Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 5/13/19 3:11 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
"Full Circle" begins a new trilogy of Fourth Doctor stories that sees the TARDIS drawn in through a mysterious phenomenon in space into an alternate universe known as E-Space. It brings them to the planet of Alzarius, the dark phenomenon known as Mistfall, and the character of Adric played by Matthew Waterhouse who would continue on as an influential companion of both the Fourth and the Fifth Doctor. No matter whether you love or hate the character, he's here to stay for the future and the story that brings him to the TARDIS team is a decent one.
There are a lot of great sets and location work, interesting scientific and biological themes centered around body horror and evolution, and some surprisingly good twists that are really unexpected especially for 70’s Classic Who. It's also a standout story for both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward who really get to flex a bit more of their acting chops for the first time this season as they react and handle the titular monsters known as the Marshmen in different ways.
It's a shame then that the overall story and plot is a bit lackluster. Outside of the twists involving the monsters themselves, there aren't too many big narrative leaps and it meanders way too much to really make you feel invested especially when so many of the side cast really don't have much of an impact. This is especially true of Matthew Waterhouse who not only feels like he's playing an entirely different character compared to where he would go with the Fifth Doctor but also isn't doing his best acting here either. You can see him struggling a lot trying to define who he wants Adric to be and while it's at least better than the annoying ego that he would end up sticking with, it still doesn't exactly make for good performance work in the long run.
Still, it's a fine enough story when you get right down to it and when you consider that writer Andrew Smith wrote this adventure when he was 18, it's a miracle that "Full Circle" didn't turn out worse than it is. It's a good and surprisingly grounded adventure to start the E-Space trilogy off with but it's nowhere near as fun or as entertaining as "Meglos" was feeling much more like a run of the mill adventure with less imagination and creativity keeping it from being a classic.