The Doctor (Davison), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) and Teagan (Janet Fielding) are off for more adventure in the TARDIS this week. Four to Doomsday was a four part story written by Terence Dudley that aired from 18 to 26 of January, 1982.
The tale sees the Time Lord and his companions arriving on a spaceship that is bound for Earth. Aboard the vessel, however, are humans from all different eras, leaving the Doctor wto wonder what the Urbankans, the aliens aboard the craft, are planning when they reach the Doctor’s adopted planet.
It doesn’t take the Doctor to become interested in what is going on aboard the ship, with all its technology, making puns and silly remarks, and for the most part being rather jovial.
While Nyssa and Adric explore on their own, the Doctor and Teagan start to discover some strange things about the Urbankans and the humans aboard ship – most of them seem to be ice cold, and have strange control devices on the back of their hand – and in a shocking revelation, we learn that they may not even be human, so what do the Urbankans want them for?
This one ends up being more of a mystery, and plays out that way, there’s no rush to its sense of discovery, just curiosity and menace. They are travelling to Earth with plans to save Humanity in their own way… they have shed internal and external organs they are androids with their memories, intelligence and emotions contained to silicon chips. Or at least that’s the ‘positive’ message they are bringing. They also plan on conquest and exploitation of the planet’s resources.
And Adric seems to have had a sip or two of the Urbankan kool-aid. However, when lives are in the balance, the young mathematician seems to come to the realization that these aliens aren’t as benevolent as he wants to believe they are.
I rather enjoyed this story, the model work at the beginning of the episode to introduce the spaceship is solid, and the story is confined to the locations within it, and plot points are doled out in a timely, entertaining fashion, with each of the companions and the Doctor getting moments to shine (though I have to admit, in this episode, Adric is more than a bit annoying).
With the help of some of the human androids (watch for character actor favorite Burt Kwouk) who realize that the Urbankans are not as peaceful as they claim, nor will they hold up the bargain that they have proposed to the human androids, the Doctor works to outwit the aliens and put a stop to them.
A fairly fine story, except for the fact that Adric and Teagan (though she has just joined the TARDIS, and constantly laments about getting back to Heathrow to make her flight) are beginning to wear on my nerves…
Next time, our heroes encounter the Kinda, brought on by Nyssa’s collapse at the end of the story.