it's not what she says to his face, only mentioning it (and noting it as a cliche) when talking to Nyssa about it.
  • Just a Machine: Tegan throws this one at Kyle after The Reveal, but it's mostly just said in anger.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Since we all know Nyssa's eventual fate, her apparent death at Kyle's hands is not exactly convincing.
  • New Old Flame: For a given value of "old", since Tegan and Kyle only broke up about a month previously, but he'd never been mentioned until now.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being a little too persistent, this is basically what Kyle is. It's part of his programming, to become ingratiated with Tegan so that she will aid him in time travel.
  • The Power of Love: It's enough to make Kyle go against his programming.
  • Real-Life Relative: The Countess Mach-Teldak is played by Elizabeth Morton, Peter Davison's wife.
  • Reality Ensues: Tegan finally got back to Heathrow and started work as an air stewardess... and got fired not long after for being unable to hold her tongue and getting into a scrap with a rude passenger. She admits to Kyle that she really wasn't cut out for it.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Tegan's ex Kyle has been searching for time travelers for many centuries.
  • Rejection Affection: Kyle proposed. Tegan dumped him. He continued to follow her around, begging for another chance. No wonder she was so eager to jump back on the TARDIS!
  • The Reveal: Tegan's ex-boyfriend, Kyle, is actually a Ridiculously Human Robot on a mission to track down time travellers and bring them to his mistress.
  • Revenge: Ultimately, this is all The Countess wants.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Kyle.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Kyle first met Tegan while she was working on the airline, and he certainly got this impression of her.
  • Shown Their Work: In 1658, Tegan tells Mayor Polsbroek that she is from Australia, but when this rings no bells she corrects it to "New Holland", which is indeed what Australia was called during that time.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Rembrandt plot has similarities to "Vincent and The Doctor".
  • Stalker with a Crush: Kyle keeps popping up wherever Tegan is, both before, during and after their relationship.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nyssa takes The Doctor to task for lying to her about Kyle being 100% human.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: These are the first clue our heroes get after coming back to 1983 that the future has been altered.

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