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Long Set Up

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 20 April 2022
Rating:   7

This is part 1 of 2, and is itself a 4-part story, done anthology style, with each episode mostly independent of the others. By the end, the listener is left with more questions than answers, which would come only from Shadow part 2. An interesting aspect of this adventure is that even though Daleks are in the title, they are not all that present in the story. They are, really, mostly a shadow, a presence in the background. Story 1, Aimed at the Body, sets the main sequence of events. The Doctor lands in Australia in the 1920s, where he meets a famous cricketer and his two female companions, who seem to be lost. Something is playing havoc with the landscape and with time, and the three lost travellers keep temporarily getting Dalek voices. This sets the Doctor on the trail of the time anomaly that he will chase through the rest of the series. Next is Lightspeed, taking place on a far future space ship on which The Doctor meets the same people as in Australia, except they are not those people. The space ship is a trap for The Doctor from a criminal he has yet to meet. Next is The Bookshop at the End of the World, which is my favorite of this first series. The Doctor finds himself in a mysterious book shop cafe where the same faces as before adorn different people. In this case, the bookshop is a haven from a war, probably against the Daleks, yet all the people in the bookshop, including The Doctor, are not acting quite like themselves. The pattern is being set - the same people in different guises, linked by war, aggression, or violence, plus distortions of time and memory. The final episode for this collection is Interlude, the one that most features The Daleks, in a alternate Renaissance setting. The Doctor becomes part of a travelling troupe of actors set to play for the new lord. But just who is this lord? The various stories are interesting in their own right, but there is some rushing due to the 25 minute limit. I would really liked to have had all but the first extended for at least one more episode. After all of these stories, The Doctor seems not much nearer to solving the mystery set in episode 1. Now, only four more episodes in part 2 before we get all the answers.

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