Robert Holmes pens this epic three parter that ran from 16 February to 2 March, 1985, that sees the return of a previous regeneration of the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his Companion, Jamie (Frazier Hines).
The Doctor (Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) are on a fishing trip, when the Time Lord starts to feel that something is wrong. There is something wrong in the timelines…
Is it possible that a previous regeneration was killed preventing his existence?
And what do the Sontarans have to do with it?
The Second Doctor and Jamie arrive at a research station, where the local cook Shockeye (John Stratton) has his eye on the young Scot, to eat. And the Doctor after consulting with his old friend Dastari (Laurence Payne) who runs the station, learns that he and his people are experimenting with temporal phenomena, which may tear the fabric of the universe apart. The Time Lords are furious that the experiments are going on, and try to put a stop to it
Shockeye and Chessenne (Jacqueline Pearce) are doing something with the Sontarans.
Arriving at the station further on the timeline, the Sixth Doctor and Peri discover that a massacre may have occurred, and ties into whatever issue it affecting the Time Lord.
Things take an interesting turn when the Doctor and Peri discover Jamie hiding out in the station, hidden in the ducts, where in a delusional state, he says that the Doctor has been killed by the Sontarans, who were intent on framing the Time Lords for the massacre.
Whatever occurred the Doctor has no recollection of it, which suggests he has forgotten it (unlikely) or something has changed and is currently in flux… or that the Doctor himself was at the centre of the time experiment, even as he arrived on the station with Peri.
But the Doctor isn’t dead, he’s simply being held captive by Dastari, Shockeye and the rest. He wants to find the nuclei within the cells of the Doctor that allows him to link symbiotically with the TARDIS, and allow for stabilisation during time travel. This is what the Sontarans are after to use in their continuing wars and conquests.
The Doctor tracks down his captive self, but it takes until the third part of the story for them to share a scene together. And the third part moves pretty quickly as their are betrayals and double-double-crosses for the baddies.
There seems to be a lot more humour in this story, and for me, it shows how underappreciated Baker’s Doctor was, he’s smart, arrogant, funny, and he’s a lot of fun to watch in this story.
I personally wish the two Doctors had more time on screen together, they seem to have a nice chemistry together. But they hold everything back until nearly the end of the story, and then let them have a bit of fun together. That’s honestly too bad, because I think it would have been far more entertaining for the Doctor’s companion to be the Doctor. We’ll have to wait a little longer for that adventure.
Still, this one I found to be fairly entertaining, and loved seeing Troughton and Hines returning to the TARDIS.
Next time around, the Doctor and Peri experience a Timelash!