"When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?"
IN THIS ONE... ADRIC DIES!!! Taking all the dinosaurs with him.
REVIEW: Our long national nightmare is over, Adric is dead. And in the proud tradition of unwanted and unloved television characters dying, his last episode is geared to make us miss him, or at least, finally respect him. Sure, there's the awkward moment when Matthew Waterhouse obviously knows the console he's working it will be blown to bits, so he gingerly pushes buttons on it, keeping well away from expected sparks, but otherwise, it's well done. All the elements that make up the character are used. His artful dodging has him palm his gold star and secretly hand it to the Doctor (and it's what ultimately defeats the Cybermen). His math skills deviate the ship from its collision course with 2526 AD Earth (but not from Earth entirely, sorry dinos). And his impetuous knack for running off and doing his own thing (that's how he got on board, after all) makes it reasonable for him to agree to stay behind. His final moment, showing a brave front but fiddling with his brother's rope belt, more disappointed than afraid, is I think his best in the entire time on the series. You won't be missed, Adric, but you went out with your head high (and with one of history's biggest bangs). You deserve the silent credits scroll over your broken badge, no matter how cheesy some think it is. After all, he's the first official companion to die, and the first since the Hartnell era even you count Bret Vyon, Katarina and Sara Kingdom!
Effects-wise, they weren't able to crash a ship into the planet, so the Doctor just looks at a ship model glow and explode without the Earth, which was so big on the viewscreen before, appear in the picture at all (but see Versions). Adric isn't the only casualty of course. This is an extremely bloodthirsty and violent serial. The Doctor doesn't just scrape some gold into the Cyber-Leader's breathing unit, he shoots him with his own gun at point blank range repeatedly, as the Leader screams in agony! It's the end of The Visitation all over again, and I sort of dread Saward's long tenure on the program now. There's always been death and destruction in Doctor Who, and yes, the Doctor's been responsible for much of it, but what's been ramped up is the pain felt by the dying characters, and that's where it gets uncomfortable. At least the Doctor gets to fight with words as well, having an impassioned debate about the value of emotions. The Cyber-Leader seems to win, but friendship is what makes Adric do everything he does, not that the Leader realizes how exactly he was done in.
Another concern is Nyssa. Adric's out on his own saving the day. Tegan is skulking around doing her best Ripley impression. But Nyssa is still adamantly against any and all action from anyone! She does nothing, even when she knows the Doctor is in danger, and advises the marines to stay put (they don't, and it's their intervention that allows Adric to do his thing). Worse, her one responsibility, the wet geologist who stays behind, is killed anyway. With the crew now a little smaller, lets hope she gets more to do.
VERSIONS: The DVD's CGI option comes into its own during the crash sequence, with features a more convincing prehistoric Earth too. I'm not aware of any major difference between the Target novelization and the televised story.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - In terms of quality, this is really a medium. Nyssa is an entrenched non-participant and the level of violence is unreasonable. Where's Mary Whitehouse when we need her? But Adric's departure is memorable and well handled, and historically significant to boot.
STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - I might say the same about the entire serial. Remove Adric's farewell episode from the mix, and its watchability drops significantly. It's almost three episodes of padding while we wait for it to happen.