Your expert in all things ratings. :)
I adore the Troughton era, lots of really great stories in that time (missing episodes notwithstanding).
Not sure how much of Davison's early problems were the same. I think a lot of his is perception of the "wet vet" mentality that it took a few stories for viewers to shake the image of Tristan. He had a crowded TARDIS, too, even after Earthshock, but the stories were still better written and the companions were loads better. Turlough had an interesting backstory, and even though I wanted to drop Tegan out the nearest airlock, at least she had some personality, unlike, say, Ryan.
No era is perfect, they all managed a few clangers (the less said about the end of Tom Baker's era the better), but this season has committed the terrible sin of being ... boring. Which interestingly enough is also the impression I have of a lot of Hartnell's era, too. His stories didn't improve until the Beeb dropped the whole "edu-tainment" idea and just told adventure stories.
This was probably the best episode of the series in my mind, bad frog effect non-withstanding, though it still came out as just average Who for me. We have one episode left and this series just did not have any real stand-out, will be remembered for ages, stories. Sadly, the less said about most of them, the better, and I think you put your finger on the reason why when you point out how Jodie's Doctor is missing that balance of heroic defender as well as compassionate believer.
On different note, more Patrick Troughton!
I think the bit with the dog was a send up to Pirates of the Caribbean. :)
As for George Eads leaving, it's really too bad and probably means I won't be watching the series after he's gone, as my fear is Bozer will somehow be promoted to partner in crime which would just be painful to watch.
@gmpugs Legacies will probably get a second season; it's consistently drawing more than a million viewers, which for the CW, is good. God Friended Me ... we'll really have to wait until after the football season to see how well it does when it doesn't have the artificial boost from overruns. It's doing OK without the boost, it's right around the network average, time will tell if it can hold onto those numbers after the holidays.