Lord Buckethead attempts to bond with Doc’s molecules, but a surprise Colin Baker totally steals the show
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A Time Lord with a voice that would make John Hurt jealous is having a nice little traitorous chat with a character that’s having trouble developing in our dimension (negative image, get it?). Who might they be? Never you mind, buddy; you’ll find out soon enough. What’s important, though, is that the antimatter chap in question is plotting to take over the Doctor’s body to transfer across to our dimension, thus putting all of the universe in jeopardy.
The other Time Lords won’t stand for it, though, being the good guys, and so send for The Doc in order to do the only sensible thing… and execute him! Meanwhile, in Amsterdam, two backpackers are about to crash in a crypt and get inadvertently drawn into the trans-dimensional shenanigans when a dude from Tim Burton’s worst nightmares steps in and lasers the crap out of one of them. Serendipitously, his cousin’s the least popular Australian companion television’s ever seen (just ask Doc’s face) and so these two worlds are bound to collide.
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It’s your run of the mill time lord story: Omega, the matrix and treachery this story’s got it. Shame they couldn’t have been a bit more creative. While it’s a fun watch it does feel like more of the same.
It’s nice to see Teagan return but I much preferred the dynamic between the Doctor and Nyssa. Hearing about Lela was a nice bit of continuity but her absence in the face of the Doctor’s execution doesn’t make her look good.
The casting in tho story is excellent but talk about a “Twin Dilemma”. Future Doctor Colin Baker makes an appearance as well as Michael Gough the “Celestial Toy Maker”. Doctor Who likes to reuse actors a lot and it really grinds some people’s gears. In this case I don’t really mind it, there are only so many faces in the universe and with time lords getting twelve a piece you’re bound to see a few repeats.
The attempt to hide the identity of the traitor was well intentioned but I would say failed. No matter how much you try to change it, Michael Gough’s voice is just too iconic.
Costumes look as fabulous as ever but I do long for the Omega costume from “The Three Doctors”. In my opinion the hammered metal helmet was much better than the organic, pulsating member this iteration is wearing, but to each their own.
It’s not a great story but it is certainly worth watching if only to see Peter Davison wandering the streets of Amsterdam like an absolute creep.
Overall this story earns 2.8 botched executions out of 5
Steven from Canada
So it’s the 20th season and it is suitably packed with references with each story containing at least one returning character. Here we have Omega and a return to Gallifrey. And yeah, the Time Lords are massive dicks here. Their groupthink is outstanding and underlines how shit they are…again. Seriously, I’m struggling to think if they have ever been a ‘positive’ Time Lord story, them in Three Doctors maybe? All previous appearances they have been at least a bit dickish to very towards the Doctor. And there’s a traitor and we have rather theatrical meeting with Omega, who somehow has a tardis now. Er, how? He was lost to the Black Hole before Gallifrey discovered time travel, so unless Hedin gave him one, he shouldn’t have it.
So Tegan returns. Yeah, I think it was just a PR stunt by JNT for her ‘leaving’ at the end of last season. I’m fairly sure Janet Fielding was contracted for this season anyway. But she gets to film in Amsterdam! The second time classic who had been abroad and not the last.
And let’s not forget Colin Baker as Maxil, very memorable. I wonder if he comes back ?
DVD trivia: none of this season has individual releases in the UK, they are all part of box sets with other stories. This one is in a double feature with Time-Flight.
Not bad, but a little messy 3.2/5 Random Comfortable sofas in corridors
We’re in Amsterdam and are introduced to the Backpackers. In The Visitation we all talked about how the guest-ally really added something; my spidey-sense tells me that won’t happen this time.
Omega makes a return with a spangly new helmet. Why change it? Maybe to keep his identity secret; he was in one story 10 years earlier though, it was hardly going to be a big reveal.
We return to Gallifrey (where everyone dresses like they’re from Mongo) and join the Time-Lord High Council, knowing that any one of them could be a traitor; oh wait, one of them’s Michael Gough; it’s him. They find it hard to believe a Time-Lord could be a traitor. Yes, apart from The Master, Morbius, Chancellor Goth, Castellan Kelner, that dude from The War Games, yes, unthinkable. They also say that Capital punishment has long been abolished; rewatch The Deadly Assassin, I’m pretty sure you’re fine with it.
We find out that a TARDIS can just be recalled, I guess they forgot about that during the Hartnell/Troughton era and the Master’s must just have got lost (although it is feasible he destroyed it somehow).
Writers won’t have had access to past shows; they were made never expecting them to be reshown. They certainly never expected us to be able to watch them at will 40 years later, so these inconsistencies aren’t that surprising.
This story’s actually alright, but I struggle to remember anything that happens other than Woody Woodpecker turns-up and shoots someone.
I’m a fan of this story. It’s not exactly expanding the timelord lore, but successfully expands on what we already know, which is wonderful. Yet we need to address the Ergon in the room. In fact, there are quite a few. As much as I have been dying to see Leela since she left, I’m happy for Sarah Sutton that Louise Jamison was unavailable, as Nyssa would have been back-seated again. As it is, she’s great. I do suspect that the chase would have been shorter though. The location footage is beautiful, and something like this hasn’t been seen since Pertwee chased a man with a spider (City of Death’s race notwithstanding). However this chase is lacking in hovercrafts, which leans toward a slight letdown.
Next we need to jump to Peter Capaldi, whose doctor makes a big stink about “why this face?” With a bit of retro-rewriting, this becomes even more poignant here. Minor spoiler, but when Davison regenerates, that last thing we hear is “die, doctor, die”, We all know how Colin’s bit part here led to his bigger stint as the doctor, but if Capaldi was channeling a Roman, could Davision’s regeneration have been channeling the man that executed him?
Lastly, we’re obviously used to companions leaving. This time however we get a companion rejoining, and coincidence aside, I think it was handled brilliantly. It’s a fun romp which leaves the viewer speculating and contemplating, which are all the marks of a good story. 4.1 Antimatter Omegas.
So much to enjoy in this serial! The return of Omega, running around Amsterdam, Colin Baker’s first appearance on the show, running around Amsterdam, Michael Gough (of Batman fame!) as our traitor-of-the-week, and lastly…wait for it… more running around Amsterdam!
Above all, however, this story shines thanks to Nyssa. She is the primary companion in this story and I thoroughly enjoy her performance. Love her dynamic with Davison’s Doctor, that she holds her own against the Time Lords, and is not afraid to shoot her way through any Gallifreyan soldiers who stand in her way. Awesome!
If anything detracts from this story, it is the contrivance of bringing Tegan back into the show. Not because I dislike the character but because the whole hitchhiker/cousin B-plot started out very mysterious and promising but then fizzles out and goes nowhere – unfortunately, the whole thing leaves Tegan with very little to do. Also, how exactly did the fusion generator work? Why did Omega need a zombie human slave when he already had the Ergon? These are the questions that keep me awake at night…
Speaking of the Ergon – I love it! I know it looks like a dude in a rubber chicken suit who can’t see but I will always applaud Doctor Who designers for trying to push the limits and create something weird and wonderful. Well done.
Overall, very enjoyable stuff.
Rating: 3.2 out of 5
Great serial! Here are my random-ish thoughts.
So I have a strange experience with this one. I kept thinking it was weird how much the unnamed baddie resembled Omega. But they weren’t calling him Omega, so I kept thinking I must be wrong. Perhaps it was the costume? Maybe the voice acting was similar enough as a clue?
Hey look, it’s doctor six! That’s his only mood btw, mouth fulla sour patch kids.
Does commander Maxil, when he regenerates, look like Sylvester McCoy.?
Timelord outfits are so extra.
Like idk, baroque drapes?
Love the My-Little-Pony-esque rainbow headgear that Maxil wears like a freakin champ.
Was Tegan gone? Love her here, resourceful, fearless, resisting.
Top quote “I have found it unwise to predict what the Doctor can and cannot do.”
Rating: Anti-matter cotton candy with a space sno-cone
Hello Leon and Jim!
So John Nathan-Turner gives us a couple more surprises to play with our minds. First, he goes all the way to part 2 before we see that Tegan is not gone forever. Second, after 10 years of absence, Omega returns from his antimatter universe and presumed death., but we don’t even know it’s him until the end of part 3!
Peter Davison got to play a double role, even if only for a small portion of the serial, and Colin Baker was great as Maxil, who gets to first shoot the Doctor, then (presumably) execute him!
The location shooting in Amsterdam was wonderful, even with the obligatory chase scene through the streets.
Michael Gough (Alfred) was great as Hedin, and even I was surprised he was the villain.
I just want to know
1) where did Omega get a TARDIS if he was still stuck in the Antimatter universe, and
2) why does its interior match the Doctor’s, who has his updated every 2-3 years. Perhaps all TARDISes are telepathically linked to each other so that their interiors are matching.
3) Why does the web in which the Doctor is placed look very similar to the one the Master put Adric in Castrovalva? Is this the equivalent of a holding cell that TARDISes newer than the Doctor’s have?
What the heck is an ergon? The Doctor refers to it, before he sees it, no less, as if we should know what it is. I don’t remember it from The Three Doctors.
I enjoyed it, but found it lacking in more depth for Omega and his history.
My score is pi out of five.
A new season, but with plenty of familiar faces and places. We’re back on Gallifrey and they’ve obviously been to Space Ikea and tarted the place up a bit. Omega’s back and this time he’s got a Space Chicken! The Sixth Doctor is here before he was The Six Doctor. And the Antipodean asshat is back, only this time she’s errrr nice?!? AND HOT!!! (This could be due to drinking too much wine on my part!) The same cannot be said for Colin and Robin, 2 of the least convincing backpackers ever and have zero chemistry. Or The Timelords zzzzzzz
If the last story was a love letter to Concorde, then Arc is trying to do the same for Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it turns out to be more of a poison pen letter! Where City of Death used Paris to enhance the story, Arc completely fails to use it effectively. Coupled with the poor backpackers, lacklustre Timelords and that damned chicken all serve to undermine the whole thing.
I award this story 2.0 stinky backpacker sleeping bags out of 5
After Time-Flight anything would be an improvement, and fortunately Arc of Infinity pulls Doctor Who back up to its usual standards.
The Doctor and Nyssa work really well as a team in this story, and it means Nyssa gets things to do rather than being left in the TARDIS. It would have been nice to have seen this pairing last a bit longer – perhaps a few stories together before bringing back Tegan.
I did wonder why it takes everyone so long to work out that Omega is behind everything. Given his knowledge of the Matrix he is clearly a Time Lord, and as soon as anti-matter is mentioned there is really only one person it could be.
The Chancellor guards seem to have gone to the same training school as UNIT soldiers, as they can’t hit anything and the slightest push from Nyssa is enough to send one of them sprawling.
I did chuckle at Omega needing the ‘physical imprint of bonding’ – sounds a bit naughty for a pre-watershed show aimed at children!
As always, there are some unanswered questions. If capital punishment has been abolished on Gallifrey, why is there a purpose-built termination chamber ready for use at any time? And why does Commander Maxil carry that ridiculous helmet around, but hardly ever wear it?
Overall, this is an enjoyable story to watch and scores: 3.25/5
New month, new Doctor Who season and hopefully you both have a new-found love for Arc Of Infinity!
So here we go! From Holland With Love.
Arc Of Infinity (250 words):
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa are a really strong duo and Sarah Sutton seems to be so much more at ease without the moaning Tegan hanging around. Speaking of Tegan, her return is far too convenient, so I do feel quite pleased when she gets shot by a massive chicken.
Amsterdam is a random but welcome location and the (very long) foot chase in Part 4 really utilises the beautiful city to good effect.
Over on the cheap-looking Gallifrey sets, the actors playing the Time Lords seem to be a mixture of bored, uninterested and downright depressed – I can only imagine this is because they didn’t get to go to Holland to get fucked up on weed with the youngsters! With this in mind, I can’t help thinking that the scene in the café between Tegan and Robin would have been hugely improved if they were sharing a fat doobie.
Colin Baker plays his character, Maxil, like an absolute wanker. Hope that’s the last we see of that actor!
Other things I enjoy include: Omega’s fantastic deep voice, The Doc and Tegan flopping about in the Matrix, and of course that bizarre scene of a small boy smiling at Omega.
But I’ve saved the best til last: Colin Frazer and Robin Stuart are absolutely breath-taking! Robin in particular is possibly my favourite one-off character in all of Who! He should have been a companion!
I find the first and final parts highly entertaining but the middle gets a bit dull.