The Doctor finally has a chance to understand the nature of
the cosmic game in which he's an unwilling pawn, and regain
the TARDIS. Threatened and desperate, the Kro'ka abandons
his behind-the-scenes machinations to confront the Time Lord
directly. But will they both lose their way in the maze of
the strange world in which they find themselves...?
the "alternative universe" saga draws towards its conclusion,
this penultimate story gives us more than the standard "weird
sh*t happens" type of tale that we have come to expect. There's
still plenty of weird sh*t going on, to be sure, but at long
last the Doctor makes some progress in his dual quest to comprehend
his surroundings and locate his beloved space-time craft.
Kro'ka (Stephen Perring) plays a major role in this adventure,
a part that proves far more effective than his usual brief
scenes of gloating from the sidelines. Think of the Valeyard
in The Ultimate Foe, as opposed to his bit parts in
the other twelve episodes of The Trial of a Time Lord.
(More comparison with The Ultimate Foe shortly...)
Perring and Paul McGann enjoy multiple roles in this offbeat
and often amusing story. McGann is particularly funny as a
boyishly enthusiastic aspect of the Doctor's personality,
during which he allows a little more of his native Liverpudlian
accent to creep through than usual. Meanwhile, Charley (India
Fisher) and C'rizz (Conrad Westmaas) have become tangibly
more comfortable in each other's presence, exchanging plenty
of friendly and witty banter.
Perhaps betraying a few gaps in her Doctor Who knowledge,
writer Lloyd Rose repeats some bits of weird sh*t that have
been done before in the television series: a group of bureaucratic
duplicates are analogous to the numerous Mr Popplewicks in
The Ultimate Foe, while the recursive architecture
of Caerdroia (which is Welsh for maze) is extremely reminiscent
Rose also overlooks the fact that the Doctor once said an
aspirin could kill him, when the Eighth Doctor declares a
need for that very drug - perhaps his headache is so bad that
he wants to top himself!
last month's overlong The
Last, this story is more tightly paced at just
105 minutes. All in all, Caerdroia is suitably a-maze-ing.
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