The future is fighting the past! The Doctor, Romana and K9 are trapped in a temporal war on the planet Aoris, and with both sides now capable of time travel the conflict is entering its deadly final stages. With each minute another bit of history locks into place, leaving less and less room for the Doctor to manoeuvre. Can even he save the same planet twice at the same time?
This adventure continues from Doctor Who: The Paradox Planet, which was an interesting setup – but like all two-parters, you can’t really judge whether it’s a success until you’ve heard the finale. This second installment, like part one, has an awful lot going on, with two stories intertwining in the past and the future, and with the actions effected in the past by both past and future parties, impacting both their futures. I was worried that the ending would be predictable but while some parts were what I was expecting, I was ultimately surprised by where the twists took things. The story really makes use of the multiple timezones but never overplays its hand.
I’ve really warmed to the Doctor and Romana despite a slow start, and Lalla Ward’s Romana is particularly good in this episode. Her dry sarcasm and reproachful interactions with K9 are a nice counter to the death and destruction. K9 is also great: he has a pivotal role and isn’t shy in making the most of the attention.
For a complex story it never feels rushed and it’s good to have the odd longer tale for the 4th Doctor – it raises the stakes and creates even more investment in the action. And of course, with a two-parter’s relative rarity it also has more impact. If you’re looking for a good sample of the 4th Doctor range then this is a great taste test. It’s a good story and a good cast and, for me at least, really captures the feel of the TV show.