The seemingly harmless Professor Edgeworth abducts Romulus and Remus Sylvest, twin boys whose immense mathematical prowess is closely guarded for fear that it could become a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. Edgeworth’s paymaster is Mestor, the giant gastropod, who plans to have the boys calculate a way to plunge the Jacondan solar system into chaos – all for the sake of hatching thousands of giant larvae containing a future swarm of gastropods. Edgeworth is the alias of Azmael, an outcast Time Lord who is reluctantly working for Mestor, but unknown to him, a fellow Time Lord is about to come crashing into Mestor’s plan for universal domination – a Time Lord who is suffering from a severely traumatic regeneration, and whose actions and moods cannot be predicted.
written by Anthony Steven
directed by Peter Moffatt
music by Malcolm Clarke
Guest Cast: Maurice Denham (Edgeworth/Azmael), Kevin McNally (Hugo Lang), Edwin Richfield (Mestor), Barry Stanton (Noma), Oliver Smith (Drak), Seymour Green (Chamberlain), Paul Conrad (Romulus), Andrew Conrad (Remus), Dennis Chinnery (Sylvest), Helen Blatch (Fabian), Dione Inman (Elena), Roger Nott (Prisoner), John Wilson (Guard)
Broadcast from March 22 through 30, 1984
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Featuring some of the most disjointed writing and some of the least effective sets of the 1980s, The Twin Dilemma was a daring way to introduce a new Doctor, putting him through a period of mental instability that left the audience with no point of identification other than Peri. And somehow, after the dramatic magnus opus that was The Caves of Androzani, it almost seems inappropriate to chase the monumental changes in the series down with a story about two children (who aren’t entirely convincing in their roles) being chased around by a large slug who commands even larger legions of strange-looking bird people who look only marginally more convincing than the San Diego Padres’ Dancing Chicken mascot. There is a good side, though – Maurice Denham’s portrayal of Edgeworth as tired and beaten effectively builds up our sympathy for him, and the revelation that he is an old Time Lord friend of the Doctor’s builds this even more, making it a truly sad moment when he dies.
It’s hard to just avoid The Twin Dilemma, or act like it’s not there, given its pivotal place in Doctor Who’s fictional and real-life history. But do take it with a great many grains of salt. (After all, nothing’s better when you’re dealing with giant slugs.)