Colin Baker and Nichola Bryant are on top form and they are given some great material to work with here. This the first time the lost stories give a hint at the direction that Colins Doctor was going to take. He started cruel and unlovable and they had a multi year plan to win the audience around with a gradual thawing. Here we still have the doctor being a bit caustic but he’s much more sympathetic and has some cracking heroic moments. He could give David Tennant a run for his money in the sword fighting stakes.
Its a story with a lot of twists and gear shifts. You think you’ve quickly got it pegged as a historical but the out of place killer robot quickly upsets the apple cart. And by the end the apples have been pretty much launched into orbit as the tale spins through some pretty massive reveals. Its also a story that would have really strained the TV show; it would have demanded a massive budget to handle the on location work and sets. The story also gives itself re watch value; a bit like films such as Fight Club or 6th sense that watch very differently once you know the final twist. Perhaps you’ll see the main twist coming but I know it took me by surprise.
Its quite a challenging story for 80’s who. While Who challenged ethical behavior and made people question things this had been sidelined in the mid 80’s. This story looks at what a life is worth and who has the right to decide who lives and dies; brave stuff for what would be Saturday evening TV.
Its a big cast list and this can often lead to a confusing mess with so many voices demanding time. Not so here; all the cast work well together and while some are bigger parts than others it gels well. Sadly none get enough time to make a distinct impression but their many parts combine to make a bigger whole.
The music is good, a lot better than the first two lost stories that had an 80’s synth feel. This music fits into the story far better. The sound work is good as well and its put through its paces in this story which requires a wide range of different effects.
I’m hoping this is a sign of things to come. While the first couple of stories were good they felt that they needed to be tightened up and maybe needed another rewrite. This tale feels far more polished. If the rest of the series is like Leviathan then we’re in for a treat.