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8.4 - The False Gardian

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Fourth Doctor - Series 8 Part 1
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 1/22/19 3:53 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

'False Guardian' finishes the first part of Series 8 on a weird but very surprising note that sees the TARDIS team enveloped by a strange wonderland of dangerous landscapes, odd drone-like robots, and loopy inhabitants at the heart of a strange complex. As to how and why it's all surprising, however, that's to be left to a full listen because this is another one where the fun is all in the spoilers and twists especially being the first of a two-parter. The clues are there in regards to the bigger moments (although one is more or less spoiled by the title) but really this is one that's best to go in blind with. While it is a sequel of sorts to "The Sinestran Kill" from earlier in the series, 'Guardian' is very much its own adventure with a significantly more alien tone and vibrancy to it compared to the grounded reality of its' predecessor. Guy Adams' script revels in how crazy it can get while also pulling you in for big punches left and right. This is also the story where FINALLY Ann gets a bit more development and intrigue to her as a companion. Her drive and investigative resiliency into finding out more about the enemies that drew her into the TARDIS in the first place is a great characteristic and something that I don't think this Doctor gets a good chunk of the time. Her primary reason for being onboard is not to travel and enjoy time and space but more to learn more and pursue the foes responsible for a situation that she was a part of and it influences her behavior fully not just in terms of her role but also her chemistry with the Doctor. It's rather refreshing as a dynamic and this story represents a major step up for this team and how they work together even as they are split up and left to handle things alone by the end of the audio. The tone and soundscape are very strong in a zany sort of way and by the end of the story, you feel as you've been put through the loony boon especially with one massive cliffhanger that leaves things mostly unresolved for Volume 2. It's not quite as interesting as the preceding story was and the pacing is a little bit scattered at first until the TARDIS team makes it to the complex mentioned. But thank goodness the wait won't be horribly long to see this one concluded and fulfilled because 'False Guardian' is another win for this series and team.