Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 7/20/17 8:05 pm
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This story follows on directly from Part Two of "Project: Lazarus". It's probably more satisfying if you've heard that story, but it's not essential.
This is a very strong story, but I admire it more than I like it. The story is a bit too contrived and a bit too pat for me to give it an exceptional score. But for the ambition of using the "Doctor Who" format to tell a very different kind of story, I recommend this story much more strongly than a humble 8/10 might suggest.
The set-up is quite clever. In Part One, it's established that Világ is split into three main countries, and two of them are just about to sign a peace agreement which will allow the planet to stand united against an upcoming Killoran invasion. But that peace agreement is based on an arranged marriage, which the Doctor inadvertently messes up. It's a little bit contrived, and a bit over-reliant on coincidence, but it's really just there to set up the rest of the story.
There's plenty of fodder for a traditional "Doctor Who" story in here. Normally, one would expect the Doctor to take the lead role in saving the planet from alien invasion. But that's not at all how this story unfolds. The Doctor's only role is to try to push Világ into defeating the Killorans for themselves, which he ultimately does.
What really makes the story come alive is the characters. Governor Rossiter is one of the highlights, voiced by Gabriel Woolf (and how wonderful to hear the voice of Sutekh in such a radically different role), but there really aren't any duds. Even Pokol, a fairly typical villainous henchman, makes his mark. And the leads... Colin Baker and Maggie Stables have never had better material to work with. It's funny that the Doctor and Evelyn spend almost the entire story apart, because this is actually an extremely strong story for them as a team. Even when they're apart, they're thinking and talking about one another. It's wonderful stuff, and it does a lot to cement the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn as one of the all-time great TARDIS teams.