The Tom Baker Doctor performs Karlheinz Stockhausen!
Well, not really, but he is attempting to take up the violin (in 17 easy steps…for octopedal organisms), much to the chagrin of the second Romana (Lalla Ward) and robotic companion K9 (John Leeson). But when the Tardis runs afoul of some fellow travelers in the vortex, Romana lands in the middle of what appears to be a war of imperialist acquisition.
With The Doctor and K9 working bomb squad detail on one side and Romana being coerced to surrender the secrets of time travel on the other, can our heroes set matters straight?
Both Leeson and Ward get a bit more breathing room this time around, allowing them to properly display their respective charm. Leeson in particular gets a chance to shine with his familiar ongoing banter with Baker’s Doctor, and Blakes 7 regular Tom Chadbon makes a welcome guest appearance as well.
Author Jonathan Morris drafts up a prescient manifesto on the nature of warfare and the selfishly callous motivations that allow us to effectively cannibalize ourselves, rendered easy to understand by setting resource raiders from the future against their very ancestors, and vice versa.
The Aorians of the future, much like today’s millenial new left, seem hellbent on retro-fitting history to their current standard. But unlike the silly miscomprehension and willful rebranding (if not rewriting) of history that occurs all too often in modern entertainment and society, retroactively imposing an ill fitting “political correctness” on a history that by definition cannot be altered (and must be accepted or ameliorated by current and future deeds rather than a misguided attempt to whitewash the sepulchres, as it were), these futuristic firebrands find themselves able to take direct action through time travel.
Worse, they believe themselves to be justified with the best of motivations: to save their future by collecting fauna of the past and saving species from extinction…and by stopping their ancestors from destroying the future with their unrestrained and rather shortsighted depletion of resources in what has come to be termed as the “Age of Greed”.
While the Aorians of Era 14 do certainly appear fully justified in their retaliation against their invading descendants, their willingness to commit effective genocide with some time capsule WMDs (as well as the aforementioned shortsightedness) shows both sides to be compromised both morally and existentially.
It’s an interesting commentary, and one worth attending to in our current global sociopolitical climate.