"Regeneration in my case is a swift but volcanic experience. A kind of violent biological eruption in which the body cells are displaced, changed, renewed and rearranged. There are bound to be side-effects."
IN THIS ONE... It's the sixth Doctor's first story and he's trying to kill Peri. Also, twin mathematicians are kidnapped by alien satyrs.
REVIEW: The new credits sequence throws in a lot of unnecessary color, which really mirrors the show itself. Both stars change their clothes and from then on, are at starkest contrast with the white TARDIS walls, Peri an 80s nightmare that is probably still appropriate, and the Doctor, well... Let's talk about this new Doctor. Colin Baker is, I think, immediately suitable. He's snooty, bad-tempered, childish, vain and all ego, traits commonly attributed to the role. His fantastical vocabulary, tendency to literary quotations, and ability to alliterate are in complete opposition to the more science-driven (not to say technobabble-driven) Doctors of the past, and I love that. I'm used to not quite understanding what the Doctor is talking about, but the scientific phrasings of the Davison era were, too put it bluntly, boring. The sixth Doctor's dialog is more interesting by a mile. Between Colin's verbosity and that technicolor dreamcoat (a JNT contribution, of course), it's no wonder this Doctor thrived on audio and not so much on television. What went wrong?
Well, on paper, the idea that regeneration crisis would cause the Doctor to go mad and try to kill his companion, and then having to "arc" back from that, is interesting. In practice, it makes the character almost irredeemable. The show just didn't focus on character development enough in those days - the proof is that Peri stays stuck in that annoying "stammering in fear" mode for the next season - for that arc to actually be explored, so it's more a question of the audience (and Peri) simply forgetting that he tried to choke the life out of her. And maybe there was no way to make that work at all. A Doctor's introduction takes place in the shadow of his predecessor (especially here, as Doc6's first adventure takes place at the end of Doc5's last season), so it must convince you the new guy is worth watching, if not an actual improvement on what had become a stale portrayal of the character. But Davison went out on a high, and Baker's all psycho and Crayola. I can hear the viewing figures dropping from across time. Peri was never really an audience identification figure, but in The Twin Dilemma, she definitely voices our concerns, about the costume, about the attitude, everything. It's an interesting look at what she thought the dynamic was too. She got aboard the TARDIS with a Doctor she "liked", but now he's "older" and meaner. Peri fancied the Davison Doctor, it seems, and never got a chance to realize he wasn't capable (or willing) to reciprocate. It could have been a Martha situation. Instead, it's the start of a grating bitchiness between the pair that will go on for a long time. Peri becomes the character that doesn't want to be there, yet sticks around. TARDIS travel is wasted on someone like that.
Oh that's right. There's also the first act of a story we keep jarringly cutting back to. Like the new coat, it's a real patchwork of elements. Snotty teenage twins apparently have untold power thanks to their maths skills (more block transfer computation nonsense?). A teleporting man called Edgeworth hypnotizes and kidnaps them. He's working with a group of furries who look like satyrs but are in no way connected to the satyr-like people seen in The Monster of Peladon, and FOR a silly giant gastropod called Mestor with googly eyes. There's a reason I've always mixed this story up with Frontios; they have the same basic villains. And in the same season too. I'd call it a lack of imagination if the stories had the same writer, instead I have to call script editor Eric Saward for selecting and then not differentiating the stories. The kids disappearance is investigated by space cops with shapeless uniforms and gigantic sheriff stars, and the Doctor runs afoul of one of them on Titan 3, a location completely mismatched with the model shot on the TARDIS viewer. It only LOOKS like an airless moon on the latter - and Peri reacts to it appropriately - and turns into a quarry with a normal sky when they walk out. Gah.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A new Doctor's introduction should have a much higher Rewatchability quotient, but aside from the core personality Colin Baker gives his Time Lord, the episode is a series of wrong-headed choices, several of them with long-lasting consequences on the tone of the show.