Entanglement

Posted in Audio by - December 01, 2018
Entanglement

Released November 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With the TARDIS perched amidst the ancient spires of Sedgwick College in 1930s Cambridge, the Doctor, Steven, and Vicki soon find themselves in the middle of a leadership crisis as an election for the replacement of the disappeared Master of Sedgwick, Sir Isaiah Hardy, is underway. With the Proctors and students behaving strangely, however, it’s clear that something far more nefarious is afoot in this ancient educational establishment in ‘Entanglement’ by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky.

Recalling a time when the Doctor did not instantly assume that every dark circumstance around him was related to some more grandiose scheme, the Doctor initially describes the disappearances and the student’s random bursts of rage as completely normal happenstances, chiding his companions for becoming too paranoid because of their travels with him. Yet as he reluctantly accepts the opportunity to provide a lecture, it’s the personal affront he suffers while being heckled that instigates his own investigative desires. Naturally, his attention is drawn to Hardy’s likely successor, Professor Charles Lewis, who also seems to possess technology far in advance of what should be in use during this time, but it quickly becomes quite clear that far more than simple control of the College is at stake as Vicki soon disappears as well.

Though the Proctors’ behaviour can at times be a bit too obvious and heavy-handed, the expanded running time of this story allows the central mystery to both develop and unfold at a steady pace with clues introduced at a logical rate to ensure the cast’s and audience’s mutual attention never wavers. There are certainly more modern storytelling elements intertwined into this classic setup that features some very nice literary allusions, but they never betray the immense atmosphere that- like so many of The Early Adventures– so successfully recaptures this bygone era. Indeed, the Doctor here is more than willing to try to stay in the background despite the attention afforded him and to instead let those around him take the investigative lead to some extent, exploiting the format of the First Doctor era all the more successfully as the supporting cast is used to its maximum with Mark Edel-Hunt’s Guy and Sam Woolf’s Kim filling the role of additional companions as well.

With a sequence of engaging cliffhangers that put each of the leads in danger and then even ends the story on a surprising note assuredly to be picked up in the next serial, ‘Entanglement’ is yet another great example of how versatile and lively the essence of William Hartnell’s tenure remains to this day. And although it hardly needs saying at this point given how frequently this same praise is offered, Peter Purves and Maureen O’Brien do spectacular work with channeling the voices and energies of their younger selves to add an even deeper sense of verisimilitude to this wonderfully atmospheric tale. Buoyed once more by Purves’s uncanny take on the Doctor- this time despite a sore throat, according to the interviews- and the refined directing of Lisa Bowerman, every aspect of the production is extremely polished and easily ensures that the string of strong releases this engrossing range has produced continues as this miniature lost season of sorts heads into its finale.

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