on 19 October 2010
Things were looking up. The third story of Gallifrey series three had been a definite improvement on the first two. With Justin Richards and Alan Barnes on hand to round things off, Gallifrey series three seemed set to end on a high...
'Mindbomb' feels like it's meant to be 'The Deadly Assassin' revisited, beginning with a wry conversation between Surgeonmaster Elbon and Lord Delox as they watch the nominations for the election, the Time Lords cheering and jeering like drunkards. (So, more political satire on the way then. Later on, there's even a parody of the BBC's political forum 'Question Time' and the line "Gallifrey is the mother of all democracies.") Justin Richards does a good job of pressing the right fan buttons (Article 17, Morbius, etc.) but within five minutes we're into yet another lengthy discussion of political procedure. There's more K9 in this one which is very welcome and helps lighten the tone and the script is a lot more polished but the fundamental problem remains: the rules of Gallifreyan political disputes are far too thick on the ground, made up as we go along and just plain dull. A rather obvious structural defect is the repeated mentioning of Braxiatel not being around anymore, thus guaranteeing that he will turn up later. With an extremely similar ending to 'Appropriation', one is left feeling that one has gone round in a loop, with precious little progression and nothing resolved.
This is the fourth episode in the third series of the Gallifrey series; overall the thirteenth episode so far. Things have moved along; there has been a civil war, Presidents have been toppled, and Gallifrey is now trying to recover before their former allies discover their weaknesses. The Matrix has gone, and Gallifrey must recover internally before they can look outside their own boundaries. But politically everything is in turmoil; the struggle between Inquisitor Darkel and the former President Romana is to the death – possibly literally; and what are Matthias’s real motives? Can Narvin and Leela with K-9 possibly save everybody?
About half of the run-time of this story (75 minutes in total) is taken up with a lot of talking; political manouevring, skullduggery behind the scenes, and jostling for power and position. You start to think it’s not going to lead to any resolution, but believe me it does! All of a sudden the odds are raised; nothing works out quite how anybody expects it is going to, and the ending – wow! Can’t imagine where this is heading next, but it’s going to be good!
This is a great series, and I’m really enjoying working my way through all of the stories and their overall arcs – next is episode 3.5, Panacea.