by Mark Greig
'Arc of Infinity' kicked off the series' landmark 20th season in 1983. John Nathan-Turner, having another one of his bright ideas, decided that every story in this season should see the Doctor battling a familiar foe from the show’s past. It’s not a bad idea, but in that unique way of his, JNT still managed to cock it up royally.
First of all he didn’t bring back any of the beloved icons like the Daleks, Ice Warriors, Cybermen or the Sontarans. He didn’t even go for second tier foes like the Autons, Yeti, Silurians or Sea Devils. No, he went for the much cheaper option by reusing such adversaries as the Black Guardian, the Master (again) and, in this case, Omega.
Let’s face it, Omega was hardly likely to be high on anyone’s comeback list. His fate seemed rather definitively sealed way back in 'The Three Doctors'. And yet here he is, still bent on revenge against the Time Lords and the Doctor in particular. Glad to see his fondness for embarrassingly naff looking lackeys hasn’t changed. Nor has his uncanny skill for being both resoundingly over the top and incredibly dull at the same time.
Bizarrely, the Time Lords don’t seem to give a toss about Omega and are more interested in having the Doctor disintegrated for reasons that are difficult to describe or understand. On the companion side of things, Tegan’s back after being absent for a whole week. It’s nice to see she’s finally ditched that flight attendant's uniform. Nyssa is in there as well, doing something or other. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for her, she’s very easy to miss.
Eventually the Doctor and his companions are all reunited for the final showdown with Omega in... err, Amsterdam? That’s a bit undramatic isn’t it, Amsterdam? It’s interesting that of all the places in the universe for an intergalactic terror like Omega to hang out, he chose Amsterdam. Hmm, what could he possibly find appealing about Amsterdam? I wonder...
Notes and Quotes
--A hint of things to come as Colin Baker makes an appearance.
--Michael Gough (Hedin) previously played the Celestial Toymaker in the eponymous season three story and was married to Anneke Wills, alias of the Doctor's companion, Polly.
--The scenes set in the matrix, once brilliantly surreal, are now horribly embarrassing. Which reminds me, Clara Oswald was running around somewhere during this story.
--I think the production team sampled too many of the local delicacies while in Amsterdam:
Councillor Hedin: "What we are, we owe to you."
One out of four dispersal chambers.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.