I know for a fact there are more interesting pictures of Tom Baker than the ones they are using. SO BLOODY WELL USE THEM!
Well, having seen The Final Days of Planet Earth (aka The End of Time Parte the First), k9: ReGeneration, and Chelmsford 123, I'm now struggling to download Get Crazy before the new year, the film that looks Paul Margrs in the eye and goes "That's not surreal. THIS is surreal." In the meantime, what about the Fourth Doctor, still stuck in that cellar with the even more awful Asshole Yates?
Hornets Nest IV: A Sting In The Tale
"Rubbish! What are you lot, anyway? Just some sort of space vermin! A swarm of fleas hopping from one host to the next! You've got nothing to offer the universe - you can't even make honey!"
Struggling not to let Asshole get a word in edgeways (though I don't know if his comment of "Unpredictable things, nuns," is supposed to be hilarious or depressingly idiotic), the Doctor continues his story. I myself feel slight melancholy as Asshole will rise to the top in the next adventure and this is our last chance to be in any way free from the odious tosser.
For his next inverse trip in time to fight the mind-eating bugs, the Doctor sets the TARDIS back in time to England during the Middle Ages to check out Tilbey Abbey in 1031 where the all-female order was attacked by rabid dogs and magic wasps. Walking through the snow-covered woods late at night, singing mondergreen-filled Christmas Carols, the Time Lord is almost immediately attacked by hoardes of starving wolves and runs away. This goes on for a while. Until the wolves seemingly get as bored of it as I do and wander off, leaving the Doctor to the mercy of the medieval nuns (who, rather oddly, are so beautiful the Doctor stutters and begs for some booze - "as long as I got my hot totty, I didn't care what she asked me!").
Trying not be sick at the rubbish food (which, unlike Spartha Jones, he pretends to enjoy to be polite), the Doctor realizes that all this shocking young and sexy nuns are hardcore alcoholics who drink so much their breath has rendered the Doctor tipsy, hence his odd behavior. The drunk nuns aren't pleased to find out their new guest is on a mission, and assume he's after their manifestly-possessed-by-hornets Mother Superior. "I'm a doctor, sister!" our hero protests as we discover that night is falling (... it was full moon when the Doctor arrived! Was he so pissed on the fumes he dozed the whole day away? Or are the nuns so drunk they can't tell if it's day or night any more?) and the wolves are back at the door, seemingly hunting the mother superior as well.
The nuns take the Doctor to meet their Abbess... and finds the nuns worship a rather startled pig in a wimple. Unsure if the nuns are insane from their 200% proof homemade altar wine, the Doctor nevertheless quickly works out the hornet queen is buzzing inside its "porcine prison" and unable to get out for some reason.
After this rather awkward meeting, the Doctor watches on as the nuns use slingslots, bows and arrows and cauldrons of boiling oil to keep the wolves at bay. He, like myself, finds this all rather wierd and sits back to enjoy this freaky Buffy-esque display of female kick-assness against the hornet-possessed wolves, who are presumably trying to rescue the trapped hornet queen. After enough teenage nun carnage, the Doctor explains the basic plot of the series to the main talking nun, but it turns out that - like velociraptors - these wolves are badass smartasses who can open doors and things. The Doctor suggests the novel approach of "let the wolves get the pig" which all the nuns are determined to pout cutely, but the Time Lord refuses to be distracted by Zoot and her spankings...
The church-under-siege plot skips ahead with a few sentences until the wolves storm the abbey and chew up the nuns and spit them out and finally this sparagore cracks the nuns' resolve and they accept the Doctor's Plan B. The wolves hunt down the petrified pig and thankfully DOESN'T rip it open (despite all the Doctor's juicy suggestions of what such an event would look like), absorbing the queen and then skips off - pausing only to sneer at the Doctor as it passes. But, with the entire hive in one body (the bad wolf), they are at a tactical disadvantage! The Doctor has some doggy treats which the host wolf cannot resists and yet ANOTHER chase sequence begins as the Doctor leads the pack leader through the snow back to the TARDIS.
(While this goes on, I'll boggle slightly - if the Doctor has captured the entire swarm, he'll surely have to let them go in Venice or else cause a time paradox by changing all the history he's just experienced. Right?)
The Doctor gets the wolf into the TARDIS, but the dog of war does bite the hand that feeds it and the Time Lord immediately starts to flake out - he's very worried about medieval rabies (um, Gallifreyan triple-coded DNA can't deal with some dog saliva?). Like the last/next time he gets bitten by a wolf, the Doctor decides to send the TARDIS into that big white void outside space and time to think of what to do next and try not to get turned into fiction. Meanwhile the wolf is lost in the depths of the TARDIS (a lovely touch is the Doctor rubbing in that Asshole, not being a proper companion, has never witnessed that for himself... heh, loser...).
Dazed and feverish, the Doctor starts scrambling through parts of the TARDIS he no longer remembers, getting more and more out of it with every step. Soon the Doctor begins to wonder if he's been infected by the wasps? The Doctor's spirits seep even lower as he finally twigs that the sheer number of nasty things that break into the TARDIS are beginning to outnumber those that stay outside, but then his Time Lord DNA finally sits up, takes notice and cures his shock and fever. At bloody last.
This Invasion of Time chase through the TARDIS FINALLY comes to an end as our hero catches up with the wolf, who demands to know what in the name of Slitheen buggery is going on with this frikken police box? The hornets reveal they were accidentally marooned on Earth and spent years getting used to taking over the simple brains of animals - and they couldn't conquer the nuns as they were all pissed out of their skulls and the swarm simply can't hold its liquor. With that explained, ANOTHER chase through the TARDIS begins. Thankfully, the Doctor briefly loses the wolf in the kitchens, before losing himself in "the TARDIS's catacombs", before the wolf catches up and disgorges the swarm, which promplty consumes the Doctor... just like that other swarm which took over his brain. Man, twice in a year, that just smacks of carelessness. Oh, and the empty wolf turns out to be Captain, the Doctor's dog from the first episode.
After briefly considering using the Doctor to conquer Gallifrey (again, Season 15 is seemingly the go-to place for plots this week), the Swarm march the Doctor back to the console room, learning on the way all about their future encounters. The Doctor rants that he's survived the Pescatons, the Trods, the Krynoids and the Vogan Slavers, Zygons, Axons, Nestenes and Kraals and he's not going to let some pissy space fleas get the better of him. In fact, he's going to regain control of his body and change history, the Time Lord Victorius!
...any minute now...
...any... minute... now...
Well, it quickly becomes apparent that the wasp-infested Doctor isn't doing that any time soon, so onto Plan C: become the hornets' bitch and hope something turns up. But, with a kind of Rik Mayall/Adrian Edmonsen logic, goes through seemingly half a dozen "OK, I give in"/lunges/gets crap beaten out of him/"OK, this time I give in" routines before the TARDIS returns to reality and the hornets force the Doctor to march out the doors into... is it Venice? Why, yes, it is Venice! What a freaking surprise! The swarm quits the Doctor and surge off to infest Antonio, leaving the Time Lord and his dog hanging around looking gormless and slow on the uptake. The Doctor still hasn't remembered. In fact, it's about a minute after Antonio gets possessed that the Time Lord finally twigs and explains it all again for the audience's benefit. But not for Asshole who presumably is still struggling to understand that the dog Captain is not actually a military officer.
With history back on track, the Doctor and his dog nevertheless search Venice in desperation trying to catch the possessed dwarf: "The Web of Time has healed itself and bent me to its will to make sure everything runs with deadly efficiency," the Time Lord sighs and heads off back to the TARDIS, having caused everything that's already happened.
In the basement, the Doctor (sounding VERY bored and tired) explains all this to Asshole (who chips in with more agonizingly obvious points). But the "companion" of the series is confused - whatever happened to the queen? The Doctor reveals that it managed to live on in Ernestina the ballerina's grandson, Percy Noggins, and their comeback tour in the form of those stuffed animals. Asshole nevertheless finds none of this as interesting as the real estate value of the Time Lord's cottage. "You wouldn't want to know everything about me, would you, Mike?" he sighs in pain, "I certainly wouldn't want to know everything..."
"All right, all right!" Asshole screams defensively. "The point is: we're back where the story began," he concludes with excruciating pointlessness.
"Yes," the Doctor sobs miserably. But, although he'd been caught in a timey wimey predestination paradox where free will is an illusion, but no more Mister Nice Time Lord! "There's nothing to be done about the past, but what we must do now is face the Hornets here!"
"Together?" asks Asshole, suddenly realizing why the Doctor didn't call on Sarah or Harry or the Brigadier - they, unlike him, are not expendable.
"YES!" the Doctor gives that patented deranged grin.
"I suppose the question I must ask is: what can I do?" asks Asshole fearfully, asking the question that I, quite frankly, have been asking for the previous four releases. Go on Margrs, justify his presence, I DARE YOU?! The fact the Doctor begins his explanation with the words "Don't take this wrong way, Mike..." followed indirectly by Asshole's "I'm expendable, you're not!" sob. Oh yeah.
Asshole begs the Doctor to hire Captain Jack, Martha Jones or even Mr. freaking Copper - someone younger and fitter from the NuWhoniverse who can face these unstoppable bug monsters instead of his precious derriere! But dawn has broken, the hornets are at sleep and Mrs. Wimsey is wondering what the Doctor is doing in the basement with the total Asshole (who immediately starts hurling abuse at her). "I don't like the sound of her," he sulks, and then bravely prepares to open the door to the basement - only AFTER the Doctor repeatedly tells everyone that there is no possible danger of any sort whatsoever.
Asshole finally summons up the courage to open the door...
AND IT'S A TRAP! ALL THE ANIMALS ARE ALIVE AND POSSESSED!!!!
And that's the cliffhanger, ladies and germs.
Well, this sure felt like padding in this series. There's very little actual script, just narration of a very long chase sequence appealing to Tom Baker's love of the infinite TARDIS interior. I wouldn't normally complain about a lack of originality in this series (it's MEANT to be full of homage and cliche), but this is terrible. You could almost play this to the last episode of Invasion of Time and it would be the perfect soundtrack. The Doctor waffling on about how he's encountered much better alien brain parasites doesn't help either.
Weakest of the series so far, I regret to say.