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< Warriors' Gate
Logopolis >

The Keeper of Traken

Rating Votes
10
7%
7
9
11%
11
8
34%
35
7
30%
31
6
9%
9
5
9%
9
4
0%
0
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
7.5
Votes
102
Director:
Music:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 5/16/19 3:29 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The penultimate story of Season 18 sees the Doctor and Adric land in a community famously held together by universal harmony and protection from evil. But a nasty malevolence is making an impact with a personal goal that will affect the planet and its people moving forward. But most of all, it sets the Fourth Doctor on a path to his death with an old enemy finding a new lease on life and waiting in the shadows to strike.

This story marks the true beginning of the Fourth Doctor's regeneration into the Fifth, being the first of a trilogy of stories that end with the Fifth Doctor's "Castrovalva". While it's not a great group of stories in their own right, each one has their own things to admire and 'Keeper of Traken' is no different. In fact, despite "Castrovalva" being my favorite of the trio, I would argue that 'Traken' is perhaps the best in terms of overall quality. It's a very stylized and interesting adventure with a very theatrical script and dialogue. In a strange way, it feels almost Shakespearean in places especially in the way this civilization interacts with and is eventually tainted by evil. It also looks really good with each of the set designs feeling real and vibrant especially when focused on the creepy statue in the gardens. It has a very quiet and subtle atmosphere helped along by a decent score and some really pretty colors that make this one somewhat relaxing even as the tension builds in a very slow burn.

The cast is all fine here though you can tell Tom Baker is struggling more and more to stay vibrant and make his Doctor work. More than ever, he looks tired and exhausted like his Doctor is becoming more weary day by day. It fits the theme of the story and the entire season as a whole to a degree but it does mean his acting isn't as fun or as interesting as usual. Waterhouse as Adric is decent especially when Nyssa enters the picture finally giving someone his own age to work of off a bit more. Since this story comes before his major power trip with the Fifth Doctor, he and Nyssa are great together especially with Sarah Sutton being as good as she is right off the bat. It does seem strange looking at it now that she would become a major companion given how she's characterized here but she's fine and I'm glad she's here as she rapidly becomes a favorite companion of mine in future stories.

However, the member who truly deserves the most credit is Geoffrey Beevers as the Master returning after a significant amount of time away from the show. This is his only on-screen appearance in the role which is frankly shameful because he is astonishingly good here. His motivations are more related to his emaciated condition rather than being evil just for the sake of it and it's surprising how nasty and hypnotic this version can be when pushed especially when his goals are realized in the final moments of the adventure. This story deserves more recognition for this performance alone and I'm glad that he gets more attention in the Big Finish audios.

The pacing takes a while to get moving and it's not an amazing story but there are some fantastic moments, tense cliffhangers, and nice touches that work more than they have any right to. In watching it again, I honestly found 'Keeper of Traken' to be much better than I personally remember it. It certainly has its problems and it isn't going to win any awards or anything like that. But for all it does right and giving us a rare onscreen Master, it's one that I look rather fondly on as a Whovian. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: EcclestonSmithReview Date: 2/3/19 4:44 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This was the first ever classic who story I ever Saw and its bloody brilliant
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 9/14/16 7:27 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A peaceful world to be turned upside down by a meddling and malevolent alien force. A dippy side-character naively performing the evil tasks of the antagonist and some stuffy aristocratic / plutocratic / oligarchic types facilitating. Studio bound, fine performances, forgettable characters. Capped off with a technobabble heavy, logic and explanation light conclusion - this is cripplingly average Doctor Who bumped up by some appreciated continuity, namely the Master. There's a fun little mystery too, despite it being quite limp and redundant as early as episode two. Synth music atmospheric too.

That's about it in terms of praise. There's some bizarre inconsistencies that ultimately waste the potential of such a rich concept as a utopian dictatorship. The all powerful benevolent Keeper requires armed guards and administrative pen pushers; guards are susceptible to bribes; individuals are prone to lying, even to loved ones and of course the Master can break through the veil of beneficence. Contextually, prior to Logopolis, the Master remains a nave and meddler - but no genocidal megalomaniac, indeed a former friend the Doctor is willing to repeatedly let off tacitly to spar later. If we let this drop we're left with some iffy characterisation, as the Master rambles on about galactic conquest appears to share more with the memorable Pangol of leisure hive, than Delgado's suave performance a decade earlier.

Surprisingly light, given the heavy entropy theme (wahey!) particularly valid here as Tom - bless him - looks incredibly tired.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
5
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 12/17/15 12:54 am
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This is a piece that features a cool concept with the idea of Tracken, a peaceful world where evil can't thrive, the re-introduction of a Who Villain last seen four seasons before,

The weakness of the story is the pacing was somewhat tedious, getting off to a weak start as the Incumbent Keeper steals into the TARDIS and delivers backstory in Part 1. This story feels like it should have been 1 or 2 parts shorter which shouldn't have been hard given that this was the longest season of Doctor Who since Patrick Troughton had been the Doctor. Also, there are some odd turns that don't make sense within the context of the plot and a weak three Stooges-esque scene of the Doctor knocking out three guards.

Still, Anthony Ainley turns in a solid performance as Counselor Tremas. Overall, a I'd give the episode a 5/10 rating. It didn't really use its concept to the full potential and the result was a story that crawled too often.