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Needs to be Twice as Long

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 26 June 2023
Rating:   7

With the introduction of the Fendahl from "The Image of the Fendahl," the Kaldor City series adds a new complication, and with the plot already hugely convoluted, the close of the main series just does not feel like a close, or even like a setup to a series 2. The story gets a bit more surreal than previous Kaldor City episodes, and toward the end, one has trouble determining what is a dream what is an actual event. The story should have been twice as long to work out all the twists that had been happening for the previous five episodes. I know that preparations for the emergence of the Fendahl had already been placed in previous episodes with the two Wallbank paintings, but it still seems to me to take energy away from the driving force of the five episodes: the plot - counterplot politics. Thus, many of the most important questions are left hanging. Instead, the story finishes on the dream-vision of an apparently dying Iago, which may or may not be the final offering of Justina to him before she fully becomes the core of the Fendahl. The introduction of the Fendahl also requires that the audience be familiar with the Doctor Who episode from which it originates, as, per the needs of story economy, much is assumed and little is explained about it. The rest of the Kaldor City series left the references to Doctor Who as treats for the cognoscenti, and a person could easily follow the plot and setting without any prior Doctor Who experience. For me, the shift in direction sets aside what was most interesting about the Kaldor City series in favor of something much less interesting. On the plus side, the acting remains first-rate, and the cast is really all-star. Trevor Cooper and Brian Croucher particularly stand out to me as they play off each other so well and so naturally that I could replay their scenes together just to admire the acting. My final thoughts are that the program is very well performed, but does not bring the kind of closure I was hoping for.

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