Once again, a companion exit completely takes me by surprise. I had no idea it was happening before I started watching, but at least this time it was built up to within the story, rather than coming completely out of the blue at the end. Victoria had spent a few episodes questioning the value and morality of being a TARDIS traveller, and was being worn down by the constant peril. I don’t quite buy her new foster parents being so enthusiastic to take her on, but at least her desire to leave made sense.
The Victoria coda is probably the strongest part of the story, particularly her and Jamie’s poignant farewell chat – it felt very modern. I’m a bit sad to see her go, as it feels like she only just got here. I don’t feel like I completely know her, but I did like her. I’m glad that her final episode featured her penchant for sudden and ear-piercing screaming being used as a plot point.
The rest of the story took a while to get going, and seemed to tread water for the first four episodes or so. I get the feeling it would be one of those that would be vastly improved by actually existing. I’m especially curious to see how exactly they realised The Doctor as a stunt helicopter pilot in episode six.
On the plus side, there was yet another strong guest cast, with Mr Oak and Mr Quill being the highlights. They’re wonderfully creepy and strange, and the infamously scary open mouthed gas attack bit is indeed scary. Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to point out that Rimmer’s Dad is in it.
But this story’s greatest legacy will undoubtedly be the little device The Doctor uses to unscrew something in the opening scenes. Another piece of the jigsaw falls in to place – I think we’ve only got Time Lords, Gallifrey and the proper introduction of UNIT to go before all the mythology is ticked off.