The Two Doctors
The Two Doctors was the fourth story of Season 22 of Doctor Who. It was the first appearance of the Sontarans since Season 15’s The Invasion of Time. The Second Doctor returned, played by Patrick Troughton, as did Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, both having last appeared in the twentieth anniversary special The Five Doctors. It was the first Sontaran story set on contemporary Earth, Peter Moffatt’s last contribution to the show and Robert Holmes’ first Sixth Doctorscript.
After the success of The Five Doctors, Nathan-Turner was keen to do another multi-Doctor story. He quickly secured Troughton as the returning incarnation. It was suggested the story be set in New Orleans, but Holmes found it to have little merit as a setting and the idea was quashed when funding was pulled. Venice was chosen by Nathan-Turner, but this was too expensive, leaving them with Seville, a Spanish town. Holmes reluctantly agreed to a rewrite, disappointed he would have to cut his jokes about the differences between British and American English. As a vegetarian, Holmes wrote The Two Doctors as an allegory of meat-eating, hunting and butchering.
The Second Doctor pilots the TARDIS as Jamie McCrimmon laments over the absence of their friend Victoria Waterfield. The Doctor reminds him that she’s off studying graphology at the time. Wondering where they’re going, Jamie is informed by the Doctor that the Time Lords are sending them on a mission to Space Station Camera in the Third Zone; they’ve also installed a teleport control on the TARDIS that grants them dual control. Showing the image of their destination to Jamie, the Doctor hears him compare its size to twenty castles. The Doctor explains to Jamie that the station is a research facility and they are here to have a discreet word with Dastari, the Head of Projects. The TARDIS materializes in the station kitchen, where they meet Shockeye, the station cook.
Shockeye is an Androgum, a member of a primitive, emotionally and ethically bestial humanoid race who make up the station’s workforce.
He is confrontational, angry that a ship has been landed in his kitchen, until the Doctor reveals he is a Time Lord. Suddenly deferential, Shockeye eyes Jamie hungrily and offers to buy him from the Doctor as the main ingredient for a meal. The Doctor, shocked, refuses. He takes Jamie away to see Dastari. As they leave, however, they hear the sound of the TARDIS de-materializing. This is observed by Chessene, an Androgum technologically augmented to mega-genius levels; her appearance has changed because of such – she looks like an attractive human woman. Chessene has plans of her own. They involve someone named Stike, who will be arriving soon, once Shockeye’s poisoned meal for the scientists takes effect. She has also taken possession of the Kartz-Reimer module.
The Doctor speaks to Dastari in his office. He explains the Time Lords want Kartz’ and Reimer’s time experiments ended, as, if the wrong people had access to time travel, it would spell disaster for the entire universe. The Time Lords have an official policy of neutrality, which prevents them from getting directly involved. Because of such, they’ve sent the Doctor, who has been exiled from their world, to maintain deniability of ever being involved. Dastari introduces Chessene. The Doctor is skeptical that augmentation can change her Androgum nature. He considers such tampering dangerous.
Meanwhile, three Sontaran battle cruisers appear near the station on an intercept course. Before the station’s defenses are activated, Chessene incapacitates the technician on post and opens the docking bays. Back in the office, the Doctor warns that the distortions from the Kartz-Reimer experiments threaten the fabric of time. Dastari refuses to order them ended. He accuses the Time Lords of not wanting another race to discover the secrets of time travel. The argument grows more heated. Dastari grows faint and falls into a drugged stupor. Energy weapons begin to sound in the corridors and the Doctor orders Jamie to run, as a Sontaran levels a gun at the Doctor.
Somewhere and somewhen else, the Sixth Doctor is fishing while Peri finishes dressing herself after trying to get a tan. He tries explaining that the lake should be full of gumblejacks, a fish that tastes heavenly when cooked just right. The Doctor packs up his fishing pole, chair and umbrella. He tells her it’s time to leave. After returning to the TARDIS, Peri is startled as the Sixth Doctor sways and collapses — just as, back on the station, Jamie spies the Second Doctor in a glass chamber, writhing in agony while a Sontaran manipulates controls.
In his TARDIS, the Sixth Doctor awakens in a confused state. He starts talking about jelly babies and a recorder. He has had a vision of himself in his second incarnation being put to death. He realizes this is impossible, since he is still alive, but he is also concerned he may have died in the past and only exists now as a temporal anomaly. He decides to consult his old friend Dastari.
The TARDIS materializes on the station. Everything is dark. The smell of decay and death is everywhere. The station computer demands the Doctor leave. When he refuses, it tries to kill Peri and him by de-pressurizing the passageway. The Doctor opens a hatch and drags his unconscious companion to another section.
In Dastari’s office, the Doctor discovers the scientist’s day journal and the Time Lords’ objections to the Kartz-Reimer experiments. He refuses to believe his people are responsible for the massacre. Peri suggests someone is trying to frame the Time Lords to drive a wedge between them and Third Zone governments. They leave the office to enter the service ducts, work their way to the control center and try to deactivate the computer before it kills them.
On Earth, Chessene, Shockeye and a Sontaran, Major Varl, seize a Spanish hacienda, killing its aged owner, Doña Arana. Varl sets up a beacon for the Sontaran ship. Chessene absorbs the knowledge of the old woman’s mind, learning they are in Andalucia just outside Seville. Varl announces Group Marshal Stike of the Ninth Sontaran Battle Fleet is in orbit.
Meanwhile, Oscar Botcherby and Anita approach the grounds. Oscar, an English ex-stage actor who is running a restaurant in the city, is here to catch moths, armed with a net and a cyanide killing jar. Anita and he see the Sontaran ship zoom overhead and through binoculars observe Dastari and another Sontaran carrying an unconscious Second Doctor towards the hacienda. Anita pulls Oscar along, thinking them victims of an airplane crash who need help.
In the bowels of the station, the Sixth Doctor tries to disconnect the main circuit to prevent the computer from attacking them again. Suddenly, Peri is attacked by a humanoid in rags. Her cries distract the Doctor. He is hit by a gas trap and falls unconscious, ensnared in the wires.
Peri knocks out her attacker and frees the Sixth Doctor, who saved himself by shutting off his respiratory passages. He disconnects the computer’s circuits. They find that Peri’s attacker is a half-delirious Jamie, who has been hiding all the while. Jamie moans that “they” killed the Doctor. Under hypnosis, he tells the Sixth Doctor what has transpired, giving a description that the Doctor recognizes as the Sontarans. Returning to the office to examine the station records, the Doctor suddenly sees Peri in the glass tube, writhing in pain.
As he frantically works the controls, the person in the tube changes from Peri to Dastari to the Second Doctor and even to himself. When Jamie and Peri return to the office, the Sixth Doctor explains that what Jamie saw was an illusion designed to make people believe the Doctor was dead and not investigate further; the animator had been left on and captured Peri’s image.
This means the Second Doctor is a prisoner. The Sixth Doctor deduces the Sontarans kidnapped Dastari as well. Dastari is the only biogeneticist in the galaxy who can isolate the symbiotic nuclei of a Time Lord, which gives them the molecular stability to travel through time. Given time travel, the Sontarans will be unstoppable. The Sixth Doctor puts himself into a telepathic trance to find his past incarnation. He wakes, having heard the sound of the Santa Maria, the largest of the twenty-five bells at the Great Cathedral of Seville.
In the cellar of the hacienda, Dastari and Chessene set up equipment. The Second Doctor is drugged and passive. Dastari asks why they are on Earth. Chessene says it is convenient for an attack Stike plans for the Madillon Cluster against the Rutan Host and Shockeye wants to taste the flesh of humans. Dastari heaps scorn on Shockeye’s primitive urges. He urges Chessene to remember she is beyond those, now.
The TARDIS materializes near the hacienda. Oscar approaches it as the TARDIS crew emerge. He thinks it a real police box and the Doctor and his companions are plain-clothes police officers. Taking advantage of the mistake, the Doctor asks that Oscar lead him to the hacienda.
Dastari plans to dissect the Second Doctor’s cell structure to isolate his symbiotic nuclei and give them to Chessene. The Second Doctor calls him mad. He protests that her barbaric Androgum nature and the ability to time travel will mean there will be no limit to her evil. The Sixth Doctor asks Peri to create a distraction at the hacienda’s front door while he and Jamie enter the cellar via a passage from the nearby ice house. Peri interrupts Dastari’s operation. She poses as a lost American student. Chessene is suspicious, having read thoughts of the Doctor in her mind. Chessene gets Shockeye to bring the Second Doctor through the hall, strapped to a wheelchair, to see if Peri reacts. She does not for she has never seen the Second Doctor. Peri makes her excuses and leaves, but Shockeye chases her anyway, eager for a meal.
Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor and Jamie are in the cellar. The Doctor examines the Kartz-Reimer module, a prototype time machine modeled on Time Lord technology. He tells Jamie that once the module’s briode nebulizer is primed with his symbiotic nuclei — the Rassilon Imprimatur — it will be safe for anyone to use. Unfortunately, the Sontarans have heard him. Outside, Shockeye catches up to Peri. She trips and falls. Shockeye looms over her, muttering with delight…
Shockeye knocks out Peri and brings her to the kitchen. In the cellar, Stike threatens to kill Jamie unless the Sixth Doctor gets into the module and primes it with his symbiotic print; the Doctor does so. Stike is about to kill Jamie anyway, but Jamie stabs Stike’s leg. he and the Doctor run upstairs, where they find the Second Doctor. Before they can release the prisoner and escape, Shockeye shows up with the unconscious Peri. The Second Doctor feigns unconsciousness while the others hide.
While the Sixth Doctor and Jamie watch from their hiding place, Chessene voices her concerns. If a second Time Lord is involved, other Time Lords may come. She has a contingency plan. She asks Dastari to implant the Second Doctor with Shockeye’s genetic material, turning the Doctor into an Androgum in her thrall. Then they will eliminate the Sontarans. However, Dastari and Chessene do not know the module is primed and that, outside, Stike is preparing to leave in it once Sontaran High Command has been notified. He will leave no survivors. He orders Varl to set the Sontaran battle craft’s self-destruct mechanism.
Interrupting Shockeye before he slaughters Peri, Chessene has him bring the Second Doctor to the cellar. There, she stuns Shockeye so Dastari can remove his genetic material. The Sixth Doctor revives Peri in the kitchen and ushers Jamie and her away. The Sixth Doctor tells them what he revealed about the Imprimatur in the cellar was not strictly true — he had heard Stike approaching and the speech was for the Sontaran’s benefit. The machine worked for the Doctor, but will not for them because the Doctor has taken the briode nebulizer.
Dastari has implanted the Second Doctor with a 50% Androgum inheritance. When Shockeye wakes in a rage, he finds a kindred spirit in the transformed Doctor. They decide to go into the town to try the local cuisine.
In the meantime, Dastari lures the Sontarans into the cellar. Chessene attacks them with two canisters of coronic acid. Varl is killed, but Stike, though wounded, escapes. He tries to use the module, but without the nebulizer, it severely burns him. Stike staggers towards his battle craft, forgetting about the self-destruct. The ship explodes, taking him with it.
The Sixth Doctor, Peri and Jamie follow the Second Doctor and Shockeye into Seville, hoping to cure him before the change becomes complete and affects the Sixth Doctor as well. Dastari and Chessene are seeking the two of them, knowing that unless the Second Doctor undergoes a second, stabilizing operation, he will eventually reject the Androgum transfusion.
The Second Doctor and Shockeye go to Oscar’s restaurant. They order gargantuan amounts of food. When Oscar demands they pay, Shockeye stabs and kills him, just as the Sixth Doctor and the others arrive. Shockeye leaves behind the Second Doctor, who slowly reverts to normal. All of them leave the restaurant to the distraught Anita. Chessene and Dastari arrive to take them back to the hacienda at gunpoint.
Chessene and Dastari find the nebulizer missing. The Sixth Doctor tells them how he primed the machine for Stike. To test the Doctor’s claim, they replace the nebulizer and send Peri on a trip with the module and she survives.
Chessene gives Shockeye permission to eat Jamie. The Androgum takes him to the kitchen. Alone for the moment, the Sixth Doctor smugly confirms the Second’s suspicions — the nebulizer is sabotaged, with an interface layer so thin it would only work once for Peri. The Doctors retrieve the key to their chains. The Sixth Doctor frees himself first and runs to save Jamie. He encounters Shockeye in the kitchen. The Androgum wounds him with a knife, then pursues him through the grounds, but the Sixth Doctor finds Oscar’s cyanide killing jar. He ambushes Shockeye, covers his head with Oscar’s butterfly net and presses the cyanide-soaked cotton wool to his face, killing him.
The sight of the Time Lord’s blood on the ground is too much for Chessene. She falls to her knees and starts licking it, to Dastari’s disgust. He realizes that no matter how augmented she may be, Chessene will always be an Androgum. He decides to free the Second Doctor and his companions. When Chessene sees this, she shoots and kills Dastari. She tries to shoot the Second Doctor and Peri as well, but Jamie throws a knife at her, making her drop the gun. Chessene goes into the module, hoping to escape, but the module explodes, disintegrating her molecularly and turning her back into a common Androgum in death.
The Second Doctor uses a Stattenheim remote control — which the Sixth Doctor covets — to summon his TARDIS. He and Jamie say their goodbyes and leave.
The Sixth Doctor and Peri make their way back to their own TARDIS. The Doctor tells her that from now on, it will be a healthy vegetarian diet for both of them.