Doctor Who – Arc of Infinity

Doctor Who Story 123 – Arc of Infinity

Written by

Johnny Byrne

What’s It About?

A tourist goes missing in Amsterdam, captured by a horrific looking creature living in a crypt; someone on has gained access to the Doctor’s biodata, an act that could only be done by a high-ranking Time Lord; and a mysterious entity is attempting to manifest in our galaxy.

You put things off for a day and next thing you know, it’s a hundred years later.

With “Arc of Infinity” I begin Doctor Who’s 20th season. This is a huge accomplishment for the show. And to celebrate the beginning of this milestone, we have the return of Omega, last seen in “The Three Doctors.”

I will start off by saying I enjoyed this story. I know fan opinion is generally against it (or so I have heard), but this story isn’t really all that bad from an escapist perspective. It has a good pace and it can be entertaining. That said, it is an odd story because the individual elements don’t all hang together. While I can generally get behind the crisis on Gallifrey and the biodata/Omega storyline, the Amsterdam storyline feels rather arbitrarily chosen, almost as if it was the real initial script and the Gallifrey/Omega stuff needed to be added in because it’s the 20th year of the show. There are a few lines in the story about why Amsterdam is important (the techno-babblish arc of infinity), but there is no real reason for this and it doesn’t naturally connect to the rest of the story.

With regard to Omega, there is a tragedy of the character that is hinted at but not fully manifest. Part of what works in “The Three Doctors” (and there is a lot that doesn’t work there, but . . . oh look! Previous Doctors!) is that Omega is a tragic villain. He was abandoned by his people, by his partners. He was the soul that was crushed for the progress of Gallifreyan technology. He became a madman, yes, but you felt so sorry for him. In “Arc,” we get a small glimpse of that, but it should be more. Our hearts should break for him.

Then there is Teagan. I liked her quite a bit in this story, but I’m still not entirely sure why we had the cliffhanger where she was left behind in “Time-Flight.” It didn’t seem to serve any purpose, and, so far, I don’t see that there is much fallout from that cliffhanger. If this is not followed up with, I think it is a sorely missed opportunity.

While I have been critical of this story, make no mistake—I really enjoyed it. I liked the designs. I enjoyed the pace. I thought the story was interesting in its own way. I enjoyed seeing Peter Davison try his hand at a dual-role story, a Doctor Who trope that recurs throughout the series. It isn’t a perfect story, but it is still quite enjoyable.

My Rating


One thought on “Doctor Who – Arc of Infinity

  1. “I know fan opinion is generally against it (or so I have heard), but this story isn’t really all that bad from an escapist perspective.”

    Good for you, S.W. I am of the firm belief that viewers of Doctor Who should not feel compelled to adhere to the “popular consensus” that seems to be held by the majority of fandom, and should enjoy the stories they like without being judged. I mean, the whole notion of so-called “perceived wisdom” among fandom ends up fluctuating so much over the years and decades. Perfect example: as I understand it, when The Deadly Assassin first aired in 1976, many long-time fans were apparently aghast, arguing vehemently that it was terrible because Robert Holmes had totally contradicted the depiction of the Time Lords in The War Games, transforming them from godlike beings to squabbling bureaucrats. Three and a half decades later, and The Deadly Assassin is now regarded as one of the all time classic Doctor Who serials. And there are plenty of other instances like this throughout the series.

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