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All these evils I have fought, while you have done nothing but observe! True, I am guilty of interference. Just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!—The Doctor defends himself before the Time Lords.
A race known only as "The Aliens" have kidnapped a number of soldiers from Earth's history, brainwashed them and set them to fighting in a series of wargames. The survivors will be made into an army capable of conquering the galaxy. They are aided by the War Chief, whom the Doctor recognises as being one of his own race, and who has provided the Aliens with SIDRATs for transport purposes. However, the War Chief plans to double-cross the Aliens and seize power himself.
When the Aliens' commander, the War Lord, learns of the War Chief's treachery, he has him shot. Meanwhile, the Doctor and friends have managed to gather a band of human resistance fighters, shaken off the control of the Aliens and stop the wargames. However, he can't return all the surviving soldiers to their right places, so he calls on his own people, the Time Lords, for help.
They arrive and the Doctor is instantly put on trial for violating one of the Time Lords' prime directives - noninterference in other races' history. The Doctor argues that he has always done good, but to no avail. He is sentenced to exile on Earth, while Jamie and Zoe are returned to their own times, just before they met the Doctor, with their memories wiped. The Doctor is additionally informed that he must change his appearance again...
The final episode of this adventure is quite significant. As well as ushering in a new Doctor, and a new era in the show with budget-dictated Earthbound exile, this was the first time that the Doctor's race had been named, and that the reason for the Doctor's fugitive status had been explored. This is also the only time during the show's initial run that the Doctor and all of his companions changed at the same time. It wouldn't happen again for another forty years.
With 10 parts totaling about 4 hours run time, this is the second longest serial (third if you count Season 23 as one whole) behind The Daleks' Master Plan.
- All There in the Manual: The aliens are actually called "the War Lords" in EU media.
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": It's the end of an era in many ways, and the first appearance of the Time Lords... but that's only at the end of a very long story which explores a war mystery and a conspiracy. Unfortunately, it now tends to be seen as loads of episodes of messing around before the Time Lords show up.
- Army of the Ages
- Awesome but Impractical: The SIDRATs. Their more malleable insides mean they only live for a short while. It's why the War Chief needs the TARDIS, to stabilize the knock-offs. He could use his but it's also his escape pod.
- Bait and Switch: The first episode seems like it's an old historical episode about World War One. Then the second part ends with a Roman army advancing on the group.
- Bandito: Arturo Villar.
- Big Bad Wannabe: The War Chief. He's pretty good but he seriously underestimates how loyal the War Lords are to their ruler.
- Bigger on the Inside: The aspect of Time Lord technology that tips the Doctor off that the War Lords are getting help from one of his own.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The abducted humans.
- Call Back
Doctor: Jamie, I need to pick this lock.
Jamie: Oh with a tuning fork?
- Comforting Comforter: Jamie, to a sleeping Zoe.
- Dastardly Whiplash: The War Chief is a traditionalist, at least as far as his grooming habits go.
- Defiant to the End: The Doctor is very glad to hear that he's caused trouble.
- Depending on the Writer:
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe is unclear on what happened to the War Chief. Either he made it to his TARDIS and fled in the chaos or he was taken with the War Lords back to their planet.
- The story doesn't actually show the Doctor regenerating. Writers used this to squeeze in some more adventures for Two. How long this lasted is up to the various authors.
- Downer Ending: Jamie and Zoe have had most of their memories of the Doctor erased (though the EU would eventually give them happier endings), while the Doctor is forced into exile and loses a regeneration.
- The Dreaded:
- The Time Lords.
- The Doctor cites the Daleks are the worst villain he's faced.
- Early Installment Weirdness: When told he must sacrifice one regeneration, the Doctor's only concern is what he'll look like in his next life. This looks very strange to those who watched David Tennant's Tear Jerker of a regeneration. Unless he's stalling for time...
- Though it could be viewed as Character Development, coupled with the fact that at least the Time Lords, and the potential for rescue still existed when Two forced to regenerate and exiled. Also, when Ten properly regenerated, that was his last one. Here, the Doctor had eleven more to burn through.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The Time Lords note that Earth seems to get invaded more than other planets.
- End of an Age: The last regular appearance of the Second Doctor and the last story to be broadcast in black and white.
- Enemy Mine: The Resistance includes soldiers from opposing sides, starting with Jamie and the Redcoat.
- Five-Bad Band
- Glasses Pull: How General Smythe exerts Mind Control over his inferiors. His German/Confederate equivalent uses a Monocle Pull.
- Godzilla Threshold: While having been able to call the Time Lords at any time, this is the first time the Doctor has had to do it.
- Grand Finale: For the Patrick Troughton era and the black and white stories.
- Harsher in Hindsight: At the time, the concept of Regeneration really wasn't as fleshed out as it is now. At the time, the Time Lords were just making the Doctor 'change his appearance' in preparation for his exile. Now, it's more or less the Time Lords killing The Doctor (In the sense of forcing him to use one of his 12 regenerations) before they exile him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Doctor willingly gives up his freedom in exchange for the Time Lords sending all the humans back home. Though he does try and make a run for the TARDIS.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Doctor uses these exact words of the scientist whom he turns the processing machine on.
- Hope Spot: For a moment, it looks like the Doctor gave the Time Lords the slip before they assume remote control of the TARDIS and drag it back to Gallifrey.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The War Chief speaks of humanity this way and the reason why the War Lords have chosen them as their army.
- Know When to Fold'Em: When dragged back to Gallifrey, the Doctor throws in the towel, aware that he's not getting out of this.
- I Surrender, Suckers: The Doctor pretends to agree in the climax of episode 6 but throws a smoke pellet and steals the SIDRAT controls as episode 7 opens.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Lampshaded by the Time Lords.
- Large Ham: A few characters get moments. The Security Chief would be a Ham if he ever figured out that he wasn't a Dalek. Villar is a textbook Ham.
- Mind Control: How the War Lords plan to control their human army.
- Mistaken for Spies: Systematically, by every single group of people they meet.
- No Name Given: Gallifrey is not named.
- Oh Crap:
- The Doctor when he and the War Chief recognize each other.
- The War Lord and the Doctor when the Time Lords arrive.
- As a redcoat learns, if you shoot at a Scottish warrior, you had better kill him.
- Our Doors Are Different: The Security Chief's door is designed to evoke a guillotine blade.
- Pet the Dog: The Time Lords allow Jamie and Zoe to retain the memories of their first adventure with the Doctor, but nothing more.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: The Time Lords. The War Chief shows how useful their technology can be.
- Refuge in Audacity: The Doctor pretends to be a prison inspector from the ministry.
- Sdrawkcab Name: SIDRAT. The novelisation gives us a Backronym: They're Sidereal Interdimensional Robot All-purpose Transporters.
- Slouch of Villainy: The War Lord. The War Chief tries to imitate it.
- Space Age Stasis: The Doctor cites this as the reason he left Gallifrey. With all the power the Time Lords have, there's so much they could be seeing and doing yet they chose to just sit around.
- Superman Stays Out of Gotham: The Doctor accuses the Time Lords of this, noting that they could be doing so much for the galaxy with their great power. Their response is a disinterested "...And?"
- Starter Villain: Smythe acts as the main antagonist for the first few episodes before his superiors reveal themselves.
- Stay in the Kitchen:
Jamie: Lady Jennifer I don't think you should come.
Lady Jennifer: Because I'm a woman?
Jamie: Yea... No! Err... Well, in a way yes.
- Arturo refuses to listen to anything Zoe says and mocks Jamie for "listening to a woman".
- Stock Episode Titles: 14 uses.
- Tap on the Head: Zoe takes out the sergeant with a vase of flowers. Unlike most uses, however, the Doctor checks to make sure he's okay afterwards.
- Undying Loyalty: The War Lords to the War Lord, much to the War Chief's ire.
- Values Dissonance: In-Universe, between the soldiers from each different time zone.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Done to the occupants of a SIDRAT (including the Doctor).
- Wham! Episode: The introduction of the Time Lords who recapture the Doctor for stealing the TARDIS.
- Wham! Line: "Are you suggesting that he's [the War Chief] is bringing in his own people? The Time Lords?"
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Lady Jennifer disappears about halfway through. Later, Lieutenant Carstairs says he wants to look for her, but he disappears (in a more literal sense) before he can. Word of God on the DVD commentary says that when they returned to Earth, he did find her. And married her.
- The War Chief. He is a Time Lord and can regenerate after all. Various EU sources have offered conflicting fates for him.
- Depending on the fate, his TARDIS.
- During the Doctor's trial, no one questions him on the fate of Susan Foreman. A Brief History of Time Lords touches on this, suspecting that, given Susan's Mysterious Past, the Time Lords deliberately didn't question him on her fate, rather than admit that they didn't know anything about Susan.