The Mind Robber picks up right after the ending of The Dominators, which sees the TARDIS being engulfed in lava!
This five-part story was penned by Peter Ling and ran from 14 September to 12 October, 1968. The Doctor (Troughton) dematerializes the TARDIS, but also removes it from physical space, taking our heroes into a never-explored realm, and though it takes a while for both viewer and Companions to figure out… they have entered the Land of Fiction.
Almost immediately upon arrival, our heroes get separated, as both Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury) follow that classic Doctor Who rule, they go off on their own, ignoring the Doctor’s order to stay put.
Everything is seen over by the Master of the Land (Emrys Jones), not to be confused with, The Master (who won’t appear for a couple more seasons yet), and he and the Doctor seem destined to face off against one another, as the plan is for the Doctor to take over the role, and be stuck ruling the land of fiction forever… or at least until he dies.
This one is fun, eccentric, and a little quirky. There are threatening white robots with lasers coming out of their chests, there are fictional characters aplenty, from Gulliver (Bernard Horsfall) to Rapunzel (Christine Pirie). During the final battle between the Doctor and the Master of the Land, the two duel with fictional characters, as each tries to one up the other, and the Doctor struggles to save Jamie and Zoe from becoming fictional characters forever.
It’s still a joy to watch Troughton play the Doctor, alternately brilliant and cowering, but always unstoppable in the end. He has become one of my favorite Doctors and watching his performance each and every time is a lot of fun. He’s very at home in his seemingly oversized suit and small tie, and he always seems quite happy to stay behind his Companions when he is a little frightened. Brilliant!
I quite liked the reveal at the end of the episode that the Master of the Land was, himself, abducted and rigged into the computer to run the realm. The Doctor releases him from his bonds, and we can only hope that he ended up back at home as the episode ends, because it does so rather abruptly, though we do see the TARDIS reconstituted. This is good because we saw it get blown apart at the beginning of this adventure.
As an interesting story note, Jamie is replaced for an episode and half by another actor (Hamish Wilson) when the Doctor reassembles Jamie’s face wrong, Apparently this was done to accommodate Hines’ contraction of chicken pox, but it actually worked really well within the confines of the story.
So far, season 6 is proving to be very entertaining! Next time the Cybermen return (again. See it just doesn’t only happen in the new series, it always happened.) in The Invasion!