The Time Monster
|The Time Monster|
|Air date||20 May - 24 June 1972|
|Written by||Robert Sloman|
|Directed by||Paul Bernard|
|The Mutants||The Three Doctors|
The Mattress is back with a crystal from Ancient Atlantis (how he stole it from under Professor Zarroff's nose we'll never know), and he's using it on a machine called TOMTIT in order to bring a powerful and dangerous entity that lives outside of time known as Kronos to do his bidding. Also, a bunch of other shit including a TARDIS inside a TARDIS inside a TARDIS before Logopolis and that other thing did it, the Brig being frozen in time, and the Master having a kinky sex slave in an ancient civilisation. Yeah, it's one big clusterfuck.
This is by far the campiest story of the Pertwee era, and probably the campiest story to come out of Doctor Who until Season 17's The Creature from the Pit. There are so many daft moments, most notably whenever the Doctor and Jo have gotta be somewhere really quickly so the Doctor just activates one of his modifications to Bessie to make her speed increase to insane levels. Also, when Benton is reverted to a baby midway through the story and gets restored at the end completely naked, and the whole cast all engage in one big cringe-inducing chuckle.
Some of the cliff-hangers to this story are weird, too. There's one where Yates is on his way over, but then the Master warps some WW2 fighters over him and the episode ends with the characters being unsure of Yates died or not. Umm... So? Did we even know Yates that well by this point? All I'm saying is that I struggle to see much of a reason to care. It would've been like if Danny Pink's death were a cliff-hanger (which, let's be honest, it fucking well should've been). Additionally, the cliff-hanger to part 4 is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things in this entire franchise, right up there with The Horns of Nimon part 1's cliff-hanger, and Astrid's death.
Some of the dialogue isn't exactly that sincere either. There's plenty of meta dialogue, particularly referring to the Master's villainy (Jo: "How about 'Curses! Foiled again!'?"). There's also a scientist lady in the first half of the story who has a very feminist attitude - short haircut, constantly proclaiming "Ugh, men!" and the like - and yet when her male peer and Benton are having an argument later in the story, she suddenly spouts "Look at the pair of you, arguing like a couple old women!". Goddamn it lady, who's side are you on?!
Kronos is probably the least threatening-looking monster in this entire franchise; he looks like an entirely white chicken cosplay with the head of a chessboard piece. Then towards the and after Jo blows up the Master's TARDIS, it's revealed that it's actually a woman with gold eyelinder. Wow, me so scurred.
Arguably the most remembered aspect of this story though is when the Doctor tries to stop the Master's shenanigans by building a machine made solely out of connecting and balancing household objects including a wine bottle, a teacup and a few forks.
Oh yeah, it's also the one where the TARDIS roundels are washing up bowls.
Now, in the face of all of that, can I say this story is worth it? Well.......... it's at least not boring. The story moves along at a brisk pace and feels like a zany NuWho finale, so if you're a NuWho fan who has trouble watching Classic stories because your ADHD prevents you from having the attention span to appreciate decent world building and characterisation, then... you might be able to tolerate this one? Also it's got based Nick and based Delgado in it, so you can't really go entirely wrong with this one.