Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 9/27/17 12:14 pm
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I think both this episode and the last one work a bit better if you consider them as a two-parter, but not much. In "Fractures", Romana was attacked by the sentience that exists within the Anomaly Vault. In this episode, that sentience is used to dispose of Pandora. On paper, this looks like a textbook example of set-up and pay-off. It doesn't quite work for me, though. The sentience felt like an arbitrarily tacked on element of "Fractures", and the resolution here feels quite the same. In the previous episode, it was a technobabble enemy introduced to provide a bit of excitement in a story that wouldn't otherwise have had a climax. In this episode, it's a convenient technobabble solution that wipes away a villain who had overstayed her welcome.
And had she ever. The best part of the character, by far, is Mary Tamm's performance, which is wonderful. But other than that, Pandora is pretty useless. She spends most of her time waiting for one of her underlings to come up with a plan to help her win the war. Fortunately for Romana, Pandora's underlings are Valyes and Darkel, so there was never much chance of Pandora accomplishing anything anyway.
The best thing about this episode is that it ends the tedious civil war. I don't quite know how the writers managed to make a civil war on Gallifrey seem so limp and dull. But that seems to be the big problem with the whole series are this point. It's become totally plot-driven, and nothing that happens really has much of an impact. The series has an impressive scope. It's filled with big, important things happening, like the destruction of the Matrix. But, with a bit of an exception for Leela's blindness, nothing that happens seems to have much of an effect on the characters.