The Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough are resting at the Eye of Orion, a relaxing field with an effect like Earth after a rainstorm. An unseen black-gloved figure manipulating some controls and kidnaps the First Doctor, played with great William Hartnell-ness by Richard Hurndall. A miniature of the Doctor appears. Hmmm, who around here likes shrinking people? Familiar? This happens to the Second and Third Doctor, as well as other companions, but a glitch occurs with the Fourth Doctor and Romana II, who are trapped in a time vortex. With each attack, the Doctor suffers twinges of cosmic angst, and he must do something, lest he be pulled into the vortex and into oblivion. "Great chunks of me are being detached, like icebergs," he says. "I must become whole."
The High Council of Time Lords, still led by Borusa, summon the Master to rescue the Doctor from Gallifrey's Death Zone, "the black secret at the heart of your Time Lord paradise" which is "not the most hospitable of environments." He does so, but is rebuffed by two of the Doctors, understandable as he was full of tricks and traps before.
The Cybermen play a major role here, as three squads of them come out. However, they prove no match to the "most perfect killing machine ever devised," the sleek and featureless Raston Warrior Robot, who steals the show with its martial arts acrobatics and deadly lances and disks, and turns one squad into putty, impaling and decapitating away. Only one Dalek appears here, as does a creature from the Second Doctor's era.
There's plenty of fabulous dialogue here. The Master tells us why the Doctor is so endeared to fans: "A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about." Something the Beeb should have remembered in 1989.
The Time Scoop is seen as a spinning black obelisk here, and the Fourth Doctor and Romana's faces are swirling when caught in the time eddy. These were changed in the revamped edition of the Five Doctors, sold together as a two-pack with The King's Demons.
My favorite Doctor, Jon Pertwee, comes off the best here, "ever so resourceful," as the Master says. He's still the charming, improvising guy with ideas; it's as if he never left the series, and he's a calm counterpart to the strung out Sarah Jane. She's more wimpy here, and that's a big contrast to her earlier era, when she was more headstrong and self-assured.
An interesting double-entendre is when the First Doctor sees traces of two other Doctors. "Well, well, well, so two of them made it. I wonder what happened to the other." This last sentence spoken in such an acidic tone, might be a reference to Tom Baker's last minute refusal to participate in the story.
And the Second Doctor's solo presence implies that he came here inbetween the verdict and sentencing at his trial--there is a hint of that when he encounters Jamie and Zoe, his last travelling companions.
I was right on one thing. In the revamped version, the First Doctor's approximation of pi is 3.14287. Here, it's more accurate--3.14159265. Clearly they used an alternate take on the revamped version. Another is the Cybermen led by the Master--how could they note fail to spot the Doctor and Tegan in the chessboard room upon entering?
A welcome reunion from some Who alumni, past and present, (they even included some William Hartnell in The Dalek Invasion Of Earth and Tom Baker footage from the untelevised Shada) with old pairings up (Doctor Two and the Brigadier, Doctor Three and Sarah) bringing back fond memories of the past, as well as new pairings (Turlough and Susan).