OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 589
STORY NUMBER: 125
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 12 January 1983
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Ron Jones
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity
The Doctor enters the Matrix to talk to Tegan, through Omega and she reveals they are in Amsterdam. The Time Lords cause a distraction allowing the Doctor & Nyssa to leave in the Tardis. Once in Amsterdam they trace the hostel Colin & Robin were going to stay at finding message for Tegan directing her to the crypt. Once there they discover the energy converter and the Doctor realises that Omega has chosen Amsterdam because it's on the Arc of Infinity and bellow sea level to give the correct pressure for the energy conversion. The encounter the Ergon which attacks the Doctor but Nyssa uses it's matter converter weapon to dispatch it. They enter Omega's Tardis, disguised as a Crypt where the final stage of the transference process takes place, only to be disrupted by the Arc of Infinity shifting. Omega's anti matter body is replaced by a positive version of the Doctor's and he flees into Amsterdam. The Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan follow him gradually catching up with him as his body starts to decay. Realising he is about to die in a huge matter/anti matter explosion Omega wills his destruction in order to take the Doctor & Earth with him but the Doctor dispatches him using the Ergon's matter converter gun.
Here we go again..... For a start it's another duplicate of the Doctor. This is the third time in three seasons that we've had a double of the Doctor or a companion! Then there's the Routemaster sized holes in the plot: How is Omega suddenly trapping the Tardis on Gallifrey? Through the Matrix somehow? In fact how has he got into the Matrix in the first place? First Amsterdam is in the Arc and then it isn't..... a tiny bit of script editing would have sorted that one out if the Doctor has said "Amsterdam lies in the Ark of Infinity at the present time" and then having Amsterdam shift out of it, due to the Earth's orbit, rather than the Ark shifting. So the Ergron's weapon is a matter converter? Has he converted the other people he's shot with it to anti matter and taken them into Omega's Tardis? Is Omega's Tardis anti matter? How Did Omega get a Tardis anyway? (Did he build it/will it into being? Did Hedin supply it) I'm not 100% sure how Omega in his anti matter form can be in this dimension with Tegan, Colin & Robin - I'm guessing it's because the Tardis (by virtue of being in Amsterdam) lies on the Arc of Infinity where Anti Matter can exist in our universe.... but it just isn't clear. The Doctor looks surprised when Omega turns into a copy of him. They've talked bonding all the way through and I've always thought this implied Omega & the Doctor come together to form one being but suddenly there's a clone of the Doctor sitting there that starts decaying back into anti matter.
No, I'm sorry Arc of Infinity is a HUGE mess. It needs a few more passes at the rewriting/script editing shape to whip it into shape and make the explanations and internal logic all a bit clearer. I loved Johnny Byrne's previous tale, Keeper of Traken, but this is a disaster. I expected Time Flight to be poor but Arc of Infinity being this bad was a complete shock as I recall it being much better than this, probably shaped by childhood memories. Two really bad stories on the bounce. Haven't had that since Mutants/Time Monster.
Arc of Infinity was novelised by Terrance Dicks, released in October 1983 and I remember it being a lot better than what I've just seen. It was released on video in 1984 and on DVD with Time-Flight on 6th August 2007.