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Logopolis. Entropy Increases

September 24, 2015

Nyssa

Entropy Increases.

Entropy’s a bitch.

It’s the end but the moment has been prepared for.

Tom Baker’s swansong involves one of those heightened threat levels – nothing less than the rapid demise of the entire universe as we know it.  It begins with the confusion of the Master disguising his Tardis as a police box and materialising around just about the last actual police box left in Britain before waiting for the Doctor to materialise around him.

The result is deliberate confusion.  The Doctor, you see, is trying yet again to repair the chameleon circuit, and to do that he needs to take some accurate measurements of a real police box and then hand those stats over to the Logopolitans – a race of people so mathematically devoted that they can create structured matter itself out of pure computation.

Meanwhile, the Master, having got much of what he wanted out of the Keeper of Traken adventure, and wearing Tremas’ body, manages to kill enough Logopolitans to put the universe at risk.  It turns out that CVEs – the holes in the universe that allowed the Doctor and crew to slip in and out of E-Space, were the work of Logopolitans trying to arrest the nature entropic death of the entire universe as we know it.

Basically, if a dog eats a Logopolitican’s homework – we’re all doomed.

Logopolis and everywhere else starts to break out.  As the entropy cloud spreads across the viewfinder, Nyssa, who’s been invited into this adventure by the mysterious “Watcher”, just intones “I can’t see Traken”.  It’s a chilling moment.  The Master is never responsible for the death of more people than he is, accidentally, in Logopolis.  Star systems full of teeming billions are wiped out.

Everything that was saved by the Doctor in Keeper of Traken is destroyed.  One adventure effectively suffocates its predecessor.  Entropy sucks.

The Doctor and The Master collaborate for just long enough for The Master to come up with the idea of holding the entire universe to ransom.

Having attempted to send a radio message to the universe telling the universe that it had better get grovelling or face entropic annihalation, the Master then tips the Doctor off the Pharos project where he lies, with one last Tom Baker grin on his face before bonding with “the Watcher” and becoming Peter Davison.

Like most Christopher Bidmead era stories – this story is rather serious.  Tom Baker, in his last outing, is given very little leeway, very little space to relax and express himself.

Although I do like the bit at the end of episode 3 where the Doctor turns on Nyssa, Tegan and Adric, declaring that he’s “never chosen his companions”.  A nice reminder that this departing Doctor was, in many ways, the least companionable and the least inclined to say teary goodbyes.

The first two episodes involve a deal of running around and much repetition, and the Logopolitans have little space to really express themselves before they die.  Adric doesn’t get to actually use any of his maths – he just gets to read out numbers.  Nor does he get to express enough admiration for a mathcentric civilisation.  Tegan arrives by mistake and complains a lot.  Then there’s Nyssa.

Nyssa

As a regeneration story, Logopolis is not in the same league as War Games or Caves of Androzani – but it’s better than some others.  It isn’t a story that you’d say was a summation of the Fourth Doctor, not a grand send off.  But it is – like so many others from this period “at least a good idea”.

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