‘What lies ahead is for me, not for them.’ This is slightly frustrating, because there are moments as brilliant and moving as anything in the series: like the Doctor taking a moment to make sure Adric and Tegan are safe before he heads towards what, presumably, his future self has told him is his doom. Some of the dialogue is wonderful: ‘I’ve just dipped into the future. We must be prepared for the worst’; ‘A change of circumstances that fragments the law that holds the universe together’. And, far from treating this like he’s half bothered and just working out his notice, Baker’s performance is excellent: filled with a sort of distracted melancholy punctuated with flashes of the old smile.
The downside is, the exposition is lacking – certainly compared to Warriors’ Gate (a story with a reputation for being “difficult”, but which takes a lot more time to clarify itself than this). We know what’s happening, most of the time, but not necessarily the reasons why: why is materialising underwater the best way to flush out the Master (it seems fairly insane, it needed a line to say why this was better than opening the doors to space or something). Romana’s room is jettisoned, which feels more like a symbolic decision than a rational one. The Doctor needs to go to Logopolis to repair the chameleon circuit to hide from the Master, but he and we know that the Master’s already in the TARDIS. Most troublingly, why is there cling film on the Monitor’s equipment?
I think that’s a shame, because there’s a lot of good material here. Making the TARDIS vulnerable and invaded is already becoming over-used (after the Alzarian Outlers and Biroc – and still to come the Terileptil android, the Cybermen, the Black Guardian, the Malus, the Tractators…), but this is the best example, all doomy bell and Dutch tilts into the corners of the cloisters. The Watcher is a genuinely creepy presence, beckoning slowly, and lurking in the background of shots. It’s a wise move that we don’t hear him speak. And the idea of Logopolis is awesome: its pinkish-grey aesthetic is the quintessential early-Eighties Doctor Who palette.
Next episode: Logopolis – Part Three