Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 6/24/19 5:57 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Picking up more or less where the last series left off, Season 4 of Gallifrey sees Romana, Leela, K9, Narvin, and Braxiatel time scooped into the Axis, a nowhere space where all of the truncated realities (created by the Time Lords or otherwise) are contained and maintained. This happens to include any different iterations of Gallifrey and it's not long before the group stumbles into a much more capitalist version of Gallifrey where things are run like an industry, regenerations are bought and sold freely, and Leela and K9 especially are getting plenty of attention as the seekers of the Key to Time. All the while, an older version of Romana is looking for answers of her own about the murder of her husband.
Things are about to get complicated indeed and "Reborn" definitely makes a strong go of shaking things up while staying true to the spirit of the saga. While it quite literally jumps into the new setting with not much buildup to get there, it turns into the first of several alternate universe stories ones that the characters we've been following get to experience along with us the audience. In that way, it almost immediately takes some ideas from the Unbound range but not in a way where it's a total throw into the deep end (at least not yet). With this story, the big change is the way Gallifrey is led almost like a company with the name "Gallifrey Incorporated" being thrown around left and right as a way of hammering in what's different. It's not a huge switch with the setting and soundscape remaining familiar and strong but there are lots of little intricate details that make it a fascinating listen. Credit goes to both Gary Russell's direction and Gary Hopkins' writing for making it all work as well as it does and it's a fascinating skewed mirror compared to what we are used to.
The cast of this world are also different but familiar and tie intricately into where things are at with our mains. It's a bit strange to have Leela and K9 be the weak link forced into a position of power they weren't prepared for that feels like a retread of moments from previous seasons. But it's a lot of fun listening to Lalla Ward interact with a sort of housewife wine-drinking version of her former self (once again played by Mary Tamm) who is strong but in a much more subtle way. Miles Richardson's Braxiatel is his usual charming self, there's a nice if predictable twist surrounding Conrad Westmaas' Antonin, and Sean Carlsen's Narvin gets another strong performance especially in one dark moment that affects him drastically for the future.
While it does feel a tad throwaway and doesn't do much to advance the overall narrative of what's being accomplished, it's hard not to see how things are starting to affect our team and it's going to be a long road before things feel normal in our timeline again. With that being said, "Reborn" is a very enjoyable if messy Gallifrey story turning things around while re-establishing the status quo for the future. It may not work as well for those looking for the tighter and more narrative-driven arcs of prior seasons but it's still an engaging romp with some consequences that should lead to some intriguing moments for the rest of the season.