Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 8/12/17 12:12 am
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This is a huge improvement over the previous episode, and it's only of the best episodes of "Gallifrey" so far. It succeeds mostly by focusing on the best thing the series has going for it: the relationship between its two leads. I'm no expert on the behind-the-scenes history of Big Finish, but if I'm not mistaken, the idea for "Gallifrey" first arose when Gary Russell and Alan Barnes saw how well Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson worked together in "Zagreus". Frankly, I'm surprised it took them so long to give us an episode that focuses so closely on just Romana and Leela.
Listening to this episode, I feel like I needed a vacation from Gallifrey as much as Leela and Romana did. The fact that this episode leaves all the in-fighting and back-stabbing behind is what makes it such a breath of fresh air. The conversations in this story are real conversations taking place between real people, and not just opportunities for characters to exchange plot information for the benefit of the audience. In this episode, we get a chance to dig deep into how Romana and Leela see the world differently. And yet, for all their disagreements, the two characters have genuine respect and affection for one another.
The centerpiece of the episode is the body swap. Well, it's not exactly a body swap, but it's close, and it means that the actors get to play each other's characters, more or less. It's fun and fascinating. Louise Jameson makes a very credible Romana, but I'm afraid Lalla Ward's Leela is rather less convincing. Still, it's a really enjoyable sequence to listen to, and it further deepens the understanding between the two characters.
Of course, there's a story here too, and it's a good one, albeit incomplete. What we get in this episode is an intriguing set-up that won't get paid-off until the next episode, so there's no point saying much about it now That leaves this episode mostly light on the plot, but that's what gives the script the rom it needs to really tackle the character stuff. And that's what's important here. We'll talk about the story next time.