The Keys of Baker Street

Posted in Audio by - April 10, 2022
The Keys of Baker Street

Released April 2022


As Stranded reaches its penultimate episode, Roy Gill’s ‘The Keys of Baker Street,’ the Doctor has realized that Robin Bright-Thompson is the key to these events and that any hope of returning the universe to its intended course is through him. Disaster soon strikes when his plan to change the way Robin’s father meets his mother and to thus prevent Robin from ever meeting him takes an unexpected twist, and his Baker Street house is left as the only fragment of reality, the residents’ destiny waiting for them at the top.

Since the Curator stated that the traditional rules do not apply to this universe and its alternate timelines, the Doctor and this series have become more emboldened to willingly try to change established events to find a satisfactorily happy ending for everyone. While trying o keep Robin away from the Doctor- even by this more indirect approach- is an elegant solution in theory, it’s no surprise that it goes disastrously wrong, and it’s surprising that the Doctor would even attempt something like since changing just one event in Ken’s life would obviously continue to ripple into others and cause exponential changes. Whether playing by usual temporal rules or not, this is a much more reckless plan than the Doctor would normally enact, and the universe collapsing around 107 Baker Street is a startling yet fitting repercussion for this action that is so out of character, no matter the desperation at its core.

Nonetheless, the resulting journey through the Baker Street home is a brilliant- if at times a bit overindulgent given some of the similar strokes as in ‘Get Andy’- one that ends up strengthening all of the denizens of this building and their relationships. Using the original keys to navigate through temporal windows that bring the likes of Ron and Tony as well as Aisha and Zakia into the fold, listeners become privy to some much more intimate character moments that Stranded has not otherwise had time to fully handle to this point, giving a greater sense of cohesion and development to the saga’s earlier events. Of course, the biggest surprise comes via the Curator who retroactively highlights the importance of each of these characters as his own scheming and guiding of events through the many years is revealed. It’s intriguing to note that the Eighth Doctor is much more annoyed with the Curator than the Eleventh when the character was first introduced, but the further information afforded about this mysterious figure that has stemmed from a certain change in outlook on life and time is truly fascinating and opens up a tremendous amount of storytelling potential. Colin Baker is once more magnificent as this iteration who is not afraid to act and interact, and he gives just enough information and nudges to keep the plot moving briskly without distracting from the integral players themselves.

Inevitably, the Doctor and Robin end up trapped together and must come to some sort of accord to prevent the terrible future that Stranded has so vividly developed. Despite an incredibly harrowing journey that has made him anything but a typical villain, Joel James Davison hasn’t necessarily had the most dynamic material to work with, and as a result Robin hasn’t always managed to carry the personal weight that events otherwise dictate he should. However, Davison here gives a sterling performance that brings to the forefront the frustration and jadedness of a man abandoned and alone for so long. Yet there is a glimpse of optimism and humanity that Robin has retained throughout it all, and while the events here by no means redeem him or absolve him of his role, they present a logical and satisfying means of averting his once-seen future as the Doctor and he return to the true, pandemic-ridden 2020 London. Paul McGann is likewise able to tap into the depths of emotions that the Doctor would naturally feel given his role in forming Robin’s future and everything they have both been through as a result, and these moments are every bit as resonant and poignant as they should be to offer a resolution, even if the end result is a much more subdued and introspective resolution than the Doctor typically witnesses. Still, Stranded is a series that has been predicated upon its characters and its characterization, and ‘The Keys of Baker Street’ perfectly follows that remit to conclude this portion of the story with what appears to be an extended coda steeped in real-world events left as the final instalment.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.