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The Doctor: "Androzani Major was becoming quite developed last time I passed this way."The Doctor: "...I don't remember. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the future."
Peri: "When was that?"
—The Fifth Doctor, reminiscing on how hard it is to try and keep his travels straight.
The Doctor: "Change, my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon."—One of The Sixth Doctor's first lines ever spoken, right before taking a nice big bite of ham.
Landing on the planet of Androzani Minor, the Doctor and new companion Peri go out of the TARDIS to wander around a very, very exotic alien planet and quickly (more or less in this order) find themselves under attack from random people, contract a nasty rash, get captured, jailed, and then shot. Luckily, as it turns out, the Doctor and Peri that were shot were actually android duplicates rather than the real thing. The real Doctor and Peri, on the other hand, now find themselves "guests" of the mysterious Sharaz Jek, who hangs out in the lower caverns wearing a black-and-white jumpsuit and a Phantom of the Opera-style mask.
Peri and the Doctor compare their rashes; a more senior "guest" of Jek's sees this, and smugly tells them that they are now suffering a slow and painful death at the hands of 'spectrox toxaemia' - said to be incredibly lethal. Before a cure can be found, the Doctor and Peri are separated - with the Doctor being kidnapped by Stotz and his gang (for interrogation at Androzani Major) until he goes MacGyver on his captors, steals their ship and nearly crashes it on the way back to save Peri.
While all of this insanity with the Doctor and Peri is happening, there's also subplots featuring arms smugglers, political intrigue and backstabbing of the highest order. And death. Lots and lots of death.
Finally, the Doctor returns to Jek's place and goes off into deep, nearly airless caves to retrieve the cure for his and Peri's condition and barely carries her out in time for redeemed-villain Jek to die a Heroic Sacrifice. The Doctor carries Peri along the alien landscape until he trips just before reaching the TARDIS - dropping Peri and one of the two doses of antidote. D'oh. Starting up the TARDIS, the Doctor gives Peri the remaining antidote - actually worried that he might die from the poisoning rather than regenerate. As we all know, though, this is not the case.
- Anti-Villain: Sharaz Jek.
- Aside Comment
- Bastard Understudy: Morgus is overthrown by his secretary! Particularly ironic because Morgus suspects everyone but her of plotting against him, even when they're not.
- BBC Quarry
- Beneath the Earth
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Morgus addresses the camera directly on occasion. This was a result of the actor misinterpreting the stage directions, but it recalls the Jacobean theatrical tradition of the Aside Comment, and so gives the character an air of Shakespearean villainy.
- Cliff Hanger: The endings of Part One and Part Three are considered among the best in the show's history.
- The Chew Toy: Surprisingly, the Doctor. He gets poisoned, almost shot in the head by an android, nearly gets his arms pulled off, slapped by Sharaz Jek among other things, and then dies.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Morgus, and HOW!
- Cow Tools: Sharaz Jek has lots of them, one of which he uses to kill Morgus.
- Crapsack World
- Deadly Gas: Stotz is providing Sharaz Jek with gas weapons, among other things, which prove to be a major advantage over the army.
- Death by Materialism: Stotz and his gang follow Jek through the caves while he's apparently fetching spectrox for them, hoping to find where the spectrox is stored and raid it. However, Jek expected this and led them to where the monster was. Two soldiers were killed.
Krelper: You tricked us into that!
Jek: No, you were led by your own cupidity. Greed, heedless of caution, lures many a man to his death.
- The Determinator: The Doctor breaks free of metal restraints, steals a spaceship, outruns armed and angry mercenaries, climbs deep into caves with no oxygen and back, and carries Peri to the TARDIS while in the paralysis stage of his disease.
- Also Sharaz Jek during the final confrontation.
"Morgus! You think bullets could stop me now?!" (They don't)
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Sharaz Jek dies in the arms of one of his androids; The Doctor dies in Peri's arms.
- Distressed Dude: Like his Third and Fourth incarnations, the Fifth Doctor gets kidnapped in this story, and chained and blindfolded.
- Downer Ending: The fifth Doctor and most of the cast ends up dead, but to cap it all of as he dies the last image to go through the Doctor's head is The Master looming over him, cackling triumphantly.
- Dramatic Unmask
- Elaborate Underground Base: Just how did Sharaz Jek furnish his place, anyway?
- Establishing Character Moment:
The Sixth Doctor: Three I’s in one breath? Makes you sound a rather egotistical young lady.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The corrupt President is becoming disenchanted with Morgus and makes little effort to hide it, leaving Morgus to believe (incorrectly) that the President is moving against him.
- Evil Versus Evil: The only relatively sane and decent character is Chellak, and even he's willing to send a guy to certain death just to cover up an embarrassment.
- Fan Service: The Doctor's moving death scene is somewhat undermined by the excellent view the audience get of Peri's trembling cleavage. Davison has joked about this turn of events at times.
- Fate Worse Than Death: According to actor Peter Davison, death would be preferable to turning into Colin Baker. We assume he's joking, given the two actors are friends.
- Find the Cure
- Floating Advice Reminder: As the Doctor lies dying, his companions' heads float around encouraging him to regenerate... and then the Master's head shows up and tells him to give up and die:
Tegan: "What was it you always told me Doctor? "Brave heart?" You'll survive, Doctor."
Turlough: "You must survive. Too many of your enemies would delight in your death, Doctor."
Kamelion: "Turlough speaks the truth, Doctor."
Nyssa: "You're needed. You mustn't die, Doctor."
Adric: "You know that, Doctor!"
The Doctor: "Adric?"
The Master: "No my dear Doctor, you must die! Die Doctor! DIE DOCTOR!"
- Foreshadowing: Shortly before that, the Doctor notes that it "feels different this time." Perhaps a warning of a regeneration about to go awry and foist upon us the horrors of Six's characterization?
- Gadgeteer Genius: For once, the Doctor's not the only one - Sharaz Jek has his android creations.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Doctor
- Holographic Terminal
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Sharaz Jek's intentions towards Peri are... not benign. And, although it's not explicitly stated, do not go unnoticed; note how in every scene the three characters are in together, the Doctor makes a point of putting himself between Peri and Jek.
- Improperly Placed Firearms:Ingrams In Space!
- It's the Only Way: The Doctor has an idea that Jek's android guards won't kill anything that's not human. He tests this theory by opening the door and waiting to see if they shoot him.
- I Will Protect Her: This is essentially the Doctor's key motivation for the bulk of the story -- he's not interested in the civil war or the smuggling or whatever, he just wants to get Peri cured, out of Sharaz Jek's hands and off the planet ASAP.
- Instant Sedation
- It Was His Sled: Every male character dies.
- Kill'Em All: Literally, only two characters survive this story - Peri and a single secondary character. The android copy of Salateen may have survived as well, although it's debatable whether it counts. At least the Doctor could get better.
- There's also the man Morgus sends out to sabotage something, who's never seen again, though knowing Morgus he was probably killed to tie up loose ends. The novelisation does indeed make a point of having Morgus make an order to have that guy taken care of.
- Large Ham: Sharaz Jek and Morgus are almost Shakespearean in their furious ranting and scheming asides, respectively.
- The Mad Hatter:
Sharaz Jek: You think I'm mad?
Sharaz Jek: I am mad.
- Magic Antidote
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Everyone shown onscreen in the serial dies (The Doctor, of course, gets better) with the exception of Peri and Morgus' female assistant. They are, not coincidentally, the two only female characters in the serial.
- People in Rubber Suits: The ridiculously fake monster, which as usual is overlit instead of being kept in shadow.
- Noble Demon: Sharaz Jek treats his prisoners like guests and doesn't do harm to people who haven't wronged him first.
- No Blood for Phlebotinum
- Not Quite Dead
- Redemption Equals Death: Sharaz Jek.
- Arguably true for The Doctor as well, who blames himself for Adric's death. Notably, he has opportunity to cure himself, and doing so probably would have made his return to Peri much easier.
- Ridiculously-Human Robots: Jek's robotic doubles are amazingly articulate when it comes to expressing emotions.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Sharaz Jek has started the whole war simply to get revenge on Morgus.
- Spanner in the Works: Unusually, the Doctor's role in the story is limited to frantically attempting to get him and Peri out alive. His mere presence, however, inadvertently causes the entire messed-up Androzani society to implode. The Doctor brings down a corrupt government accidentally.
- Spice of Life: Spectrox
- Stalker with a Crush: Sharaz Jek, sorta, without the Stalking bit, technically.
- We Have Reserves: Even though he leads the army into a trap, Sharaz Jek is overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Doctor and Sharaz Jek both qualify.
- The X of Y
- ↑ In retrospect, the Doctor also seems to be taking the leaving of Turlough and the loss of Kamelion from the last episode rather well.