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File:Castrovalva 5076.jpg

If we had an index file, we could look it up in the index file... under "index file".
Tegan discovers recursion

Previously on Doctor Who, the Doctor took a nasty spill from disconnecting the Pharos Project's power cable, prompting his fourth regeneration. Unfortunately, the regeneration is in danger of failing. That is, unless he can get some rest and healing in the TARDIS' Zero Room.

The freshly-regenerated Fifth Doctor wanders around his TARDIS peeking into rooms and unraveling his clothing. Tegan just met the Doctor hours ago, and--though she took the whole new-body thing surprisingly calmly--even she realizes that he's gone batty. They get him into the Zero Room[1], but--and isn't this always the way?--he's only just stretched out on three feet above the ground and closed his weary eyes when the TARDIS' alarm starts up. This is annoying enough for us humans when we're tired from a hard day slinging data and just need a good night's sleep before an important meeting in the morning; imagine how much it must suck if you're tired from saving the world and dying and being born again, plus the alarm isn't for an 8 AM meeting but an urgent warning that your spacetimeship is headed into the Big Bang.

Tegan and Nyssa put their heads together (as usual, Adric is being difficult and (unwillingly) in league with the villain), consult the TARDIS manual and inexpertly steer it to "Castrovalva: the Dwellings of Simplicity". Its brochure makes it sound like an alien day spa; the perfect place for a bit of R&R.

But once they've landed and spent most of an entire episode carrying the Doctor through the woods, they discover that Castrovalva is... weird. It's built funny. All the books in the library are written in the same handwriting, even the very old ones. The quaint passageways always seem to lead to the same town square. Even more ominously, the kindly and wise elder statesman of the city is played by someone named "Neil Toynay", which of course is an anagram for "Tony Ainley", which means that the whole thing was an elaborate trap set by the Master! And they must escape Castrovalva as it dissolves into a puddle of illogic around them!

Now that spells "regeneration trauma". No wonder the Tenth Doctor was bedridden and in need of a cup of tea after his regeneration (and little wonder the Sixth Doctor spent his regeneration recovery trying to kill anyone and everyone around him)!

Watch it here


  • Bizarrchitecture
  • Continuity Nod: The disoriented Doctor confuses his current companions for several previous ones, even going back to One's time when he calls Tegan "Vicki." He also takes on the mannerisms of the First ("I wonder, my boy, what you would do if you were me, hmm?", Second "Oh no! We've gone into the wrong part of the TARDIS! Jamie, you go back! When I say run, run!" and Third "Won't be long now, Brigadier - if the ice warriors don't get there first!") Doctors before developing his own, new personality.
  • Democracy Is Bad
  • Easy Amnesia
  • Enforced Method Acting: According to The Other Wiki, Matthew Waterhouse was severely hungover and vomiting behind a tree in the scene where the Doctor and Nyssa talk about landing the TARDIS. Davison and Sarah Sutton kept acting, and the producers kept the shot, deciding it was useful anyway. The intention was to show the ill effects on Adric's health from being under the Master's control.
  • Fake Memories: Heck, the Castrovalvans have Fake History
  • Giggling Villain: Anthony Ainley is quietly chuckling to himself all through this episode and the last one.
  • Glamour Failure
  • I Die Free: Shardovan's Famous Last Words.

 Shardovan: You made us, Man of Evil - but we are free!

  1. this would be a great name for a nightclub