Doctor Who #559: Logopolis Part 2

"Round and round like a hamster in a cage! Somebody must be in charge here!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.7 1981.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor talks to the Watcher in private then heads to Logopolis where they shrink the ship by accident. Nyssa returns.

REVIEW: Am I the only who thinks Logopolis is a complete mess? The Master's TARDIS hops in and out of the Doctor's like it ain't no thing. Nobody seems to hear the TARDIS materialize or dematerialize right next to them. The Doctor means to flush the thing out by opening the doors under water, like that wouldn't 1) destroy everything he has in there, 2) drown Adric no matter how well he swims, and 3) EMPTY THE THAMES! That he instead lands it on a boat is a lame joke. The Logopolitans have recreated a SETI antenna and computer, even though they really only need the computer. It's the worst kind of set/location plug. And besides, DO they need the computer? Like Adric, I though they computed everything with their minds. That they can create objects with pure mathematics comes to a complete surprise to the Doctor even though he told Adric as much in an earlier scene. The call from Traken that Tremas has vanished makes the Doctor leap to the only possible conclusion that the Master stole his body. Then Nyssa shows up, brought to Logopolis by a "friend of the Doctor's" who is either the Master, looking like her father when he was younger and she never noticed, or the Watcher whose powers keep growing as only a pointless deus ex machina's can. This story seems so badly thought-out that I can't possibly be expected to have a coherent opinion about the Doctor meeting the Watcher, getting a taste of his own future and immediately playing into the Master's hands by heading to Logopolis. It's all drivel to me.

By which I don't mean to say it's completely valueless. The feeling that it's all about to end pervades the episode, with Tom Baker taking things so much more seriously than usual. It's all very ominous. Logopolis has an interesting Middle Eastern design (still, pink skies...). The Doctor's cruel joke about having seen "a little" of Aunt Vanessa makes me smirk, though it's so wrong. And I suppose there's some amusement to be had from the the Master leaving Mego dolls of obscure Doctor Who characters around, which causes the TARDIS itself to become a toy in the cliffhanger.

But Tom Baker, for all his excesses, is soon leaving, and the characters we'll be left with are a boy who doesn't know what to do with his awkward hands, an Australian who cries and shouts all the time, and possibly, a technobabble-fluent princess. I miss Romana already.

THEORIES: The Doctor has this strange line about Time Lords having "the same mind" to explain how the Master knows he means to go to Logopolis. What does that mean? It's in answer to Adric asking if the Master could read his mind, so we can eliminate the idea that it's about reading mind, perhaps through some kind of shared frequency. Then again, one thing that binds all Time Lord minds is the Matrix, which appears to record a Time Lord's thoughts and experiences in real time through a TARDIS' telepathic circuits. Could the Doctor be referring to that group mind? And can the Master's TARDIS access the Doctor's, discover its destination, and even glean something from the Doctor's bond with his machine? Those old Type-40s really need better security. The Doctor's been hacked!

- It's anything goes, isn't it? I don't know what's in Bidmead's Kool-Aid, but it makes him ignore everything that's gone before AND common sense.


snell said...

I always took the "friend of the Doctor's" to mean the Watcher...

Siskoid said...

To me, that's even weirder. (And I'm sure you're right, that's the problem with watching one a day instead of the whole thing in one go as most do today.) Does the Watcher have his own ghostly TARDIS, can he move himself and others about across time and space? I hate the concept of the Watcher with the burning fury of a thousand suns. Probably.

snell said...

I think The Watcher concept is clearly meant to be a spin-off of the Cho-Je/K'anpo regeneration set up from Planet Of The Spiders, only without the Buddhist trappings that made it more palatable.

Perhaps this was thought of as "how regeneration works now." Or, perhaps K'anpo's "push" of Three's regeneration into 4 had some lingering effect. Both ideas, of course, are probably giving Bidmead's script too much credit...


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